Fresh Living

You may remember that in late August, I set a challenge for myself:  wear makeup every day for a month, and see how I feel about myself, how my skin looks, and how the daily ritual might change my routine and general outlook.

Well, I did it, wore makeup (almost) every day in September!  Here’s what I learned.

First, a reminder of my “before”

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…and “after” from August:

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Now, one month after the “after,” I am sitting at my desk, eyes and cheeks brightened, blemishes minimized, and lips moisturized.  I did this for me, not for any coworkers (I work from home), or the mailman, or my husband, or the people at Sephora who sold me this makeup, or the teller I’ll see when I go to the bank later.  And therein lies the nicest lesson from this monthlong experiment–I am allowed to feel pretty just for me.

There was a surprising dark side to this experiment, though, and it’s this–with makeup to help me pretty up synthetically, my face au-natural looks even more flawed.  This, of course, depends on my mood and my skin’s mood, but that was part of the point, to see if makeup would affect how I saw myself.  What happened, it turned out, was that makeup made me see myself as more confident, attractive, and alive.  Only, that’s not “myself,” that’s “myself, with makeup.”  So now, how can I go back to feeling good in my own skin, so to speak?  Another challenge, is that….

One final take-away was the extent to which people noticed my freshened-up look.  I got many comments, from “you look great!” to “something’s different about you….”  The former made me feel proud that I had taken a step to improve myself.  The latter made me feel like I must look like a painted slut.  Both reinforced something that I suspected going into this experiment–my self-image is too connected to what other people think of how I look.  Which brings us back to lesson #1, and the permission that I’ve given myself to find what “pretty” means to me, and then do that.  For me.

Have you ever experimented with a new look?  What was your verdict?

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