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My Week Without Make Up: The Results

Last week I introduced an experiment: a week of wearing no make up. None. Nada. Not even a little bit of lipstick. Every day I wrote down how I felt about it, which you can read below. My feelings were mixed throughout. Despite having a smattering of spots across my forehead (gotta love stress breakouts...), it was actually the lack of eyebrows that concerned me most. This is a long post, so grab yourself a drink, settle down, and read on to discover how my feelings changed throughout the week.

Make-up-free on Day 6 (and seriously missing my eyebrow pencil!)

Day 1.
It's the first day of my experiment and I'm panicking about going sans eyebrows. Even if I do nothing else, I fill in my eyebrows, but both pencil and powder are banned. I want to weep. It's probably not as noticeable as I think but I feel like they've fallen off my face. I feel naked.

I've also woken up with three spots in the centre of my forehead. Normally, I'd pat some concealer over them but that's banned. I slather the Unholy Trinity, as I've nicknamed them, with tea tree oil and hope for the best. It's an easy start though, as my day consists of doing laundry and then going to the library to work on a piece of travel writing. Everyone in the library is too concerned with their own projects to care who else is there, and I get on with my work. 

Day 2.

Yesterday wasn't too bad. Yesterday I mainly kept myself to myself. Today, though I have four hours of university, and I'm workshopping one of my pieces (the travel writing I was working on). Workshopping involves reading your work out in front of everyone, and then afterwards they critique it. You're in discussion with everyone, so there's a fair chance someone will look at my face. On the plus side, no make up means I can get up later.

"You look different!" my friend Holly says. I brace myself. "It's coz you've got your hair scraped back." I breathe out: I'm sporting third-day hair so it's been shoved into a trusty bun/topknot thing. I tell her about my experiment. "Do you feel like a different person?" she asks. "No, I just miss my eyebrows." I really miss my eyebrows. Holly says they look fine as they are though, she's such a babe. 

Day 3.

Today I've got to submit two essays, and then I'm off to have a meeting with my society. Normally, there's about ten of us, but today it's only me and Steph, who's my fellow Co-Head Editor, and Collette, who's our Head of Submissions (we run the group which puts our uni's creative writing anthology together).

Weirdly, I barely even think about make up, or the lack of it, as the day goes by. I'm far too busy having fun planning the order of the book, planning our launch party, and wondering what the hell I'm going to wear to it. Being busy, it seems, is the best distraction (and not just in this situation). Not having to remember to touch up my lipstick is a bonus too. 

Day 4.

Scrolling through Instagram is a mistake. The majority of the people I follow are bloggers, so there's all this amazing make up everywhere. And as much as I love sleeping, I'm actually starting to miss my morning make up routine, even though it's a bit of a faff. My mum equates putting make up on with putting on armour, and I understand what she means. Make up makes me feel like I've made an effort and I'm ready for the day ahead; a bare face makes me feel more vulnerable. On the plus side, my skin looks a bit clearer.

Day 5.

Quick trip to Starbucks and then another afternoon in the library (I spend a lot of time there. Words don't write themselves). I barely think about make up today, although as I catch sight of my badly-chipped pedicure I wish that I could give my nails the makeover they need. I settle for a quick trim, then remove the leftover polish and resolve to paint them at the next available opportunity.

I have to admit, I am missing the fun part of my getting ready routine. There are lots of different options when you wear make up, and although a bare face is less hassle, it's the same thing every single day. The lack of choice is a little stifling, if I'm honest. Just as I'm leaving the library, I catch sight of my face in the mirror. I look tired and drawn. Mainly because I'm genuinely sleepy, but it doesn't fill me with confidence and I walk home as quickly as possible. I think an early night is needed.

Day 6.

Happy Galentines Day! (Ovaries before brovaries, always.) I go to the pub with the girls to watch England's rugby game, and then afterwards Giulia and I cook dinner. At the pub I'm way too engrossed in the game to care what my face looks like but afterwards, when we take the pictures for this post, the bags underneath my eyes look enormous; the camera is not kind. I do my best to forget about it, and enjoy making dinner instead. We try vegetable lasagne made with layers of courgette, mozzarella, tomato cream, and pesto, and it's delicious, although all thoughts of healthy food are pushed aside when we tuck into dessert (chocolate and vanilla cheesecakes from Gu). 

Day 7.

I'd be the biggest liar on the planet if I told you that I wasn't excited that today is the last day of this challenge. I've missed make up so much. Today's a quiet one: I catch up on all the boring stuff like budgeting for the week and ordering my food shopping, and although I do end up having a library sesh in the end, no one's there. All I can think about by this point is how much I'm looking forward to getting ready tomorrow. 

Final Thoughts

So what did I find out? Well, the most important thing I discovered is that make up can affect my state of mind; it helps me to feel prepared and put together. But I was happy when I realised that my self esteem is not usually dependent on how my face looks — when I workshopped my writing on Day 2 I was more worried about the piece itself than my appearance. 

That said, I do not like having a make up-free face when I'm tired and rundown. A little bit of concealer, some highlighter, and a good mascara can perk you up and normally I use that to my advantage. I enjoyed the extra sleep I got, and I'm happy that my skin has cleared up, so I'll still be having some bare faced days (no one in the library gives a damn what anyone looks like). Basically, it's all about balance. I'm so excited to start using all my products again now, and I've already planned tomorrow's look: bold brows and berry lips. Bring it on.

Did any of my findings surprise you? Would you ever have a week without make up? Let me know in the comments!

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Beth, 23, South East England. I'm a writer with a love of books, lipstick, and the Oxford comma. I love beauty and I also love animals, so I only buy, use, and feature products from cruelty-free brands. (Seriously though, I am the person who stops to fuss over every dog she sees.) You can also expect posts about vegan/vegetarian food, and plenty of musings about life as a 20-something. Want to get in touch? Email me at

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