Last week when Reg and I took our road trip, I spent five days without a shower and 11 days without makeup. It is without question the longest I’ve gone without those two things in over 10 years. While the shower experience I’d prefer not to repeat again (although I’ll have to in a couple weeks when I go rafting down the Grand Canyon), going over a week without makeup was a strangely liberating experience.
I’ve talked before about my beliefs and personal experiences around makeup before on this blog, but to sum it up, I think that you can be a feminist and pro-women’s freedom from patriarchal oppression while still choosing to don foundation and mascara every day. I also think that most of us still have a slightly unhealthy relationship with makeup despite that. Without question I prefer how I look with it on, and I often feel little choice about wearing it due to my absolutely hatred of my acne scars from those unfortunate teenage years.
But Reg and I were camping for so many days in a row, makeup would have been an absurd endeavor. First of all, I was mostly hanging out with my boyfriend of 6+ years who has seen me without makeup every day. But we were also hanging out in the dirt, constantly getting rained on, swimming, and doing a host of other activities that are just not eyeliner compatible.
I’ve gone without makeup before, but it’s usually on a Sunday where I’m home putting around the house. I’m not one of those people who needs to put on a full face for myself alone, so it feels like a lot of work if no one is going to see it. Besides, I figure my skin could use a little break from pastes and powders. But if I’m going to work or even out to dinner with friends or Reg, you bet your boots I’m putting it on.
So it was kind of wonderfully refreshing to wake up in our tent or car every morning, wipe myself off with a wet wipe, not look in the mirror once, and move on with my day. The fact that there were so few mirrors about certainly helped – I did relatively little thinking about my appearance at all and usually just elected to braid my hair simply and throw on jeans and a tattered sweatshirt. My entire body was meant for utility and function, driving the car through the rain or climbing a hill to see a waterfall.
And you know what, it honestly didn’t bother me. Part of camping is just getting into the spirit of not worrying about that kind of stuff, no matter how much I’m careful with my appearance on a typical workday. And when I did catch a glance of myself in a bathroom mirror at a ranger station or rest stop, I only thought to myself, “huh, look at that outdoorsy, badass lady who would fit right in on the wild west.” I have a certain amount of pride that I’m good at putting up a tent or building a fire, and my ability to leave behind the conventional beauty standards of normal society fit right into that.
Now that I’m back here in the real world, I’ve started putting on makeup again. But it’s refreshing to know that I really don’t I need it to feel good about myself. Heck, I now look back at all the adorable photos we took on our adventure, and I honestly like the way that I look in them, even though no one will ever mistake me for a picture perfect model.
Do you wear makeup every day? What’s the longest you’ve gone without wearing any?
(Kudos to Jenn for getting me thinking about this topic after I read her own post about makeup.)