Sunday, September 11, 2011


I have been off at a health retreat for the last week. It was the real deal - no alcohol, no caffeine, no sugar, no refined carbs, no fats - the works. We were up at 6 every morning to do Tai Chi in the fresh country and, if we weren't in the spa (mmmmm spa!) we spent the rest of our day sweating it out, doing yoga or meditating.

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:

Agyness Deyn

Anna Paquin

Carey Mulligan

Keira Knightley 
(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...) 

Kristen Stewart

Kate Moss
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: 

Natalie Portman

Liv Tyler

Olivia Wilde

Rachel McAdams (plus bonus Ryan Gosling looking scrummy!!! YAY!!!!!!)
Seriously, what complete and utter BITCHES!!! I hate/adore them all. Also, I am taking this as further proof that Olivia Wilde is, in fact, an alien.

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!


Jody said...

I think Ms Portman is gorgeous. With or with out make up. I actually never even noticed you ever wore any cover. You are quite pretty, whatever you think or believe. So wear your make up, intelligence and character are visible to those who look. I am certain aside from your pretty face, everybody that sees you, sees someone who is pretty hot.

I enjoy your posts. You should write more often.

Charmaine said...

1. Anna Paquin's problem is not her lack of make-up, but the fact that her hair should absolutely not be that colour. Seriously, even the grey streak was an improvement.

2. Damn you Natalie Portman.