By Leigh Champanis-King
“Like an episode of Naked and Afraid, I ventured forth into the world barefaced and terrified, not quite knowing what was in store for me…”
Hi, My Name Is Leigh And I’m A Make-Up Addict…
I’ve always been a bit of a make-up addict – as an awkward pre-teen, I spent my time messing around with my mom and older sister’s make-up bags, testing out the different creams, powders and liners. When I was about 13, I went through a phase of creating these magnificent butterfly-inspired looks (think: layers and layers of eyeshadow ringing my eyes, edging over my cheekbones and up to my eyebrows). My mom was quite impressed with my skills until she brushed blue eyeshadow onto her cheeks one day before work (her blusher brush allowed me to achieve maximum effect with minimal effort).
Love In The Time Of Contouring
When I discovered foundation’s magical ability to cover up blemishes (and plenty of teenage pimples), I fell in love instantly and it was the beginning of a beautiful romance. I never left the house without it, even – wait for it – putting it on before going to the gym.
One month ago, I went on a hopefully-not-once-in-a-lifetime-trip to Greece. Due to the heat, the many days I planned to spend on the beach and the fact that I was in a foreign country (and no one I know would see me), I decided it was the perfect time to see what would happen if I stopped using my foundation. Simple enough in theory, slightly more frightening in practice.
What Happened Next…
The first morning of my challenge, I reluctantly left my foundation in my toiletry bag and just put on a bit of eyeliner, mascara, blusher and highlighter (I only had to give up foundation, okay!). Relatively barefaced, I stepped out of my hotel, avoiding eye contact and keeping my face turned down. It was stressful, but not as terrible as I thought, i.e. no one threw rotten fruit at me or tried to drive me out of town with pitchforks and burning torches. Day two was a bit easier and gradually, as the days flew by, my foundation’s hold on me began to fade. This was lot easier than I thought it would be. As the days passed, I began to notice some perks to going foundation-free…
The Barefaced Perks
– It is so much easier to take off jerseys and tops without having to make sure that no part of them touches your face (this is especially significant when trying on clothes in a shop).
– I could lean on my husband’s shoulder without leaving an embarrassing dusty cheek mark.
– My face and neck matched perfectly all the time!
– I didn’t leave streaks of foundation on towels or on any of the walls (don’t ask me how this happens, but there are always foundation marks on the walls and cupboards in my house).
– Reapplying sunscreen was a breeze.
– After about a week of not wearing foundation, my skin began to look healthier and brighter and it became a lot smoother.
Of Course, There Were Some Cons Too…
– I couldn’t hide any spots that sprang up overnight.
– My blusher (another must-use beauty product) didn’t last as long.
– My face always got a bit shiny by the afternoon.
– I couldn’t hide my slightly sunburnt nose after a day spent by the pool.
Stepping Into Fluorescent Light!?
I passed the overseas test quite happily and thought that I would extend the experiment a little bit longer because, of course, the real challenge would be coming back home foundation-less to people I know, who would judge me (in my mind at least). To be honest, the fact that I had developed a slight tan on my trip made things a lot easier and I breezed into work (well, walked in like normal) with only a slick of eyeliner and my usual blusher – pretty impressive, I think, considering that my office is filled with unforgiving, fluorescent lighting. Mercifully, I got through the day unscathed without any of my co-workers even batting an eye, and vowed to keep it up for a few more days. That was three weeks ago…
Since then, I’ve worn foundation a few times when I felt like I needed a confidence boost and when I’ve gone out in the evenings or to a special occasion. I definitely haven’t worn it to gym though!
Confident and make-up-free in Greece.
What I’ve learnt through this experiment is that I rely on foundation way too much to boost my confidence. I had got to the point where I couldn’t leave the house without any, even if I was just popping down to the shops. This meant that my face never got a moment to breathe and it became quite dull and grey, which meant I definitely couldn’t leave the house without putting on foundation. It became a vicious cycle. I needed the two-week break to get some perspective and now I’m happy to go without, but also have no problem putting it on when I want to look extra good. A very happy medium – and remarkable progress for a make-up-obsessed girl, who struggles in the confidence department.
PS: I told my husband I’d finally written my foundation-free challenge story and his response was: “I didn’t even notice that you weren’t wearing foundation.” The best response I could’ve got.