Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A 'Week' of Wearing Makeup

I've always been terrible at getting ready in the mornings, but lately in addition to cats sitting in my porridge and knocking, so spilling my tea in my crotch as they fight for lap space, I have found myself addicted to trawling through BuzzFeed. In doing so I recently saw an article where one of the writers stopped wearing make-up for a week, which made for a very interesting read.

So I got all inspired and thought I'd have a go at doing the opposite. Fortunately, it just so happens that this week is half term, so I avoid setting myself a new standard of appearance for work; to think I'd have to wake up when my alarm sounded at half 5 instead of snoozing for half an hour... unimaginable!

I've never been a big make-up wearer, but then neither is my mum, so apart from my Nan's garish pink lipsticks covered in dust that I occasionally decorated everything but my face with, I never had any make-up to experiment with until I could afford to buy my own, at which point I was far more interested in music, stationery, painting my nails and reading magazines. I do slap a bit of slap on for 'special occasions' that require me looking a little less exhausted, but I have at no point in my life worn make-up on a day-to-day basis.

In one sense, I think the problem lies in the fact that I am completely clueless about how to actually apply make-up effectively; I always feel like I am literally painting my face. I also have no idea about what products to use, I am worried that the colours I do use are not quite the right colour, I find make-up too expensive, I prefer sleep to painting, and worst of all I worry that even after application, make-up will still not improve my appearance.

It is always a mystery to those who know me and my self-confidence issues that I am actually 'brave' (or stupid) enough to go bare-faced almost every day. However, I think I see it a little differently to those on the outside. I figure that if I'm not wearing make-up on a 'bad face day' (I have lots of those, alongside the bad hair ones), at least I know I could improve the way I look with a little cover... if I could be bothered. I also like wearing make-up to be a bit special; I don't want to get used to my made-up face, I want people to notice when I'm wearing make-up and to tell me I look pretty (cheesy, I know, but we all need a little boost).

The basics; bronzer, blusher, foundation, mascara & lipstick (and my teeny tiny make-up box in the background).
Day 1: applying make-up on a train.

As I briefly mentioned, sleep is a wonderful thing, and something I'm extremely fond of. For this reason, if I do happen to wear make-up during the day, I do my very best not to include application in my morning routine as this would mean waking up earlier. Instead, I make use of journeys on public transport where I have all the time in the world to make a mess of my face. While I always think it's a brilliant idea, particularly as the train initially crawls out of London, the moment we depart from Stratford and I begin prodding myself in the eye with every jerking movement, I am less enthused.

To be honest, visits to Norwich are now one of those 'special occasions' where I do wear makeup anyway, so Day 1 was not too difficult at all... until I decided that re-application on my next leg of the journey (sat on the top deck of the X1 to Kings Lynn) was a fun idea. Thankfully it was dark upon my arrival, but I do wonder whether I would have given my family rather a shock had it been daylight hours.

Day 2: battered by country air.

In stark contrast to visits to Norwich, visits to home are a time when I very rarely even take make-up with me. Since moving to London, time spent at home involves lots of walks along the beach or through the countryside followed by endless cups of tea, good food and lounging on the world's comfiest sofas to play card games. What with not really venturing into the public eye, make-up application is something I don't even consider.

With nowhere to travel this time, I had to incorporate face painting into my morning routine, which apparently renders the morning a complete write-off; it was midday and time for lunch before I knew it! After lunch we headed to Wolferton Woods for a bracing walk across the bog. Despite not really knowing what constitutes a 'good' make-up product, apparently Clinique survives a good fresh-air battering very well indeed; next challenge is finding a fool-proof hair product or two.

Day 3: facing the public.

Three days in and I was already beyond bored of wearing make-up; it is officially far too much effort! I was also having a 'bad face day' (probably the result of smothering my skin for two days) where I would have much rather been bare-faced so it was absolutely clear that I wasn't trying to look good. At this point, I was also beginning to forget that I was even wearing make-up and kept getting a shock every time I came into contact with my reflection.

On those days where you need a little boost, make-up is pretty good for giving confidence, but clearly that effect would be lost the moment you forget you're even wearing it; such a cynic! Even being out and about in town, I did not feel good. If anything I felt over-dressed and a bit silly.

Day 4: I gave up.

So I tend to be very resilient and determined, but I also believe in being happy, and not doing things that you don't want to if you don't have to. Back in London, I'd decided to head into work to sort out some practical bits and pieces that couldn't be done from home. This meant that my morning was just a slightly more laid-back version of my normal routine, but even then I couldn't be bothered to put any make-up on, or dry my hair (for some reason, on the few days I wore make-up, I also found myself putting in a little more effort with my hair as though they come together; like there's no point in my face looking good if my hair is letting the side down), and before I knew it I'd left the house feeling a tiny bit guilty for not being more committed, but not so guilty that I turned around and put it on after all.

Giving up actually had a much more profound effect on me than I realised it would. This time, upon seeing my reflection in the mirror that usually gives me nightmares as early starts, long days and children have resulted in my looking ghoulish and frizzy all through the week, I paused for a moment to look at myself when I suddenly remembered I wasn't wearing make-up. Then something very strange indeed happened. I found myself smiling and thinking (and I kid you not) "I love my face. I love my skin. I don't want to cover it up; I shouldn't cover it up!".

Therefore despite my not managing a full week, even those few days have taught me that I am actually a lot more comfortable in my own skin than I realise (so perhaps those on the outside were actually the voice of reason all along), and while I'm sure I'll be wearing make-up again soon for an evening out, I will be sure to embrace my face a bit more. I might even try to feel less repulsed when I catch sight of myself in reflections, having now discovered a true appreciation for my natural skin tone and those patches, lines and uneven parts that ultimately make me look like me!

The initial plan was to take a 'selfie' for each day, but I officially hate them.
So this is the first and only one, taken on the rickety bus with yellow sun streaming through the windows.