Makeup has been around for longer than we think. No, it didn’t start with vintage rouges from the ‘40s, nor did it originate from the sharp eyeliner style of Ancient Egypt. The use of makeup can be traced as far back as 164,000 BC when archaeologists discovered 164,000-year old makeup in a South African cave. Pieces of colored, ground-up rock proved that it was common for our ancestors to tweak their appearance in whatever way they please.
Cosmetic products were used to define a person’s features. In 1 AD, the Romans used Kohl for darkening their eyelids and eyelashes while in 1560 AD, women placed a film of egg whites over their faces to create a dewy, glazed look (dat highlight doe!). Men were even in on the trend, from dabbing a little color on their heads to conceal bald spots to painting their nails with pig blood and fat.
Today, makeup is still part of our daily lives, especially for men and women in the beauty, entertainment and service industry. But I want to know what it’s like for a modern girl to live without it – even for just seven days.
I have mentioned that I do not wear too much makeup to begin with, partly because I sweat a lot and also because I really am not that good with it anyway (two hours of watching YouTube videos every day, all for naught). Lipstick, brow shading, a little powder on the nose, and I’m good to go.
But those few steps are critical to my daily routine. Without lipstick, I feel almost naked. Let’s see how it goes.
I realized I was brainwashed to think that a face with makeup = presentable
Today, there’s this stigma from society that women with no makeup don’t care about how they look. I notice that this commentary comes mostly from older relatives and is perpetuated by tradition and outdated practices that still dominate many industries today.
Day 1 was pretty easy because I just went out for a quick lunch with my cousins. On Day 3, I was a little bit more anxious. Will they say I look tired? Will they think I don’t shower? Will I get weird looks from my boss?
I was surprised to say no one really noticed (or maybe no one pointed it out in a negative way, which is good, too). In fact, I was told I looked fresher than usual. Did my coworkers change the way they interacted with me? No.
Maybe a bare face isn’t so bad after all.
A little struggle, a little hustle
Day 3 to Day 5 was a little harder. In the middle of the week, I start to lose sleep and form dark circles under my eyes. While a little concealer would have helped in boosting my confidence, I had to stop myself from reaching for my makeup bag.
But the more I went about my days without makeup, the more comfortable I started to feel about my skin. I cared less about looking in the mirror than I did smiling at people I crossed paths with. I guess practice does make perfect, eh?
At the end of the day, what I put on my face is MY choice
I ended the challenge with a renewed and firm stance on makeup: with or without it, YOU get to choose the way you present yourself. I was always affected by how some friends would shame me for wearing little to no makeup when we would go out, but I think I’m a little braver now about it.
If work requires me to wear makeup, fine. I’m lucky I work in a creative field that allows me to dress however I want to dress up. For those who have to abide by rules, you can be whoever you want to be outside your job, whether it’s a bare-faced chick or a glammed up doll.
“The surface does not matter,” says Miz Cracker. But the importance of making your own choices does, no matter what anyone tells you.