Wasn't sure where to put this, but here seems as good a place as any:How would you look after a month with no cosmetics? We challenged one woman to ditch her entire beauty routine. The results were, to say the least revealing...
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Rifling through my wardrobe for the perfect ensemble to wear for a romantic dinner with my husband, a low-cut dress and strappy sandals catch my eye.
The outfit is sexy with a hint of old-school Hollywood glamour — very Scarlett Johansson. Unfortunately, my face is just plain scarlet and, while it destroys any seductive effect, there's nothing I can do to disguise it.
Because I have resolved to forgo make-up entirely — for a whole month.
Actually, it is not just make-up. I am undergoing a challenge that bans all forms of female grooming. It means no complexion-altering products (anti-wrinkle creams, eye creams, the lot), perfumes, dyeing, depilation, blow-drying, hair-straightening or conditioning. If it's not necessary for hygiene reasons, then it's not allowed.
So why have I — a self-confessed beauty addict — agreed to such a draconian, and humiliating, assignment?
Because a recent survey found two-thirds of women believe facing the world without full make-up is more stressful than a first date or a job interview. Many of these women were also unable to contemplate even the most mundane tasks (sitting on a train, for example, or answering the door) without selected areas having first been dyed, tinted or plucked.
In part, it seems to be an attempt to cash-in on the Samantha Brick piece:
This anti-grooming mission has made me appreciate that my reliance on beauty treatments was a little excessive, but it's also shown me that in some respects the beautician's salon is a haven for a busy working mother. It's rare time to take a mental and physical break and do nothing more than collect your thoughts.
On a more serious note, it's also made me realise that women are highly disingenuous about the importance of looks.
We'll merrily tell our daughters that their naked faces are beautiful, while applying layers of make-up to our own skin. We have no problem taking a high moral stand along the 'no woman should be judged on her looks' lines, while simultaneously lampooning any famous female who appears in public looking unkempt.
With our constant judging of each other, we women are our own worst enemies.
The pursuit of beauty is both a joy and a curse. It is an expression of feminine sexuality and of individual taste. Yet it makes us self-conscious and competitive, eating up our time and money. It is, in many ways, an addiction — one I'll be enthusiastically resuming the moment this experiment is over.