The cynics amongst you (myself usually included) will be thinking: 'congratulations but it's not a hardship'. Those who know me will be thinking, 'well you don't wear that much anyway'. You're right - it's not, and I don't. But the point came last week when I realised I thought I barely wore any make up, but would wake every day and routinely apply tinted moisturiser (which I tell myself isn't strictly 'make up' but it's definitely skin coloured and designed to cover up dark circles) and mascara. To some this will seem like nothing. There are girls, many of my friends in fact, who expertly paint a masterpiece on their face every single morning. This isn't a blog to shame that or suggest that all the make up addicts out there should 'ditch the dirt' and live a 'clean' fresh-faced life. Far from it. I have a great appreciation for the art of make-up and I wish I had the skill or inclination necessary to perfect it - but I don't, and I'd rather save myself the embarrassment.
But the reasons I wear any at all are the same as most - to hide something. I have an irritatingly-placed blue vein right under my eye that makes me look like I've got a bruise every day of every week. I'm prone to getting a red nose - why is it that my nose is always cold? And I think my eyelashes are so pale people might think I was born without them. I'd also love for someone to invent upper face contouring to take me from a five to a forehead but somehow I think that's a far flung dream.
When I was at University I spent my second year living with beautiful girls who spent time getting ready for a night out oop north, donning themselves with heels and fake tan. They looked amazing. I began to feel out of place and well, ugly, for not doing the same. This was nothing on them - by no means did anyone make me feel like I had to, but when you're the only one who doesn't, naturally you feel you aren't making as much effort. So I finally had my first spray tan - I then took a sweaty journey home and ended up streaky and multi-coloured. I finally wore my first pair of fake eyelashes - again, a sweaty night out and they ended up in my hair. A few more failed attempts and I finally admitted defeat - it just wasn't me.
But here lies the issue. Just like being 'skinny' in the fashion-world, Instagram and beauty bloggers have made girls feel like they ought to be tip top when it comes to contouring, blotting, winging and whatever else. We are expected to wear make up if we are 'dressing up'. And so I decided to ditch it completely for a week and see how it made ME feel. And to tell you the truth, it's very refreshing. I had a morning full of meetings last Thursday, and worried that I would look scruffy being bare-faced. I had a birthday with my boyfriend's family, some of which I'd never met, and worried they would think I hadn't made the effort. Each time these thoughts popped in to my head, I realised how engrained the expectation was. More often than not it sits with us, it's an internal worry that people will note it. But actually when I mentioned what I was doing to a couple of people, they did admit that they'd noticed and had thought about saying something. But what would they say? 'You look ill', probably.
So, on that note, I'm just going to leave you with the wonderful, and bare-faced, Alicia Keys at 2017 MTV VMAs - looking beautiful and sticking to her ban on make-up to help her deal with her own insecurities above the expectations of others. You go Alicia.