Issues Voices

Raw Beauty? Challenge Accepted.

Photograph by Ian Dooley (@sadswim)

The time-consuming process of putting on makeup each morning can be both a chore or possibly a way to express yourself. According to a Real Body Image Survey by the TODAY show, “Women spend an average of 55 minutes every day working on their appearance. Let’s break that down a little further: That amounts to 335 hours every year — or an entire two-week vacation — lost to their looks…” Is this statistic accurate among the women of Fontbonne? Do women really need to rely on mascara and eyeshadow every day? Is it a necessity? I decided to challenge four women (including myself) who disclosed they generally wear makeup every day to not wear makeup for a full week. Sounds easy, right?

I tend to put on makeup every day, usually wearing mascara and under eye concealer, which takes me about 10-15 minutes. If I put on a full face of makeup consisting of wearing foundation, eyeshadow and finding the perfect color lipstick to match my mood, that can take up to an hour. This time commitment also doesn’t include me singing along to Lady Gaga when I’m getting ready.

I noticed that during the week without makeup, I felt a little insecure when I was talking to people I know have never seen me that way before. That was the hardest part. I overcame that part of the challenge and finished strong, even going a few days after the challenge without makeup. Now that the challenge is over, I still will use makeup, but with the intent of accentuating my features. I know my worth; I know I am beautiful with or without makeup. I want to use makeup for fun, but I don’t want to rely on it.

Here are the experiences of the other women at Fontbonne who participated in this challenge.

Can you describe your initial experience not wearing makeup for the whole week?

Christine Keller (Director of Career Development)– “I think it was a positive experience. I shifted my thinking in the use and the purpose of makeup. As a woman of my age, I might have used makeup to cover up and I think I am now more in the mindset of using it to enhance and not to cover up.”

christine no makeup
by Abrar Sulaimani

Libby Lyons (Counselor)– “Initially I put (my photo) on Facebook. I had a lot of people comment that they really liked the way I look without makeup. I don’t think I look that different. I thought it was surprising and a little funny. I also thought it was easier to get ready when coming to work, to not having to worry about doing makeup. I spent more time on my hair.”

libby without makeup
By Abrar Sulaimani

Hannah Meyer (Sophomore at FBU)- “I didn’t mind it. Most of the time I’m not wearing makeup when I’m at home. I had more time in the morning so I could do my hair and put more thought in my outfit. The downside though is that my outfit wasn’t complete without makeup.”

hannah without makeup
By Abrar Sulaimani

Do you think society influences women to wear makeup?

CK– “Definitely. Women my age and older than me were expected to wear makeup. When my daughter told me to stop wearing makeup, I looked around and saw a lot of young women in the workplace without makeup. That was freeing. My daughter’s friends are only wearing it for special events. There is still that expectation to look perfect. You feel like you have to cover up things.”

LL– “Definitely, 100%. There are more companies pushing for women to not always wear their makeup, like Dove. I think in Westernized societies, there is a push for beauty first and inner beauty second.”

HM– “I think it does a lot. I know a lot of girls who can’t even leave the house without it. I even know girls who have to wear makeup when with their boyfriends in the house, like they have to have it on. Beauty standards are getting better, but the standards are still high.”

What was the easiest and hardest part of this week?

CK– “The easiest was not taking the time to put on makeup. The hardest part was being intentional about putting on face lotion and crème to protect my skin. I always used a tinted moisturizer with SPF and knowing I didn’t have that I tried to protect my skin with other items this week.”

LL– “For me, the hardest part was getting my picture taken. I felt so unnatural so that was very difficult. I felt more comfortable sitting in the chair when having my picture taken. I felt more self-conscious about the pictures of myself. I knew that it was coming and I had to do it, but I felt more self-conscious. When Abrar showed me the picture, it looked really good! I went out to a couple social events like my daughter’s birthday and I didn’t have any makeup on. That was kind of easy, but it was weird to dress up without any makeup on. I saw old friends who haven’t seen me without makeup on when I’m out. That was a little weird. I thought ‘what are they thinking?’ No one even noticed, maybe I wear my normal makeup too natural, or they just don’t care?!”

HM– “The easiest part was having the extra time not putting on makeup. I like to do a full face of makeup, which I schedule out at least an hour. The hardest part was that mid-way I had a bad pimple and I didn’t have any makeup to cover it up.”

Do you have a message to women at Fontbonne who feel like they have to look a certain way?

CK-“I put a couple pictures of myself on Facebook and received a lot of likes and positive comments. If you’ve been in a stale mindset around makeup, try to do something different and just notice people’s reactions.

LL– “First off, being a woman, does not include wearing makeup. Finding what your passion is and what your purpose is to be true to what you feel, that makes you beautiful. Being true to you: that is what makes you beautiful. Being positive is being beautiful. My father always said to never judge a book by its cover. Our souls connect to each other, and that is not based on looks. Be true to you and let your inner shine shine out.”

HM– “If you feel like you need to look a certain way, I hope it’s what you want to do. It should be enjoyable for you and not a chore.”

During this challenge of not wearing makeup, I kept reminiscing about and Ulta Beauty commercial featuring “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara (an artist I highly recommend). The commercial was beautifully shot and I felt related to this piece very much. For any woman considering going makeup free, I highly encourage you to do so. It made me feel more confident in myself knowing that I am beautiful regardless of what society/makeup companies may think. Know your self-worth and you are halfway there.

“At Ulta Beauty, we know you’re not here to get beautiful; you’re here because you already are.”

me without makeup
By Abrar Sulaimani



1 comment on “Raw Beauty? Challenge Accepted.

  1. Great piece. Check out this history of makeup available at the library!

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