living without makeupA survey result published last year in news said 64% of women over 40 in Canada fear to face the world without makeup.

I remember reading some other survey results before about women in the US.   I forgot the exact number and cannot find it now, but my impression is that in US, which is closer to the Hollywood, the reliance on makeup is heavier.

Do you feel you have to hide from people when you wash off or when you don’t have access to makeup?

Being a software engineer, not many women working around me wear makeup.  But for women I’ve met outside work, whether they are at their 20′s, 30′s, or 40′s, most wear makeup every day.

I don’t know whether anyone “fears it” if she goes outdoor without makeup, but probably there is a feeling of discomfort for some.   And I shared this mentality.

What does makeup include?   Foundation, concealer, lipstick,  mascara, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, powder, cheek color, eyeshadow,… those that are supposed to make the woman look better by covering up (foundation, concealer, e.g.) or striking out (eyeliner, lipstick, e.g.) features.

Different from skin care products which try to restore or improve the health and quality of the skin, makeup products can have ingredients that burden the skin as its focus is intimidate short term effect.

I don’t use the whole set of makeup,  foundation, mascara are what I use and occasionally light eyeshadow.   Somedays when in a rush I skipped mascara but rarely foundation.

At earlier age I was not totally happy with my own facial skin,  I wished it could be lighter in color and had less brown spots.  A foundation could help subtly improve the color tone and evenness of the skin’s look.

In recent years with better skin care my skin has become smoother and had more even tone, I’ve had more acceptance to darker skin color, and I know it’s not drastic difference with and without it yet I couldn’t go without putting on my foundation.  I don’t know why.

I had this interesting conversation with a girlfriend.  She is a mixed race with an Asian father and American mother.  I liked her tanned skin color and although I never saw her without makeup, I told her that I could see her still being really pretty without makeup.   And she said the same to me, “you have good clear skin you don’t need to use foundation at all!”   Yet neither of us took action to get “bare”.

What eventually made me step out without foundation was the more focus on skin quality.   Though I went for facial regularly, cleansed carefully,  and used supposedly good moisturizers,  I still experience dryness and breakouts on my face.   I had thought foundation could be a contributor.

Naturally you would think stuff for covering up skin tends to clog the pores as well.   I’ve switched a few brands and I had experience with the “cheaper” ones at the pharmacy stores causing breakout reaction within days of use.  I now use Giorgio Armani which felt light weight and more natural,  so I couldn’t tell whether my skin condition has something to do with it unless I stop and compare.

I decided to go for a week without using foundation.

I chose to start on a Saturday, when I didn’t need to go to work and face familiar people.  By now it’s more than a week and my face is still “naked”.   Time to sit down to record the experience.

Saturday & Sunday:  went for shopping, didn’t run into anyone I know, didn’t look much into the mirror but my face felt fresher, more relaxed and less dry.

Monday:  I avoided getting close to talk to the teacher when sending kids to school, but later at work I felt like making myself face people.   I went to the cubicle of co-worker and friend, Bill,  and talked to him.   Bill didn’t show any sign that he noticed something different in me.  I then asked, “do you see anything different on my face?”  He got puzzled, “haircut?”.   I told him I was not wearing makeup that day while other days I was.   He said I had good olive skin and didn’t look any uglier than before.

Bill then told me a story about his wife.  He had been learning massage techniques and one night he worked on his wife, the head and neck area.   Afterward they both noticed great color and glowing on her face,  as if she put on some good cheek coloring.    the next morning she didn’t put on makeup before they went to visit her mom, her mom commented that she looked 5 years younger and asked whether she used different makeup.

I know the effect of a good relaxation on skin and eye.    And I agree that the natural color and glow on face cannot be substituted by makeup powder.

Later on I also went to meetings and met more people and no one seemed to have felt different about me.

Tuesday:  I started to study myself in the mirror.   I was not growing out major breakouts, there were still some tiny ones.   My nose area was normally the main trouble area, where breakouts tends to come out often and skin tends to be driest after applying foundation.  Now my nose area was smooth.   My whole facial skin also looked well moisturized,  when I looked closeup or smile there felt to be less fine lines.   The brown spots were more visible than when I used foundation, but I didn’t feel too bad about them, given that I felt my overall skin looked healthier.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday:  I felt easier and easier facing outside while inside I felt more refreshed because my skin was breathing better, smoother, and simpler to wash.

Saturday till now:  when the week is up, I don’t feel the urge to get back to makeup mode.   Besides the benefits on the skin, I feel liberated with the thought that I don’t need to cover up to face the world (being a straightforward and open person, I had always felt uncomfortable to “cover up” my thought and my heart feelings).

But I don’t think I will reject makeup totally.   If not relying heavily, they can still add beauty effect with little harm and be fun to play with at times.  I will probably go with foundation twice a week or for events, while other days give my skin a break to develop natural glow.