It was a couple of months ago now that my Facebook timeline was awash with no-makeup selfies. I’m sure you all remember the BEAT fundraising campaign. I was, like I imagine many of us were, tagged. I ignored it.
I wear makeup everyday. I don’t particularly like having my photograph taken at the best of times, but without makeup? Not a chance. I don’t even do the morning school run makeup free; I wear makeup to the gym; I wear waterproof mascara in the pool.
Then I came across the I am beautiful posts, inspired by Vodka Infused Lemonade, via the #AllAboutYou linky.
So I took a few photos one day, under the rather harsh lights in my bathroom, without and then with makeup. I didn’t share them…
The results surprised me. The difference that I see in the mirror once I have makeup on isn’t there in the photos. Yes, I look a bit less tired, my skin looks a little more even; but there was no miraculous change, no sudden confidence boost when I looked at the ‘makeup’ photos.
I have worn makeup for as long as I can remember. I love it. I enjoy putting makeup on. I like the way it looks, I like the mechanics and the artistry of it. I do it for me. Not because I feel I have to, but because I want to. And yes, it makes me feel better; more confident.
But, I have a daughter now and I am becoming ever more aware of the example that I set. I am very happy for her to love make up, as I do, but I want to make sure that she loves it for the right reasons. Not because she feels a need to conform or to meet expectations.
I took these photos back in March. Generally, unless I am really happy with a photo of myself, the first thing I do is make it black and white or sepia; to even out my skin tone, soften the shadows under my eyes. And, my instinct for this post was to do just that. To still hide behind a filter.
But, in the six weeks since I took these photos I have found myself wearing makeup less often. I have done my daughters swim class makeup free, saving myself the fight with the waterproof mascara that night, when all I want to do is go to bed! I have done the morning school run without makeup, only putting it on later in the day if I was going out again (other than just for the afternoon school run!). Admittedly, these have been a particularly busy and tiring six weeks, and there has been an element of feeling simply overwhelmed and unable to deal with an extra task in the morning; but in the back of my mind has been the lack of any real difference between the two sets of images.
So, here are the original images. No filter, no altering, no softening…
Now, I am not going to stop wearing makeup; I enjoy wearing it and I can see a difference between the top (no makeup!) and bottom (my ‘day’ makeup face!) images! But, it has been interesting to really look at myself through the impartial eyes of a camera rather than looking in the mirror. To see my face as others see it. To be reminded that what I see in my minds eye is not what others see. To be reassured that this is not a bad thing.
Makeup gives me confidence, it makes me feel good. Makeup is fun. And, it is a part of who I am. But, it is not necessary. At least, not all the time :)
When I took these photos I expected to hate the makeup free images. For them to never see the light of day, certainly not end up the focus of a very public blog post. However, confidence doesn’t come from makeup, it may be assisted by it, but confidence comes from within; from being comfortable in your own skin. And, at the ripe old age of 40, I think I may (almost) be comfortable in mine.