Last year I did a 7-week no-makeup challenge and it transformed the way I thought about myself and about beauty. I didn’t wear a TON of make-up but I would not leave the house without the basics -wearing tinted moisturizer, mascara, lip-gloss and a bronzer/blush combo. I felt like I needed these products to look beautiful or at least be presentable.
I grew up with a mother that placed the upmost importance on appearance and it was always stressed that my sisters and I be presentable young ladies. I would whine when she curled my hair, occasionally burning my ear or forehead because I wouldn’t sit still. I didn’t get why looks were important; I just wanted to play. It wasn’t until I hit middle school that I started caring about how I looked.
I started wearing make-up when I was 13, mostly because the other girls in my grade were wearing it, and partly because it was a way to express my creativity and individuality. I loved drawing and coloring so naturally I was curios about drawing on and coloring my face. I learned how to keep a steady hand to apply eyeliner, had fun with sparkly eye shadows and had several flavors of Lip Smackers lip-gloss. Make-up was fun. Somewhere between middle school and high school it went from fun to daily ritual. The make-up got heavier as the years went on and I felt less and less comfortable with my naked face.
While travelling the world, I’ve met some really inspirational women. Many of them leading natural lives, living clean, conscious and free of make-up. These women are beautiful – they radiate pure love for others and for themselves and inspired me to learn to love my make-up-less face. Also, by eating a natural raw food diet of mostly fresh fruits and veggies over the past three years, natural living in all ways became more and more appealing. When I went to Costa Rica last year I knew it would be the perfect time to do a 6-week no make-up challenge and I enjoyed it so much I did it for 7 weeks.
The first two weeks of make-up-free were difficult. Every time I passed a mirror I didn’t recognize or like the person looking back at me. It was uncomfortable to feel so exposed and I realized that I was wearing make-up as a literal mask to hide the real me. Step one was to work on the inside and become more comfortable being my true self. As the weeks went on this became easier and felt more natural. I stopped looking in the mirror all together except to brush my teeth at the end of the night. I didn’t do this on purpose either, it just happened. I didn’t need to look in the mirror anymore. I loved getting up in the morning, throwing on a pair of shorts and a tank, letting my hair out of my bun and I was ready to go! What a change being able to get ready for my day in 2 minutes, not knowing or caring how I looked. I felt like a kid again, able to focus on the excitement of a new day and fun activities instead of starting it off self-absorbed. I really didn’t realize how many times I would look in the mirror in a day to check and see if I looked good or not. This experience changed my life for the better as I became more aware of my thought patterns and self-image issues. It was a tool to help me release these old behaviors and learn to love myself more fully.
Many women I talk to say that they couldn’t imagine going make-up free for even one day. I would love to share some tips to help you feel more comfortable in your own skin and bare it all. I’ll give you a hint – It’s all about that glow! Instead of painting it on, you can glow from the inside out and let your beautiful self shine!
Wear a smile! - It’s your best feature! True beauty radiates from the inside. Smiling, even when we are in a bad mood releases endorphins that make us happy. When we are happy we glow and there’s nothing more attractive than tha
Know that you ARE beautiful! - Learn to love yourself exactly the way you are inside and out. Work on those negative thought patterns in your head that say you’re not good enough, pretty enough, successful enough, etc. You are a goddess and you are perfect! If you see yourself as beautiful, others will see that in you. We are all divine reflections of each other.
Take care of your skin– Get rid of the chemical cleansers and toners that dry up your skin. Your natural oils will balance and you won’t need to replenish them with moisturizers. If you want a natural moisturizer, use some quality coconut oil. Wash with clean water only and pat dry with a clean towel.
Hydrate! - Our bodies are comprised of mostly water and it’s our job to keep it hydrated with fresh, clean water.
Eat more fruits and veggies! - Get that glow from eating a raw vegan or high raw diet comprised of mostly fresh fruits and veggies. Healthy body = healthy skin. Fruits and vegetables are high in water content and full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals essential for healthy glowing skin. Most raw foodies I know are radiant beauties that don’t need to wear any make-up. Plus we detox through our skin so the less processed, junk foods and animal products you eat the less toxins your body will have to get rid of. Eating healthy is one of the most essential tips to beautiful skin.
Get some sun! – Sun kissed skin has a beautiful glow. Some women feel more comfortable wearing less makeup in the summer with a tan. Lots of skin care gurus will tell you to stay out of the sun, but the sun is essential to healthy glowing skin…you just have to be smart about it. Don’t go out and bake in peak UV hours. Get sunlight in the morning or late afternoon for a healthy tan.
Rest and Relax – They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing. Getting around 8 hours of sleep each night will do wonders for your skin and for the bags under your eyes. Stress also plays a big factor in pre-mature aging and it shows on your face. Do whatever it takes to reduce the stress in your life, whether that means finding a new job you love or ending relationships that don’t serve you anymore. Sometimes it just takes a simple shift in perspective to look on the bright side to let go of stress.
Start your day with exercise! – Getting your blood pumping with some physical activity brings a lovely rosy color to your cheeks and gives you a natural glow to start off your day.
Stop licking your lips! – Licking your lips dries them out, creating the ‘need’ for lip-gloss, especially if you live in drier climates. Start to pay attention to how often you lick your lips - you might be surprised! If you do wish to moisturize use coconut oil. You can also use coconut oil as a natural make-up remover!
RAWk your natural hair color– The closer to your natural hair color your hair is, the more natural you’ll look without makeup. Colors that contrast heavily can bring out blemishes on your skin. Keep your hair healthy with natural hair care. Use products that are free from sulphates, parabens and other nasty chemicals, or try the poo-free method!
Now I still enjoy wearing make-up sometimes, but the big difference is that I don’t feel like I need it to feel beautiful and I actually feel more beautiful wearing less. I can leave the house au natural without feeling like a gargoyle and that is freeing! There is nothing more beautiful than feeling comfortable and happy in your own skin. Plus my skin is happier being able to breathe! I challenge you to try having a few make-up free days and see how you feel. It all starts with caring about yourself and starting a more natural beauty routine to let your inner glow out.
Lots of love and fresh squeezed hugs,
Ashley Clark is a Holistic Health Coach, artist, photographer and the owner/operator of Naturally Ashley Nutrition. This prairie girl from Saskatchewan Canada loves to nourish her body positive thoughts and ripe seasonal fruits! She wants to share everything she knows about holistic living to inspire others on their journey to create a happy, healthy lifestyle naturally.
Ashley received holistic health coach training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has been following a raw vegan diet for three years. She has healed many health issues such as candida, gallbladder inflammation, chronic hives and allergies, sinus problems, digestive issues, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic urinary tract infections and more. She now feels lighter and brighter with abundant energy to pursue her dreams!