Makeup Fast: Days 17-23 (I’m Like a Hermit Crab?)

Fresh-Faced For 40 Days Icon

To read about the fast from the very beginning, just click on this picture.

(Friday, July 6 – Thursday, July 19)

Let’s get one thing straight: if you have the bar set high for this post, go ahead and take it down a notch or two (or several). Nothing earth-shattering happened this past week in the realm of the fast, or rather, the most noticeable things that happened during this week of the fast are the things that didn’t happen. (Is that what people mean when they say something is Zen?) Let me explain.

This week is the third week of the fast, and, as habits are formed or broken around the 21 day mark, I do not think it is a coincidence that day 21 was a turning-point for me. Day 21 actually turned out to be a “cheater day,” because I was filming for work, and had to put my makeup on. Hold on. I should back up a bit.

I’ve been keeping pretty busy, you know, with the mothering, and the wife-ing, and the working and the writing and the and the and the… You get my point. I really haven’t thought much about the makeup fast at all. I’ve been so delightfully consumed with life, that not only am I no longer afraid to go outside without makeup on, but I’m actually liking my naked face better than my made-up face. How rad is that!? I might make myself a hot-chocolate to celebrate.

Okay, back to day 21: the cheater day. I had to put makeup on that day, for work, and after I finished applying it, I did not like what I saw. I mean, it was whatever. It was pretty, I guess, but who cares? This “who cares” mentality is completely new territory for me. I’ve been feeling validated so much more in my real life stuff, that I couldn’t care much less about whether or not my pores are visible from outer space (they are, I think). I don’t mean to say that I am becoming sloppy or anything. I still have excellent hygiene. 🙂 What I mean is that I’m not seeing the value in looking superficially pretty the way that I used to. I’m too much in love with my family, and too excited to be hearing from so many people that my writing has touched their lives in some way, and too blessed with God’s renewal and acceptance and peace to care much about how my face compares to the faces I see in magazines. I don’t think God cares all that much about it, either. And I think God loves me, regardless of my giant pores. I think he gave me giant pores on purpose, and he’s probably glad that after 28 years of life, I’m beginning to accept and be grateful for what I’ve been given.

Before you all think I’ve gone off the deep-end: yes, I still appreciate prettiness. Yes, I still see makeup tutorials on Pinterest and think “oh, I should try that someday!” BUT I don’t care much how my face compares to other faces, and that is huge for me. And honestly, I feel like I could carry on like this forever. I mean, technically the fast is over on day 43 (40 days, plus 3 “bonus days” to make up for when I’ve had to cheat), but I don’t want to go back to wearing makeup the way I did before I started this fast. I feel like a hermit crab* that’s outgrown its shell. I just can’t fit back inside that old-me anymore. At the point where fasting ceases to feel sacrificial, does it also cease to be a fast? I’m not completely there yet, but it’s fast-approaching. And then what? Where do I go from there?

Progress Report, and Looking Forward

What I was looking for, in beginning this fast, was to trade my ridiculous reliance on makeup (and all of the negative emotions and beliefs that come with it), for an honest-to-goodness identity in God, and while that will always be a work-in-progress, I feel as if I’ve cleared the biggest hurdle. And God has been so ridiculously faithful. I don’t know why I’m so surprised that God is showing up…I guess it’s just humbling to think that he cares this much about our relationship. That he doesn’t think I’m silly, or petty, or too needy or whatever. My tiny brain just doesn’t get it. How does he love me this much?

All that being said, I am really looking forward to the next 20 days of the fast. What an awesome journey these past 3 weeks have been! On a related note: are you at all interested in trying out the Fresh-Faced for 40 Days Makeup Fast? If so, JOIN US in our Facebook group! There are just less than 60 of us doing this together, and it is such a blessing to hear the other ladies’ stories and encouragement along the way.

And now, for photographic evidence that I’ve been adhering to the fast:

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On a purely administrative note, we are moving next week (to Morro Bay, which is only 30 minutes north of Shell Beach, where we live presently), and unless I’m struck with some crazy compulsion to write something, I’m taking next week off from writing. We move a week from tomorrow, and I have packed exactly 2 boxes. YIKES. I’ll still try and remember to take naked-face photos, and I’ll still try and keep up with the social networks, but with the move, and Ellie’s 2nd birthday on the 28th, I’m not going to be around much. That’s all to say: Don’t worry, I haven’t died. (Unless I have died, which would be creepy and tragic.)



*Comparing myself to a hermit crab is unfortunate, but I couldn’t come up with a better comparison. Well, I could have compared myself to a butterfly, emerging from its cocoon, never to return to it again, but COME ON. A butterfly? Puh-leeze. I’ll call myself a hermit crab, thankyouverymuch.


For details on the “Fresh-Faced for 40 Days” makeup fast, check out this post.

If you’re interested in participating, join the 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.

Also, feel free to use the button I’ve made (in the left sidebar, on the top) to link-back to the original post, so you don’t have to do all of the ‘splaining to your friends if you don’t want to.


Let’s be friends!

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  1. What a blessing to feel like you don’t have to compare yourself with others anymore! I was reading in Henry Nouwen’s Spiritual Formation and he was talking about that. He says, “To overcome that constant need to determine my comparative place, and to be simply who I am, can make me whole. To finally let go of that burden is one of the greatest joys and freedoms in life.” Praise God that He is freeing you and so many other women from the constant comparing through this fast. He is so good and so faithful and has used your obedience in this way to be able to touch other women too.

  2. Zinnie

     /  July 21, 2012

    I came across your blog awhile back, and I enjoy reading it! You are so adorable, and brave! You have inspired me to do the makeup fast in the near future! Keep up the good work!
    By the way, my family loves Morro Bay! My husbands family has a house there. Where do you and your family worship?

  3. “And I think God loves me, regardless of my giant pores. I think he gave me giant pores on purpose, and he’s probably glad that after 28 years of life, I’m beginning to accept and be grateful for what I’ve been given.” So inspiring! Way it go! =D

  4. Wow this is so cool! That’s really really interesting to read about how your perspective is changing- you feel like “who cares?” 🙂 Thanks for writing this- and having the courage to do the “makeup fast”. ^_^

  5. “At the point where fasting ceases to feel sacrificial, does it also cease to be a fast? I’m not completely there yet, but it’s fast-approaching. And then what? Where do I go from there?”

    Like most sacrifice for the Lord, the benefits far outweigh the deprivations. He’s is good at that. As we trust Him and set aside the things we consider so urgent, He patiently shows us how tawdry they really were, and shows us what He suggests as a replacement. It can be scary and even painful on our part, but it is so worthwhile.

    Adding to that, you become closer to Him, which is precious in itself.

    I have been ambivalent about using the word “fast” in this case… fasting from food removes the staff of life and digs at our most fundamental self-preserving reflexes. It’s not something that can “cease to be a fast”, at least short of dying. 🙂

    Yet dying seems an apt description of how we feel about giving up our crutches (or having them kicked away). It really does seem like we can’t get along without them, like the beginning of a little death. But then that fear fades… and we go on, with clearer eyes and stronger strides.

    The reason it no longer feels like a fast is because it was addiction, not nourishment, that you were giving up.

    Where do you go from here? Forward and upward. Celebrate your freedom.

    You can raise your daughter with the confidence to wear her own face happily… and with the skills to dab on a bit of color for occasions where she wants to dress up.

    “And God has been so ridiculously faithful. I don’t know why I’m so surprised that God is showing up…I guess it’s just humbling to think that he cares this much about our relationship. That he doesn’t think I’m silly, or petty, or too needy or whatever. My tiny brain just doesn’t get it. How does he love me this much?”

    The nice thing about working for Father is that He knows exactly how silly and petty and needy we are… and loves us through those awkward times. We’re being trained to understand precisely how He loves us this much.

  6. I know what you mean about being surprised that God is so faithfully there for you! I’ve felt like that before. It’s a good sign. 🙂

    I’m interested in the idea of the 21-day turning point. I looked back at my two fasts for which I kept diaries, to see how it was going at Day 21. When I fasted from buying things made or grown outside North America, Day 21 is around the point where I started getting really used to looking for the country of origin on the labels of everything–and was even looking at things I or other people already owned in addition to things I was considering buying, because I’d become interested in the whole subject. When I fasted from all meat including fish, Day 21 was the first time in my life I ate tempeh, but I can’t say that was much of a turning point. (It was okay, and I’ve since eaten a few things other people made with tempeh in them, but I’ve never bought it again.) So it doesn’t look like Day 21 was very significant for me, but then again, neither fast was all that difficult for me except at a couple of crucial points triggered by not feeling well: When fasting from imported things, I had a migraine on Good Friday that made me too confused to think through my options well, so I wound up drinking irresponsible coffee and feeling horrible about it. When fasting from meat, I had a cold and wanted soup and had only chicken broth available, and there too I gave into the temptation.

    Good luck with your move!! I bet you’ll be so busy you’ll hardly notice not wearing makeup.

  7. Isabella

     /  August 6, 2012

    Melissa thank you so much for sharing this journey with us! It is so refreshing to see someone value their natural beauty. I’ve struggled with makeup to an extent, but the worst for me was enhancing bras. It’s crazy that Victoria’s Secret sells bras that add two cup sizes… When I moved to a new country I gave it up completely and it felt like I was released from chains. I will never go back, so I can totally understand your analogy of the hermit crab!

  8. You’re very pretty, even without makeup. I’m happy to hear the fast is going so well for you! I’d join the group, but I’m in the opposite situation. When I do wear makeup to work, people comment and think I am trying to impress someone…laugh. I think all women should feel just as self-confident with themselves whether or not they have makeup on because true beauty comes from within.

  9. So…what happened after Day 23?

  10. Jonna

     /  April 23, 2013

    I’m sure my comment will go unnoticed, as the post is not fresh, but thought I’d leave my thoughts here anyway…I think your face looks so fresh, approachable, and amazing without makeup! I do not say this because I am not versed in this myself. Believe me, I am. I don’t wear makeup due to religious beliefs and the idea that God’s handiwork, in whatever shape it may be, is perfect. Anyway, just wanted to say that you look so beautiful as you are, even if your skin may feel exposed and flawed. And maybe you feel like your eyelashes are albino (I can vouch for myself) and your eyebrows sparse….because in the end, there is so much to be said for being comfortable enough to bare yourself in front of a world which has been taught to compare our flaws with one another. They are what make us special. And truly beautiful.


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