At an event the other night, a friend looked at me and said, “Your make-up looks really good today. Did you do something different?”
I had. I’d put on a lot less of it.
It’s not that I wear so much make-up, but its that I love some blush. Like really love some rosy cheeks.
But, for whatever reason, I’d held back on the blush that day. And hadn’t put on lipstick. And, well, there you are, my make-up looked good probably because people weren’t seeing my make-up. They were seeing me.
Besides my eyeliner incident, I didn’t really start wearing make-up until my late twenties. It’s just not really my thing in general or my thing specifically (I have this theory that when it comes to our appearance, we all have our thing that we’d fixate on a little bit more on if given the chance. You know, I’m not sure that I’ve ever written about our all having our thing although I talk about it when I am doing speaking engagements and workshops. Somebody remind me that I need to write about our things and moderating our attention to our things). It’s not that I have naturally perfect skin or perfectly defined features. My skin is sun-spotty and my features are pretty large. My mom and sister didn’t place a lot of emphasis on make-up when I was growing up and I think I just never really developed an adeptness at it or a sense of its overall importance. If I had to track my use of make-up, I probably use some type of make-up (and sometimes that is just lipgloss) 3 to 4 days a week.
Last semester, I was asked if I thought you could enjoy make-up and fashion and still be self-accepting or if just by using make-up, did it mean you were not self-accepting. I answered that question extensively recently on Voxxi and reflected, “Taking a self-accepting approach to style means that you inherently know that your style does not create your worth,it simply is one of many expressions of how you see yourself… When you are operating from a self-accepting place, you understand that style does not change your capabilities. You can go without make-up without feeling like you’ve lost yourself…”
While I think you can enjoy fashion and make-up and be self-accepting, I also know that many of us rely on fashion and make-up to determine some of our worth, and so several semesters ago, I issued a challenge to my students and, additionally, blog readers, and Facebook and Twitter followers. Let’s go all natural.
So now as the syllabus for the semester focuses on cosmetics, the beauty industry, and body image, we, as a class and our social media supporters, go natural.
The time has come. Mark your calendars: March 14 is our ALL NATURAL DAY.
What is All Natural Day? A chance for all of us to become reacquainted with and appreciative of the skin we’re in. For that day, you’ll let your skin breathe and project your natural, beautiful self.
Does the idea of this make you uncomfortable? It might. And that’s okay. Part of this experiment is having you move through the discomfort to get to the other side where you realize that while enhancements can be temporary fun, they don’t have to define you, and you aren’t beholden to them.
So on the morning of March 14th, feel free to take a shower, put on moisturizer (as long as it is not tinted or light-reflecting), brush your hair and your teeth but that’s where the primping ends.
Here are some things that should not be part of your All Natural Day:
Contacts (yep, wear your glasses!)
Weave or extensions (the clip in kind. If it’s sewn in, you can keep it there!)
Hair products (shampoo and conditioning in the shower are fine– no leave in conditioner, de-frizz or straightening products)*
Flat Ironing/ Curling/ Rollers/ Blow Drying
I am sure I’ve left something off the list so, here’s the deal, if anything feels like it could be an enhancement, it probably is- so skip it.
And while it would be tempting to just throw on sweats (and pull your hair back into a pony tail if you have longer hair), I encourage you to dress nicely for the day (whatever that means to you– just not sweats) and to wear your hair down- showing yourself that you don’t have to be dressed down in order to forego enhancements and forgoing the all or nothing thinking that often plagues us (if I am not wearing make-up, I don’t deserve to pay attention to myself or my body in anyway, sound familiar?).
Want to take the challenge one step further? If you are on a social media site, change your profile picture to feature one of you without the enhancements and encourage your followers/ friends to do the same. If you do it, please send me a link or copy of the photo!
Here’s to loving the skin we’re in, as it is.
*If you are a social media friend joining us and your professional environment allows you to join us without make-up but not without blow-dried hair, I completely understand and at least join us for the all natural face part of the challenge.
* Molly Barker of Girls on the Run and Caitlin Boyle of Operation Beautiful have been doing a 2 month Naked Face Project, if you are interested in learning what their experience has been like.