Thursday, 3 March 2016

The End of Fresh Face February

February is over at last, and with it my own little challenge of going without make-up! Personally I think I did pretty well with this, although unfortunately I didn’t complete the full month. Sorry guys! I’m a little disappointed about it but I did make it three quarters of the way through so that’s still an achievement! Plus I feel I got a lot out of the experience, I guess it’s just a shame that that cruel bitch vanity beat me in the end.

Warning: This post might not make a lot of sense if you don’t know what Fresh Face February is, or haven’t read my previous posts about it. Find them here: An Introduction and Week 1 of Fresh Face February.

What exactly did I get out of it? Well for one thing extra sleep! (Obviously this is the most important factor.) It felt weird having extra time in the morning to dawdle before I left for lectures. It never feels like I take long doing my make-up, but 20 minutes every morning really adds up. Time probably isn't something you think you're sacrificing when you put on your daily war-paint, but I felt I gained a lot of it when I quit the status quo. Not just that extra sleep in and lunch-packing time, but also all the energy and time I spent on the daily wondering about whether my mascara has smudged or getting paranoid that I have lipstick on my teeth – usually the answer to both questions is yes (Note to self: invest in decent primer or make-up fixing spray). Of course the flip side to that was at first I spent a lot of time worrying and stressing about how awful I looked and what people might think but I got over it eventually. Embracing my face got easier as the month went on, even though I continued to suffer a fair few sports and massive pores. Obviously I felt self-conscious but forgot about it for the most part on the day-to-day, and then generally reminded myself that I wasn’t supposed to care about what people thought any more.

I needn’t have spent too much time on that anyways as my skin seemed to clear up in a very short time. Benefit number 2 of not clogging my face with slap every day. (y)  There was a bit of a hiccup, meaning the end of the second week brought with it clogged pores and lots of pimples. This was an unfortunate consequence of a slight mess up with my birth control, but luckily after a little while it seemingly cleared up right back up to the best skin I’ve ever had. Yes, I can honestly say that, last month I experienced the BEST SKIN I’VE EVER HAD (Well post-puberty, obviously).
I may have had nothing on my skin to protect my spots from the eyes of onlookers, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t taking the usual good care of it. I still moisturised each morning with a light oil-free facial moisturiser and kept up the whole cleansing and toning routine each night. It did seem a little pointless when I didn’t have anything to take off but y’know, it probably helped. 

Snippets of Fresh Face February originally shared via Instagram,/Twitter

I’m sure everyone can relate to the huge boost to my confidence than came with clear skin. But that wasn’t the only thing that helped improve my self-esteem. Yes that’s right. Who ever thought that not wearing make-up would improve my self-esteem!? I’ve actually had compliments despite what I thought was my eww-y appearance.  The absence of my classic ruby lip and cat eyes was noticeable I’m sure, but there were some who didn’t, or at least claimed not to, realise that I was consistently appearing bare faced. Then my friends that did know were really supportive and complementary, and of course my boyfriend stating that ‘I didn’t need make-up’ was a huge ego boost.

That wonderful statement of his sums up my own concluding epiphany: I really don’t need make-up. I thought this month would be much more of a challenge than it actually was. In fact I was deluded enough to think the earth might just fall of its axil on the first day I stepped out the house without it. I’m sure I was not alone in thinking that I really did need make-up to have confidence, to talk to new people, to teach my class etc. I’m sure it’s not really a huge surprise to anyone but be, that it turns out I don’t. Shocker!

Something that has really become apparent over this last month is how conditioned into wearing make-up we can all be, and have become. Yes, there’s the face that make-up can perfectly hide all our insecurities, but then there’s also the thing were not wearing it can exclude you from the in-groups of society.  There’s almost this snap judgement that if you’re not wearing make-up of some sort you must be ill, or living on the outside of modern day society, atleast in western culture. It seems nowadays those who regularly sport fresh faces are middle-aged, with neither the time to indulge their appearances or  to care, or those that reside in the ‘undesirable’ or ‘unpopular’ groups. Unless you were so perfectly formed at birth that you’re now the mortal of enemy of all other living females, in which case you’re surrounded by either very jealous frenemies or a few others of your kind, the more unlikely option there considering how extremely rare you are.

This realisation came when upon telling someone about teaching my first class make-up-free, they were both shocked and horrified and commented on how unprofessional such a choice was. Crazy, huh? But it’s true to a degree, and we can all judge those that don’t buy into society’s ideals of presenting yourself as close to perfect as you possibly can.

Breaking #FreshFaceFebruary

Something that troubled me was going home on 19th February which meant I’d be having my belated Valentine’s with the boyfriend. Okay, I’ll be straight with you – there was no ‘belated Valentine’s’ we don’t really do Valentines except for a card in the post but that’s a topic for another blogpost. Basically I was just trying to justify my foreseeable breaking of Fresh Face February from day 1.

Breaking or ending Fresh Face February was a decision that I did struggle with as time went on although I think I knew in all likelihood I would from the beginning. However what was an escape route I had looked forward to, suddenly transformed into a dreaded date in my diary. I felt genuine guilt. I really don’t like losing or failing at anything (who does?) and after three weeks without it I was completely alien to the concept of makeup. My decision was made up when I learnt of the plans I had for my reading week, and decided that all the days I’d be out and about on dates I would make myself “presentable.”

The day came and after lectures I went home to dress my face for the first time in 19 days before getting my trains home. Make up is so hard, okay!? Never underestimate your skills! It is nothing like riding a bike. What use to be my 20 minute daily make up routine took over an hour after being out of practice, and it was frustrating! I am actually stuck between deciding which was more painful, liquid eyeliner or eyebrows. I fear how long it would have taken me after another 10 days.

So at the end of the day I’m happy with what I did achieve and don’t really regret my decision to end it early, although it was more of an excuse just to wimp out. No matter how much I did accomplish I guess at the end of the day I just wasn’t prepared to look like a tramp next to my super-hot boyfriend, so yeah I had no real choice, okay? Forgive me for being weak.

Let me know about your experiences of #FreshFaceFebruary and what you think about it in the comments. 

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