Could you take a makeup free selfie for 7 days?
When Hanna Barbor, designer and founder of stylish ethical brand Soleta started her #sotelaeverydaywoman 7 Day Makeup Free Instagram Photo Challenge, I decided to join in.
I really dislike overly styled images on Instagram because it lacks the real authenticity I look for. I tire of this contrived authenticity that comes with people's Instagram photos. I know that no pic is what it seems. Beautifully styled pics usually don't reflect the time it took to curate, collate, snap, photoshop, filter, and write a summary with accompany hashtags.
How do I know this? Because I work in marketing.
Authenticity has been the buzz word in marketing for years. People are trying to cultivate it as a way to brand themselves. It has now been commoditised unfortunately. So it takes a discerning individual to work out what real authenticity looks. Most of what is marketed is actually faux authenticity.
So in an effort to encourage women to accept themselves as they are and show people the difference between reality and what is applied beauty Instagram fantasy, I decided to take on this challenge. This is "authenticity" as it's meant to be.
No makeup is easy, taking selfies is hard.
I'm comfortable wearing no make up and being seen without any. What I'm not comfortable with is taking a selfie. It feels unnatural to be holding my phone and taking a photo of myself. It's a bizarre phenomenon that's swept our world since the invention of the smart phone, but it doesn't mean I've accepted this insane part of our modern culture #narcissismisaworry.
Anyway with no makeup, no filter, no hairstyling (and often no hair brushing, I brush my hair maybe three times a week at most) and just the occasional brow plucking, I took a selfie pic for seven days straight.
Here's my makeup free photo diary for the week:
I used to slather foundation on each and every day and especially when I worked in the corporate world. Putting your "best foot forward" meant making sure you had applied a face full of makeup! Particularly when you're dealing with clients face to face like I was.
I became accustomed to putting on "The Face" to even out my complexion, to conceal the bags underneath my eyes, to bring back my colour, to enhance my features. I didn't go so far as to contour my face (who the hell has time for that?) but I'd spend at least 20 mins a day preparing my face. That doesn't even count the minutes I spent taking it off. If I add all those hours I'd have probably completed my first novel by now! Shocking what we women do in the name of vanity. The opportunity cost of beauty is extremely high.
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Anyway several years ago, I started reducing the application of makeup prompted mostly by a bout of adult acne due to crazy hormones. So I stopped wearing makeup to allow my facial skin to breathe. Weaning off make up is hard though. My family, friends and colleagues would say "You look different" or "Are you sick?" and inside I'm thinking, "Hey, it's my real face!" I couldn't blame them really. I had taught them to accept the fake me and not the natural me.
But over time people began to get used to it, and so did I. Now my makeup addiction is long gone. I'm no longer a self-conscious puppet at the whim of the beauty industry. I choose if I want to wear makeup. I choose if I don't. But I will not have them - or society - influence me into believing I need to buy something, add something or remove something to make me look beautiful.
How do you feel about going makeup free? Scared? I completely understand. I felt the same fear back then too, but I got over it. It helped that for years my supportive partner would tell me over and over, "stop wearing that shit, you look better without it." It was several years in when I finally listened to him.
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So at the start it was tough going makeup free, but now it's not. I could look at my face and wish my eyes were bigger, my nose pointier, my mouth not so crooked, the bags under my eyes not so dark. But I don't. I look at my face and appreciate the shape of my eyes, my cute little nose, my full lips, the colour of my skin. It's all down to me how I choose to see myself. And since complaining doesn't solve any problems and only adds to it, and comparing myself to someone more beautiful is a futile exercise I don't do any of those things. So I accept myself just as I am. And if I don't love myself, how the hell can I expect anyone else to?
Now years ago I went to have coffee with the girls, the first time bare-faced and I was told I was "brave". Wow, brave? It should be the most natural thing right?
We've a long way to go yet in accepting ourselves but if you have like I have, let's help our friends, daughters, nieces, mums and sisters. Let's help them love the skin they're in.
Want to take on the 7-day No Make Up Instagram Photo Challenge? Feel free to and make sure you use the #sotelaeverydaywoman and tag us in on your Instagram photos too!