Updated: Oct 26, 2021
March 30th - the last day I put makeup on my face for the next 366 days. At the time I didn't have a plan to go makeup free for a year, but since I was embarking on my cross country trek the next day I knew my makeup and mirror days would be limited.
Now, to be honest - I did pack mascara and cover up in my backpack! I knew this was totally absurd, and in the hiker community I definitely would have been embarrassed if anyone found out I was secretly planning on applying makeup in my tent in the mornings!
I've never worn ALOT of makeup in daily life - mascara, some blots of cover-up for my irritable skin, maybe some eye liner if I was getting really fancy. But I pretty much sweat for a living - as a fitness instructor, and dancer wearing full faces on the daily doesn't make much sense. Although in my profession the beauty standard is EVERYTHING. People come to me to have beautiful bodies, and as a dancer people want to see beautiful bodies! So my self awareness is always on high alert. Within the past few years though I have developed malasma spots on my face. Most prominently on my upper lip...and being in the sun really makes them stand out...so much so my nephew one summer told me it looked like I have a mustache! I knew they were just sun spots...but I started to feel sooooo self-conscious. I would casually cover my mouth when talking to people if I wasn't wearing concealer. And at work I had numerous people ask me about the spots, and what I'm doing about it. I was teaching in Beverly Hills at the time, everybody knew some esthetician that could clear my face right up, so they said. I tried a few sessions of laser treatments. But being low maintenance I figured the easiest thing to do was just cover it with makeup, so I started carrying a little foundation wand with me EVERYWHERE I went. When I left the house..it was - keys, wallet, phone, foundation....
Needless to say I became obsessed, and couldn't go long before looking in the mirror to see if I needed to reapply. It was a constant nagging thought I my head.
So I was really looking forward to not being around so many mirrors during my trek, changing my focus, and hopefully overcoming this battle that if my face didn't look the way I wanted it to I was worthless. I knew I had a lot more to offer but I could never get past my exterior.........ughhh how shallow!
My first few days on trail I would look at that foundation stick and feel so conflicted.....kinda like looking at a cigarette when you're trying to quit. I mean I wasn't bathing, or washing my face on trail, but I had the audacity to think I was gonna put makeup on! (the beginning of the trail was in the desert so there was verrrry limited water - I would use wet wipes to clean my body in the evening.)
It's hard to imagine how dirty you can get in the desert. The dirt and dust fills every pore and crevasse, so sealing it with a layer of foundation would have really been icky. Well, I carried that tube of foundation with me for atleast 2 months out there in the wilderness- and I never once put it on. Everyday it got a little easier, and little further away from my consciousness, but I was still holding on to it. I can't say for sure where I off loaded my makeup but by that point is was a distance thought.
So my trek came and went and before I knew it it had been 6 months without a drop of makeup on my face. This was when I thought about the challenge....well I've made it this far, and I feel better about myself than EVER...so why not go for a year.....heading back to Lala land would bring new challenges...but I had just walked from Mexico to Canada by that point, so (if you've been reading the blog you'd know) I felt like Superwoman right about then.
Life in West Hollywood is basically a complete 180 flip from life on trail....my insecurities came flooding back! I was nervous to show my face in certain circles and places without any makeup but I pushed through it, put on a smile, and took it as an acting experiment.....some days are easier than others. But just as I adapted to my appearance on trail...I adapted to back to Lala Land.
We can make any situation as difficult or as easy as we want. It's all perspective. In LA there is a certain beauty standard, in New York there is a different standard, in the ballet world even different still...in Japan, in Miami, in Kenya, in Venezuela. If you hate your nose all you see is noses...and how everyone's nose is seemingly perfect....if you hate your height- all you see is how much taller or shorter everyone is from you.
I have existed mostly in the physical plane my entire life - using my body for a living I put all my self-worth in to how it looks and how it moves. For once I started to look somewhere else to see if I could find confidence and self-worth through other means...through my relationships, through my instinct, intuition, and my intellect. I've always said I'm shit at creating BALANCE but it is so important!!
You can't "cover-up" your imperfections---- you have to embrace them. Living an HONEST life is not always easy but it allows you to strengthen your character, integrity, and morality. When I finally embraced the fact I wasn't going to cover-up my imperfections, not only could I finally release all the negative energy I had been harboring, I could focus on actually fixing the problem! I spent some time, and money on finding a true solution to help heal my skin.....and within 2 months I fixed it! For about 3 years I felt so desperate thinking there was no answer and my skin would forever be blotchy, and ugly....(ugh, it's hard to even listen to myself as I type this--- I was sooo dramatic, but we've all been there with certain things in our lives.)
Here's what I Learned during my Year without MAKEUP-
1. A Smile is better than red lips any day!
2. Nothing makes your eyes pop more than eye CONTACT!
3. Good posture can really make you stand out
4. A good moisturizer goes a long way
5. EVERYONE gets pimples
6. Makeup only changes you as much as you allow it
7. It costs a lot of $$
8. Rain, snow, sleet, sweat, waves, impromptu skinny dipping - no worries!
9. I actually take care of my skin now
10. ALOT of women DON'T wear MAKEUP!
Ps--- I'll just tell you about the 1st day I did put makeup on... So, a year had come and gone, and I figured- ok, MAKEUP.....I'm not afraid of you, you don't control me! I'm gonna wear some mascara! Well, that day I taught a heated Pilates class and after class I wiped the sweat off my face...and my mascara all down my cheeks without knowing it..... I felt embarrassed for maybe 2 seconds and then moved on --- makeup or no makeup I want to be beautiful from the inside out, and learning to not take myself too serious has been such a welcome relief!
Whether bare faced, full face, or photo-shopped ...I AM