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How safe is your makeup bag?

Melissa Jenna Godsey Beauty CounterSo if you’ve known me for a while, you know that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with skin care and makeup for years. You’ve seen me go through my product-whore phase (back when I was hosting at iFixit), then I went through my no. makeup. EVER. phase (because I was ashamed of my troublesome skin, and I was skeeved out by the ingredients), and now we enter a third (and I think final) phase: the “holy grail” phase. It’s like this: I’ve found Beautycounter, and I love it, and it loves me. (We’re in love, you see.)

If you love the play factor of makeup, but don’t want to slather untested grossness on your face, you’re in a bit if a bind here in the USA (the United States hasn’t passed a law regulating the cosmetics industry since 1938). And if you have difficult skin, you’re probably using a lot of different products to cover it up, and you don’t have skin that you’re proud to walk around barefaced in. I was both of those.

But then an angel appeared to me in a dream and shared Beautycounter with me, and I swooned, and now here I am with peachy keen skin, and a makeup collection I’d feel comfortable sharing with my daughter. (Actually the angel is my friend Susan, and she appeared to me at barre, but whatever, that’s not the point.)

Here’s the point: Beautycounter’s has a list they call the “Never List,” which is full of the untested stuff I didn’t want to put on my skin. They’re committed to putting clean personal care products in everyone’s hands, and I just love that. It makes my heart sing. You CAN have awesome, high-perfoming makeup/skin care/sunscreen without the sketchiness. And it. is. AWESOME.

So here’s what I suggest: replace one thing at a time. Next time you run out of cleanser, swap it for something clean. If you’re feeling iffy, I have a complete set of the skincare line that I will happily give you to try for a few days (if you’re local). Same goes for the makeup. My collection is your collection.

I would love love love to chat with any of you about how you can clean up your skin care routine, create a safe makeup collection, and perhaps even start a little Beautycounter shop of your own. Direct sales companies usually make me very uncomfortable, but what can I say? I love my new skin, and how could I not want to share that with people I love? If you’re interested in trying any products, playing with the makeup, or learning more about how you could be making safer choices in this realm, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know! You can reach me here in the comments, or via email at melissagbeautycounter -at- gmail -dot- com.

And if you feel like learning what makes Beautycounter wonderful and different, click through to read more about their mission and their products.

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Color Crush! L’Oréal’s “Magic” BB Cream

In which I share my latest drugstore makeup find: L’Oréal’s “Magic” BB Cream. It automagically matches itself to your skin tone, and looks matte and lovely all the live-long day. And it’s a freaking steal at $7. If there’s anything you can recommend, or are thinking about trying, let me know!

Oh, and go read Natalie’s blog and go “awwww!” at her adorable son: http://natthefatrat.com

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Let’s be friends!

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Introducing “Color Crush!” In Which I Share Drugstore Makeup Favorites

In an effort to be more frugal, I’ve been experimenting with drugstore brand makeup. And since I’m a compulsive sharer of information, how could I not video blog my experience? Introducing episode 1 of what I hope will be a long-running feature, in which I explore my favorite (and perhaps least favorite) drugstore makeup finds. For now I’m calling it “Color Crush,” but I’m totally open to suggestions. Next up is mascara, then onto BB Creams. Holler if you want to see something specific!

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Let’s be friends!

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Is Clarisonic Worth It?

I’ve gotten some great questions regarding the makeup fast, and how it effected my skincare routine, so I figured I’d sit down and share my “secret” with you all.

I bought my Clarisonic from Amazon for about $110, and I’ve been using it for about a month. It’s super easy to use, and my only tip to you is this: use it once a day, like it says on the box. It feels great, and you’ll want to use it twice a day. Resist that urge! Over cleansing will make your skin flip-out.

Do you use a Clarisonic? Have any tips or tricks? Share ’em in the comments! And as usual, if you have any questions, I am here to answer them.

xoxo,

mj

(Also, I was not compensated in any way for this post, but I did use my Amazon affiliates account to link the Clarisonic, in case you feel like buying one for yourself.)

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Let’s be friends!

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Makeup Fast: Days 11-16 of 40 (It’s Working!)

Fresh-Faced For 40 Days Icon

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

(Saturday, July 7 through Thursday, July 12)

This week, to avoid redundancy, I’m writing about the entire week as a whole, rather than updating you day-by-day. (You only have to hear “I hate my face” so many times before you’re OVER IT, am I right?) Let’s get to it.

More unexpected perks to barefacedness

  • If I’m feeling a little sleepy, or I want a quick pick-me-up, I can splash some cold water on my face. I never understood why people did this in old-timey movies, but I get it now: it feels great! Try it, you’ll like it!
  • I can shower at the gym without having to lug all of my makeup along with me. I am ALL for packing lighter.
  • My husband can kiss me without fearing that he’ll end up wearing my “lip gunk.” (That’s lip gloss, for those of you that don’t speak Dude.)

Occasions where I notice myself wishing I were wearing makeup

  • Meeting new people (I find that I want to hand them a disclaimer like “usually I don’t look like this. Just so you know, most days, I have eyelashes, and my skin looks nice.”)
  • Running into people I know when I’m oot and aboot.
  • Every time I look in the mirror

That last one is a bit of an exaggeration, actually. Lately, especially after I wash my face, or splash it with some cold water, I’m kind of liking what I see. Not like “hubba hubba, look at that foxy mama,” but more like “oh look at her, she looks sweet.” I think if I were to meet me, I would find my bareface kind and approachable. And I like that.

Competition

There’s no graceful way to talk about one’s ugly traits, is there? If I try and dance around this, I’m basically trying to “put lipstick on a pig.” So here goes: I think makeup-Melissa felt (perhaps subconsciously) that she was in competition against every woman she met. Not necessarily in a mean way, but in a comparative way, for sure. Constantly measuring myself against others, to see how I stacked up. And why? Because I was letting my prettiness (or not-so-prettiness, depending) define a significant amount of my value. You’re probably thinking “no, duh.” But it took me TWO WEEKS of fasting from makeup to see this. Because I am stubborn. And sometimes slow to learn a lesson.

After being “off” of makeup for 16 days now, I find myself simply enjoying other people’s company, without some weird subtextual dialogue running through my head at all times. Honestly, most of the time I’m not even aware that I am barefaced. And not only do people seem not to notice my barefacedness AT ALL, but I think maybe people are being nicer to me now? (I’ll sit on this one for a few more days, until I can say conclusively whether or not this is the case.)

My Face is Not The Point

I cannot say that I “like” my naked face yet, and I am beginning to think that maybe that’s not the point. Ever since I began this fast, God’s presence has been thick, and I’ve felt a closeness to the Holy Spirit that I’ve never felt before. It’s working, just like they say it does (fasting, I mean). You want to draw closer to God? Cut something out of your life. Something that scares you. That requires sacrifice of yourself. Let that margin open up, and watch God fill it. Let the fast cause you discomfort, and then feel God comfort you. The fast has made me more vulnerable to the nudges of the Holy Spirit, and through following those nudges, my trust in God is growing, and I find myself looking for his approval first. Naturally. (I guess for this to be a big deal, you have to understand that this is not my character.)

The questions that I entered this fast with are being answered loud and clear, and I know this sounds strange, but I am really looking forward to the next two weeks of the fast.

Join Us!

In case you’re considering participating in the fast yourself, it is never too late to start! Our Facebook group has more than 40 members now, and it has been awesome to read their posts, and commiserate about our barefacedness. There are some AWESOME ladies in the group, and the more the merrier!

Xoxo,

mj

11 of 40 (just finished swimming)

Day 12 of 40

Day 13 of 40

Day 15 of 40

Day 16 of 40

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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.

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Let’s be friends!

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Makeup Fast: Days 8-10 of 40 (I Have Yogurt on My Face)

Day 10 of 40. Naked face + Naked Baby!

You know what stinks? Going to a party while you’re fasting from makeup. That’s what we did on the 4th of July, which was day 8 of the fast. It’s just that people tend to try and look nice at parties, and there I was, looking as if I had just woken up (it’s the blonde eyelashes). At least no one wanted to commemorate the holiday with a picture. Dodged a bullet on that one.

Nothing worth noting with regards to the fast occurred on day 9, so we’ll just skip it. Today was day 10, however, and I had a realization: just because I’m fasting from makeup doesn’t mean that I can’t indulge in a little at-home facial-action. So I hopped onto Crunchy Betty (AMAZING website full of DIY beauty treatments using stuff you probably have at home, in your fridge), and refreshed my memory on how to mix-up a yogurt mask. (Turns out it’s just yogurt.) So I slathered some greek yogurt all over my face (read about the benefits of greek yogurt on your face here), made a cup of tea, and plunked myself down in bed to moderate comments and answer emails.

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To be honest, all of this sudden interest in my blog is cool and all, but, well…I’m not writing as much as I was before that one post blew up. And that’s the whole point, right? Writing? I haven’t done any research for my book (which I’m hesitant to even call a book, because I don’t even have an agent yet) at all in the past four days, and I don’t like how administrative tasks are eating up all of my actual writing time. So while I’m enjoying engaging with so many people ( well over 1,000 comments in that thread so far), I do look forward to getting back to my regular schedule. There’s no book if I don’t write it.

Oh also, we’re moving. In three weeks. And Ellie’s birthday? Also three weeks away.

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And the only way any of that is related to the makeup fast is that all of the stress (good stress and bad stress) is seriously effecting my skin. Hence the yogurt mask. If you’ve never been to Crunchy Betty, and you’re into DIY beauty recipes, then head over. You’ll love her, I promise.

Spiritually, I haven’t felt much movement on the “loving what God gave me” front, but boy have I been strong in the Spirit. I have a feeling the “loving what God gave me” will come slowly and naturally, and that the margin created by the fast is what made my big-time post possible. Regardless, I’m grateful to be used for a purpose, and to see so many people talking about God as a result of that post. It’s incredible.

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You won’t hear from me about the makeup fast again until Monday, so until then, have an excellent weekend!

Melissa

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

Please join 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.

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.

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.

What is Fasting? (And Why Am I Fasting From Makeup?)

Today should be day 7 of 40 of my makeup fast, but since I’ve already declared day 7 as a do-over, I thought I’d hijack today’s makeup-fast post, talk a little bit about fasting, specifically, and explain a bit why fasting from makeup is a step that I needed to take.

What Is Fasting, And Why Should I Fast?

“Fasting” (abstaining from all or some kinds of foods or drinks, especially as a religious observance) though common in the biblical times, is not as common among contemporary Christians. One reason, I think, is that we’ve forgotten (or never learned) why one might fast in the first place. I really like Jen Hatmaker’s explanation of fasting, in her book “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.” Jen explains

“A fast creates margin for God to move. Temporarily changing or routine of comfort jars us off high center. A fast is not necessarily something we offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves.”

She also lists six circumstances in which one might initiate a fast to “summon God’s movement in [their] life:”

  • Mourning
  • Inquiry
  • Repentance
  • Preparation
  • Crisis
  • Worship

Fasting From Makeup

I can definitely identify with fasting for repentance. Jen Hatmaker sees fasting for repentance as “a tangible way to bow low and repent of greed, ungratefulness, ruined opportunities, and irresponsibility.” To which I say yes, yes, yes and yes. Though I consider myself as grateful and not greedy, upon further inspection, some of my habits prove the opposite. My dependency on makeup is just one example. In my greed for external beauty, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars and just as many hours applying makeup to cover-up and alter what God has given me.
What am I saying to God when I refuse to be seen without makeup on? What am I saying to others about God when I refuse to be seen without makeup on? If I was grateful for the face God gave me, would I feel ashamed of it? Would insist that I know better–that the world knows better–and feel incomplete without altering my appearance? I like to tell myself that I am grateful, but if I’m going to be honest: I’m not. I do not like my naked face, and I’m embarrassed to be seen in public without makeup.
I can also identify with fasting for preparation. If something as simple as being seen barefaced is such a challenge for me, how prepared am I to reflect God to the world? Through this fast, my prayer is that God will continue to equip me for whatever work he has set before me. This fast is one way that I can show him that I’m serious. That I want to be less concerned with myself, how I look, and how others perceive me, and more concerned with Him, his purposes, and his will for my life. That I am ready to set my earthly comfort and desires aside and follow Him wherever he leads.
It is in fasting for inquiry though, that I am already seeing the most dramatic change. Here is something I wrote before I started this fast:
“I feel as if I’m at a crossroads with my work, yet I can’t see a clear path ahead of me. I have a cloudy picture of where I might be headed, and I want to know for sure that it’s something God is calling me to do, not something that I simply want to do.”
I want to know whether it is God’s will that I pursue writing, and I want to know what he would have me say. And can I tell you something? God is making that cloudy picture I had very clear. He is faithfully answering my prayer.
The incredible response to the post “50 Shades of Magic Mike” is sudden and alarming proof. I finally agreed to step out in faith and say “yes” to the words God put on my heart, and, at the time of writing this, that single post has received more views and comments than my blog as a whole received LAST YEAR, or the year before that. God’s heart is all over that outpouring of support, the beautiful encouragement, and the strengthening correction I’ve received from my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I hope that explains some aspects of fasting a bit better, and you understand a little more why it is important that I’m abstaining from makeup for 40 days. And before you go telling me that I’m taking myself too seriously, I encourage you to read the very first post in my makeup-fast series. Many of your concerns will be addressed in that post, and it will save you the time of commenting on something that I’ve already discussed.
xoxo,
mj
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On a side-note, here’s the project I did at work yesterday, which is why I had to wear makeup and am calling day 7 a do-over.

Makeup Fast: Day 6 of 40 (I’m a Cheater)

(Written on Monday, July 2)

Today was supposed to be day 6 of my makeup-fast, but I’m declaring today AND tomorrow a do-over. Allow me to explain myself.

If you’re new here, I work, part-timeish, as a writer and host for iFixit.com, and when I’m hosting, I appear on camera, and when I appear on camera, I must wear makeup. That makes fasting from makeup hard, and presents some unique challenges.

Last week, when I went in for filming, I arrived at the office barefaced, applied my makep, filmed my segment, and then promptly washed my makeup off. Today was different, because today there was a film-crew from France in the office, capturing interviews and maybe some b-roll, and I was NOT ABOUT TO BE CAUGHT ON FRENCH NATIONAL TV BAREFACED, Y’ALL. Hate on me if you want to, but in all seriousness, I might use some of that footage in my demo-reel, and I cannot be looking like a wildebeest in my demo-reel, OKAY? Okay. Glad we’re clear.

So I arrived at the office this morning in full makeup, and because I forgot to also pack my face-wash and moisturizer, I couldn’t wash my makeup off before I left. Because of all of this, I am declaring today a do-over. And tomorrow? Tomorrow I’m filming alllllll day, and the French crew will still be around, so I’m preemptively declaring tomorrow a do-over, also. This all means that I’m adding two makeup-free days to my calendar, making my new ending date August 8, 2012, because I am nothing if not committed.

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So today, when I arrived home, the first thing I wanted to do was wash my face. Can you believe it? Like I mentioned a few days ago, I’m in a weird spot where I don’t really like my bare-face, and I don’t really like my makeup-face anymore either, so the only option is a paper-bag, right? Or maybe, like, a fancy mask with feathers? (Someone get on that.)

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Last thing, I promise. I’m beginning to notice that lots of women don’t wear much makeup. I mean, basically everyone I see wears some makeup, but many ladies only have on mascara and lipgloss. Was I the ONLY one applying my makeup with such regimental zeal? How come none of you told me this, huh? Isn’t that what friends are for? To tell you when you’re being a complete moron? Please, friends, I invite you to tell me I’m being a moron, if, in fact, I am being a moron.

xoxo, mj

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

Please join 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.

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.

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.

Makeup Fast: Days 3, 4 and 5 (I’m Beginning To Like This!)

(Written between Friday June 29 and Sunday July 1)

I know I’ve said this already, but I LOVE how much time I have in the morning, now that I’m not putting makeup on. It feels so good to be able to leave the house so quickly! On Friday, Ellie and I went swimming, and usually we don’t leave the house until 10:15-10:30; this time we left the house at 9:15! All because I didn’t have to keep Ellie entertained while I applied my makeup (it takes at least twice as long to do my makeup when Ellie is around). When we got to the club, it was practically empty, and there was no one else in the pool area. So for a full hour we had the pool and sauna all to ourselves. It felt like we were on vacation!

And can I tell you something surprising? Only one person has said anything about my naked face, and it wasn’t even critical. I would have thought for sure that someone would have told me I look unwell, or that I look tired by now. (I’m sure no one has commented because they all know that I’m fasting, so they’re already expecting me to look terrible. My friends are very kind like that.) But regardless, I’m pleased. I really hate being told I look tired, only because I’m not wearing mascara, so this is a welcomed surprise.

Elle and I went swimming again on Saturday (what can I say, we love the pool), and it was so nice to not have to worry about her splashing me in the face. I realized (as she dunked half of my face into the pool), how restricted I usually am in playing with her in the pool, because I don’t want to get my face wet. How boring! We’re having so much more fun at the pool, now that I’m not afraid of getting my fece wet (“I’m melllllting!”)

I was really nervous to go to church on Sunday. No one there reads my blog (I don’t think), so no one was aware that I was going to look like a sea monster. I wonder if I should have posted this on our Facebook page? Or sent a mass email? “Be warned: Melissa Godsey will not look like herself on Sunday, but DO NOT mention it under any circumstances. In fact, tell her she looks well-rested, and prettier than ever!”

Church-folks should be the least of my worries. I mean, “judge not,” right? But NONE of them had ever seen me without makeup. Not even when I was sweating to death on a rooftop in Mexico. I just look…different. Well, only ONE person said a thing at all, and it was only because we’re buddies on Instagram, and she happened to see my naked face photos. So, I’m chalking that up as a win.

Side-note: I was by myself all weekend because my husband was out of town for work, so I completely forgot to take photos to prove that I’m not sneaking makeup on when you guys aren’t looking. I promise: I was barefaced.

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On Sunday night, while I was pulling my hair back, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and for a fleeting moment, I liked my naked face. I mean, I didn’t think it was pretty in the way that faces are generally regarded as pretty, but I liked it. But even then I thought, “why do my eyelashes have to be SO blonde? Ugh.” But hey, Sunday was day 5 of 40, and I already had a moment where I liked my naked face. That’s progress! I’m just getting to the point now where going around naked-faced isn’t feeling completely mortifying, and I still have 35 more days ahead of me. I expect that now that I’m edging out of complete and total discomfort, my ears will be a bit more open to what God has to say to me, and I have a feeling that that’s when all the difficult, heart-changing stuff happens.

35 more days to go!

xoxo,
mj

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

Please join 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.

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.

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.

Makeup Fast: Day 2 of 40 (I’m a Showoff)

(Written on Thursday, June 28, 2012)

In the shower this morning, I was thinking about my decision to avoid eating lunch in public yesterday, and something about it was really bothering me. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t avoiding seeing people I know just because I am ashamed of my naked face. There was more to it than that, but I wasn’t sure what.

After I finished drying my hair, I got to thinking about where I would go to do the morning-part of my work. (I work best when there is food and coffee readily available.) Usually I go to Sally Loos, because the coffee and food is BOMB, and I like the atmosphere. But today, I decided to stay in (again), and that’s when I got to thinking: how much of where I go is determined by what I look like? On the flip-side of hiding from people I know because I don’t like my face, there’s this: am I going out in public because my face looks pretty? Am I showing off or something? Yikes.

Now, don’t misunderstand me on this one: I’m certainly not getting super dolled-up every day, just to go to all my favorite local haunts preening in front of strangers and acquaintances. I’m no Kardashian. If you know me at all, you know that my standard makeup MO is to appear as natural as possible. I’ve never been one of those ladies who looks like she’s wearing a lot of makeup. But, isn’t that a little bit worse? A little more deceptive? Diligently applying makeup in order to give the appearance that I’m naturally poreless? Kinda sketchy now that I look back on it (you know, with a whole TWO DAYS worth of hindsight and wisdom and perspective).

So no, I wasn’t showing-off in a show-offy way, but in a somewhat more pathetic, somewhat more self-satisfied way. I’m pretty sure one of the reasons I do so much of my work outside the office is because I like to be seen looking nice. And it pains me to say that in public. I care so much about how other people see me, even strangers, and I’ve placed so much of my value in being recognized as pretty. It’s really humbling to stare so directly at my flaws, both character and physical, and it’s hard to not feel compelled to cover them up.

I’m glad that putting some much-needed distance between me and my makeup bag is already revealing some handicaps in my character, but I’m not going to lie: I’d rather you all didn’t know I’m so shallow.

Even now, after recognizing that I care way too much how people see me, my primary concern is that people don’t think I’m too shallow. When will I stop caring how people see me? And where is God in all of this? Why can’t I look to him first, like, ever? Why is it so natural for me to seek first the approval of others? I really, really want that to change.

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We did some filming at work today, so I had to “put my face on,” and a funny thing happened: I really didn’t like my “made-up” face. It just looked…wrong. Like I was trying too hard. So, when I was done shooting, I went into the bathroom and washed off the makeup (just like I promised I would, y’all!), and it was actually somewhat relieving to get that stuff off of my face. Not that I like my naked face any better, because I don’t. But still. Washing it off felt good.

2 days down, 38 to go! Have any of you started going makeup-less? Tell me all about it!

xoxo,

mj

Day 2 of 40

Day 2 of 40

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

Please join 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.

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.

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.

Makeup Fast: Day 1 of 40 (I am a Coward)

Written on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Let’s start out on a cheerful note, with a list of things that I don’t like about my face:

  • I have really large pores
  • My skin gets very oily
  • Forehead wrinkles
  • My under-eye area is a little baggy, and is getting wrinkly
  • Blemishes (this is a big one around certain times of the month)
  • Uneven skintone
  • My eyelashes are so blonde, they might as well be invisible

I don’t know why I started this fast today. This is the worst time of the month for this kind of thing, on account of my crazy hormones giving me the skin of an adolescent girl. I was getting Ellie ready to go to her Nana’s, and I brought my makeup along with me, and just never ended up putting it on. (I was in a hurry.) Then I drove to work, parked, and stared at my makeup bag for the better part of a minute. Normal-me would have put my makeup on in the car (I’ve done it countless times), but today I just knew that it was the beginning of the fast. So I grabbed my makeup bag (not unlike a security blanket?), and snuck, barefaced, into the office.

I’ve been planning on doing this fast for a couple of months now, but could never muster the courage to actually begin. But today, during my staring-contest with my makeup bag, something snapped, and I decided it was go-time. I didn’t even consult my calendar for conflicts, I just did it. (This is crazy behavior for me. I don’t just do things. I’m a planner, you see.)

——————-

Want to hear something embarrassing and stupid I did today? (Of course you do.) I was at the iFixit office (none of them said a WORD about my hideous face, by the way. Such gentleman, those guys.), and when it came time to go to lunch, instead of going to lunch in public, like a normal person would, I was so self-concious that I drove home to eat lunch by myself.

And I never went back to the office.

Fortunately for me, I can write from anywhere, so I ate my lunch on my own, and then plunked myself down at my desk to begin working on scripts for upcoming projects. On the upside, I saved myself 7ish dollars on lunch. On the downside, I am so ashamed of my naked face that I’m actually avoiding contact with other people. Wowza.

Usually, I would have went to a place called Kreuzberg for lunch, because the food is okay, and there’s wifi, and the atmosphere is conducive for iFixit-script-writing. BUT there is a chance that I would see somebody I KNOW at Kreuzberg, and what if they saw my face? Don’t ask me how I’m going to make it out to do my grocery shopping, or take Ellie to the pool, or go to church of all places, because I just don’t know. When writing the rules, I should have also forbidden the wearing of ski-masks, because I’m seriously considering picking one up. (You know, to wear to church. Can you image that?)

Tomorrow we’re going to do some filming at work, which means I’ll have to “put my face on,” and it is going to take every shred of will-power I have to wash that stuff off when I’m through shooting.

To say that I’m eager for a change to take place is an understatement. I am so totally and completely uncomfortable in my own skin, it’s pathetic. Oh, and I took a picture to commemorate this awful day.

Why did I do this to me?

I kept my glasses on for the picture, because they kind of make up for my invisibly-blonde eyelashes. I’m so cowardly. :/

xoxo,

mj

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

Please join 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.

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.

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.

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

Frugal Beauty Tip: Swap Your Makeup Remover

For full disclosure, I tend not to wear a lot of makeup in my normal day-to-day life. (I find that it makes me look older, and–blemishes excluded–I like how I look naturally.) But when I do “put my face on” I use the serious, heavy duty stuff that’s meant being photographed under intense lighting by HD cameras (for work). And if you’ve ever used that stuff, you know what a nightmare it can be to remove. It is, after all, meant to stick all day long, through sweat and the like.

Some things: I tend to avoid synthetic chemicals whenever possible, especially on my face. Sometimes I have sensitive skin. I dry out easily, but I also get pretty oily as the day wears on. Oh, and me and my family are certified penny-pinchers. And all of those things considered, I’m SO glad I discovered this beauty “trick.”

I say “trick,” because it’s really so simple. Instead of spending dollars on makeup remover, just use oil. Like, literally, olive oil. It works way better than any commercial makeup remover I’ve ever purchased, it’s great on sensitive skin, it’s safe to get near your eyes, and it’s hydrating. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Slather some oil on your face. If I measured it, it’d probably be about a teaspoon’s worth, which is way more than necessary. And like I said, you can use regular old olive oil, or if you want to get real fancy, you can upgrade to almond oil or grapeseed oil for about $4.00 at your local health-food store. (I use sweet almond oil. Example below.)
  2. Massage it all over wherever you’ve applied makeup (including your eyelids and underneath your eyes). Take your time and enjoy it! Pretend you’re getting an awesome, overpriced facial during which the esthetician tells you all about how Nicole Kidman swears by almond oil or whatever.
  3. Wipe the oil off of your face with a cotton-round or a clean washcloth.
  4. Wash your face as normal.

Easy peasy, right? And it’s way cheaper than springing for some commercial makeup remover (that’s probably half oil anyway!)

If you’re thinking that applying oil to your skin is bad or will cause breakouts, you’d be mistaken. Sure, certain oils are comedogenic (clog pores), but olive, almond, grapeseed, castor oil, and many many others are perfectly fine for your skin. In fact, they’re good for your skin. Each oil has it’s own beautifying properties (castor oil, for example, is a great cleansing agent, and is better for naturally oily skin), and if you really want to get fancy, you can make a custom blend of your own, specifically tailored to your skin needs. (Head over to Crunchy Betty and read all about it. Her website is BOMB for natural beauty remedies. Can’t recommend it highly enough.) And let’s not forget that oils are excellent at preventing premature aging, which in itself, is worth it for me.

If the idea of slathering your face with oil still makes you uncomfortable, bear in mind that you’ll still wash your face afterwards. It’s not like you’ll be going to bed with oil-face. (Yuck.)

The fact is that most people over-cleanse their skin and hair, stripping it of it’s natural oils, causing their hair and skin to overproduce oil to make up for it. It’s a vicious cycle. Would it surprise you to know that I wash my hair once or twice a week? (GASP!) That’s because I use an extra mild shampoo, and my hair doesn’t produce nearly as much oil as it used to. (It took a couple of weeks to for my hair to transition.) And would it surprise you to know that I use a facial cleansing oil and not the foamy stuff? “Like dissolves like,” so in order to best remove all of the dirty oil on my face, I should replace it with clean oil, not strip it entirely. It takes some getting used to (I happen to like frothy, foamy face-washes), but I promise you that once you give it a fair chance, you won’t go back.

In case you’re interested in knowing specifically what I use, here are my two favorite oils, with info, pictures and links from the manufacturer’s website:

 

NOW Sweet Almond Oil (Got mine at New Frontiers, but I’ll bet they carry it at Whole Foods, too.)

Condition: For skin in need of clean and natural nourishment, as a moisturizer or for massage.

Solution: 100% Pure Almond Oil is an all-natural oil that’s perfect for nourishing and reviving any skin type. Almond Oil is easily absorbed and won’t clog pores, promoting clear, soft, healthy skin. This all-natural skin-nourishing oil is ideal for the entire body. Almond Oil is an all-natural oil derived from pressed almonds. Vegetable-derived oils date back to Biblical times, when they were mixed with fragrant herbs to create traditional ointments.

 

NOW Grapeseed Oil (Got mine at New Frontiers, but I’ll bet they carry it at Whole Foods, too.)

Condition: Sensitive skin in need of an all natural moisturizer and protection from premature aging, without clogging pores and causing breakouts.

Solution: 100% Pure Grapeseed Oil is a light, odorless oil with mild astringent and emollient properties. This versatile oil contains numerous essential fatty acids including Linoleic, Oleic, Stearic, Palmitic, Myristic and Lauric. its rich, silky texture is perfect for soothing away dryness and irritation and is suitable for all skin types since it won’t clog pores or cause break-outs. Grapeseed Oil is perfect as a base for lotions, and it’s mild enough to use as a conditioner for all hair types.

Have questions? Fire away! I’m always happy to share information, especially if it can save you a few bucks. Enjoy the an-home facial!

***And in case you’re wondering, I did not receive any sort of compensation or gift or anything whatsoever for this post. I’m just super excited about skin-care. 🙂 ***

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