Makeup/ Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

A week without makeup

If I was ever going to challenge myself to go a week without makeup, it would definitely be Week 4 of Term 3 in the run up to my final exam. It’s the perfect excuse to avoid spending too long getting ready in the morning and to get to the library that little bit earlier, right? Besides, no one wants to put in effort at this point in the year and no one is going to question if I’m a bit of a mess.

I am a regular makeup wearer and tend to wear it most days. I didn’t wear it to one seminar this year and someone did the classic thing of asking if I was ill or tired and I thought “never again”.

Whilst initially challenging myself to go seven days without makeup, I ended up doing 10. This was mainly because I didn’t leave the house on two of the initial seven days, so I thought that wasn’t a fair representation or challenge.

The beginning was quite daunting as I can’t remember the last time I went this long without wearing makeup. In fact, since I started wearing makeup aged 13 or 14, I don’t think I’ve ever been this long without wearing it.

I stopped missing my concealer and actually my skin looks so much clearer now – still red and purple, but less textured

In April last year, I wrote an article about how I don’t wear makeup to feel less self-conscious. Whilst I stand by that, there’s no denying that makeup does make me feel a little more confident. I don’t use it to hide insecurities, but I do feel much nicer when I am wearing it.

My natural complexion on my face is ‘sun burn’, even in the depths of winter when my face hasn’t seen sunlight in weeks. My face is still tomato-red and a little bit of makeup just helps to hide that.

At the beginning of this challenge, my skin was a bit unhappy due to exam season, so going outside without a bit of concealer to cover a spot, or a bit underneath my eyes to hide the lack of sleep, was a little scary. However, I soon got over this as I became used to neglecting my makeup bag before heading to the library. I stopped missing my concealer and actually my skin looks so much clearer now – still red and purple, but less textured.

When starting this challenge, I was expecting to come to the realisation that I don’t need to cover that spot before going on to campus. But, out of everything that these 10 days have taught me, I was most struck by the fact that not wearing makeup for this long has made me feel slobby.

I tend to opt for something a bit slouchier when I’m not wearing makeup because I don’t want to waste my nice clothes on a no makeup day. Therefore, I found that in the past week I’ve worn nothing but black, comfortable jeans, a vest top and a hoodie. I also haven’t done anything with my hair other than shoving it up in ponytail, not even brushing it most days.

Getting up in the morning, choosing a nice outfit and putting on a bit of makeup really sets me up for the day

There was one day where I put on some blue, straight-leg jeans and a nicer top when I went to a Michael Morpurgo event with a friend – which I would never normally attend without makeup – and putting in even this tiny bit of effort helped so much. It was the only day during the challenge that I finished my to-do list by six.

Usually, not wearing makeup during the days where I’m not doing much is not a big deal to me. But if I’m going out somewhere in the evening, whether for drinks, dinner or simply to catch up with a friend, I would always go with makeup on. Going to this event without makeup on felt strange, but it ended up being the best thing as I was able to revise right up until the moment I had to leave, rather than having to leave time to get ready.

The biggest surprise this challenge brought was how much wearing makeup affects my levels of productivity. Getting up in the morning, choosing a nice outfit and putting on a bit of makeup really sets me up for the day.

This week, I haven’t found myself going to the library any earlier. Instead, I sit around in my room watching Netflix until the time where I would usually go to the library and, in not starting my day productively, I struggle to get myself up to my usual levels of productivity.

It wasn’t about looking nice, or feeling more confident, but about feeling ready for the day which was the biggest challenge.

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