Could you (or would you?) go for a year without make-up (not me!)

I don’t know what it is with some women: they seem to get incredibly caught up in the superficial trappings of the The Beauty Experiment Book Coverfeminine realm and lose their sense of self.  So much so that they need to get all ascetic on themselves and then do some kind of tell-all about how wonderful it was.  That seems to be what happened to author Phoebe Baker Hyde who chronicles her journey (struggle?) in The Beauty Experiment: How I Skipped Lipstick, Ditched Fashion, Faced the World without Concealer, and Learned to Love the Real Me . \r\n\r\nI read an adapted excerpt of her book on Salon, and, honestly, it gave me a headache.  I could not believe that make-up would cause someone so much heartache.  Nor could I imagine that going without it would lead to such an epiphany.  To me, it’s kind of like blaming Barbie dolls for your eating disorder…..\r\n\r\nBaker Hyde seem to have missed some of the benefits that good make-up can provide for women.\r\n\r\nI happen to have very,very delicate skin, barely wrinkled, almost porcelain (except for a few freckles)  and I don’t look my 52 years (ok, other than a bit of pudge, I don’t look my 52 years.)\r\n\r\n

I won't go out in below 30 degree weather without make-up!
I won’t go out in below 30 degree weather without make-up!
\r\n\r\nI’m darned proud of it, too!  I credit some of my skin preservation to wearing make-up in extreme weather, like we’ve recently had in New England…\r\n\r\nBelieve me, when I have to go out in 5 degree weather, just to take out the garbage and do a couple of loads of laundry a few doors down at the laundromat, a simple sunscreen will not stop me from wrinkling like a prune.  Extreme cold air can be as dry as the Sahara.  I need an extra layer not just under my jeans, but on my skin…\r\n\r\nThe same way some people are never without lip balm in this kind of weather, I’m never without make-up.  Since I’ve learned how to put it on properly, and make it look natural, I don’t fear that it is a “mask,” that I’m hiding something, or that I’m doing it because I’ve been sold a bill of goods by the beauty industry about feminine ideals and I’m a slave to their marketing.\r\n\r\nTo quote Bugs Bunny: “Oh Margaret!”\r\n\r\nWhen I was in my 30’s, I started to break out in a rash on my cheeks.  Then small acne-like pustules.  I went to my doctor, who first thought I might have lupus.  Luckily it wasn’t.  She then gave me a cream for rosacea, which is a serious skin condition.  The rosacea cream wasn’t working–but antibacterial ointment, something I tried out of frustration, worked.\r\n\r\nIt turned out that part of the trouble was that the air in both my home and work environment was quite dry, and while my skin didn’t flake, it was so dry that I was getting microscopic abrasions on my face.  Bacteria was getting into those abrasions and causing the break-outs.   That’s why the antibiotic ointment worked to clear it up.  It also acted like a lip balm for my face when I went outside.\r\n\r\nThe doctor also told me that there were various kinds of very nasty bacteria that could get into the micro-abrasions and make me very, very sick.\r\n\r\nAfter that, I made sure I always used a good quality moisturizer and make-up in extreme weather.  Because nobody wants to walk around with greasy anti-bacterial ointment face every day.\r\n\r\nSo, for those of us who won’t part with our make-up for anything, maybe there’s a good reason, and maybe we’re wearing it to protect our skins and keep our skin healthy– not for some other vain or neurotic reason 🙂

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