We all know Maybelline’s slogan, (“Maybe she’s born with it.) Maybe it’s Maybelline.” This has resonated with women for 25 years because it speaks to what most of us are trying to achieve: a natural beauty that is not at all . . . well . . . natural.
Don’t worry. I haven’t gone off the deep end. I’m not going to stop cutting my hair and move to the forest, and you definitely won’t find me running around one of those secluded beaches in Europe. (I am more than thankful God declared fig leaves weren’t gonna cut it back in the Garden.)
I have, however, come to the conclusion that I have been wearing too much make-up.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love make-up. I especially love it on those days when I haven’t gotten enough sleep or I’m having a stress break-out. You know what I’m talking about. Make-up covers a multitude of sins, and sometimes I feel like my face is serving hard time!
But I am tired of feeling like I need make-up. Like I am less-than without make-up. Like the face God designed for me wasn’t good enough on its own.
There was a time when I would apply make-up to run to the store for milk. Even if I was home sick, I would drag myself to my vanity and try to do something to improve my face. You know, so I would look good while bedridden with fever.
I know, I know. Like I said, it was a problem.
Maybe this realization comes from my years spent living in Thailand, too close to the equator for comfort. Fighting relentless heat and an unforgivable sun, I soon realized I could either (a) wear make-up that would streak, smear, and leave me looking like something from Night of the Living Dead, or (b) go without makeup and at least look a little more human (albeit a pale, exhausted one).
Maybe it comes from having six kids and going back to work full-time and not having as much time to preen in front of a mirror.
Or maybe – and I think I’m onto something here – it comes from being more at peace with who I am as a person, inside and out, and feeling a lot better about the “me” that I present to the world.
Let’s face it: It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there au naturale, especially when you have never, EVER, done it before. People look at you strangely, and you know they’re trying to convince themselves you really are the same person they were talking to just the other day, while at the same time wondering what catastrophe must have taken place in your life to make you leave the house looking like that. (Was her house on fire and here she is buying first-aid supplies, having narrowly escaped with her life? Does her child need life-saving penicillin from the pharmacy within the next 10 minutes?) I recently ran into one lady from work who later told me she didn’t recognize me at first “without my make-up.” Apparently, she had been unprepared to come to terms with the fact that I was definitely not “born with it.” Not with what she saw Monday through Friday, at least!
Let me say it again, I love make-up. I still wear it nearly every day, and there are some places I will never be seen without it. But I have started leaving it off every Saturday, almost without exception, and now I find myself looking forward to Saturdays even more. I even took a whole week-long vacation last summer and left my make-up bag at home. Yes, a week. We weren’t going anywhere that required dressing up, and I wanted to keep things simple and fun. We took lots of pictures, and they’re plastered all over social media. Talk about having guts!
There is something freeing about putting yourself out there just as you are. Some of you already do this every day, and I commend you. You go, girls! But if this is a dangerous thought for you to wrap your mind around, I encourage you to try it – just for one day. I mean, go ahead and fix your hair and wear cute clothes, by all means. I’m not advocating giving up entirely. (My “natural” hair color has been coming from a bottle for looong time now.) But, just once, go somewhere in public with absolutely nothing on your face. (Okay, maybe some chapstick.) It’s weird. It’s awkward. Hey, it’s downright scary.
But it’s also strangely empowering. When I leave the Maybelline at home and step out into the world within the limitations of what I was actually born with, I know I don’t look as polished as I normally do. But that’s exactly my point. With my bare face, I am telling the world – and, even more importantly, myself – that this is the real me, and I’m okay with that.
And you know what?
It’s good enough.