I’ve gone out of the house with no make-up on most of this week. This is not by design, simply down to the fact that I’ve been busy and pushed for time. Also, I have taken to carrying a small and beautiful orange satchel which doesn’t allow for carrying much make-up with me. It got me thinking again about that naked face for charity nonsense a while back where people were talking about women as ‘brave’ for showing what they looked like with a bare face. It was all a bit silly really, wasn’t it? I often go out bare faced. The first couple of hours I feel a bit unfinished, but then I get used to it. I see my pink cheeks and small bright eyes and it’s all fine. I recognise that face, the old faithful. Why would it be brave?
It makes wearing make-up fun again rather than a chore that’s part of your morning rush hour, a few bare faced days and putting on a full face again is thrilling. I love my pots and brushes and sticks of colour, I see them as an extension of my creativity and a means of self-expression. For me it’s a statement of intent; confidence, passion, a commitment to myself, who I am, not just what I look like. I realise that sounds overblown, you’re probably thinking “Get over yourself love, it‘s only lipstick.” But in a world where people are constantly telling my fat self to pipe down and get in the shadows I feel it’s an important statement. I could just wear a muumuu all the time and sit in the house, I suppose, but I’m not ready for my muumuu yet.
Recently, I attended one of the Selfridges Beauty Project events where a panel were discussing body image; they spoke about beauty being democratic in a world where fashion leaves a whole lot of people out. This is definitely my experience. But also, people see the world of make-up as a masking of imperfection rather than an exuberant female rite of passage. Yes, we all wear foundation and concealer, and strive to deal with the problem areas that irritate us. I will be reporting back on my experience of non-invasive procedures on my double chin shortly, so I know how it feels.
It’s the other stuff that gets me going, though, the purple and pink waxy matt sticks, palettes of rainbow powders, the slick of red or fuchsia satin lips, an inky black calligrapher style pen for eyelids. People say these are brave too. As though the only acceptable box for women is that marked beige and perfect. No more, no less. Don’t stand out or get too big or too small. Don’t be bare-faced or scruffy, don’t have tattoos, piercings, or be different in any way. Maybe it’s best if we remember we’re all in this together whatever our bodies or faces are like, whatever lipstick we choose to wear, whether we favour bikinis or muumuus. Actually, I’ve just looked some up on google images; I think one could work with a belt and some gladiator sandals. What do you think?
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