Recently, we wrote about Annie Garau, the 20-year-old Indiana University student spending one year makeup-free. Both moved by and curious about her story, the Yahoo Beauty team decided to jump on Garau’s bandwagon. It wasn’t quite a year, but we did spend a whole week without makeup—minus one very legit cheat! Read on for our reflections on the experiment.
Bobbi Brown, Editor in Chief
I don’t really understand the big deal about girls announcing that they are going to go makeup-free. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Especially when I read the story on Annie Garau, a college student who has been makeup-free for 200 days and counting. She’s fresh-faced, tan, and only 20. It’s pretty easy to be makeup-free when you’re that age.
When my Yahoo Beauty team suggested we follow in Annie’s footsteps for a week, I was on board. I’m not afraid to go without makeup. Despite being in the business, I often go without, especially on vacation. I went to meetings, dinners, and appointments without makeup and it was absolutely fine. I have to confess I didn’t go makeup-free the whole time. I had a shoot with Harper’s Bazaar and let a makeup artist go to work for the pictures. Having it on again was a reminder of all the reasons why I love makeup. While I don’t need it to feel good about myself, it is a big confidence booster. I love adding a little glow with bronzer, bringing some color to my face with lipstick, and making my eyes pop just a little more with liner and mascara. Not surprisingly, I love makeup.
Britt Aboutaleb, Managing Editor
I just broke my ankle and it was my first week back in the office with my spanking-new cast. Needless to say, I garner a lot of attention wherever I go now, and given all that attention, it would’ve been nice to have a swipe of mascara. Other than that magic black wand, I really just depend on makeup for covering up blemishes and late nights. Luckily, having gone without makeup while on bed rest the week before, my skin was glowing and I actually really enjoyed not having to even look in the mirror every morning.
Friends asked, “Are you really not wearing makeup?” One fellow editor said, “I would NEVER,” and “You are so brave,” said another. Meanwhile, I got to enjoy what felt like sleeping in every morning, and I could rub my eyes midday which, though terrible for my skin, felt kind of luxurious. The only time I really faltered was during a big meeting under neon lights where I was sure I looked tired. But I felt wide-awake, and that’s all that matters! My weekends are typically makeup-free, and I can see that habit potentially sliding into Monday, but the truth is I don’t feel like I’m making a statement either way.
Ruba Abu-Nimah, Creative Director
In the wise words of Mies Van der Rohe, “Less is more”.
Joanna Douglas, Senior Editor
I’m a fan of the natural look, so I thought going makeup-free would be super easy. But during the week, I wear concealer under my eyes, cream blush and shadow, mascara on top lashes, and a sheer lipstick. If I was just in the office I don’t think I would have cared; but going to so many appointments and events with beauty publicists and editors, I worried people might think I looked sloppy or didn’t care about my appearance. At first I was quick to announce that I was going makeup-free for work everywhere I went. But people insisted they couldn’t tell a difference, that my skin looked nice, and did I even really wear much makeup anyway? Were they just being nice or being honest?
A few late nights made me yearn for concealer. The mirror I keep on my desk to test new products haunted me until I moved it away. If I didn’t see myself not wearing makeup I forgot. The whole thing was definitely harder than I thought, but I shaved about 10 minutes off my morning routine, 5 off my evening routine (no mascara removal!), and my skin was so clear. When it came time to sweat, I didn’t worry about makeup running or smudging, and my typically itchy eyes didn’t bother me. I don’t think I’ll ever give up makeup, but I might streamline my routine!
Sara Bliss, Writer
It takes me about five minutes to apply my daily makeup: tinted moisturizer, bronzer, mascara, and lipstick. I’m not a makeup junkie — most of the time you can’t really tell I am wearing it — but I do love what it does. I have worn makeup forever and I love that it hides the things I don’t want to enhance and enhances the things I do. I have never had great skin, thanks to rosacea and occasional breakouts, and discovering the power of foundation at 16 made me so much more confident. As the years have progressed, I’ve come to love how concealer hides late nights spent with babies and work, and how sexy I feel with a pretty sheer red lip.
So I have to say I really missed makeup this week. It’s not that I don’t like the way I look without it — I love my quirky looks— but do I love the way I look with makeup a bit more. I don’t really think makeup is a feminist issue, I don’t think there is anything particularly empowering about not wearing or wearing makeup; it’s about feeling as comfortable, beautiful, and fierce as you can. How you get to that place is such a personal decision. When I looked in the mirror the makeup-free week, I couldn’t help but focus on my flaws: blotchy skin, crazy under-eye circles, and a winter pallor that still exists in August. But when I wear makeup, I don’t really focus on how I look, I just get on with my day.
Tara Tersigni, Business Manager
I don’t wear much makeup on a daily basis — being natural is my norm. However, when you only wear mascara, clear brow gel, and a sweep of blush every day, not having those three little pick-me-ups makes a huge difference. I was still comfortable but always conscious that I had nothing on, and it felt like I was without my usual bulletproof confidence. The week really proved to me that a little mascara can go a long way.
Laura Cates, Intern
Most people would think that going a week without makeup would be easy for someone in her 20s, but they’re wrong. I might have younger skin, but it didn’t make me feel any more confident. I don’t typically wear that much makeup to begin with: mascara, light eye shadow, bronzer, blush, and concealer. I particularly felt exposed without concealor; I couldn’t cover up any blemishes or the dark circles under my eyes, and I felt as if I looked a lot younger. I use makeup with a light hand, but I use it because I enjoy it. When done correctly, I feel as if it makes me look more professional and mature. Even though other people probably couldn’t tell that I wasn’t wearing makeup, I knew, and that made me feel uncomfortable. Let’s just say I was very happy to return to my mascara and concealer when the week was over!