A few days ago, I casually committed to wearing no makeup for one month. It wasn’t really something I put too much thought into; it arose organically and felt like a good “new year” experiment.
The night after I made this decision, I had two dreams about it. In the first, I was gathering with a large group for a photo. Everyone was completely glammed out, even my daughter! I was the only one wearing a simple dress and a plain face. I felt invisible and less than.
In the second, I was navigating my way to my first class of the school year. I couldn’t read my phone screen (you know how dreams are), so I didn’t know the room number. I did something I never did in my “actual” school years—I wandered through strange classrooms, scouring the space for signs that I belonged there. At one point, I went into the bathroom and was surprised to find that I looked nothing like myself. I had no makeup on, was wearing glasses, and had brown, pin-straight hair. When I finally found my class, I explained what had happened without shame and with a little attitude. Plain-faced me was actually more willing to take risks and make a fool of herself if it meant that she could find where she belonged.
I’m getting older. My wrinkles are deepening. My eye circles are darkening. The hair on my upper lip is growing darker too. All of these things make me uncomfortable, and it’s really for this reason that I’m going makeup-less not only in day-to-day life, but on my various platforms as well.
What will you think of my true face? Will you keep scrolling because it’s “just me,” naked and bare? Will your own fear of growing old and obsolete cause you to criticize the lines in my forehead and at the edges of my lips and eyes? Will I experience the “great disappearing” that so many middle-aged women experience?
I don’t know, but there’s only one way to find out.