On Monday, the women of The Talk went make-up free for their entire show. Their guests joined in and all of them spent the length of the episode with minimal hairstyles, natural faces, and robes or towels on. The photos are amazing, but even more importantly, the message this brings to all women is stunning.
Last week, my boyfriend was watching me put my makeup on for work. I thought he was just being a punk, but it turns out he had never watched a woman put on makeup and was confused by such a “ritual”. The more I thought about his observation, the more it made sense. For as long as human history has been on record, women have been altering their appearance with whatever means they had. Ancient Egyptians used kohl to paint their eyelids, women in the European Middle Ages painted their faces to make their skin color look pale, and the Industrial Age made red lipstick a staple for American women. When we look back at the way women used to “beautify”, we are often amazed at the length they would go and the products they would use to fit into the standard of beauty for the time period. And when you think about it, we do the same thing today. Makeup really is just synthetic colors and dyes that we paint on ourselves to enhance our appearance… and when you say it like that, it just sounds silly.
Don’t get me wrong, I cover up the bags under my eyes with concealer, make my eyelashes look longer with mascara, and use bronzer to brighten up my skin. But for every day I wear makeup, there are two days that I don’t. And how I feel stepping out of my house has nothing to do with whether I’m wearing concealer or not. So, this is not a bash on makeup or anyone that uses it; this is me applauding the women of The Talk for opening up the conversation.
And what I honestly think this comes down to is the way we women treat each other. I actually remember the first time I looked at another woman and thought she looked great without feeling jealousy, resentment, or like I was in a competition. I remember that moment because it was in those few seconds that I realized I’d spent my life up until that point comparing myself to other women. It hit me that I could appreciate another woman’s looks without judging her. It was incredibly refreshing to realize I didn’t have to enslave myself to thoughts of a competitive nature. And that’s when my mindset on my relationships with other women changed.. and that’s also when my self-esteem changed.
The demeanor of the women on the Talk when they first revealed themselves makeup free shows exactly what I’m talking about. They were a little uncertain and obviously a bit uncomfortable. And as the show went on (and they felt support from the women in the audience), you could see each of them laughing a little bit easier and looking a little more confident. They all looked like a group of friends just hanging out and chatting, like a group of women I could hang out with.
I worked at a salon recently where I was criticized for not caring much about makeup. It actually became an inside joke between myself and my coworkers how my boss just couldn’t accept that I didn’t want to spend large amounts of time on my hair and makeup before coming to work. And at that job and many others, I’ve had women sit in my chair at various ages who were obviously not comfortable in their skin and striving to look like someone they weren’t. I’ve also spent a lot of time mentoring teenage girls struggling with the same problems and trying to find their place. The effects all of this comparison and bashing are absolutely horrifying and sometimes irreparable.
I applaud the women of The Talk for starting a revolution that I hope continues. Real women, real sizes, real stories.. all of us beautiful with or without make-up! :)