Lottie, in this world, where we live, we have got used to the daily flood of airbrushed, made-up, touched-up, edited faces. They smile out at us from the covers of magazines and roar past us on the sides of buses, they talk to us from the TV, and make a promise that perhaps we could be like that too. It’s a world we’ve become used to, the bar of perfection raised high above our heads, and we can but try to tap it with our fingers as we jump.
Or we don’t jump.
I spent fourteen years trying to tap that bar. Layering on thick foundation and concealer and mascara and eyeliner; a half hour ritual every day before school. I could never understand why the girls in the magazines (that I used to read so avidly) had flawless skin, even when they seemed not to be wearing make up, I so desperately wanted that. Following school I continued this morning ritual through sixth form and then uni and then eventually work. I had not been seen without make-up on for years, attempting still to join that flood, of airbrushed, ‘perfect’ faces. In turn, my efforts have truly messed up my skin and at 27 I have decided to lay off the foundation, I finally no longer feel the need to dance their flawless tango, I am good as I am.
I’m not saying don’t wear make-up, because it can be fun and can make you feel great on occasions when you want to look and feel gorgeous. I enjoy the ritual of applying make-up before a night out, especially with friends and a bottle of wine, it’s as much a part of the evening as the going out itself: a shared experience. Just never lose hold of the fact that you are equally as beautiful (if not more so) without make up. Look after your skin. Wear sunscreen when it’s hot, yes, you won’t tan, but you also won’t wrinkle as much, your skin will stay younger and more supple. On occasions (if and) when you do wear make-up, invest in a good foundation. I use one made from natural ingredients. They can advise you at any department store on these, but choose one that won’t mess up your skin too much.
I wanted to show what we all look like without out make-up on; the women pictured below are many of the beautiful women I know. This is what we look like when we haven’t been made up, airbrushed, primped and preened. These are amazing women I have met through all different parts of my life; some are very old friends, some are new friends, a couple I confess I don’t know at all, but they heard about this blog and wanted to share. My point is, this picture is beautiful. I had a wonderful week collecting these photos, regularly opening my inbox to be greeted by smiling faces, all beautiful, all different. A couple of people apologised; they thought they looked terrible. (No one looked terrible.) We should never feel the need to apologise for our faces. They are us, they are our identity, they are how we tell each other apart. We should wear our faces with pride, made-up or not, they are ours and we only have one.
So, I’ve learnt to stop jumping to the bar raised by the air-brushed, the flawless and the idea of ‘that-kind-of’ perfection. Why try to tap a bar when you can run, jump, skip, hop and triple jump along your own route? Perfection doesn’t come in a bottle, it never will. Dance to no one’s rhythm but your own, we are all different, we are all miracles and we are all perfect already.
(*See blog #19 re: miracles.).
My beautiful friends (and friends not yet met).
See if you can find yourself and mummy tucked away in there… both make-up free!
(Click on image to enlarge)