The No-Makeup Challenge

One thing that I have noticed recently is the amount of time and effort that it takes for me to get ready, and how much of my time could be spent on other things. This thought came about as I observed how my boyfriend could get another hour's worth of sleep before heading out to work because it took him literally five minutes or less to get ready. He would look as good and feel as confident as if he spent one hour! I, on the other hand, seem to take an average of about an hour for my whole grooming regimen in order to not feel like an ugly duckling. I calculated how much time it took out of my day to "look pretty" and the number kept growing higher and higher as I added in my morning, day, and night-time beauty routines -- the lotion, the makeup, the hair dryers and straighteners, and the list goes on. Furthermore, I began to add in the amount of brainpower I spent thinking about food and weight... It was downright disturbing!

I came to the conclusion that my life would be much more productive if I could gain the confidence to go out and about my life without having these worries weigh me down. How would I do this? I decided to take a no-makeup pledge. My new bare-faced, no-hassle, non-routine routine was at first difficult to stick with. My brain immediately said, "You can't go out looking like this!" or "Maybe just a little blush and lip gloss!" However, it soon became much easier to do and actually felt freeing! I quickly learned a few things about myself and my appearance.

First of all, I feel as if the time in my life has doubled. Really. I feel like superwoman -- I can do the laundry, clean the house, go to work, finish meetings, prepare for my new puppy, and still feel completely sane. In general, women are better at multi-tasking, so if you take the looks out of the equation, we really become "super-women." I have come to the conclusion that caring about our looks was nature's cruel way of dumbing us down to the level of men. Just kidding! Sort of...

Second, I am much more accountable and social. I don't have to put off dinner plans because I may be late due to "not being ready." I can just slip on my shoes and head out. I even say yes to more events and get to hang out more with friends, coworkers, and acquaintances, because most of the time what was holding me back was that I did not feel "pretty" that particular day or evening.

Third, I am realizing through this experience that how you are perceived is due largely upon how you carry yourself. I used to have this notion that I would only receive attention and respect if I was "done-up," and if I didn't put any effort into my appearance people would treat me like I was invisible. However, I have come to realize that this belief came about from my very own change in behavior based upon how I was dressed. When I didn't put on my makeup, I would hide my head in shame and act timidly, but when I dressed up I would strut my stuff, smile, and hold my head high. Obviously, people paid attention to me and treated me better when doing the latter not the former -- I mean, who would prefer interacting with a sad and shy person vs a happy and confident one?

I wanted to challenge this silly and naive notion that more makeup = more attention. So I set up a smaller experiment within my no-makeup challenge -- I have been exerting the same amount of confidence that I generally would with makeup, but this time, without any makeup. And what have I found? My original notion was complete bs. In my natural state with a bare face, smiling wide, and with a spring in my step, I have been treated just as well -- if not better than -- when I was wearing my makeup. I receive smiles and compliments. Why? Because I exude confidence and charisma in my natural state. People see that I don't need a facade to hide behind in order to feel confident and sexy. Does all of this mean that you should base your self-worth upon how other people treat you? No! What I am merely trying to prove is that it is not the makeup that causes a change in how other's perceive you, it is how you act and carry yourself.

I am not saying that we must all clear out our cupboards and ban makeup from our lives forever? No. I am simply challenging you to try out the alternative -- that it is possible to live without it! So I urge all of you to try this out for a day, for a week, for a month. Maybe you will realize that all of that extra time spent stressing over appearances is just wasted time.