I started wearing makeup to work when I got my first job at age 15 at McDonald’s.
I have naturally rosy cheeks and I wanted to cover them so people wouldn’t think I’m constantly blushing and to cover how red my face would get in a warm environment.
I first started out wearing just a bit of foundation and mascara.
Fast forwarded 12 years and the amount of makeup, products, steps, techniques… *phew!* has all increased. So to go work without all these products that society has convinced us will make us look professional was SCARY! In my mind I was like “girl, we have worn makeup 5 days a week for the last 12 years, have you lost your me?!”
Well I didn’t lose my mind, I was just tired. Physically tired and therefore time poor, and mentally tired of having to go through this routine every day to make myself look “presentable”. Bah! My bare face is presentable enough.
So on that thought I confidently went off to work and anxiously walked into my office.
It was a strange feeling to suddenly be nervous to sit at the same desk I’d occupied for 7 years, but now that it was just all me that clients and colleagues were going to see, was kind of nerve wracking in a “that’s just stupid” sort of way. But I thought surely I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill in my own mind, no one is going to say anything. Why should they?
The first person to walk in for the day was a female colleague who wears very light makeup. She faltered once she looked at me as if her mind was playing tricks on her and the receptionist was replaced with a troll (I can forgive her this because even though I was dressed pinup, it was somewhat toned down and perhaps that was cause for shock in itself) but she didn’t comment.
Ok so far so good, we can deal with a double take, today will be fine.
The next was another female colleague who again wears very light makeup and rightly so, she has beautiful skin and doesn’t really have any blemishes and such that “need” to be covered.
She didn’t comment until much later in the day whilst we were chatting over an afternoon coffee. I had been sunburned weeks before and so she asked if I had been out in the sun again. I told her that no I hadn’t and it was just my natural skin. This then lead to a quick chat about what foundation I use since it must be a great product to cover my face so well.
As I right this I sort of feel like this whole post is petty but at the same time I know it’s useful.
Her asking me what foundation I used was no biggie, but asking because it must be heavy duty kind of sucked a little.
Whilst speaking with me boss he stopped what he was saying to ask if I was blushing.
I promptly said that I wasn’t and tried to steer the conversation back on topic.
Throughout the work day we didn’t have any clients in so that helped to ease my anxiety.
Believe it or not but I get uncomfortable when people comment on my appearance because I never know if I’m going to have to defend my existence of not, so my hackles are always raised.
The next stop after work was the local shopping centre (mall).
As someone who is used to getting stared out because lets face it, pinup stand out, it was strange and wonderful to just be another face in the crowd. That’s how I felt. It’s strange how as a society filled with contradictions like making women feel like we have to wear makeup and then shaming them for it because “natural” is nicer, a natural bare face doesn’t get noticed. I’m not saying I wanted to, I didn’t do this whole thing for attention. I’m an introvert, I don’t really like attention in the real world lol but it was a strange feeling to feel invisible.
So after my first professional day spent makeup free I felt a mix of emotions. I was feeling anxious all day without my security blanket, I was feeling exposed to people’s criticisms although the reactions I received were blissfully mild and despite all that I felt good about myself. The world didn’t stop because one woman didn’t wear makeup that day. My professionalism wasn’t called into question because I didn’t wear makeup and after it all, my skin felt great having an extra day without makeup.
Do you wear makeup every day? Do you never leave the house without it?
Or do you rarely wear makeup?
Either of these is completely fine and more women need to be told that.
Chat with my in the comments below on your thoughts on the topic.