When celebrities all started to take off their glamour and pose for the world with their naked faces a few years ago, I had to admit, I was cautious. How real were these ‘no make-up selfies’?!
Like who can really have brows and lashes that perfect without help, really? But regardless of their credibility, the message these celebs were trying to send, was worth taking note of. It only took me a year to realise it.
In an age that saw the evolution of professional make-up from your own home, an age that created contouring, strobing and now even chroming, it’s no wonder that women constantly feel the need to wear make-up. Admittedly, I was one of those women myself, as you can see below. There was just no way, I would walk into the office or even a lecture without foundation, brows and lashes done to perfection (okay, so I was no Kylie Jenner, but I wasn’t half bad at styling my own face).
So when I decided to explore the land down under for a year with my boyfriend (who thankfully, loves my naked face), I knew I would have to sacrifice my glam. Even if it was just my foundation, because what place is sweatier than Australia, really? Knowing this however, made me anxious. And looking back on that feeling now, after going naked – face only, don’t worry – for approximately five months (I am not counting the odd night out obviously), I have started to become somewhat resentful that I ever felt that way.
The reason being, of course has something to do with a topic that is in the hot seat now more than ever (and rightly so); feminism. I have always considered myself a feminist, but I never the knower of all things feminist.
Personally, I think the term feminist means something different for everyone. I believe it has multiple connotations and on a wide scale, needs to be addressed in many aspects of 21st century life. However for me, it has always been about women being able to accept themselves for who they are, without the fear that society will judge them for it. And that this is possible because as a gender, women inspire other women to love themselves and be the best they can possibly be. And to me, that includes loving our natural beauty.
Having said that, I now realise how hypocritical that sounds coming from a girl who couldn’t even face the office without a full face of make-up. But looking back on it now, I see how angry that makes me. As a feminist, I think we should empower each other’s natural beauty and say, ‘hey, you know what? You look great today’ without having to follow it with ‘what foundation are you wearing?’.
Obviously, there are incredible beauty benefits from going bare faced day-to-day. There is no denying that my skin is now basically flawless from blemishes 90% of the time (unfortunately, my period can’t be ignored). But honestly, the main change my time without make-up has influenced, is definitely my confidence.
As a natural redhead from the age of six or seven (the baby blonde locks are greatly missed), confidence was hard to come by, growing up. Generally different to most kids in my class, I always questioned whether that meant I was less beautiful. The hardest part of that, was growing up with freckles. It sounds daft, but it was honestly such an issue for me growing up. As my childhood friends started to grow out of theirs, my face was still covered in them…and they only started to spread.
Oh the good old days, where they only dominated my nose…
So naturally, as soon as I started to wear make-up without the reign of my mother, I instantly became fascinated with the idea of covering up these ‘blemishes’. But thankfully, as the years went by, I started to realise that less is of course more, and that make-up shouldn’t be used as a disguise, but only to heighten the features we already have, so naturally my foundation thickness decreased (a proud day for us all). I became less concerned about covering each and every freckle, and settled for just toning them down slightly.
But that doesn’t mean I hated them any less and that when it came to a night out, I didn’t scoop on the MAC foundation to look completely freckle-less. I was always scared that they made me look younger than I actually am (and trust me, when you’re 5ft tall, you already look pretty goddamn young). Not only that, but I thought they made me look uglier than everyone around me, because what girls on the TV proudly show off freckles? Not many, trust me, I have looked.
Well, I realise now, how wrong I was. Yes, I look younger than 23 without make-up, but the reality is, wearing less make-up now will only help me look 23 when I turn 30. And that is more than fine with me. But it’s not just that. For the first time, I look in the mirror now and see past my freckles. For so long, when I looked at my reflection, they were all I ever saw. The hundreds of brown dots that polluted my face, but now, I don’t even see them. I just see a clear complexion, my deep green eyes and my perfectly rounded top lip and I accept that this is just what I look like. And that’s okay. In fact, it ain’t half bad.
I know it sounds like a cliche, but this new found acceptance and love I have for my real and natural self, could only have happened without applying my face every day. I know that it’s easier for me to say this, as I am traveling a country where I would just sweat it off anyway and don’t have an office to face everyday, but trust me, you should try this. Take pride in your natural face and not only will your skin benefit, but so will your confidence and self-esteem. Make-up will become something you look forward to wearing on those odd occasions, not because you need it to feel secure, but because you know a bit of contour and red lippy will make your already beautiful self, feel extra special for a night.
Embrace your naked face, ladies!