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My final thoughts

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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.

 

The Naked Face Project is nearing the end – and I must admit that I’m feeling a mixture of sadness, joy, and relief.  It’s been an interesting 60 days without makeup, shaving, and primping.

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We set out on this mission to discover “what happens next,” and I must say that the answer has surprised me.  On one level, what happened next was… well, nothing.  The first few weeks without makeup and shaving were strange and sometimes triggered feelings of self-consciousness, but after a while, I realized that my Naked Face was just… my face.  And my hairy legs were just… my legs.  Life was normal during this experiment.  Life went on. 

 

But on another level, what happened next was… everything changed.  I cannot fully describe in words what a powerful emotional and spiritual impact The Naked Face Project has had on me.  Giving up my beauty habits for 60 days has made me more open and honest, as well as appreciative of the complexities of being a woman in our society.  I never imagined that something as small as putting down the bronzer and razor would have such a big impact.

 

Here are some of the things that I have learned about myself as a result of this Project:

 

  • The Power of the Everyday:  There is a great deal of power in the things that I choose to do every single day.  I knew this already because of my views on healthy living – small efforts really do add up and make a difference.  But I never considered the impact of other daily actions, like always wearing makeup.  I wore makeup every single day, and as a result, I felt weird or off if I didn’t put it on.  What could have simply been a fun or enjoyable primping activity became… handcuffs.  I became tied to my beauty routine simply because I did it every day.  Giving it up freed me from this strange relationship to beauty products, and now, I feel that I’ll return to using some products with a more balanced mindset.

 

  • Not Everyone Feels the Same:  Well, duh!  I’m so glad that we choose to make The Naked Face Project a public discussion because it really helped me understand different perspectives on beauty habits.  Some women said to me, “I never wore makeup; what’s the big deal?”  Others commented, “I would DIE without shaving my legs.”  And others, “I don’t even get the point of this Project.”  We were all raised by different families, in different cities, underwent difference experience, and perhaps lived in different cultures, and as a result, we all have unique views on beauty routines.  That’s cool.  That’s what makes discussion interesting.

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  • Yes, Appearance is an Asset:  I entered into this Project wondering what to tell little girls at Girls on the Run when they ask me why I say inner beauty is the most important thing but then wear makeup, shave, and dye my hair.  I realize now that when I would just say to the girls, “Inner beauty is the ONLY thing that matters,” I was sugarcoating the truth.  In our society, quite frankly, it is not the only thing that matters.  People do care about appearance (although I have learned as a result of this Project that they care less then we think they do).  I still believe that we hold ourselves up to an impossible physical standard, and this isn’t right.  But I’m doing a disservice when I tell the girls that what you look like doesn’t matter at all – they can see through that lie in their everyday experiences.  The purpose of this Project was to find a deeper and more authentic answer for the girls, which leads me to….

 

  • But Appearance is Not Primary:  One thing that I’m taking away from this Project is that we, as a society, has largely fallen into the trap of believing our appearance is our primary asset (or primary downfall).  It’s in our own negative self-talk (“I am so ugly, I am so worthless, I need fixing”) and it’s also been in the language of several interviewers that I’ve spoken to about the Project (one DJ told me that the Husband is “lying” to me when he says he’s cool with the Project). The reality is that we, as individuals, have many, many assets to give the world and – yes – appearance is one of them.  We have kindness, generosity, compassion, intelligence, humor, strength, friendship, love, parenthood, creativity… many, many wonderful assets to give and be valued for.  I do not believe appearance is the primary asset and it’s dangerous for me (and the girls) to fall into the trap of believing we’re not good enough if we don’t wear makeup, dye our hair, have a certain body type, or fulfill some particular expectation of what we should look and act like.

 

  • Thus, My Answer Is….:  The next time a little girl asks me why I wear makeup but say that inner beauty is the most important thing, the discussion will go something like this:  “Wearing makeup and shaving your legs when you’re older can be very fun.  It can also make you feel extra special or fancy, which is why I sometimes do those things.  Once, I went 60 days without wearing any makeup or shaving anything at all – and 60 days is a long time for many adult women to skip these habits – and I realized that I have to be careful about beauty products.  Even though they can be fun, girls like you and women like me can fall into the trap of thinking we’re not good enough if we don’t do these things all the time.  That’s just not true. You are smart, kind, funny, and beautiful on the inside.  You are beautiful on the outside, too.  You really are good enough the way you are naturally, and if someone doesn’t like it, that’s their problem, not yours.” 

 

That being said, here’s what I think life will be like post-The Naked Face Project:

 

  • Makeup:  I am SO happy to be free of the handcuffs of everyday makeup.  My skin has never looked better, I have never been more on time, and I love the feeling of being able to wipe my eyes without worrying about smearing my eyeliner.  To me, wearing makeup every single day was a huge chore.  That being said, I do think I’ll wear makeup a few times a week, maybe for nights out or when I need a pick-me-up after a sleepless night.  For me, it’s fun to primp every now and then! 

 

  • Shaving and Waxing:  I CANNOT WAIT TO GO BACK TO SHAVING.  Hah!  I’m not sure if this is something that has been culturally drilled into me or if I just like the feeling of bare legs, but I am going to be really excited to shave my legs again.  And let’s not even talk about the armpits.  Plus, I cannot wait to get my eyebrows reshaped.  I just prefer the way they look when they are neat.

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  • Clothing:  Going high heel-less for 60 days was amazzzzzing.  It felt good to always wear clothes that made me feel comfortable, not constrained.  I think, in general, I’ll be a lot less willing to ‘suffer for the sake of appearance.’  And that’s fine by me!

 

  • Hair:  I am really looking forward to dying my hair again.  Unfortunately, hair dying can be a vicious cycle.  You do it once, and then you’re doomed to faded color and roots forever.  I would also love a nice haircut. 

 

  • Nails:  I have really missed getting manicures for ‘relaxation purposes.’  That being said, 60 days without a manicure has convinced me that my little habit is 1) expensive and 2) time-consuming, so I’ll definitely do it less often.

 

All in all, as I said at the beginning, I cannot believe how much I got out of The Naked Face Project.  It’s been a wild ride.  Thanks for joining Molly Barker and I on this journey. I know that many of you had concerns about the Project when I first announced it, and I really appreciate you giving me the benefit of a doubt and reading along.  As always, I really appreciate every single person who reads this blog.  THANK YOU!

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Don’t forget to join our end-of-Project Celebration on Saturday.  And you can read all of Molly and my Naked Face posts here!

{ 54 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Marissa C March 29, 2012, 2:20 pm

    Bravo

    Reply
  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat March 29, 2012, 2:23 pm

    Great re-cap Caitlin! It sounds like you’ve learned a ton about yourself and have experienced a lot of personal growth (and I’m not just referring to your baby belly!) over the past 60 days. You’re an amazing role model and you’re going to be a fantastic mom!

    Reply
  • Alyse March 29, 2012, 2:31 pm

    I noticed yesterday in your bump pictures how extremely healthy your nails looked. I’ve not put on polish since probably high school, they used to crack and break easily. Now, they’re friggin gorgeous.

    Hooray, though, for all that you’ve learned.

    Reply
  • Stephanie @ Legally Blinde March 29, 2012, 2:32 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed following you on your journey through the Naked Face Project and reading about your thoughts and reflections along the way. I can’t believe it’s already been 60 days! I think it’s great that you were able to find a deeper, less “sugar-coated” response to questions about a beauty routine. And I really love the sentiment about how many wonderful assets we have to give, and beauty is just one of them and certainly not the most important. It seems like a simple concept, and yet it is something that I struggle with a lot.

    Reply
  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats March 29, 2012, 2:43 pm

    I think this was a great project!! Thank you for doing it and sharing your journey with us!

    Reply
  • Christie March 29, 2012, 2:54 pm

    I can’t wait to hear about how fast you feel in the water on your first hair-free swim! =)

    You can tell that wearing no makeup has been good for your skin, not that it looked bad before, but in the pic you shared your skin looks flawless!

    Oh and I love that kid pic of you with your Mom, super cute!

    Reply
  • Lydia March 29, 2012, 3:03 pm

    Make sure before you shave your legs that you wear a skirt and go outside on a breezy day! It’s an especially funny sensation when you’ve just taken a shower… the hairs move around, like grasses in the wind! It’s a very strange feeling, and it makes me wonder if men feel it all the time. I don’t shave my legs because I realized that I don’t have to (fine and pale leg hair that hasn’t grown in years), but every time I feel that breezy grass feeling on my legs, I think I should get back in the shaving habit!

    Reply
  • Lindsay March 29, 2012, 3:04 pm

    This is amazing, and I have loved following your journey. You are beautiful in looks, mind, and heart!

    Reply
  • Christine @ BookishlyB March 29, 2012, 3:09 pm

    You say you’re excited to dye your hair again- can you right now? I’ve heard so many opinions on coloring hair when pregnant and was wondering. I dye mine quite a bit darker than my natural color (plus I have a few greys popping up) and am really worried about that when I do decide to get pregnant. Obviously I’d never want to hurt my baby, but the gray especially would make me feel super self-conscious. Any research or knowledge to share? Thanks :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin March 29, 2012, 8:33 pm

      I’ve heard so many opinions. I opted not to dye during the first tri, but i’ll prob dye now. My doc says its okay, so… I figure it can’t be that big of a deal.

      Reply
  • Lauren J @ The Barn March 29, 2012, 3:16 pm

    I’ve been meaning to comment on this before, but I had an experience this past week where it really kind of slapped me in the face. I actually don’t wear makeup but once or twice a week, however, if we do go out on a week night I will curl my eyelashes even though I’m not wearing a drop of makeup. To me it makes my eyes look more awake and I feel more presentable. My husband on the other hand looks at my eyelash curler as if it’s a torture device. While curling my eyelashes before we went to have a drink with some friends, he asked me why I needed to. I told him I think it makes me look better, more awake. He then asked if I really thought anyone could tell a difference. I said yes, he said there’s no way.

    Just another bit of proof that we give ourselves a much harder time. Although I’ll admit, I will still curl my eyelashes, if for no other reason that I like the way it makes me look and the confidence it gives me. I’m not hiding behind a mask, I’m simply using the assets I have is how I look at it.

    Love this project!

    OH and have you tried baking soda as a deodorant? I’ve been using Crystal for two years it really just didn’t work. Been using BS for two weeks now, through workouts and everything, and I smell fresh as a spring flower :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin March 29, 2012, 8:32 pm

      I have not tried baking soda as DEO – I would love to switch to a more natural alternative. I use natural deo but even that kind of weird me out to rub under my arms every single day.

      Reply
  • Kamaile March 29, 2012, 3:28 pm

    It’s been interesting reading about this project and the feelings you’ve had. You are a great role model for the girls on the run program! :-)

    Reply
  • Lindsey March 29, 2012, 3:33 pm

    I loved reading about this project. Don’t touch your eyebrows!! You have amazing eyebrows, like the “natural” and “untouched” ones you see in magazines. They’re so pretty..keep em! But if you don’t, that’s cool too..just saying :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin March 29, 2012, 8:31 pm

      Thanks Lindsey :) You sound like my momma.

      Reply
  • Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life March 29, 2012, 3:34 pm

    This movement is absolutely amazing and I wish more people could learn about it and see its value. There is a lesson in this for everyone.

    Reply
  • Molly Barker March 29, 2012, 3:42 pm

    Caitlin…do you have any idea how much I just LOVE you and everything you are about. I am a wiser, stronger, more beautiful woman for knowing you. Thank you for being you and sharing the bigness of that with the world. I won’t be sharing my remarks until tomorow…but they are coming…I promise, sister/friend/sojourner/hero/inspirer.

    Reply
  • Tiff March 29, 2012, 3:42 pm

    Love it! I don’t usually enjoy putting on make up, but I do like a good shave. haha – I sound like a guy. Perhaps I should open a leg-shaving female barber shop. No? Okay… maybe not.

    Reply
  • Amanda March 29, 2012, 3:48 pm

    Following you through this journey and reading your reflections has been really eye opening for me. While many of your observations seem obvious or like something that I already “know”, seeing the words on the screen really hit home. Of course our external appearance is not the most important thing. However, for someone who has a past with eating disorders, it is often hard to forget this. I feel self-imposed pressure to maintain myself – paint my nails, straighten my hair, etc. etc. Thank you for making it apparent that these are CHOICES.

    Reply
    • Caitlin March 29, 2012, 8:30 pm

      Thank you, and I agree with the observation about ‘obvious’ reflections – because I feel the same way! It’s like… I KNOW THESE THINGS… but sometimes, you really gotta remind yourself of it, ya know?

      Reply
  • Christina March 29, 2012, 3:51 pm

    When you first started this project, I thought I could never go to work without makeup on because I felt like I needed it. However, all this recent controversy about women’s reproductive rights in the United States has got my feminist engines firing at a higher speed than normal.

    So, last week, I decided to go to work without any makeup on. Not a single person asked me if I was sick or tired, and I honestly don’t know if they noticed. I love being able to rub my eyes without eye shadow on anymore. Today, I am rocking my naked face and I think I will be going makeup-less a lot less often. I already only shave my legs about once a week, but that is because I’m lazy.

    I think this is one of my favorite things that you have done on your blog, and I really like that you are open to discussions of this type. Thank you for the work you are doing, you are doing great work and you should be so, so proud of it.

    Reply
    • Caitlin March 29, 2012, 8:29 pm

      Thank you so much Christina!

      Reply
  • Helene @healthyfrenchie March 29, 2012, 4:29 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts and your perspective as you went along with the project.
    I love that you are now able to answer honestly to any little girl that might have questions.
    So thank you

    Reply
  • Laura March 29, 2012, 4:52 pm

    Hi Caitlyn,

    I enjoyed reading these posts (and your blog in general!)

    I wasn’t surprised, but have you considered not dying your hair again? I grew mine out after years and years of dying it. It took FOREVER, but it turns out my natural color is not as drab as I thought it was, and the FL sun (Tampa) gives it highlights anyway.

    I’m a make-up half the week kind of woman too (I work at a school, so I only see the students a few days a week).

    You are a brave woman to take this on, and I really enjoyed reading about your journey!!

    Reply
    • Caitlin March 29, 2012, 8:28 pm

      I dunno! I don’t think I’ll ever stop dying my hair. I like it to be a little darker than what it normally is, and it’s kind of fun to change it up (reddish or blonder, etc). But it is expensive and often time consuming…

      Reply
      • liz March 30, 2012, 1:46 pm

        aaaand links to cancer???

        Just the doubt about this (and possible correlations) gives me pause!

        Reply
  • Sherri March 29, 2012, 5:20 pm

    I really love your planned response to girls when they ask you about wearing makeup. I will definitely take it with me – especially if I am blessed with a daughter of my own someday!

    Thanks for sharing the project and your thoughts throughout!

    Reply
  • Emily @ The Swallow Flies March 29, 2012, 5:21 pm

    This was awesome. I really enjoyed reading each of your Naked Face Project blogs – and especially this recap post. Thank you for sharing with us!

    Reply
  • Alex @ Raw Recovery March 29, 2012, 5:27 pm

    Admittedly, when you first started the project, I didn’t really understand the point of it (and we had our own conversation about it and where I was coming from in my original comments). Having been in a situation where I wasn’t allowed to do something like shave my legs (like being in a treatment center) and then when I actually was allowed to but chose not to, I felt really empowered. I have to say that throughout the project, I began to see where you were coming from and this post is my favorite of them all because I felt you really dug deep into the issue of what is behind putting on this “makeup mask.” It’s interesting how vulnerable I know I can at times feel without makeup on or not being dressed up. At the same time, when I was extremely depressed, taking care of my appearance and putting on makeup and putting on something besides sweatpants helped me feel more confident and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing either. I think the problem arises when we are at an extreme and our self-worth is based entirely upon appearance or not caring at all can also cause some issues. Thanks for an interesting project and sharing your thoughts.

    Reply
    • Caitlin March 29, 2012, 8:27 pm

      Amen. Thank YOU Alex.

      Reply
  • Kelly March 29, 2012, 5:33 pm

    It’s very interesting to see what your conclusions are at the end of the project especially because I basically follow the exact plan that you plan to follow- I shave (though less frequently in the winter), but I don’t wear make up every day- only when I’m going out with friends, or have parent-teacher conferences or something where I want to look a little more put together.

    It’s been interesting to follow your journey. I give you serious points for attending yoga and swimming without shaving- I wouldn’t be able to do that- but hey, I can also go without make up for 60 days with no problem so I guess we all have our things :)

    Reply
    • Erin March 29, 2012, 10:20 pm

      I, like Kelly, rarely wear makeup (people actually comment on how great I look when I wear mascara, which cracks me up) but I feel so uncomfortable if I do not shave before yoga or swimming, or anything that someone else will/may see my legs! I will be reminding myself that having hairy legs is ok tomorrow when I am at yoga (since I doubt I will have time to shave before then). Thanks for the inspiration!

      Reply
  • Kari March 29, 2012, 5:46 pm

    I think your answer to the girls is awesome. I think this project has made a huge difference for a lot woman. It has for me. Earlier this week I got to work (wearing a skirt) and looked down and noticed in the sunlight I had missed a spot on my legs while shaving. I felt myself getting all stressed out over it, and then thought this is ridiculous. Walked inside and didnt give it another thought for the rest of day. Thanks for being so brave while doing this project!

    Reply
    • Caitlin March 29, 2012, 8:26 pm

      :) Thank you Kari for these kind words.

      Reply
  • Wendi @ A Southern Yogi March 29, 2012, 5:52 pm

    awesome! I really like everything that you said. I think there’s a healthy balance just like with everything!!!

    Reply
  • Verna March 29, 2012, 6:19 pm

    Congratulations!! I think this was such a great project and idea!

    Reply
  • Emily C March 29, 2012, 6:34 pm

    Never even knew you colored your hair!! Thanks again for doing the project and sharing your experience with us :)

    Reply
  • Jen March 29, 2012, 7:06 pm

    I have to say about the hair dying… I dyed my hair from when I was 13 to when I was 25 – and then I stopped. I let it grow out, and even though it took FOREVER, my hair looks awesome now. It’s healthier, shinier, and has even changed its natural color from when I started dying it. It’s fun to watch it lighten when I spend a lot of time in the sun and darken when winter approaches. And it’s cheaper and better for you! I so recommend it to anyone who is wondering what it’s like. The wait for it to grow out (2 years for me – long hair) is totally worth it.

    Reply
    • Caitlin March 29, 2012, 8:25 pm

      I think it would take me longer than 2 years! My hair grows sooo slowly.

      Reply
  • Lindsey March 29, 2012, 7:39 pm

    Your eyebrows look pretty good for going 60 days without waxing! If I stopped my waxing habit, I’d have a unibrow within 2 weeks!

    Reply
  • Earthy Nicole March 29, 2012, 8:43 pm

    It seems like the Project had extra challenges with you being pregnant. When I was pregnant, my hair (not just on my head!) grew much faster than normal so my legs, brows, pits, etc. would have drove me nuts! Lol. But, I love your honesty with the whole thing and it’s why I love your blog. By the way, you are beautiful!

    Reply
  • Veronika March 30, 2012, 12:33 am

    the project was such a great “adventure”. Thanks for sharing your pictures-without-Makeup – you look beautiful without makeup!

    Reply
  • Melissa @TryingtoHeal March 30, 2012, 9:04 am

    Great job Caitlin. I saw an article in USA today a few days ago about the project too; congrats!

    Reply
  • Maria March 30, 2012, 9:21 am

    Hi Caitlin,

    I really enjoy reading your blog, and this has been a very interesting project to reflect on. I don’t usually comment, but I want to urge you to wait with the hair dying until after your baby is borne. Hair dye is full of toxins and organic hair dye is no better, it’s just “natural” toxins. You don’t want this stuff in your body potentially affecting your baby. Also check your makeup and skin care and make sure it’s paraben free. In my Nordic country there are environmental stamps of approval to guide consumers to toxin free products, I don’t know if you have anything like that in the States, but it’s really important to find products without harmful chemicals.

    Reply
  • Alexandria March 30, 2012, 10:23 am

    De-lurking to commend you an incredible, thoughtful post. You’ve given me SO much to think about! THANK YOU.

    Reply
  • Sarah March 30, 2012, 1:24 pm

    I had to come out of lurker status to comment on this. I have loved reading your posts week after week on this project. I’ve always been plauged by horrifically low self-esteem and always had to leave the house looking ‘perfect’. I always felt that everyone was judging me and laughing at me behind my back.
    You and Molly are such an inspiration to do this project and has provided me with an eye-opening experience. You gave me a great reminder that no one really cares how I look and if they do, then they’re not worth my time.
    It has taken me some time to go naked faced, but I did it. I thought I would eventually give into eyeliner at the very least, but it was so freeing to not have to worry about my appearance. I really did get so much more work done because I wasn’t fussing over myself.
    And honestly, the best accessory I have learned to don is a smile. Nothing is more attractive than a friendly smile.
    In short, THANK YOU. You may not know or understand what this project means to me, but it was exactly what I needed.

    Reply
  • Amber K March 30, 2012, 2:55 pm

    I love the response you plan to give to the Girls on the Run girls. I still can’t believe how fast those 60 days flew by (since I was just reading about your experience).

    I don’t wear makeup every day, but I do have to shave every week. That’s one thing I know I couldn’t give up because I can’t stand it when my legs are hairy.

    Reply
  • Jenn (Be YOU at Be Me) March 31, 2012, 10:27 am

    I am so excited and sad for the project closing. Sad because I loved being a part of this series. And excited because today is Celebrate our Beauty day!

    Reply
  • Tania April 10, 2012, 12:50 pm

    So, I’m definitely one of those in camp “I don’t get the point really I never wear makeup” but it has been really interesting seeing your perspective through all of this. Thanks for showing me a different set of eyes ;).

    Reply
  • Lizzi Day August 14, 2012, 10:18 am

    This is a cool project, you should keep it going and keep inspiring other women to be free:) I have always had acne so its a little hard to want to be free of makeup but I have thought it might be contributing to my acne…so I should try the 60 days.. Ill email you if I decide to go for the challenge, and you can follow my blogging or facebook page:)

    Reply
  • Able October 22, 2013, 1:45 am

    Wow, great summary. You are so right… when people deny the importance of outer beauty, they are lying to themselves, and when people who say that inner beauty is the most important thing and yet are addicted to their beauty products, they are also just lying to themselves.

    Well balanced perspectives.

    Reply