All of that is probably enough to make most people give it a miss but none of that really fazed me - in fact I was quite looking forward to it. The thing that did trouble me though was the fact that I wouldn't be wearing make-up for the whole week. (It isn't that make-up was banned or anything - but I thought it would just look too ridiculous to wear make-up around a health retreat.)
The thing is, I have been wearing make-up every single day for a really long time. I started when I was about 12 I think - after I cut all my hair off in an attempt to look like Jane from Melrose Place and ended up looking like a fat, pre-pubescent boy. I don't really have particularly girly features and my school uniform was pretty much unisex so the only thing I could think of to make it clear that I was in fact in possession of two x chromosomes was to start wearing make-up. It was subtle and "natural" looking (I think - at least it that is how I hoped it looked) but it made me feel a bit more feminine.
But even when my hair grew back, I kept wearing the make-up every day. I thought it made me look prettier which meant that, if I stopped wearing it, I would be uglier.
And I have been wearing it every day ever since pretty much for the same reason.
Sure, I would love to be able to just wash me face, shake my hair out and look naturally stunning every day but I just don't think that was ever an option for me. When I do this, my skin looks colourless and dull (except for my nose which always seems shiny), I have grey under my eyes and my eyelids are all puffy (actually, my whole face looks puffy), there are little red marks and freckles here and there - it just isn't nice.
(Ok - it is possible, I guess, that I don't really look this bad but this is how I see myself and it is hard to believe anyone who tells me any differently - I mean, they aren't going to tell me that I look totally hideous and ought to put make-up on stat so that they can look directly at me again, now are they? Well, not unless they are my husband they won't...)
So each and every morning, I spend at least 15 minutes carefully fixing my face with foundation, eyeshadow, eyeliner, blusher, mascara etc in a hope to make me look at least a little bit pretty. Some days, I will spend a painful amount of time trying to look like I haven't put any make-up on at all. Others, I put on some heavy eyeliner or maybe some bright lipstick. Regardless, except for when I am sleeping, exercising or sick, I am wearing something on my face.
Spending 5 days without make-up was therefore a little daunting for me. It wasn't like there was anyone there that I particularly wanted to impress. I just feel so plain - almost invisible - without it. Like people would treat me differently if they only ever saw me bare-faced.
Everyone knows women get judged on their looks, as unfair as that is. So, I mean, what will happen if I fail to put my best face forward every day? To be honest, probably nothing at all, but I am never really willing to find out for certain. And while I survived the 5 days without it in the confines of the retreat, it didn't change my outlook or anything. As soon as I got back home to the city, I quickly applied some foundation and eyeliner so I could leave the house again. And it felt goooooood. I felt like me again!
But it isn't like I am the only girl in the world that relies on a bit of slap to make herself look a little more decent. The paparazzi just adore catching usually ridiculously good-looking celebrities looking a bit average - almost human - without make-up on. And I love looking at them, just to make me feel like I am not so alone.
Because, see, even these cuties look a bit dull without it:
(actually, it is more the fact that her mouth is open that is making her look average here rather than the lack of make-up...)
Ok so Kate is also pretty old now, but still - ew! The years (and cocaine) have not been kind to her.
Of course, there are also those hotties who still look stupidly gorgeous even when they are completely bare-faced:
Rachel McAdams (plus bonus Ryan Gosling looking scrummy!!! YAY!!!!!!)
The only positive thing that I can think of that comes from looking a bit off without make-up is that it can get me out of things that I don't want to do - like going to a bridal shower or a Tupperware party. I need to do is rock up without foundation on and as soon as I get there everyone will tell me how really sick and tired I look ("Oh, and so pale!" Um, how have not noticed that I am always this pale?) and then - hey presto! - I am back in bed where my naked face belongs - safe and sound and away from the public eye!