I was not aware of this until late Tuesday night, but apparently there is a photo challenge making it’s way across the social networks at the moment. Depending on whose Facebook or other social status update you click on it may be called a number of things…the ones I’ve come across are “Zero Make-Up Challenge”, “Love the Skin You’re In Challenge”, and “All-Natural You Challenge” amongst others. Regardless of what it’s called, it’s always the same: take a photo of yourself without any kind of make-up or enhancements, do not modify the photo in any way (like using filters to make your skin a nicer color or something), and then post that photo for the world to see. The idea is to promote a healthy image of yourself and to show that beauty isn’t the result of make-up application or Photoshopping. After posting your own un-made-up, unaltered photo, you’re supposed to nominate others to take up the challenge as well. The whole thing is taking off like wildfire, and recently my cousin nominated me, so I shared this photo – taken first thing in the morning right after waking – on my Facebook feed:
For myself, this challenge wasn’t a huge deal because I never wear a lot of make-up anyway. Every so often if I’m going to a party or a wedding or something I’ll add a bit of mascara and maybe some eyeliner, but for the most part I only ever wear lipstick, and only that because I find it detracts from how pale my skin is. It’s not necessarily that I don’t think I look nice wearing make-up; I’m just one of those few women who is way too lazy to give a damn. I like being able to be out the door in 2 minutes. Spending an hour in the bathroom meticulously working on my hair and face just isn’t how I like to spend my time.
Despite the “lazy as hell” part of that confession, I honestly think it’s a good attitude. After all, the fact that I’m not willing to spend time on things like make-up proves that I’m comfortable in my own skin, right?
But it is a difficult attitude to have, for sure, and I didn’t always think that way. I can remember back in junior high I used to obsess over the state of my hair. I always wore it in a ponytail, which you’d think would be pretty simple, but I couldn’t allow a single hair to be out of place. It would practically kill me if there was even a single little bump in the way my hair sat, so I would meticulously comb and comb and comb until every stand was perfectly flat against my head, and then I would hair-spray the crap out of myself to make sure it all stayed in place. When I would pull the ponytail out at the end of the day my hair wouldn’t even fall…that’s how much hair spray I would use.
Unfortunately when we’re younger and stupider it doesn’t really matter what anyone says…almost every one of us obsesses over our looks. One kid might sulk in a corner, insistent that they’re ugly and that there’s no point in even trying, while another will spend hours each day making sure that every little thing about their appearance is absolutely perfect. I think you’d be hard pressed to find many teenagers who can just get up in the morning, brush their hair, throw on some jeans and a t-shirt, and honestly believe that they look great. Even the boys I went to school with would spend all morning and half a bottle of hair gel to make themselves look like they’d just rolled out of bed looking gorgeous. No matter how much we try to convince kids that they’re all beautiful in their own way, they don’t believe it because that’s part of being a kid.
The bigger issue, I think, is when those attitudes follow you into adulthood. If you’re in your own place, with a career, possibly a spouse and some kids, and you still feel that you have to spend vast amounts of time and effort making yourself look “beautiful” every day, well…that’s a bit depressing. And that’s why I love this challenge. That photo of me up there might not be me at my best, but it’s me. The messy bun on top of my head is there because I’d rather snuggle with my husband for a few extra minutes in the morning instead of jumping right up and rushing off to the shower. The dark circles under my eyes are signs of loving my daughter enough to drag my butt out of bed at 2 am to go get her a drink. The lack of make-up shows that I have better things to do with my time than make myself “pretty” just to hang around the house. That’s me in that photo, through and through, and I have no good reason to try and be anyone else, thank you very much. 🙂
So how about it, ladies and gents? Are you willing to take the challenge? Post an unaltered photo of an unaltered you on your blog or social network site and link back so that I can see your commitment! 🙂