My thoughts as I near the halfway point of the Project.


New to this series?  Please check out The Naked Face Project website and my introduction to TNFP to get a complete understanding of the intention behind the Project. 


I can’t believe I’m already writing my fourth post for The Naked Face Project.  Honestly, I thought the 60 days would crawl by, but time sure is flying.  At the end of February, Molly Barker and I will be halfway through our own personal experiment to experience life without makeup, shaving, or primping.


This morning, I was thinking that it would’ve been interesting for me to do this Project without telling anyone about the Project itself so I could record the ‘true’ reactions of my husband, parents, and friends. But honestly, I’m not sure that I’d be getting as much out of the Project without having the ability to discuss my thoughts with these people… as well as with you via the blog!  I benefited so much by publicly discussing how my family and my hometown influenced my thoughts about feminine beauty, the concept of a Self-Esteem Evolution, and the feminist label.  I don’t think my thoughts about the Project would be 50% as well-rounded or deep without hearing from other people.  So thank you for your feedback!


Since this is essentially the halfway mark, I thought I should record my reactions to the Project thus far and answer some of the most common questions that I’ve received.


I like… I like not ‘having’ to wear makeup every day.  I anticipate this will be my greatest practical takeaway from the Project.  I’ve written before about how I was raised by a Southern momma who would never leave the house without her ‘face’ on, and I followed this example every day since I was 15 or so.  But you know what?  No one actually has to wear makeup every day.  I can’t even tell you how many more appointments I have been on-time for in the last three weeks (I struggle with promptness) because I could skip the makeup routine. 


I miss… I miss not having smooth legs and armpits.  I wrote at the beginning of the Project that I do not enjoy the act of shaving, and this is still true.  It’s a chore, and it’s sometimes painful.  But I miss the smoothness of my old legs.  I guess I’ve been culturally conditioned to like it.  Although having hair is kind of cool, too.  I like the pet my legs now – seriously!  Smile  But I will definitely go back to shaving.


I look forward to…  Despite my new appreciation for makeup freedom, I do look forward to being able to wear some makeup again.  I didn’t like that I felt obligated to wear makeup, but there have been a few days that I felt exhausted or under-the-weather and a little bit of primping would’ve felt nice.  I also miss painting my nails because I used to get manicures as a ‘reward’ for completing work projects or other tasks, and I find a trip to the salon to be very relaxing.


I have saved… I have saved nearly 300 minutes and at least $60 in 24 days by not wearing makeup, shaving, or primping.  Booyah.


I still… I still feel sexy.  This Project has really helped me understand that true sexiness is not about makeup or high heels or even shaving.  Sexiness and confidence really comes from within.  And I’m saying that as a 24-week pregnant lady!


I have realized…  A few people have asked me if I feel ‘embarrassed’ at the pool for having hairy legs and armpits, and I have realized that I really don’t care if others are judging me.  Although I haven’t kept the Project a secret from my friends and the blog world, my plan has always been to dress as I normally would (I rocked shorts and a sleeveless top yesterday) and not to use the Project as an ‘excuse’ in discussions with strangers.  Meaning I won’t say, “Oh, this is just this crazy temporary experiment…”  My plan is to just say, “I don’t shave my legs,” and see what happens.  I’m not surprised that strangers haven’t said anything to me (because, seriously, how rude would that be?).  I’ve caught a few sideways glances as I did overhead presses at the gym – hello, hair! – but again… I just don’t care if I’m being judged.  I already believed this, but the Project has helped me more fully understand and assimilate that we are all different, we are all beautiful, and we don’t have to follow cultural beauty norms to be acceptable.  Others might try to make you believe that or treat you like you aren’t acceptable if you don’t fit in – whether it’s because of makeup or hair or body type or dress – but they are the ones who are wrong and are buying into the lies imposed by our society’s messed-up views.  At the end of the day, the surface really doesn’t matter, even if other people think it does.  After all, made-up or not, I’m still the same person at the core.


Also, I have realized… In a similar vein, this Project has helped me realize that, most of the time, our self-consciousness is disproportionate to others’ judgments.  Basically, I imagine that people care a lot more than they do.  For example, as a teen, I used to get worked up over my crooked front tooth; I asked a friend the other day if she had ever even noticed it, and she said no.  Oh, how I wish I could back in time and tell Teenage Caitlin to stop stressing out about something so small.


I can’t control… That being said, I can’t control how other people view me, the biases they impose on me, and the disadvantages I may experience as a result of the Project.  A few people have asked me if I feel professionally devalued by others as a result of my reduced ‘beauty routine,’ pointing to this study (funded by Procter & Gamble, which sells CoverGirl and Dolce & Gabbana makeup) that determined that people view women as ‘more competent’ if they are wearing makeup.  I am currently reading The Beauty Myth, and one of the topics is how women are forced to walk a thin line in the professional world – we have to look feminine to be valued, but if we look ‘too’ feminine, we are devalued and thought of merely as sexual objects.  Basically, the system is designed to screw women over – we’re always going to be not enough or too much, depending on who is doing the judging.  I am not in career fields that strongly value appearance; as a writer, I generally hide behind a computer, and no one cares if the secretary at the clinic isn’t wearing eyeliner.  I’m currently in the middle of a slew of public speaking events, and my thoughts about being naked faced in front of 300 people may be different if I was talking about a different subject matter.  Since I’m discussing negative self-talk and self-esteem, it feels more authentic not to wear makeup to events (I have also done two local news segments sans makeup and didn’t mind in the slightest).  That being said, I might feel differently if I was delivering a talk on the latest medical procedure to a room filled with mostly male doctors (which goes back to the issues brought up by The Beauty Myth). 


I am beginning to see… The Project is personal for me, as I’m not judging the habits themselves or people who engage in them.  I’m just seeking to understand why I do the things I do.  But I’m beginning to see that the reasons are pretty complex and are influenced by so many outside sources.  My beauty habits are about how I was raised, where I was raised, how other people treat me, my self-esteem, how society views me as an individual, and how society views women as a group.  It does my head in, but it’s very interesting to ponder.


I’m limited… I understand that the best and the most limiting thing about the Project is that I can only experience it in one way.  I hope you all understand that I’m not assuming to know what it would be like to do this Project if I was older, single, taller, shorter, in a different career field, a different body type, a different race, in another part of the country, etc.  I can only write about my own perspective!  That’s why I’m glad to have Molly Barker on board with me – she’s 51 years old, the mother of two teenagers, and single.  She brings a different perspective to the Project, and for that, I am so grateful.  Check out her blog musings here!



  • Catalina @ Cake with Love February 24, 2012, 2:50 pm

    Very nice post! I agree and relate to it very much, we are all beautiful, and different at the same time, I am glad you are taking so much benefit of this project! You are very inspiring! p.s. 300 minutes? wow thats a lot, I have never thought to calculate how long my beauty routine takes!

  • Stephanie @ Legally Blinde February 24, 2012, 2:52 pm

    Great post – I love hearing about your experiences with the Naked Face Project so far. I think everything you’re writing is very empowering, and I love that you still feel sexy. That’s so great to hear. And kudos for doing news segments sans makeup – that’s awesome!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape February 24, 2012, 2:52 pm

    I love these posts–I find them really fascinating. I know personally, I wouldn’t miss make-up THAT much but I would feel uncomfortable flaunting the non-shaving in public. You’d probably find me in long pants and sleeves for pretty much the entire 60 days.

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 24, 2012, 2:52 pm

    I have really enjoyed following this experiment. I didn’t even think of the savings involved – both time and money!

    One of the things that has shocked me about the cleanse I’m doing is the amount of $$$ I’ve saved. the first week on I spent $350 less than the week prior! A friend suggested I use the money for a Vitamix… I’m tempted. 🙂

    • CaitlinHTP February 24, 2012, 2:53 pm

      YES. Buy yourself a Vitamix with the money saved. I bought a refurbished one from their website two months ago and it is the best thing ever.

  • Hannah February 24, 2012, 2:55 pm

    That’s funny you mentioned your crooked tooth because I never noticed it until I saw that picture above and thought how charming it was! You’re awesome.

  • Sarah February 24, 2012, 2:56 pm

    Reading this post has definitely made me realize that I judge people in my head for these types of things.
    I am going to make a conscious effort to be more accepting.

    • CaitlinHTP February 24, 2012, 2:58 pm

      I will admit that I, of course, also have judgmental moments towards other people. Molly just wrote a good post on the very subject. I think we all do it, we’re all human, but making the effort not to judge others is pretty awesome.

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 24, 2012, 2:56 pm

    Haha I’d have to say the underarm hair and leg hair would bother me most. I actually don’t wear make up if I 1) don’t have to go into school or 2) am not going out with people I know. Although I even nixed that last weekend, I went out to dinner with some of my family without makeup! For me, half of it is not just putting it on, but having to wash it off when I’m exhausted and just want to go to bed!

    Also, I think this would be a really interesting experiment for someone to do without telling anyone. Maybe for less time though, like go for two weeks and see if anyone close to you says anything.

  • Sarah February 24, 2012, 2:58 pm

    This has been so interesting to follow.

    I work as an architect in a small firm where I am the only woman besides the receptionist (who is married to the boss).

    Thanks to your experiment, I’ve thought more lately about how this situation influences my beauty routines. Which it does. A LOT. Not necessarily in a bad or good way, it’s just different.

  • Emily February 24, 2012, 2:58 pm

    I am loving these posts! It makes me question things I do routinely. I know, for example, that if I wear a skirt to work more doors are held open for me, and I’m more likely to be more successful in having certain people listen to what I’m saying. I sometimes wonder how much of this is just biology and how much is social conditioning.

    Have you read books by Derrick Jensen or Daniel Quinn? They completely widened my consciousness and really changed the way I see the world and I would wholeheartedly recommend them. And I obviously need to read The Beauty Myth!

    • CaitlinHTP February 24, 2012, 2:59 pm

      No, I haven’t. But I have to say that I have been getting SO MANY awesome book recommendations and I can’t wait to start tackling them all. I wish I could read by osmosis – just put the cover to my head and absorb all the information. LOL

  • Lindsay @ Running the Windy City February 24, 2012, 2:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing as always!

  • Erin February 24, 2012, 3:01 pm

    Kudos to you for not telling people who notice your arm pits or hairy legs that it’s just an experiment. I just don’t know if I would be able to not explain to others the reasoning. I find myself always doing that; trying to make others understand why I’m doing something or why I’m wearing something, etc.
    Wow, I guess the reasoning why I do that, is because I do tend to care what others are thinking of me. Not all the time but mostly I do. Guess I need to work on that a little bit 🙂

    • Jen February 25, 2012, 2:44 am

      I can totally relate…I think that I tend to “explain” myself way too much. Need to work on that! 🙂

  • Kortney February 24, 2012, 3:01 pm

    I worked at a gym up until I had my baby 13 weeks ago. When the corporate would come to the gym (which they did once a month) they would always threaten to fire me for not fixing my hair or wearing makeup. By fixing I mean straightening it. It was awful. I worked there for three years and only stayed for then insurance benefits. Thankfully my husband got a great job right after I got pregnant with good insurance that allows me to stay home now. Regardless it’s amazing to me how the world views people. I only wear makeup maybe once every 2-3 months and straighten my hair even less. My hair is typically pulled back in a nice bun or ponytail. Props to you for doing this!

    • CaitlinHTP February 24, 2012, 3:03 pm

      Did they make similar beauty demands on the male staff?

  • faith February 24, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Beautiful, genuine, thoughtful post as usual Caitlin, thank you. I especially like the “I still”. 🙂

  • Regina February 24, 2012, 3:12 pm

    So I have what feels like a totally inappropriate question, but I see you’re still swimming at the pool and I’m curious. Are you tending your bikini line?

    • CaitlinHTP February 24, 2012, 3:14 pm

      Haha… I love it. No tending but its really not as bad as I imagined it would be. Also, thankfully, sports bathing suits are cut a lot friendler than bikinis (well, at least mine is).

  • Brita February 24, 2012, 3:13 pm

    Re: Crooked teeth… My boyfriend’s front tooth is slightly crooked and it is one of my favorite things about his appearance. I can’t even explain why, but I just love it 🙂 +1 for imperfect teeth.

  • Susanna February 24, 2012, 3:14 pm

    I look forward to your NFP posts. I was raised my a woman who loves clothes and makeup – yet I cannot care less about those things…I think I decided to try to wear makeup for the first time in my 20s. As a fresh-face kind of person, my routine was pretty simple: foundation, liner, lip gloss, mascara and maybe some blush. I discovered that 1) I like how my skins looks and feels without makeup. A completely smooth canvas looked fake to me. 2) It did not change how I felt – no extra boost of confidence. 3) I grew resentful of how much time it took to “get ready.” 4) I hated the product clutter, especially when compared to how simple a man’s routine is. I am 30 now, and I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis. On a rare occasion I put mascara on (the only part of doing my face that I liked) and I feel “dressed up.” I experimented with not shaving in college, and I found it annoying…I like smoother legs and hairy armpits got sweatier than smooth ones…so I shave (when I remember).
    As far as respect and credibility, I spent several years in academia, where concerns for appearance are deemed as shallow…So, my slovenly self fit right in (though I see the unfairness in discounting a woman’s ideas just because she likes to dress up).

    • CaitlinHTP February 24, 2012, 3:15 pm

      It is very interesting to hear comments from women who work in different fields. So many different experiences based on the career path!

  • Eleonora February 24, 2012, 3:15 pm

    I loved this post, Caitlin. At the beginning of the project I was seriously thinking “why does she feel she has to (make up, shave etc)”. Now I realize I see things pretty much as you see them now: I rarely use make up, but when I do it’s either for fun, or because I found out that in windy and/or polluted cities my skin prefers a layer of foundation (otherwise I get terrible break outs). Also, I’m a regular swimmer and I wax everything (much more common – and cheap – in Europe!) once every five weeks. Swimming early in the morning with 80-year-old ladies has taught me that no one cares about my hairs!

    • CaitlinHTP February 24, 2012, 3:16 pm

      Hahah you KNOW the old ladies at the pool do NOT care.

      • Eleonora February 24, 2012, 3:20 pm

        Not only do they NOT care, but they’re also friendly and encouraging: the showers are in a big room, with no individual stalls. Can you believe these ladies bring sponges and mutually scratch their backs?? Feels like an Hammam…it’s a public pool in northern Italy!
        (ps: in summer I tend to wax my armpits more frequently because of my very stinking sweat. But that’s a matter of civilization!)

  • Becca @ Blueberry Smiles February 24, 2012, 3:16 pm

    I really admire you for sticking to this….esp with the no shaving part. I think that would be the hardest part for me! I’m so not used to overgrown eyebrowns, hairy armpits, and scratchy legs…..and with my dark hair and light skin, I would feel so uncomfortable. Great job and a lot of props to you guys!

  • Whitney February 24, 2012, 4:06 pm

    Very informative post Caitlin! You are definitely in the correct career field. You have a great way with words. I know I’ve said this before but I appreciate the in depth posts on different issues. I do not gravitate towards the butterfly and rainbows blogs anymore.

    You also nailed it with the ” Also I have realized..” I always think that when I have a blemish or something that everyone is going to be staring at it and I get so self conscience when in reality no one really cares! Great reminder! 🙂

  • jillian February 24, 2012, 4:09 pm

    Wow — this is a really great post. it’s insightful and beautifully written. very, very impressive. you have a lot to be proud of!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife February 24, 2012, 4:10 pm

    So insightful! Thank YOU.

    I agree, most of the ‘stuff’ we slave away on for ourselves comes from the possible judgement of others (or the idea of it). I like to NOT care what others think 🙂

  • Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction February 24, 2012, 4:10 pm

    Great review! That’s awesome that you’ve been able to save money! I agree with the makeup thing though, sometimes when I am tired I’ll put makeup on and it’s like I am instantly revived!

  • Dana @ the Big Fat Skinny February 24, 2012, 4:12 pm

    I really liked this post — answered all the questions that have been floating around my head, and also brought about some great points. I thought it was especially cool to hear you say that you still feel sexy — ESPECIALLY being that you’re currently 24 weeks preg! I’m 28 weeks and have had a hard time feeling sexy or even good about myself all the time throughout my pregnancy. Its such a crazy time for our bodies and our minds, but I’ve found – like you said – that my sexy is something that I will draw from within myself through my confidence. Good for you Caitlin — if you have a little girl she will be SO lucky to have such a self assured mama that has experienced things like this. You’re really putting yourself out there, and its helping and changing so many perspectives.

  • KaraHadley February 24, 2012, 4:15 pm

    I think this project is so cool. In high school I spent an hour getting ready in the morning — shower (because showering at night meant I would have bed head), blow drying and straightening my hair, and putting on make-up. And I wasn’t even the most primped girl at my school. (I went to a ritzy private school in Georgia, so I understand the whole face of make-up, perfectly manicured nails, and pearls.)
    Then I got to college. I go to a very liberal, hippy-dippy school where it’s not at all uncommon for women not to shave. And while I still shave, my definition of make-up now is a little eyeliner and mascara and that only happens when I’m going out on the town.
    I definitely relate when you say that sometimes a little primping would feel nice. I so wish more people would view make-up and the like as a way to feel a little extra special, rather than a requirement.
    I can’t wait to read your response at the end.

  • Sandy February 24, 2012, 4:22 pm

    I think your crooked tooth is beautiful. I have one too and used to dwell on it, but one day I woke up and said to hell with it. I was born with it, it’s a part of me, and I have since learned to love it. Funny too b/c I used to complain about mine when I still cared, and I always got a shocked reaction out of people. They either didn’t notice it, or didn’t think it was a big deal at all. We really are too hard on ourselves sometimes. If everyone made it a point to pratice these 30 things, we would all be MUCH better off:

  • Jolene ( February 24, 2012, 4:58 pm

    You are so right about people’s judgments being waaaay less than our self consciousness. People worry much more about themselves than about others.

    I love that you are doing this project, and I look forward to your weekly posts about it.

  • Kristin February 24, 2012, 4:58 pm

    I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I think a vast majority of our perception of other people’s beauty habits have to do with what we actually think of the person. As a girl who wears makeup every day, I have always been jealous of girls who I felt like didn’t “have” to wear makeup to be beautiful. Looking back, those girls were mostly smart, funny, and positive. On the other hand, the secretary at my workplace/school does not shave her armpits. Not knowing anything about her, I immediately thought it was gross. I know that isn’t the best comparison (makeup to shaving armpits), but the point is I’m learning that beauty really is something beyond foundation. Thank you for that. Though I’m still putting makeup on everyday, I’m actually realizing FINALLY that it really isn’t required.

  • Mary February 24, 2012, 5:17 pm

    I have really enjoyed reading your comments about your feeling through The Naked Face Project. I have not gone completely primping free like you but I have really thought through my habits and rituals, and have gone with reducing the “extras” on a day to day basis. On a fun side note – my 14 year old son has league championships for swimming this weekend and he actually shaved his body hair. He has a new respect and appreciation for what women do now!

  • Claire Zulkey February 24, 2012, 5:21 pm

    re: judging at the pool, I really can’t imagine what kind of psychopath would go to the pool and have the kind of idle time to sit around and judge other people. Even if one had a perfect body, at the lap pool you should be focusing on your lane, your goggles, your form, etc etc etc. If someone actually had the time and evil nature to sit around and think “Hmm, which women here have hairy armpits for me to judge,” then they’re clearly the ones with the problems.

    • Kate February 24, 2012, 5:38 pm

      I am a strong believer in equality of all people. I am not a psychopath. I admire what Caitlin is doing. But I am also a product of society. And society has tried to brain wash me into thinking it is bad to have body hair. And I have caught myself judging women at the gym or pool who have super long armpit or leg hair. The thought is there before I can stop it: “Oh come on, it only takes a few minutes to shave…” Then I catch myself, and feel such shame.

      • JessicaE February 25, 2012, 1:44 am

        Just wanted to chime in to Kate saying kudos for your honesty and bravery in saying so.

        • Kate February 26, 2012, 1:05 am

          Thanks JessicaE 🙂

        • Kate February 26, 2012, 1:05 am

          Thank you JessicaE 🙂

      • Claire Zulkey February 27, 2012, 2:31 pm

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to resort to name-calling there. I’m glad though that you’re catching yourself in those thoughts, though.

  • Juli D. February 24, 2012, 5:44 pm

    I am enjoying reading this series. I do wonder why you have chosen to post mainly photos that have had some filter applied (sepia tint, black and white) which is a manner of photoshopping. It seems like for a project that is emphasizes beauty in the raw, you would post raw photos too. Just a thought.

  • Christy February 24, 2012, 5:52 pm

    Just another reason why you impress and inspire me. I would never have the courage it takes to complete an experiment such as this one. Keep up the thought-provoking work!

  • Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras February 24, 2012, 6:00 pm

    Lovelovelove this post! Just wanted you to know that I realized just before my yoga class yesterday that I had forgotten to shave my legs and they were looking pretty hairy. I was worried and embarrassed and convinced that everyone around me would think I was gross, but then I remembered the Naked Face Project and it calmed me right the f down! In retrospect, I’m sure no one even noticed, and if they did, I’m sure they didn’t care that much… and even if they did, why should it matter to me?
    And I think slightly crooked teeth are pretty, btw.

  • Amy Q February 24, 2012, 6:13 pm

    Social experiments are fun! Interesting how you learn as much about yourself as others, isn’t it?! I’m Facebook Free for Lent this year– and I’m loving it! Learning a lot about myself and social networking and also about others– some people seemed absolutely panicked and asked me if I “was sure about this”….LOL

    I haven’t given up reading a few blogs, though 🙂

  • Anna February 24, 2012, 6:17 pm

    Caitlin, this post really knocked my socks off (even though I’m wearing flip flops. That’s how awesome it was). I’m Kindling (is that a verb?) The Beauty Myth right now.

    • CaitlinHTP February 26, 2012, 8:57 am

      I hope you enjoy it!

  • Just me February 24, 2012, 6:29 pm

    I love this 😀

  • Stephanie C February 24, 2012, 7:26 pm

    I think the armpits would bother me the most! My leg hair grows preeettty slow, therefore I really only shave once every two weeks.
    My makeup routine is pretty basic. I do under-eye concealer and mascara… sometimes i’ll line my eyes a tiny bit just to make them stand out more. My problem is that I feel like I NEED to wear concealer. I’ve always had very bad dark circles and if I don’t wear makeup I am ALWAYS getting comments on how I look sick or tired or STONED! Concealer still doesn’t do the best job of covering, but it’s better than nothing.
    When I worked as a medical receptionist I did have one of my supervisors tell me he thought I should do my hair and makeup more, but I didn’t really care or change my behavior based on it.
    On another note, I’ve tried to embrace my “natural” hair which is poofy/frizzy and slightly wavey. It really overtakes my face sometimes, but it’s a part of who I am and I hate taking the extra time to straighten it or blow dry it. I do this 1, maybe 2x/month.
    OH! Last comment. I’m like one of your other commenters. I only wear makeup if I’m going to work or school and I’ll wear more than my normal routine if I’m going out for a special dinner or to a party. Otherwise, for errands and staying at home I don’t wear anything. I love these days.

    • Stephanie C February 24, 2012, 7:42 pm

      P.S. Would it be against the rules to get a manicure but not get polish?

      • CaitlinHTP February 26, 2012, 8:58 am

        Yeah – no primping. So I can’t get a mani without polish 🙁

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More February 24, 2012, 7:41 pm

    I’m still so impressed and inspired by this whole thing. I honestly think it would be a huge struggle for me. Which may be a sign that I should try it, even if only for a week or two to start.

  • Rachel February 24, 2012, 7:51 pm

    I think its really cool! Have you seen this sad headline about the “Am I Ugly” videos teens and tweens are posting?

  • Emily @ Life on Food February 24, 2012, 8:14 pm

    I don’t know if you know that competitive swimmers don’t shave when they train because the hair creates more resistance in the water. Then right before the big race they shave and get fast times. As an added bonus you are getting a stronger workout.

  • Christena February 24, 2012, 8:16 pm

    TNFP has inspired me to give up a major beauty routine…straightening my naturally curly hair (which I have been doing for about 15 years now). I am so incredibly self-conscious of my hair and have always spent tons of time and money highlighting, straightening, curly, styling, etc. Well, for the past few weeks, I have been wearing it curly and just letting it go. It takes so much less time, is so freeing, and I have had so many random people and people I know stop me on the street to tell me how great it looks. Clearly what others think shouldn’t matter at all — I just think it is so interesting that most of my hair-related insecurity was because I felt like my hair was somehow “socially unacceptable.” I will probably continue wearing my hair like this and only straightening it occasionally. I love how it makes me feel so much like ME, sames money, and now I actually have time to exercise in the morning since it doesn’t take so long to wash + dry + straighten! Just wanted to let you know that you had inspired me!

    • Christena February 24, 2012, 8:20 pm

      Good grief! The typos! Sorry – reading blogs while trying to get caught up on Eastbound & Down. 🙂

      • CaitlinHTP February 26, 2012, 9:00 am

        Typos are okay in my world 🙂

        I’m glad you are pushing your own boundaries! It is fun.

  • Kath February 24, 2012, 8:34 pm

    I find this all so interesting.

    I’ve make some of my own observations about make-up lately just from thinking about this project. One of them: eye-liner on eyes. In LOST two of the guys had it on (one a rockstar, the other just either has really black eyelids or wore it for effect). But you know what my reaction was?

    “Those guys look good in eyeliner.”

    I’m still trying to decide what that indicates about how I feel about make up…

    • CaitlinHTP February 26, 2012, 9:26 am

      hahah they do look good in makeup.

      I think, for me, this experiment is less how I feel about makeup itself and more how I feel about myself in makeup. Does that make sense?

  • Ashley February 24, 2012, 8:40 pm

    Good for you! You are sending such a good message to society! I kind of wish you had a girl because that would be a lucky girl to have a Momma with such great values… You would be a great Mom to a boy as well, of course. : )

  • Hair Less February 24, 2012, 9:52 pm

    I wear makeup because I feel like I have to; I have a condition called alopecia universalis and I don’t have any hair (or eyebrows, or eyelashes). I don’t want people staring at me and thinking I had chemo, so I wear my wig and makeup, and nobody knows the difference. Before I developed the condition, I never used to wear makeup. Sometimes I fantasize about going free, without makeup or a wig – but I know that I would be too self-conscious, and people would feel misplaced pity for me (mistakenly thinking that it was chemo.) Anyway, I wish that there was more public awareness about this condition. For the select few whom I have told about my condition, it was news to them to even learn that this condition exists.

    • CaitlinHTP February 26, 2012, 9:27 am

      You should start a blog to educate people! I think issues like this are so important. We should all be aware and sensitive to things like this. I would definitely read your blog 🙂

      • Hair Less February 26, 2012, 5:30 pm

        Thank you! I might start a blog one day, if I am ever willing to do the ‘grand reveal’.

  • Charmaine February 24, 2012, 10:06 pm

    “what other people think of me is none of my business” – wayne dyer

    😉 since losing my job in 2010, i stopped wearing makeup on a daily basis. shaving regularly went out the window along with combing my hair. i didn’t feel wonderful about myself but i also didn’t care what other people thought. one nice thing was getting gussied up for a special event (date with my husband, family party, etc) … i’d feel even prettier and would openly proclaim that I “cleaned up pretty well!”

    now that i’ve got a baby on the way (3 weeks?), I’ve been trying to wear makeup more often, shave and style my hair… trying to enjoy these last few weeks before i have poop and vomit all over me, all the time 🙂

    • Jen February 25, 2012, 3:02 am

      I LOVE that quote! Heard it myself not too long ago & think of it often. Congrats on your pregnancy!

  • AmandaRunsNY February 24, 2012, 10:30 pm

    You mention how a different career path could influence your opinion on the Naked Face Project. I work in finance where presentation is important. I have to wear suits at times, and meet with clients, and how I look matters to some degree. I’m not saying that attractiveness is the issue, it’s more about looking polished and what that might communicate to others.

    That said, I stopped wearing makeup to work on a daily basis about 3 years ago. I stopped because any makeup was making me breakout and because I just couldn’t put on a whole face and find time to run, shower, primp and blog post in the morning.

    At first I felt really unkempt, but over time, I realized that I looked fine. First of all, none of the men covered up their blemishes or dark circles and really they weren’t that as obvious as I thought they were. In fact the one time, someone said I looked tired was at a friends wedding where my makeup was professionally applied. And then I went and touched up my makeup and the pictures look so much better after my personal touch-up.

    But the second part of all of this, is that I realized that as long I am wearing a nicely pressed suit and my hair is combed (a nice bun counts!), then all anyone cares about it what I have to say.


    • CaitlinHTP February 26, 2012, 9:27 am

      Love this comment.

  • Jen February 25, 2012, 2:58 am

    You are so beautiful (inside and out, with or without makeup) and, I truly believe, one of the smarter women that I “know.”

    Congrats on this project – you are such an inspiration!!!

    • Jen February 25, 2012, 3:06 am

      p.s. I NEVER noticed anything about a crooked tooth (truth).

      • CaitlinHTP February 26, 2012, 9:28 am

        Thank you Jen. 🙂

  • Emily February 25, 2012, 7:22 am

    I have to say again that I love this project. It is making me think about my routines and why I do them. For me, with make up, there are two parts to it. The first is the foundation make up – I have terrible skin from prescription drugs, and whacking on the foundation makes me feel like I am me again and that my face looks like me. I got a really nice perfect colour match so that I can pretend I have glowy clear skin rather than being all red and spotty.

    But the other stuff – they aren’t the same. I like doing eyes and lips and stuff, but I think partly because of you doing this project I’ve been thinking about the whys more rather than keeping to an automatic routine.

    This combination of reasons means that I am whacking on the foundation even when its just me at home all day and no one seeing my face but me, but when I go out to work etc I am more often leaving off the eyeliner and the lipstick and just going with the foundation, or that and a bit of mascara. I feel like I have more options, and I thank you for making me think about it more than I had before.

    I thought I’d say also, on the hairy thing. I think if I see women with hairy armpits I do look. But I’m not judging: sometimes people may be looking just because its something different in our societies that they don’t expect to see. And people are really nosey (I know I am).

    • CaitlinHTP February 26, 2012, 9:34 am

      I am nosy too 🙂

  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) February 25, 2012, 8:08 am

    Great reflections… love reading your thoughts on the project.

  • Ali February 25, 2012, 8:24 am

    You are so bang on about others’ awareness of our ‘flaws’ being disproportionate to our self-consciousness about them. I recently had a friend talk to me about her daughter’s protruding ears and her own acne problem – both of which I had never noticed at all in 5 years of socializing with them!

  • Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers February 25, 2012, 9:24 am

    Interesting! Thanks so much for sharing. I really like that you’re not using an excuse for your actions… and thank goodness no one has actually asked anyway! haha. It makes the project so much more raw/real. 🙂

  • Björk February 25, 2012, 10:03 am

    You are such an inspire to women and young girls!

    Keep inspiring and motivating us to be who we are 🙂

  • Kate February 25, 2012, 12:53 pm

    Wow. All so interesting. I have never worn makeup. I shaved my legs and armpits when I was in high school but not since. I found myself resenting that a male dominated society dictated that women should look a normal way.

    I work in human service non-profit world. I am 50 and have worked in non-profits my whole life–even in highschool. I would say half of my female staff (I am the Executive Director) wear makeup and 75% shave. I would guess 85% of my female executive directors colleagues wear some makeup and probably all of the shave at least their legs. I would guess that the non profit human service arena has more women like me than other professions.

    You do good stuff. Thank you.

  • Kate February 25, 2012, 1:02 pm

    You mentioned before that your mom wears make up every day. I am curious what she thinks of the Naked Face Project!

    • CaitlinHTP February 26, 2012, 9:36 am

      She really didn’t get the point of the project at first. Her argument was that, unfortunately, women ARE judged by their appearance so we should ‘play’ the game. It’s been very interesting to talk to her about it because her perspective is so different than mine.

  • Sarra February 25, 2012, 1:12 pm

    you’re amazing

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie February 25, 2012, 1:26 pm

    It’s funny how something like this can make you realize that there will be people who judge you for wearing makeup and people who will judge you for not wearing it. Either way, it’s really about how you feel in the end. You can’t stop judgments!

  • Jules February 25, 2012, 2:32 pm

    I’m sure you hear this all the time but you are really inspiring, Caitlin. I have a lot of respect for your ability to do something without worrying about what others may think – for example going to the gym or the pool without shaving when you know how odd it looks to other people. Reading your reflections on the project, I have a lot of admiration for your strong and independent personality and your beliefs on cultural norms and acceptance. I hope I can try to embody some of that same spirit!

    • CaitlinHTP February 26, 2012, 9:36 am

      Thank you Jules.

  • Molly @ RDexposed February 25, 2012, 2:55 pm

    I just got my hair cut and feel so much better. It was relaxing. I may have ruined the salon hair by working out-it was all for the relaxation and mental health (and ok maybe a few split ends!).

  • Amber K February 25, 2012, 3:39 pm

    I really do think that the “imperfections” we see in ourselves are nearly as bad as we think they are. I have never once noticed you had a crooked tooth! I’ve seen multiple pictures of you and never seen it.

    I try to not take pictures with my face dead on to the camera, it’s always turned to one side or the other and I had a friend ask me why. I told her I thought my face looked really weird from that angle and she told me that I looked the same as I always do: beautiful. <- Love that!

  • Rachel February 25, 2012, 4:35 pm

    I started to watch a 20/20 special about plastic surgery last night (I eventually stopped because I can’t take the graphic images!), and I was struck my a comment you always hear when people have plastic surgery, wear make-up, etc. People always say, “It looks so natural. It doesn’t even look like you’re wearing any make-up/had a nose job/etc.” And that is seen as a compliment and praise for a job well done.
    It struck me as odd because as I thought about it, what’s the point on paying thousands of dollars when people can’t even tell a difference, other than maybe noting they seem happier or as one patient said, “People just thought I had a hair cut.” I wondered how much the success of surgery/make-up/some of the newest facial treatments are actually a placebo effect. It didn’t really make a huge different on your actual appearance, but because you think it did, you are happier, therefore you are more beautiful/attractive.
    I think as you pointed out in your project, that you care more about your physical appearance than other people do. Make-up or no make-up makes more of a difference for the individual than for the people around her. True beauty shines from within, and if someone has to wear make-up or dress in designer clothes to feel beautiful that’s really what’s important. Someone will never be beautiful unless they feel beautiful.

    • CaitlinHTP February 26, 2012, 9:37 am

      Was that the special about the dad that gives his daughters breast implants? I saw a commercial and was like, I can’t even watch this!

  • Dari Marie February 26, 2012, 2:58 pm

    Honestly, I’ve always loved your crooked tooth! It brings so much character to your smile. I have one on the bottom too, and I wouldn’t change it if I had the choice!

  • Jill February 27, 2012, 9:49 am

    Just an fyi – I swam competitively through college and over the Christmas break we would throw away our razors to start growing hair to create drag. Right before regionals in mid February we would have a shaving party so we would feel like lightning in the water. I think the peoople at the pool are looking at you because they think you are a bad ass masters swimmer creating drag :). Competitive swimmers would not look twice.

  • Jade February 28, 2012, 5:23 pm

    Hey Caitlin,
    Just wanted to tell you that I really appreciate the message behind this project. Its really gotten me thinking about the role that cultural expectations and norms play on the priorities in a woman’s life. My mom was also someone who would never leave the house without her face on (seriously, I stopped ever lending her my phone because it would be covered in foundation when I got it back), but I’ve always been more of a roll out of bed and take as little time as possible to get ready in the morning kind of girl. I have never been one to wear more than eyeliner on a day-to-day basis and don’t even own heels. While I was always very happy with my choices to not buy into these cultural symbols of beauty, your project made me think more about what this decision of mine actually meant and what motivated all of the other things in my beauty regiment. Do I shave because I want to or because its what’s considered the most socially acceptable? Does how I do my hair in the morning really impact how people see me during the day? Your project made me feel very proud of myself for saying “no, I don’t want to go put on heels and a short skirt and excessive amounts of make-up and go to a bar and get hit on.” So thank you for being so bold to bring to light these things that drive women’s behavior that they may not even realize.

    • CaitlinHTP February 28, 2012, 10:40 pm

      thank YOU for this comment!

  • Bjork March 4, 2012, 12:42 am

    I love your project, makes me think about myself regarding these things.

    From thinking about this, i feel make-up, like mascara and colored daycreme, makes me more confident in the day. But everytime i decide to have a make up free day i feel sk fresh when going to bed, like i did my face a favor today, and rewarded my face

    Thanks for doing and talking about this!! 🙂

  • Jo March 4, 2012, 7:50 pm

    I think this is silly. Some women, like myself actually enjoy wearing make up. Embrace it, it’s part of being a woman and not a chore. Also try working in an office without make up. It’s unprofessional looking.

  • Jen March 17, 2012, 10:55 pm

    Jo who says its unprofessional? Shes not saying you cant like wearin makeup but i think you have to be very close minded or very trained by society to not see that it indeed can create a double standard for women and can also add stress to a womans life. Maybe not your bc you enjoy it and thats great. I think its wonderful though that there are more and more young woman refusing to allow their perceptions of themselves to be guided and molded by our devastatingly male dominated/appearence obssessed society. Do i think every woman on the street w hairy armpits needs applause? No but its important and for me experiments like this give me hope that we as woman can make strides in a new direction.

  • Elizabeth March 21, 2012, 1:28 am

    I loved your story about being stared at while at the gym getting your work out on and not caring about being stared at due to excess body hair in places that are normally shaved. What you revealed definitely brought me to smile and appreciate your honesty that much more. I think the whole point to the Project is to gain better self appreciation for who you are as a person and less about whether you shave or not, or wear make-up or not. Choosing to not wear make-up and not to shave is the vehicle of choice to take you on your journey to more confidence, greater self appreciation and a deeper connection with who you are, rather than depending on the opinions and perceptions of those around you.

  • Rebecca March 21, 2012, 1:10 pm

    I like that you acknowledge that you can only report from your perspective. I feel as if I was a part of this project as a young single person going on interviews and trying to look professional and sexy to dates I would feel awkward and self-conscious in some situations.

    However, I have a date tonight and am going to go without all the eyeliner and eyeshadow business and just do my regular routine!

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