Friday, September 9, 2011

No Makeup

In some of the downtime of my honeymoon (which consisted of equal parts sightseeing, sleeping and eating), I read this article about wearing no makeup for a month, which was written in 2009, but holds water two years later. As a white collar worker who has read several studies on how good looks in the office affect salary and promotions, I was intrigued on why this lady decided to go an opposite path. 

Inherently, I am lazy when it comes to cleaning the house and my looks. I haven't made the bed in over a year, and eyeliner consistently dries out whenever I purchase it. More than once, I have said to the mirror, "Why can my hair look good ALL days with minimal product, dammit!" Yeah, I might be spoiled in this department. 

But there are a few tricks I consistently rely on, including whatever it takes to make my schnoz and undereye circles as invisible as possible (i.e. concealer, powder, anything veil (including the mineral variety), etc.). Additionally, I fought the zombie look with bronzer, blush, and at the end, highlighter. After a recent semester where classes were in a different town than the job and home, I needed all the help I could get. And when did mascara and lip gloss ever hurt? Looking back, I transformed into a female female impersonator in business casual. The stress of my daily activities definitely took a toll on my skin, but fortunately I had a plan in place for that.

How cool to give it all up and be "naturally beautiful"?

My biggest concern was not being taken seriously at work. I've never been one to put my face on before my husband sees me in the morning, and I was already a fan of not wearing makeup on the weekends. But work... I was riding some weird line where I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing in all aspects, not trying too hard, and not being too lazy (which goes back to the first paragraph). If I looked put together, then my life looked put together, and I could be trusted to make a good decision.

In high school, I never wore more than chapstick (which was more personal expression than house rules). When I was hazing for a high school sorority (who does those by the way?), they made me wipe a tissue across my face to check for makeup. When nothing came up, they smeared red lipstick across my face. Of course I wore it as a badge of honor. As in, I don't need makeup. Period. This might have been the only time in high school I had confidence.

So for the remainder of the honeymoon, and the first week back at work, I remained makeup free. Instead of the half a dozen layers of makeup for different areas of the face, I obsessed with eyebrows and skincare (which still took up less time than the makeup). A part of me felt sad that I'd purchased $100 worth of the best eye shadow and brushes because I wasn't using it.

I cheated and wore makeup on the 13th day of two promised "without" weeks - it was glorious. Although weirdly, only women at work noticed. My nose was redder, for one thing. While I didn't tell anyone what I was doing, I got compliments on my outfit when I wore makeup, "Is that new?", "No."

So now (without classes and a wedding to plan), I've decided to make my makeup more unnoticeable. More natural Lady Gaga, less regular Lady Gaga, and mostly because of laziness. I don't need to be someone entirely different - although long lashes and shiny lips never hurts.

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From the initial research I've done, there exists no hard data on either the salary issue or the dating issue. Also, we never get an idea of how much makeup a person is wearing. How can one track the amount/benefit ratio? I am still working on this, but my hypothesis is that wearing makeup elicits a female's reaction in most cases, and a male's reaction in a subset of cases.