Quite frankly, some of us would rather go pantsless than leave the house without powdering our noses, but that's exactly what The Beauty Bean website founder Alexis Wolfer is aiming to change.
In the vein of Casual Friday, she's spearheading Makeup Free Monday, a social campaign that challenges women to rethink their natural inner beauty and to stop apologizing for not wearing enough or perfectly-applied makeup.
"I deeply understand and value the power that makeup has to empower women and boost self esteem -- it is, after all, why I started an online women's magazine that focuses on beauty inside and out. In no way is Makeup Free Mondays meant to discount the allure of cosmetics or the power of beauty," says Wolfer.
Yet after hurrying into a work meeting with a male colleague, Wolfer found herself apologizing for not wearing makeup. She then realized how it 'ridiculous' it was that she felt the need to apologize for something that wasn't inherently 'wrong' -- and for something which it turns out the colleague didn't even notice. That's when the message really hit home for Wolfer.
"The Beauty Bean's mission is to promote better body image and prevent eating disorders, Part of developing confidence is becoming more comfortable in one's own skin. It's not that I want women to feel uncomfortable in makeup again, but I do want them to feel comfortable without it again. I want us all to be able to look in the mirrors without a swipe of blush or lip gloss and appreciate our natural beauty," adds Wolfer.
It was Wolfer's Columbia University graduate thesis on the role women's magazines play in promoting negative body image that conjured the writer's thoughts on the significant way in which the media influences women's identities.
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"Magazines hold a lot of power. They not only reflect society's values, but also shape them. Women are hungry -- pun intended -- for a place to get their beauty and fashion fix without being inundated by unrealistic body ideals. The proliferation of such damaging messages is in no way a necessary byproduct of fashion, beauty, health and fitness content," says Wolfer.
In addition to taking a day off from the war paint ritual, Wolfer encourages women to donate unused makeup to their local Dress for Success or women's charity, and to spread the word via social media.
While the idea sounds positive in theory, the hardcore makeupaholics among us may see Makeup Free Mondays as an impossibly painful proposition. Wolfer has some special advice for the beauty junkies.
"If the thought of going 'face-less' is just too daunting, we suggest that women start by eliminating one thing from their beauty routine. Another suggestion is to do a 'test run' on a weekend when you're just going to be with girlfriends or family to see how it feels," says Wolfer.
And despite Wolfer's intial anxiety and hesitation with going makeup-free herself, she says that the campaign has transformed her life.
"Makeup Free Mondays has been empowering, enlightening and beautifying -- so much so that I sometimes even take part in Makeup Free Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays too!" (It, uh, helps that she appears to have perfect skin.)
Los Angeles-based beauty empowerment coach Ungenita Prevost works with women business owners on better packaging themselves, and agrees with the campaign's message that makeup should be an enhancement and not a social shield.
"To think of beauty exclusively from a vanity perspective is an injustice. You must open your eyes and accept all that you are inside and out before you put on blush, eye shadow or lipstick. You can make up your face but when you makeover your mind, it will transform your life!"
Need a little push to go barefaced? Click here for expert tips for natural looking makeup!