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A Makeup-Free Year

Me, sporting raven-black hair and a makeup-free face.

The other day I was scheduled to do a media interview.

I hadn’t done one of those in awhile, but I still remembered the drill.

RULE #1Wear makeup on camera, or risk appearing to have actually died during the interview.

(Not ideal under any circumstances, but especially not when you are filming a television spot about eating disorders!)

And I was totally prepared to make sure I looked alive and kicking on camera….except for one tiny detail.

I couldn’t locate my makeup.

To make matters worse, the day before I had finally taken the plunge and dyed my hair raven black with purple highlights.

Which meant the most likely outcome would unfold as follows:

Pale skin + black hair + harsh TV lighting = on-camera Zombie.

Otherwise, however, all this was pretty cool.

I’ve pretty much been makeup-free for months now, and I hadn’t even noticed!

Thinking back, I’m pretty sure it started last fall when my boyfriend and I were driving down to Galveston (where Houstonians like us go when we want to visit the beach). We were talking about a show we’d seen on dramatic makeovers, plastic surgery, etc.

I shared how I’d seen some of my Facebook friends posting pics of themselves without makeup to celebrate “Makeup-Free Day.” He laughed and said, “Makeup-Free DAY? How about Makeup-Free YEAR?!”

I thought that was a pretty cool idea.

Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t a conscious decision to go makeup-free, even after that conversation.

And I still have a few basics lying around. Mineral powder, mascara, eyebrow pencil….every so often I use these when I feel like “making up.” But shadow, blush, lipstick – these things I have to hunt for.

In fact, I only keep them around at all for media interviews!

So I hunted. I hunted and hunted, and finally located some in a bag in my bathroom closet.

We did the interview. Everything went swimmingly (except for the moments when my parrot decided to add his insights….and temporarily blew out the interviewer’s mic).

I haven’t seen the film yet, of course, so I’m not totally sure how I looked.

But with the amount of makeup I applied, I can guesstimate I will likely appear to be both alive and makeup-free when the piece finally airs (that is how much camera lights can wash me out with my pale skin).

It’s not that I don’t appreciate how makeup can be art (I love marveling at the artistry of a great makeup artist as much as the next person).

And it’s not even that I don’t enjoy getting all fancied up every so often.

It’s just – I don’t feel exactly like “me” with makeup on. I just don’t. I never have.

Makeup is not one of my mentors. It feels more like one of my masks – and one I only put on when every part of me is agreement that my reasons for doing so are healthy and fun…and temporary.

Otherwise, after 20 years spent battling and then recovering from an eating disorder, I want to spend the next 20 years – and as many years as possible – feeling as close to the “real me” as possible.

This is why I love my boyfriend’s idea of a “makeup-free year.”

And maybe one day I will have the guts to go on camera sans makeup….so long as the television station agrees in advance to keep the Zombie Alert hotline open after my spot airs.

Today’s Takeaway: Whether you work in the spotlight (which typically necessitates makeup regardless of gender) or you just wear it in your day to day, do you have a preference for wearing makeup or going without? If so, how did your preference form? Do you feel more like “you” with or without makeup? I’d love to hear what you think!

A Makeup-Free Year

Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Mentor. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2019). A Makeup-Free Year. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Mar 2019
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