I love makeup. I believe makeup application is an art, which is why makeup professionals are called artists. I think it's unfair that makeup and its artistry are trivialized because it's a women's art. It's not fair.
I'm also critical of the fact that the beauty industry thrives on making women feel bad about ourselves and convincing us that our bodies are problems that need to be solved. Example: no one would buy hair removal products if we didn't believe that there is something wrong with our body hair. But body hair is a whole other post. What I want to talk about is makeup.
I've had a long, happy relationship with makeup that grows stronger with each passing year. It started with a dab of concealer and a swipe of lipgloss in middle school. It turned into Friday afternoon eyeshadow experimentation and a dash of blush l'kavod Shabbos in highschool.
In seminary my friends educated me on the merits and uses of foundation and my venture into wearing makeup for class was met with compliments and approval. I learned to love lipstick in shades of hot pink and bright red and I started my collection of colorful eyeliners. As a freshman in college, I wore more makeup, more often as I began dating and had a greater motivation to always look my best for a special someone who I saw more and more frequently.
With marriage came covering my hair and with that came... even more makeup. On a visit to my sheitel macher as a kallah, she commended me for wearing makeup to the appointment: "Sheitels look better with makeup." The logic is there: it looks kind of silly to have a head full of perfectly coiffed hair paired with a sloppy bare face. Wearing a tichel doesn't allow for a bare face either, in my book at least: I already feel shleppy in a tichel, forgoing makeup would just make things worse.
To all this, add a fashion blog where I feel compelled to always put my best face forward and... here I am, wearing makeup every day. Which is awesome and I'm somewhat proud of it. It's nice to take a few minutes out of every morning to pamper myself in front of the mirror. It's me-time, I consider it self-care.
Wearing makeup makes me feel put together, it makes me feel good about myself. That's not a bad thing at all. But since I've started wearing makeup on the daily, I've also started to feel bad about myself without makeup. That is a bad thing.
So I'm starting up Makeup Free Mondays on Fashionably Frum. On Mondays I will not wear makeup. Not for the hatred of makeup, but for the love of my beautiful natural face.
Today is not the first time I've left my apartment without makeup, but it is the first time I've done so and tried to look good at the same time. Up until now, the two had been mutually exclusive. A bare face was reserved for running to the grocery store in gym clothes. On such occasions, I felt like a piece of garbage in the gutter. Which is a shame because, no matter how I look, I'm never a piece of garbage in the gutter. It's a shame that my self perception is so deeply influenced by how I look on a trip to the grocery store. It's a shame that an old t-shirt, an A-line skirt and the bare face Hashem gave me can make me feel so low.
It's fabulous that makeup can make me feel better about myself, but it's a shame that my natural face can make me feel bad about myself, as if my entire character rides on whether or not I spend a few minutes in front of the mirror with an angled brush.
I love the opportunity to pamper myself in front of the mirror that makeup wear affords. I can't wait for the opportunity to relearn how to love my bare face that going without it will afford.
In the spirit of baring it all, I should tell you that I'm wearing a touch of concealer and translucent setting powder today, because I'm taking baby steps and I'm not that brave. Yet.