The Naked Face Project: Two Women’s Primp-free Challenge

Molly Barker and Caitlin Boyle
Molly Barker and Caitlin Boyle

How long could you go without makeup? Or wearing high heels? Or deodorant? Friends Molly Barker and Caitlin Boyle wanted to find out for themselves when they embarked on a sixty-day challenge (which ends March 31st) to give up their usual beauty routines. The rules also include no shaving or other hair removal, no uncomfortable feminine clothes, no manicures, no special hairstyling, and no jewelry aside from their wedding bands. They chronicle their experience on the blog

The idea came to them, as so many do, over a cup of coffee at Starbucks. The two women met when Boyle, 27, volunteered to coach for 51-year-old Barker's organization Girls on the Run. Girls on the Run is a non-profit that develops tweens' self-esteem through running. Boyle is also the founder of, a website geared toward helping girls banish "negative self-talk." The women were discussing how they always encourage the girls to be "comfortable in their own skin," and, as Barker tells Shine, "I had never seen the irony of what I was doing in my personal life and how there could possibly be a misalignment with what I was telling the girls." They decided to investigate the deeper reasons why they had been wearing makeup and engaging in other grooming routines since they were young teens.

"I was taught to be a southern lady by my mom," Boyle tells Shine. "In the South, you wear make-up to go the to grocery store." Boyle says her husband has been very supportive of the project and says he prefers her without makeup. "He's not crazy about the hairy armpits, but he's rolling with it." She points out that she still dresses professionally and tries not to be "schlubby."

Barker says it took her about two weeks to get used to going without her beauty routine-which surprised her. She describes looking in the mirror and feeling dismissive about her hair, her face, and her age. Now, 51 days into the project, she says, "I feel no shame, no need to hide, prop up, cover up anything about who I am authentically. I feel as if my mind, body, and spirit really are in sync with one another."

As for Boyle, she became accustomed to going all-natural in about a week. She was notes that barely anyone noticed the change. "Its so strange, you think you are defined by these outside things but you give them up and you are the same and people treat you same...[during the project] I've had a lot more time to focus on the inside."

Americans spend about $60 billion a year on beauty products. Would you be willing to give up your cosmetics fix? Let us know in the comments below.