On Friday 29 August 2014, Kosmea will join thousands of Australian women in going make up free to make a stand for positive self-image and raise funds for a worthy cause. This year, Makeup Free Me aims to raise $250,000 for the Butterfly Foundation with 100% of funds raised going to combat negative body image and support those affected by eating disorders.
Here’s my story and some insight into why this cause speaks to me:
Several months ago, I was both intrigued by and mortified at the social media trend of #makeupfreeselfies.
I was seriously impressed by the gutsiness of my girlfriends uploading their bare-faced images on Facebook, and as each one appeared in my newsfeed, thought “Wow, she’s so naturally beautiful”.
Then a sickening thought entered my mind.
Please don’t let anyone nominate me to go barefaced.
You see, every day since I was about fifteen, I have worn makeup. Some days just a little concealer, many days a full face of slap. Every day something.
While I was proud of my friends and admired their courage (and genuinely thought they looked beautiful without makeup), when it came to me, it was a different story. I’m not beautiful without makeup. I’m plain and unworthy of the world’s eyes.
How did it get to this?
As an adolescent, I went from being a fresh-faced teen, who swam laps daily and followed the Catholic girl’s school rules of strictly no makeup, to being a concealer-brandishing, lip-gloss-in-the-uniform-pocket, compulsive mirror-checking girl as if overnight.
I don’t wish to place blame, but if I could pick a pivotal moment when I became obsessed with my looks, it was my “discovery” by a model agent from Vivien’s Management when I was sixteen.
From there, I wasn’t helped by a looks-obsessed, perfection-expecting partner who I fell in love with at age seventeen. I was a trophy and I had an image to uphold. My self-confidence depleted over the following four years.
The modelling career failed to take flight (I prioritised my studies).
That relationship eventually ended in complete devastation, and I was left with my mask. I struggled to maintain the appearance of someone who was coping. My rituals of covering my grief in foundation, spray tan, and lipstick was well and truly a lifesaver. And also my Mum and some very dear special friends.
My perfectly applied face was my shield against the cruelty of the world and the harsh (and un-substantiated) criticism which fell upon me after my breakup.
When I met my husband, Preschool Daddy, everything changed. He loved me. I remember one night on our way home from a date, 12pm and I was in the passenger seat of his car, reapplying my eyeliner. He was miffed as to why I thought this was necessary. He told me gently that its wasn’t. From that moment on, I felt accepted and worthy. Without the mask.
These days, even with three little kids underfoot, I still prioritise personal appearance. For example, I’d never go to Woollies, much less work, without makeup on.
This Friday coming, I’m going to go to work without any makeup. I highly doubt anyone will notice or care but it will be challenging and hopefully liberating to me. I’ve been prepping my skin for a few weeks with my Kosmea Rosehip Oil, which I love, and which I feel gives me confidence through healthy skin.
You never know, I might even snap a #makeupfreeselfie to prove it!
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT