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Fresh-Faced for 40 Days: Because You Should Love What You Look Like Naked

Fresh-Faced For 40 Days Icon

Feel free to share this button to link back to the challenge!

First, the point: I am quitting makeup for 40 days. I began today.

(Actually, I’m calling it a fast, but for those of you who do not subscribe to a set of spiritual beliefs that engages in fasting, you can just think of it as quitting, and that’s fine by me.)

Next, the ugly truth: I do not like my naked face. I think it is ugly. Showing my naked face in public terrifies me, and that makes me sad, and I think that is a problem.

And finally, the rules: I will not wear anything that alters or obscures the natural appearance of my face for 40 days. (June 27, 2012 – August 6, 2012)

  • This includes all standard makeup products, but also tinted moisturizer, tinted lip-balm, and pore-reducing or anti-shine lotions and potions. If it feels like cheating, it probably is.
  • This does not include: my standard moisturizer or regular old chapstick. A girl’s gotta stay hydrated, am I right?
  • On days where I am to appear on camera at work: I will arrive to work barefaced, apply my makeup just before filming, and wash it off once we’re through. (Washing it off will take every last ounce of my will power. God help me.)
  • I will not avoid having my picture taken while barefaced, and I will continue to video-blog, au naturale.

Okay, that’s basically the gist of it. The rest of this is supporting exposition that I’d love it if you read, and I insist that you read before you make any sort of comment whatsoever.

The rest of this is the story behind this insanity.

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Lies.

We all tell little lies. The biggest lie I tell every day is my face. My face says I’m well-rested (I’m not), that I’m well-hydrated (I’m not), and that I am poreless, and without blemishes (I most certainly am not). My face says I’ve got it all together (I don’t), that I’m not aging (I am), and that being pretty is effortless (it isn’t. Well, it isn’t for me.). I put so much time and energy into telling lies with my face, that it’s making me sick. What a complete waste of time and money, and what a terrible example to set for the women who know me. And what an affront to the God who created me. (N.B. You and I might not subscribe to the same spiritual beliefs, and that’s completely cool. Please do not let my spiritual beliefs stand in the way of you, perhaps, learning to love your naked face a bit more than you do now. Deal? Read on, friend, read on.)

I know, I know, you’re thinking that I’m being too hard on myself. “It’s JUST MAKEUP” you’re saying. “We ALL do it.” Trust me, I hear you. Really, I do. But something inside me has snapped, and there’s no going back to the way things were.

I Love Makeup.

I LOVE makeup. I’m a makeup-aholic. Is there anything more fun than taking the time to do your makeup really well? Sephora is my favorite store of all of the stores, and every time I walk in there I get giddy with the excitement of hunting out a new product and sampling all of the goodies. I love the artsy quality of makeup. I love what can be communicated by makeup: how you can be a blushing, natural-looking girl-next-door one day, and a smoldering femme fatale the next, just with some smudges of highlighter or blush, or some well-placed lashes. I enjoy makeup for many of the same reasons that I enjoy fashion. Many of you already get me on this point, so I’ll leave it at that.

Applying my makeup in the morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee, used to be one of my favorite parts of the day. It was fun, and somewhat artistic, and who doesn’t enjoy looking lovely? But at a certain point, I can’t really pinpoint when, I began putting on makeup not because it was a mode of self-expression, but because I felt that I needed to cover things up, because I wasn’t proud of my face the way it naturally looked. It became less and less about choosing to put “my best face forward,” and more and more about keeping up appearances (and yes, I can appreciate the irony of this). Rather than making an informed and empowered decision, I had become a slave to my daily makeup routine; I watched as hundreds of dollars slowly dripped out of my checking account, and hours were lost in front of my bathroom mirror, painting over my blemishes and accenting my best features. I’m not sure when it happened, but eventually I lost sight of all of the good and healthy reasons why women use makeup, and I had become dependent on it, maybe even addicted to it. It became so that I could not see myself as pretty when I wasn’t wearing makeup, and that’s where I’m writing from today. (Of course none of you have this problem, right? Riiiight.)

I think makeup is an amazing tool that women have at their disposal, and it can be used to increase confidence, but at some point I traded my actual confidence for my makeup bag. I’m not sure why it never bothered me before; maybe I was really good at justifying my makeup use to myself, but when I think about how much I dislike my naked face, and how scared I am to be seen in public without makeup, I get really really angry. Who is this unconfident, sad little woman? And why is she so afraid to bear the face God gave her? Does she really think she can improve upon the creation of God? It’s a terrible comparison, but I keep imagining somebody walking up to the Mona Lisa and gluing on some false eyelashes, or increasing the size of David’s “manhood.” Am I saying that I am unique, and beautiful, and artfully created by the Master of Creators? Well…Yeah. (Aren’t we all?) So why can’t I look at my face in the mirror, and thank God for it, and tell him I like what I see? (Something in my head is broken, that’s why.)

Confronting My Fears

Nowadays, the idea of leaving the house without makeup is (literally) terrifying. And this is a big, ridiculous problem. For perspective: Looking back through my photos, I can’t find a single picture since junior high where I wasn’t wearing makeup. Summer camp, 12 hour dance rehearsals in the heat of the Texas summer, doing missionary work in rural Mexico, I’m wearing makeup in every single picture. The photos taken during the labor and delivery of my child? I’m totally wearing foundation, bronzer and mascara. (I remember applying it before my contractions got too painful to concentrate.) It’s the bronzer-whilst-birthing that makes me realize I have a serious mental-problem.

I remember my reasoning for applying makeup before I gave birth to Ellie: “these pictures are going to be around for who knows how long” I told myself. “They define this moment of my life. Why not have an even skin-tone and pretty eyelashes?” It all sounds harmless enough, but if a woman can’t feel at ease with her face while she’s giving birth to a child, what hope does she have for feeling at ease with her face in any other circumstance in life?

Are You Like Me?

If you’re not getting me yet, here’s a fun little exercise: if you’re a woman, close your eyes, and imagine yourself as a man (maybe your husband, or your father, or your brother, or even a coworker). Now imagine yourself getting out of bed, and getting ready to go to work. What do you do? You probably shower, shave your face, brush your teeth, apply some deodorant, and fiddle with your hair (if you have any) for about seven seconds. If you’re fancy, you splash on a bit of cologne. Then you get dressed, and leave for work. You don’t think to yourself, “my eyelashes are so light, they’re practically nonexistent!” You don’t inspect your pores thinking “if only I could make them smaller.” You certainly don’t apply that lip-gloss that makes your lips sting because of its “plumping agent.” Doesn’t that minimalist morning routine sound absolutely liberating? (And to you women out there who already have very minimal morning routines: I salute you. I also hate you a little bit, because I envy your confidence and grace, but it’s a loving kind of hate, if that makes sense.)

I feel like I need to repeat myself again, because someone out there is not hearing me: I love makeup. I love being pretty. I love making a good impression. I love “going the extra mile” and polishing my appearance. I love that with a few products from my makeup bag, I can stack-up against the likes of hollywood starlets. I’m a die-hard makeup fanatic; I get all of the reasons why makeup is awesome, and I am not judging you, or your relationship with makeup. But my reliance on makeup not just to feel beautiful, but to feel acceptable to be seen in public, is crushing my heart, and is preventing me from seeing myself the way God sees me. The only way I am going to break free is to give up makeup cold-turkey. Not for forever, but for long enough that my vanity can be completely uprooted, and a healthy appreciation and respect for the face that God gave me can grow in its place. I approximate that this will take (at least) 40 days.

Why 40 Days?

Surely a week or so would be good enough, right?

I have a couple of reasons for setting 40 days as the minimum duration of my makeup-fast.

  1. I am stubborn, and it takes me a bit longer than some other people to get over things.
  2. Most research says that habits can be broken or formed in 21 days, and since 40 days is roughly double that, I feel confident that real, lasting change can occur.
  3. In the Bible, a 40-something time period, whether days, months, or years is always a period of testing, trial, probation, or chastisement (but not judgment) and ends with a period of restoration, revival or renewal (for example, Jesus 40 days spent in the desert, fasting and being tempted by the devil). There is a lot of hocus-pocus-ey sounding stuff on the Internet regarding the significance of the number 40 in the Bible. Honestly, a great deal of it sounds superstitious to me, and I am not an adherent to any kind of superstition, but, if Jesus chose to fast for 40 days, I see no problem with mimicking him.
  4. But mostly numbers 1 and 2.

The Seed

For several months I’ve prayed that I would grow to love my naked face more than my “made-up” face. And guess what? God has not blessed me with an appreciation for my naked face, which comes as no surprise to me, because that’s not really how God works. What God did do, however, was push Jen Hatmaker and her book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excessacross my path, and slap me in the face with this question: “What, in my life, if taken away, would alter my value and my identity?” Yikes.

And you know, at first, the only things I could come up with as an answer to this question were 1. My husband, and 2. My daughter. (Then I gave myself a mental-high-five for being so level-headed, and so in-tune with God’s priorities for my life.) But then, later, as I was putting on makeup to take Ellie to the pool (yes, I’m that mom), it hit me: I am the most vain person I know. That is not an exaggeration. I don’t think I’m the hottest lady on the block or anything, but I place so much of my value in the fact that, when made-up, I can be very pretty. My identity? When made-up, I am a Pretty Lady. What kind of crap identity is that? And temporary, to boot. Once I realized this, I might have shame-spiraled a bit, and sought comfort in my guys Ben & Jerry. (Don’t ask me why I’m confessing this to you. I guess when I start telling the truth, it just all comes out.)

So that’s the seed that sprouted this whole insane, scary, exercise in self-torture. Jen’s book “7” inspired me in many, many other ways, but the only thing that actually scared me was the idea of going makeup-less. I know how trivial of a problem this might sound to some of you, and I get that. I get how trivial and petty and self-absorbed I sound. “Privileged white-girl from beautiful Coastal California chooses to fast from her makeup collection that probably costs more than some people’s cars.” Please believe me when I tell you that I know this exercise epitomizes the expression “first-world problem.” But I also know that each little step I take is valuable, and just because other people might think it’s silly doesn’t mean it’s not important. I need to get over my vanity. I need to get over myself.

Concerns and Expectations

What will people think of me when they see me barefaced? Will people assume that I’m lazy? That I don’t care enough to put effort into my appearance? Can I handle being told I “don’t look so good” every day? Or that I look tired? Or being asked if something is the matter with me? Will people hear about my fast and think I’m some holier-than-thou crazy-lady? Or a militant feminist with an anti-makeup agenda? Will people look at me and think, “Gosh, if she just tried a little, she could be kinda pretty?” Or, “I feel sorry for that uggo’s husband?” It’s my obsession over what others will think about me that really upsets me. My primary concern shouldn’t be what people will think of me, it should be what my Creator thinks of me. This verse keeps coming to mind: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14) And this lyric by the David Crowder Band: “You make everything glorious, and I am yours. What does that make me?” I know in my head that’s what I should believe, but my heart puts so much value in how others consider me, that this whole idea of simply not putting makeup on has my stomach in knots. It’s ridiculous, and that’s why I have to do something about it.

What do I expect at the end of the 40 days? For one thing, I expect that I’ll be thrilled with how much time I’m saving by abstaining from makeup. And of course I’ll also be saving some money. But bigger than that, I hope I’ll grow to love what I actually look like, without all the cosmetics, and come closer to seeing myself the way God sees me. And I hope that I’ll have more grace for the rare makeup-less women I come across in the world.

And for the record, my husband thinks this is my best idea yet. He thinks it’s crazy that I don’t like my bare face. He’s a keeper, that Mr. Godsey.

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So, for the next 40 days I invite you along with me. You can participate as passively as cheering me along (I will need lots of encouragement), or as actively as joining me in fasting from makeup for the full 40 days. I would love to have some ladies on this journey with me! If you’re interested in joining me, I’ve made a Facebook group where we can keep each other updated on our progress, post links to our blog posts, and generally hold each other accountable. Obviously, we’ll all be starting on different days, so it’ll be fun to cheer each other on through the different stages.

If you’re joining me on this fast, of course you can be as flexible as you want to, but I encourage you to go Full Monty on this one. Also, feel free to use the button  I’ve made (up at the top of this post, or in the sidebar) to link-back to this insanely long post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.

Or, you can just subscribe to my blog over there in the sidebar, or follow me on twitter @melissajenna.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to share them. I always love hearing what you guys have to say.

xoxo,

mj

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67 Comments

  1. I wish you the very best in this journey to go au natural except for the aforementioned time and place. I wish that more women would do the same. I’ve always thought that women look fake with makeup. It’s left me with the thought, “Are they ashamed of how God created them? How God took the utmost care in creating them?”

    Reply
    • Thanks for being supportive! You know what’s funny? I hate fake-looking makeup, too, and whenever I put mine on, I’m always telling myself “make sure it doesn’t LOOK like you’re wearing any makeup.” Funny how the goal is to appear natural, when you’re actually not.

      Reply
      • YES! I so relate to this. I almost broke out in a sweat while reading your post, asking myself, would I? Should I? Could I ever do this?! At this moment I would say no. You have given me much to think about. I love how you talked about lying with a face that says I’m well rested, hydrated, all of the things that I’m not. I can’t wait to read what you post after your 40 days. I wonder if your face will feel weird with makeup on after abstaining for that long. Good luck, my friend!

        Reply
  2. Brandon Barkley

     /  June 27, 2012

    Welcome to being a guy. No makeup is one of the best parts!

    Reply
  3. OMG!! I will tell you that while love makeup,I have had many days where I just haven’t felt like doing it and left the house with just some foundation and brow gel (yes, thats my version of no makeup). What I saw was that since I was wearing a very nice work outfit I was still getting complements, much to my surprise. It made me realize that its not all about the makeup, the lashes, blush, or eyeliner, but its about the whole look and walking with confidence. Maybe as you go around with no makeup for the month you will find that you express yourself more through your clothes or accessories and realize it never was about the lashes. Although… this is based off of a few days of “no make up”. I can’t imagine 40 days, so I will be tuning in to hear about your journey.

    Reply
    • I really like what you said about walking with confidence. I’m definitely not doing that. I basically darted in and out of rooms all day today, hoping that no one would look at me. Tomorrow I’m going to try and be more aware of that. Good insight!

      Reply
      • Thanks. I guess it comes down to finding a substitute for your confidence. If you were getting it from makeup then try to find it somewhere else tomorrow. Maybe thats a hot outfit, different hairstyle, a new piece of jewelry, or even a smile! Hmmm… maybe I should take my own advice! LOL

        Reply
  4. John Williamson

     /  June 27, 2012

    Personally, as a guy, I like it more when a woman doesn’t wear makeup. There is something inherently attractive to me about someone who is comfortable in their own skin. Women are beautiful just the way they are, and I wish more would have the confidence to agree with that statement. Don’t get me wrong, I also love how great it can look when a woman is all made up, but it should be for the right reasons.

    Anyways, best of luck on your journey here. I hope you find the love for your natural look that all women should have in their hearts.

    Reply
  5. As I was reading this I realized that it isn’t makeup for me, it’s my hair. My hair looks AWFUL if I don’t fix it everyday. Air drying doesn’t work, it has to be styled. I hate leaving the house without it styled and it’s too short for a {nice} ponytail. I feel ugly when my hair isn’t fixed. I can’t imagine going 40 days without doing my hair or using hair products, so I guess that’s how you feel about the makeup thing. It would be so frightening.

    Reply
  6. Kaycee

     /  July 3, 2012

    I just absolutely adore you. I found your blog today through a friend and I’ve been clicking away for the last hour or so. I wish I could do what you do. So, as for the makeup: I did this after having my second child. I was a makeup addict, and beautician, who would never leave the house without full hair and makeup. Partially because I love makeup, and partially because I, like you, can’t stand my naked face. I have terrible rosacea brought on by my first pregnancy and it’s been a struggle to not want to wear a mask all the time. So after my little one got here and I had less time to primp and pamper, I gave up my battle. It’s the most freeing thing I’ve ever experienced. Two years and mostly makeup free. I will now occasionally wear a little for fun but I no longer feel like a slave to the world’s view of beauty. I’m finally to the point where I don’t think my au naturel look will scare small children. 😛

    Reply
  7. Lori

     /  July 4, 2012

    i hope you enjoy your 40 days and feel good at the end of it. i don’t wear makeup. for a REALLY special occasion i break out tinted moisturizer and mascara and people fall over themselves saying how great i look. ;o)

    i have noticed that my makeup-wearing friends have skin that doesn’t seem to look as good as mine when they are without makeup. or as good as a typical guy’s skin. kwim? i feel like i’ve read that makeup is supposed to protect your skin (?) but my makeup-wearing friends’ skin just looks blotchy, uneven, they have more blemishes, etc. my always-out-there skin is even-toned, has good color, etc. – like a typical guy’s! ha

    so maybe toward the end of the 40 days, not only will you be more used to looking at your naked face, but your skin might have improved from the airing out. 🙂

    Reply
  8. I’m praying for you, to really see God more clearly during this time,. so you can really see yourself more clearly, the way he sees you. He made you the way you are, and he only makes perfection. No mistakes. No oopses. No, ” Dang it! Maybe I should toss this one. Nah, she can wear makeup.” Seriously.
    I told my wife (back when we were first dating) that I loved seeing her without makeup. Just her. (This was when waterproof makeup was rare and expensive, because it was all made from dinosaur fat; we were poor enough we had to kill dinosaurs ourselves for this.) I rememjber telling her at the swimming pool.
    Over many years as a youth pastor, I have seen a LOT of women and girls without makeup at camp and retreats. I can’t think of a one who needed makeup. Makeup’s OK and I don’t think it’s bad, per se (even when I was a Pentecostal I thought the rules against makeup and jewelry were silly). I just think the “need” for makeup is one of the many things that keeps women down. It ties in with objectification (anything that ties your identity to your looks is entangled). It’s also an insecurity fostered to make money off you. That kind of thing makes my Daddy and Brother blood boil.
    That’s my guy take on it. I think it’s awesome you’re willing to look this giant in the face and take it on. Eventually you’ll come to realize it wasn’t a giant after all, just a self-inflated cosmic clown[1] masquerading as one.

    [1] Thank you, James H. Schmitz, for that phrase!

    Reply
  9. Ok, so I just stumbled across your blog via a friend’s fb post about your 50 Shades/Magic Mike post (which I completely agree with, btw….I also started reading 50 shades without knowing what it was and had to stop…I’m also quite astonished at the number of Christian women — and men by their silence — are approving of both of these as acceptable forms of entertainment). I found this post, and I realize it was posted awhile back, and I wanted to say that I love that you’re doing this. I did the same thing a couple of years ago for Lent. I realized that I didn’t like the way I looked and I couldn’t accept who God had made me to be. I felt like putting on make-up was a part of that — like I was putting on a mask so that I could be acceptable to the world, but really I was hiding who I am. Most of us wear masks, whether we mean to or not, and I decided to shed the make-up mask for Lent. I was so nervous! Interestingly, I came to like how my face looked without the make-up. By the end of Lent, my face had cleared up so much and my skin looked better. Plus, it saved so much time not having to put it on everyday. When I did put on make-up for Easter (the same way I always did — nothing special or anything), I was shocked at how my face looked. So different. I was taken aback. The make-up felt so heavy on my skin that I couldn’t wait to take it off again. I do still wear make-up, but I will leave the house with none on and I do think that God made me and that makes me beautiful (even when society says I am, or I’m not). I have days where I struggle with that, but I’m learning. This post made me think that maybe it’s time to do another make-up fast. I’m hope yours goes wonderfully!

    Reply
  10. Monika

     /  July 5, 2012

    I have never been a big makeup girl so I’m not really in the same boat as you…i may put some on 3 or 4 times a month, for a night out or a new drivers license picture or what not, but I hate having to keep it at the front of my mind-Is it smudging? Don’t rub your face! Do I need to reapply? Don’t leave lipstick kisses on the kids! Don’t forget to take it off before bed! (to the point that I’ve debated getting my eyelashes dyed before our next big trip…freedom from spending a single second of my trip on thinking about makeup, less stuff to bring, and you’ll still be able to find my eyes in the pictures) I hope by the end of your 40 days you will have rediscovered the freedom of just being in your skin 🙂

    Reply
    • Monika

       /  July 5, 2012

      Oh, my other bit of advice would be to take advantage of that loving husband God put in your life…who probably sees you like Christ sees the church: “without spot or blemish” (though obviously they’re there on our faces and in the church). I care what other people think about how I look, but the person whose opinion I value the most is my husband, and I know he thinks I’m pretty without makeup on, which gives me confidence…if my naked face is good enough for the man who I eminently respect and honor it ought to be good enough for you, random person in the store :p.

      Spend an hour making out (at least for me that makes me more open to the lovely things my husband has to say and more able to see the beauty in myself) and then go stand in front of the bathroom mirror while he tells you all the beautiful things he sees when he looks at you. Then the next time you catch your reflection in a store window you can hear in your head “i love the curve of your cheek” or whatever he brought up.

      Reply
  11. I really loved your post Melissa. I felt the same urge a while back (more like avoiding the daily pain of having to wear makeup) and decided to start “no-makeup” Wednesdays at work. Needless to say, it did not catch on. HOWEVER, I realized that my dependence on makeup started to lessen quite a bit since then. Not wearing makeup makes my face feel clean and refreshed. Yes, I went through the “are you feeling OK” and “you look tired” but figured it was not me, but others that needed to get used to my ‘no makeup Wednesdays’. I then started focusing time and energy on keeping my skin HEALTHY, not clogging it so much with makeup. A work in progress for sure. Always a good reminder to be thankful that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

    Reply
  12. i love this post. honestly, if it werent for my fiance coming into my life a year ago, telling me he hated my makeup collection, i would still be an addict. i am so thankful for him telling me i was more beautiful without a painted face. ive been makeup free for almost a year now, also planning on being bare faced on my wedding day. I encourage you, once you get used to it, you wont even think about it any more. Thanks for the good read, God Bless, Savanna

    Reply
    • Barefaced on your wedding day!? I LOVE YOU! I admire your strength! Hopefully at the end of all of this I’ll be a little more like you. 🙂

      Reply
  13. I’m joining you on this journey 🙂 here’s my response post and what God has put on my heart for this season…

    http://kaseycoldiron.blogspot.com/2012/07/covering-up-flaws-and-hiding-behind.html

    Reply
  14. Lynsey

     /  July 6, 2012

    Melissa! As i was reading your blog on makeup fasting i felt as if you were reading my mind, every feeling , comment, or thoughts that you wrote is exactly how i feel. I have struggled with dependency on makeup for as long as i can remember. If i dont have time to do anything else, I will make time to put something on my face to cover up how uneven it is. Concealer is like my best friend. I have always thought my natural face was just opposite from being beautiful. It seemed as if everyone else without makeup looked fine , but me no way. The enemy constantly feeding me lies, but I would believe them. It is kind of sad but the other day, i knew i wouldnt see anybody cause I was studying all day, but to see myself in the mirror all day without any makeup is not worth the negative thoughts that go through my head so i put makeup on just for me. Yall are probably thinking she has serious problems! When i started reading comments about this and what you wrote , it was so comforting cause sometimes i feel like im the only one . God definitely led me to you today! Beyond thankful for you and how open you are. I came across your blog by your post about magic mike and 50 shades of gray. I had posted and responded to a couple of comments regarding these 2 things and am so thankful that you feel the same way and as Christians it is our responsibility to stand for what the bible has said and make it known. Your such a blessing and will be keeping in touch with you! Would love to meet you one day! In Christ, Lynsey

    Reply
  15. Melissa,

    One of my friends posted your Magic Mike blog on Facebook, so I read it (and loved it) and then began clicking through some of your other posts, and discovered this one. I was intrigued because I, too, gave up make-up for an extended period of time (for Lent) a few years ago! I’m a Christian, as well, and was annoyed by how insecure I was without make-up. Everything you wrote in this post resonated with me because it’s the exact reasoning I gave when I decided to fast from make-up! I tend to be a rather narcissistic person, as well, so the fast was good for me.

    Just wanted to encourage you–it really does get easier. You will LOVE how little time it takes to get ready. Also, when your eyes are itching, you can just rub them without worrying about smearing your mascara:) And eventually, you just get used to seeing your face without makeup, and you begin to feel more confident.

    It’s been a few years since I did that, and I’m definitely back to using make-up again. However, in the mornings, I try to apply it for the good reasons you listed in this post, because it’s fun and artistic–and NOT because I “need” it:) I’m sure fasting from it every now and then is still a good idea, though, for every woman. We truly are “beautifully and wonderfully made.”

    All this to say, I appreciate your post and encourage you to walk out your door every day, beaming with confidence that comes from your security in Christ, not from what your face looks like:)

    A new reader,
    Ashley

    Reply
  16. Hi! I just started reading your blog after someone posted your 50 Shades/Magic Mike post on Facebook and I have to say I love you already! Is it possible to love someone just from their blog? I guess. I really identify with a lot of what you’re saying in this post. I realized after I had my first baby (4 months ago) and I had gained a significant amount of weight, how much my identity and confidence was wrapped up in feeling thin and pretty. When I felt large and puffy, I had a hard time even going out in public. I totally identify with having to take my eyes off of myself, stop the constant introspecting and fix my eyes on Jesus. That is where we find who we really are, who He made us to be, beautiful daughters of our glorious Father. Bless you, bless you as you continue this journey. I pray that you feel the reassuring Presence of Christ as you walk through this and encourage others and that God would re-shape how you see yourself and help you see yourself with His vision rather than the world’s.

    Reply
  17. Salena

     /  July 6, 2012

    Awesome post! I too am like you! Yes, I even wore it to the pool until…this summer. This summer I am working 3 days a week, all in a row and have 4 days off. On those 4 days off I hardly ever wear makeup and it feels so good and liberating. I took my kids to the pool on Monday and for the first time ever didn’t wear makeup! I still wear it to work b/c I just do! LOL When I go Target or the grocery store though I try to avoid contact with people and all i can think about is what are they thinking I look like…I get ya!
    I think you look gorgeous without makeup, just so ya know 🙂
    Looking forward to your posts and reading your blog…just came across it today via FB and your 50 Shades/MM post…which I wholeheartedly agree with. Haven’t read the books or seen the movie and I won’t!
    Blessings to your weekend~

    Reply
  18. Erin

     /  July 6, 2012

    I am not in any hurry to give up make up completely, I feel I need to wear it during the week because of my job. I am in outside sales, in a very competitive market, I need to be polished. (not to imply that going without makes you unpolished). However, I toned it down after meeting my boyfriend. After working in a high end retail store where our manager liked us to be very made up, dramatic eyes and everything, I gained quite a collection of MAC eyeshadow, liner, lashes, you name it. I took to bronzer like Snooki, and never went to work or out without a fully made up face. Well, one morning I overslept, and was a little hungover, so I didn’t have time to go full on. That night I met my boyfriend who, to this day, says it was love at first site for him. He loved my brown eyes which barely had mascara on them, much less a pound of color. It’s amazing what drinking water, eating right, exercise, a good cleanser/moisturizer (Therapy Systems has changed my life) and LOVE will do for your face! It glows, and not because of my Snooki powder.

    Now hair, that’s a different story. Couldn’t rip my flatiron from my hands if you tried!

    I was introduced to your blog yesterday and have been reading through it all afternoon. I don’t agree with you on some things, but I am very taken with your honesty and fearless ability to put it out there while maintaining a positive discussion on a polarizing topic, such as 50 Shades/Magic MIke. I look forward to reading more.

    Reply
  19. b523

     /  July 6, 2012

    I too found your website from a friend via the mommy porn post and I agree totally! (I’m a pastors wife:))

    Anyways, I admire what you are doing and think you will gain confidence.

    HOWEVER! I think you should always find your confidence in Jesus and His atoning work on the cross. If make up was a vital part of your life, then it was probably an idol in your heart where you were trusting in it more than Jesus for your self worth and identity. Anything worth more to you than Jesus is an idol (even our sweet families! & I am a mama too:))

    Makeup is not a bad thing, and I think if you use it to God’s glory, which would foremost mean pretty much only to please your husband, and not make it an “ultimate” thing in your life, then it’s ok.

    Idols are when we take (usually) good things & make them ultimate things (putting them in the place of Jesus).

    As for me, I wear makeup only because my husband likes me to and I want to do what is pleasing to Him, because that pleases God. I also wear it to rebel from my feminist upbringing. 😉

    Reply
  20. jeepy

     /  July 6, 2012

    Ohhhhhhh my.

    Well, first of all, I liked your “50 Shades/Magic Mike” post so much that I kept reading more. I also read “7” and my head has been spinning since I finished it last week. When Jen asked about my value/identity, my appearance also crossed my mind. Freak me out! The fact that you’re acting on it is so brave. I thought about giving up for about .000023 seconds before I started twitching.

    So I’m thinking about joining you, but it’s scary. Like yours, my husband has told me repeatedly how much prettier I am without make-up. But wearing make-up was such a part of my upbringing that I just don’t know if I can do it. It took a lot of guts to get to the point a few years ago where I didn’t have to wear it every single day (but only if I wouldn’t be seeing anyone!) or to the grocery store (and even then, I wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone and tried to keep my sunglasses on just to be safe). This would probably be a really good thing for me – and a great example to my daughters, who I don’t want growing up believing that make-up is the way to beauty.

    Hmmmmm… thinking about it. Like a previous commenter, my hair is another biggie. But I certainly can’t give up both or else people will worry. 😉

    Reply
    • You know what it was that pushed me over the edge? My nearly two year old daughter pulled each item out of my makeup bag, identified it properly, grabbed the appropriate brush, and began pretending to apply the makeup to her face. It was just too much for me. That she had observed me so closely every single morning…I dunno, something inside me just snapped. There’s no reason my daughter who doesn’t even have all of her teeth should know what blush is.

      I do the SAME thing about the sunglasses, and avoiding eye-contact. I’m trying to be more “normal” now, and look people in the eye, but boy is it hard! I’m glad I’m doing it, but I hate it at the same time, if that makes sense.

      And I snort-laughed at your “But I certainly can’t give up both or else people will worry.” Ain’t that the truth? Let me know if you decide to jump in! I’d love to iStalk you and hold you accountable. 🙂

      Reply
  21. I found your website from facebook, a friend shared the Magic Mike post (which I loved and shared. Thanks, again!) I am seriously impressed by your love for God and how it radiates through everything you do. I love the topics you choose and your absolute honestly and willingness to credit everything to the Lord. Thank you.

    Reply
  22. Totally joining you… i suffer with terrible self-confidence, but you are SO right, how do WE think we can do better at making us beautiful than GOD, our Father??? 🙂 This will be hard… but i think it’ll be good for me! Thanks!

    Reply
  23. Kelley

     /  July 7, 2012

    good post… the thing I like about this is that it addresses the deeper issue. there’s nothing inherently wrong with make-up, and there is nothing wrong with desiring to look beautiful. in fact, God created us women to have a deep appreciation for beauty, and that is a good thing. But, as your post points out, there is a deep and troubling problem when those things become your identity.

    I am not a make-up user. well, that’s not completely true, when I’m feeling fancy I pull out my stick of mascara(the same one I’ve had for two years) and make my eyelashes look pretty. but the point is that I have the exact same heart issue: my identity can be just as much wrapped up in my non-makeupness as someone who is “addicted” to it. that’s because I have a very specific way I want others to perceive me… I think we all do. We want to be the pretty girl, the sporty girl, the most fashionable, the effortlessly cute girl… I guess I want to be the “natural and confident girl”. seems like a healthy goal right? the problem is that every effort I put forth to appear so natural and confident in my skin is driven by a deeply rooted insecurity about who I am and who God made me. It is an idol for me just as it is for you, it just plays out in our lives in a different way, though the root appears to be the same.

    So, thank you for your post. I hope that your 40 days brings some freedom and confidence, but most of all a reassurance of God’s delight in you… exactly how he made you. Though I don’t think a 40 day makeup fast would be very useful for me, the post was a good reminder of all the ways I try to “cover up” who I am, and that am in constant need of surrendering my attempt to control others’ perception of me.

    Reply
  24. What a wonderful idea! I too used to be addicted to makeup. I realized that makeup wasn’t fun to me but a necessity and an addiction. I would have melt downs if I lost my foundation, I wouldn’t even imagine getting the mail without makeup, I would reapply mascara after washing my face at night because I couldn’t even go to bed without makeup!!!. I decided this needed to change and made a conscience choice to only wear makeup 3-4 times a week. It took a while but eventually I got used to my bare face (how bizarre to have to get used to your own face!) I started off by reminding myself every day that although I wasn’t pretty there was more to me than my looks. This made me more motivated to work on my personality. With time though I have come to appreciate my natural face and even find it aesthetically pleasing. It helped that my husband who never saw me bare faced before we wed blurted out an unsolicited “wow! You’re beautiful!” the first time he ever saw me without any makeup. Now that I no longer derive myself worth through makeup it has become so much fun and I love experimenting. I still only wear it 3-4 times a week and have to say taking makeup off my mandatory to do list has been really liberating. Good luck on your fast. I’m sure only good will come of it.

    Reply
  25. I’m loving your transparency here. I’m that mom who, when her OWN mother sees her, is caught make-up-less and gently scolded for it. I’ve always wished I cared MORE. My reasons for never caring about make-up are not so lofty as the ones you hope to achieve with your fast. I never cared about make-up because I am, well, just this side of slovenly most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW I look better with make-up and usually FEEL better when I actually have it on…the problem is pretty simple and terribly sad: I’m lazy. I’m that gal that Stacey and Clinton on What Not to Wear would LOVE to get their manicured paws on. It likely goes much deeper but I have a feeling it is rooted in the same spirit as with a person who won’t leave the house without it. As Christians, we are all daughters of the King and should certainly take care with our appearances. It goes for BOTH extreme sides of the spectrum. A person like me should examine WHY she hates mirrors and sighs in annoyance at the very IDEA of mascara or pressed powder….just as you are doing with YOUR fast. Again, well done on the article…I really enjoy your insight. 🙂

    Reply
  26. jessie welch

     /  July 9, 2012

    WOW. I felt like I was reading my own words! I have the same love for make up for the exact same reasons. Never before had I even thought of a fast from it and how I should love the face God has given me. It’s just always been a habit. Never thought of this perspective! Talk about humbling! I think I may try this 40 day fast! If I can get past my pride.

    Reply
  27. Such a great idea! Saw this post reposted on FB! I am in the EXACT same boat as you! I have dealt with skin issues my whole life, even went to school to become a licensed esthetician. The word “obsessed” doesn’t even begin to describe the way I am about my naked face! However, since having a baby girl 9 months ago, I have learned to let go a lot more, but definitely still feel the need to “keep up” and look like the mom who has it all together 🙂 I really hope you are blessed by this. I have definitely found freedom in identifying myself in Christ and as a mommy and wife…..I have learned to love my face the way all three of them do 🙂

    Reply
  28. Becky E.

     /  July 10, 2012

    I don’t wear makeup. I know I’ve been blessed with a generally clear complexion, but I also could never see the point of spending so much time on something so temporary. I don’t blow-dry or curl or iron my hair, either. Very low-key, in part because I would rather do other things, like sleep in, or read a book. But I do know what you mean about feeling anxious about appearance and what other people will think. For example, I don’t shave my legs very often. This isn’t a big deal in winter, but I spend the warm half of the year convinced that people are staring at my shins, lips curled in contempt for someone who cares so little about being well-groomed. Of course, leg-shaving is completely artificial and serves only an aesthetic purpose, much like men wearing ties. So this summer, I’m trying to change my attitude about myself (and others) when I go out without “silky smooth legs”. Because if it’s going to result in me saying “no” to things I’d enjoy doing – like going to the pool with my kids, or going to church, or even just going to the grocery store – then it’s not a healthy attitude.

    Bravo, sister! Keep it up! Thanks for what you post!

    Reply
  29. Sarah L.

     /  July 11, 2012

    I’m inspired and convicted! I’m also sweating at the thought that I seriously need to consider a makeup and/or hair fixing fast…AHHH! One thing at a time for sure! Thanks for sharing this AND for your brave post on 50 Shades/Magic Mike. I trust that God will bless you for following His leading to write that and to give up your vanity, hard as both of those things are to do!

    Reply
  30. Teresa

     /  July 11, 2012

    I only wear eye make-up (eye liner and mascara) if I’m going out shopping or doing something fun with my husband. Sometimes, I put on a little bit of powder (to reduce the redness on my face) but that’s about it. I consider myself a girly-girl but I am not a huge fan of make-up or the time it takes to put it all on! I don’t know if I could go make-up free for 40 days but I wish you the best of luck!

    Reply
  31. Hey I just wanted to see how you were doing with your fast. I’m glad you’re doing it and I promise it gets easier and you won’t regret it. I hardly wear make up anymore because I used to fast from it too. Sometimes mascara but that’s about it nowadays. I guess I wanted to comment however, because right now, I’m kind of doing a fast as well..kind of. Now here’s where it gets weird. Before I got married last year I felt like I was supposed to show my “husband to be” how much I honored and respected him…with my hair. Now I’m christian but I know little to nothing about Israeli women and why their hair was always up unless they were around their husbands or why God said their hair was “their glory”. But I just has this odd conviction about it. I never really looked for a sure answer and thus, I never got one so I ended up not doing it. However, I continued to feel this way for a year. So about a week ago, after knowing I still was supposed to but not completely sure why, I decided to go with it and learn along the way. And it’s HARD for me. Hard because I love my hair. I covet other people’s long beautiful shiny hair. So I was like you with make up but just..hair. I just felt like sharing. One, to encourage you and two, just to put it in writing so that I could actually help myself believe it. ha!

    Reply
  32. This is so interesting and insightful! I read all of your posts in this series so far and was inspired to write about why I quit wearing makeup. I’m very impressed with your decision to fast and with all you’ve learned so far. I look forward to reading the rest!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! I’ve read yours and immediately felt encouraged. I really love your strength, and I hope this fast begins to firm-up a foundation for some strength of my own. Also, I read Jessica’s blog, too! Small world, huh?

      Reply
  33. Karin

     /  July 18, 2012

    This is a great exploration of what we do and why. I am perhaps the opposite of you: a challenge for me would be to wear make-up consistently for 40 days. I only do it for church or appointments. And I don’t like my natural face either. My facial skin is quite blemished. I have this nagging thought always with me: you should take better care of yourself. All other women do! They take time for themselves while I’m this raggamuffin who doesn’t bother. (Same with hair. I don’t know how to style hair. I’m the perennial pony tail.)

    Reply
  34. (And to you women out there who already have very minimal morning routines: I salute you. I also hate you a little bit, because I envy your confidence and grace, but it’s a loving kind of hate, if that makes sense.)
    Hello there :). First, I kinda laughed a little bit upon reading the enclosed sentences above. I thought: I think she’s referring to me. LOL. Honestly speaking, I don’t know what should my reaction should be :D. Anyway, because I said “first,” then I must give a second one =D. As a Christian, I know one thing: it’s our heart that makes us beautiful :). Your 40-day make-up fast is impressive. I can guarantee you incredible results because I have also done 40-day fasting on certain issues in my life :D. It’s really healthy that you have taken this crucial step in wanting to have a deeper relationship with God. God is faithful. He will meet you in your weaknesses and perfect you in due time. Just enjoy the process of polishing! You will soon be a sparkling diamond in God’s eyes! 🙂 You’ll never know how much influence you could bring after this 40-day make-up fast! =) I have a blog post written some months ago. I hope it could encourage you :). God bless you!
    http://captivatedbyeternity.wordpress.com/journals/the-beauty-beholder/

    Reply
  35. Katie

     /  July 30, 2012

    Rilke wrote about the masks we wear in The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. It changed my life.

    Reply
  36. cygnet

     /  September 26, 2012

    I think it was brave of you to post about your fears about your makeup fast. In case it makes you feel any better: I never wear makeup. (Literally none, as in I’ve never even once put it on.) Nobody knows. When it occasionally comes up people are surprised to find out. This is not because I look exceptional, it’s just because I don’t think people think about it too much. Except for my choice not to wear makeup for my own wedding, nobody has ever questioned my choice, made me feel ugly or told me that I am lazy. NEVER. People just have no idea and it’s a total non-issue. I realize this is partly a product of my workplace (academia, hard sciences) and some people ARE given trouble for not wearing makeup, but it I bet you that the average person is way less attentive than you imagine.

    Reply
    • After not wearing makeup for a few months now, I totally agree with you. After everyone I know got over the initial “you look different” phase, eventually, no one even noticed.

      Reply
  37. Girl, you rock! I decided yesterday not to wear makeup anymore for very similar reasons and I felt like I need to be finding my identity in God, not my makeup bag! So I looked up any other women who have done this (for motivation purposes) and I’d love to know what you got from this experience!

    Reply
  38. Hi from NZ! I have just started my make-up free, er, journey! to say ifeel naked is an understatement and when I ditched my beloved black eyeliner, I almost had heart palpitations!~

    Reply
  39. …so I had this revelation this morning …. I think I just realized all the voices in my life that have been pulling at me and all the lies … Not good enough, not attractive enough, not smart enough, not a good enough friend, not ever going to meet someone, gained too much weight, not fit enough, not good enough at quiet time and I just felt like God was like all of that is lies. I put u where u r because I am doing something, ur not married because I’m protecting u, ur in school because that’s where I put u, ur beautiful because of who I made u to be not because of how good you are at doing makeup, ur time with me is precious and valued by me …. like you i realized i am addicted to makeup. I am all about social justice yet i spend more money on makeup than i do on helping those who are poor or in need. I believe its makeup thats going to find me a husband, that makeup is what makes me attractive. I AM ADDICTED TO IT… i didn’t used to be, but i really have grown to be… so then i thought hmmm i wonder if anyone else has ever been led to this conclusion… and LO AND BEHOLD… its like you took the words right out of my mouth, but said them with greater eloquence and clarity… love knowing someone went through this journey first! so cool! blessings and thanks for sharing! SUCH AN ENCOURAGEMENT! can’t wait to see what God does this month 🙂

    Reply
  1. Makeup Fast: Day 1 of 40 (I am a Coward) « melissajenna.com
  2. Makeup Fast: Day 2 of 40 (I’m a Showoff) « melissajenna.com
  3. The Naked Rules « Indigo Moods
  4. Makeup Fast: Days 3, 4 and 5 (I’m Beginning To Like This!) « melissajenna.com
  5. Makeup Fast: Day 6 of 40 (I’m a Cheater) « melissajenna.com
  6. So This is Love? (Follow-up to 50 Shades of Magic Mike) « melissajenna.com
  7. What is Fasting? (And Why Am I Fasting From Makeup?) « melissajenna.com
  8. Makeup Fast: Days 11-16 of 40 (It’s Working!) « melissajenna.com
  9. 40 Days Of No Make Up « Courage Does Not Always Roar…
  10. I don’t wear makeup. « The Earthling's Handbook
  11. The Audacity to Serve: Denying Yourself to Fulfill Your Calling « melissajenna.com
  12. My Ultimate Girls’ Night Out « melissajenna.com
  13. Makeup Fast: Days 17-23 (I’m Like a Hermit Crab?) « melissajenna.com
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  17. Saving on Cosmetics | Living in the Green

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