I have a confusing relationship with make-up.

This has come up while travelling for two reasons:

1. It’s hella annoying to travel with make-up, and
2. People keep telling me to wear less and less of it.

Sometimes my make-up is my war paint. Sometimes the absence of make-up is my war paint. Sometimes wearing my hot pink lipstick is my jersey, sometimes wearing my bare skin is my flag. I don’t know which is ‘better’ or ‘right,’ I don’t know which looks more ‘beautiful.’ I don’t know why in some venues, it is more acceptable or professional to wear make-up. I don’t know why in some venues it’s weird to wear make-up. It’s all confusing to me. Wearing make-up can be empowering, or it can be a subconscious message to myself that it makes me ‘more,’ and therefore other times I am ‘less.’

So sometimes I’ve worn it, straight up, because I didn’t think I was enough without it.

Some women confessed that they couldn’t leave the house without it, some seemed indifferent, many admitted that travel made them start wearing less. Some women admitted that they loved to cake it on and that’s what they were at peace with. But my favourite answer BY FAR was from that of a woman in my community back home who I’ve always respected and admired:

“Ha!! I don’t give a sweet f*ck what other people think of my choices around makeup. I wear it when I teach. I wear it when I go out. I wear it when I do grocery shopping. And whenever I don’t want to wear it, I don’t! What other people think of me is none of my business and what I do with my face is my choice. I love adorning my skin with gorgeous powders and potions and I also love that pure out of the shower look and feel! …And I think you look amazing with makeup on or not. You’re gorgeous!!! End rant.”

What is distinct about this response is the lack of attachment to either side, while simultaneously finding the delight on each side. Unattached and playful. Powerful and owning it. Could you be any more enlightened about make-up? (She also mentioned a clean cosmetic company from where she gets her make-up that is eco-friendly and ethical, so extra points there.)

After months and months of travelling, though, I’ve come to wear less and less. I’ve also noticed that when I do choose to wear it, it’s not because I’m less without it — it’s because it would make me feel awesome. I’m starting to see what this unattached-playful-powerful-owning business is about.

All in all, I just try (more and more — it’s a process) to check in every time I consider wearing it — why am I wearing it? For this occasion, does it empower me, or subtly diss me? Is it authentic right now, or inauthentic?

How do you relate to your REAL, UNTOUCHED face?!

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