Girl Culture – Showing your face

Girl Culture - Showing your face
by Emma Plant

A makeup-free Gisele Bundchen
This month’s Cleo magazine has a very relevant little article about makeup addiction. You may know you are proven addict when you irreverently deny it out loud. Psychological Ink Blot tests reveal pictures of mascara, lip balm and blush. Semi-blind, uber-rouged grandmas advise you to lay off the blush, and your iphone screen is as moisturised as an oilrig. N’est-ce pas? Read on, cosmetic queens.

The article in September’s Cleo observes makeup addiction and the ill effect it can have on a women’s right to esteem. This is not new gospel to any western lady – has any woman ever fist-pumped the air in celebration of an addiction to anything? To the writer’s credit, the feature provides strategies for liberating yourself from this addiction; emancipating the necessity for value add-ons to our faces (add-ons we ultimately begin to think of as our "normal faces").

‘Makeup free Mondays’ is the initiative suggested to re-route painted faces to healthy, naked, self-perceptions. One avid Cleo reader road tested ‘Makeup free Mondays ‘(MFM) for one month in a bid to tone down her 7-day-a-week habit. After a few lofty temptations (can we blame a girl for feeling under groomed in an office without concealer?), said test-subject cited success on all fronts: psychological, physical and social. Hurrah!

Even while in the Amazon rainforest, wearing the dirtiest of clothing, with a month’s worth of insect repellent entering my bloodstream and no hot shower in sight, I would put mascara on. Perplexed? It doesn’t make sense. Why would I bask in the freedom of not washing my hair for a month ( I had read it is good to let the natural oils build up – wrong), and then need to define my lashes? It really is dim.

Maybe this inane addiction is due to the fact that I am wary of the tips of my lashes going blonde, or it could date back to an impromptu dig someone had at me as a tween. I verbatim remember Jenny Jetblacklashes (obv. not her real name) saying, “Your eyelashes get lighter on the ends, don’t they? It makes them look really, really short.” Yes, Jenny, they are lighter on the ends, and they do look incredibly mannish and stumpy.

Really, Jenny was just confirming something I already thought about myself through comparison to others. We see and judge visual stimuli constantly. Unfortunately, knowing this means we feel our insecurities all the more. And, eyelashes are only the start for me: I have not even touched on my complexes a propos freckles and forehead size.

The notion of perceiving our made up faces as our normal faces, carries more weight than first appears; as do those lingering insecurities we are so stealthy about covering up. How bizarre to think that something that washes off in the daily shower is who we really are. Despite it only being a meagre one-day initiative, we think MFM is a small but mighty concept that will yield nothing but wholesome returns. A big unanimous ‘yippee!’ for perfectly flawed faces uniting.

Emma @ Girl With a Satchel


Legal Chic said...

Make-up free Mondays is such a great initiative, I really try to adhere to it but realise that I too am an addict and find myself sneaking mascara and lip gloss at uni!

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a recent news items I read about a UK school banning mirrors in the bathrooms to stop their students from wearing make up. Personally, sounds like a great idea to me. You're their to learn, right? I like to go make up free 2 days a week. This is partially because I'm lazy, but my skin is loving me for it! I also feel a lot more comfortable around people, I think this is because I don't have to worry about my appearance as much because I know I probably look ill or something anyways, but meh. Whatever.

Footprints Australia said...

Great post, can't believe Cleo had an article actually worth reading! I participated in "Bloggers Without Makeup" last year (you can read it at, but despite the fact I don't wear much makeup, I still don't know if I'd be willing to go without it for a Monday at the office! People might think I was sick!

Anonymous said...

I believe that the wallpapering of cosmetic ads in women's (and men's) magazines is a major contributor to the make-up addiction problem itself.

I am glad that a major magazine like this is encouraging a make-up free day! Oh the irony!

Personally, I no longer use any products on my skin. For a time in my life I was obsessed with checking out the latest skin care products. Now I let my skin breathe and I am grateful for the essentials of life such as clean food and water.


Scarlett Harris @ The Early Bird Catches the Worm said...

In relation to Camilla's comment about makeup and mirrors in school, I used to slather my face in foundation and bright eyeshadow in high school, when I had the best complexion of my life. Flashforward to a few years ago, and I started breaking out with deep, painful zits, the scars of which still linger today. I would love nothing more than to go makeup free on Mondays (every day, really), and I am slowly reducing the makeup I wear as my scars heal, but I look back on those days and think, "why didn't I embrace the beautiful skin I had?"