Updated: Mar 24
Let's take a moment to think about where we are in society. We are in a social media age, where we are consistently being shown grand expectations, smiles with filters over them, make up tutorials on stories, women in bikinis in exotic places with an Instagram husband as paparazzi.
For a while now, this has been making me unsettled. The standard of beauty women have to live up to has now gone too far. I wanted to create a project with my photography that displayed the true, unmasked and natural beauty that women have when they wake up in the morning. We need to love our faces again.
As a photographer, part of my job is to make my clients feel beautiful in their photos. It breaks my heart to see them sit in a chair for hours on their wedding day so they can "feel beautiful." I want to know why the way they actually look without makeup isn't enough.
I reached a turning point when I turned thirty. In high school and my twenties I would pile on makeup to fit in (I have never LIKED make up, Ulta to me is like watching paint dry for hours, I'd rather do anything else) but I felt I needed it to get attention. I wanted attention from other people, I wanted attention from my ex husband, I wanted to look young and appealing. I would substitute teach and make sure I woke up at 5 am, rather than sleeping in a bit later, to do my hair and makeup.
The turning point came when I met my husband now, James. While I hate that it took me relying on the opinion of a man to make me realize this, he consistently called me beautiful when I had no makeup on. He requested, on our wedding day, (because I thought I needed falsies and the whole Pinterest board set up to be considered a "bride") that I look like myself. I walked down the aisle with my thin eyebrows filled in, some BB cream and light blush and two swipes of mascara and he cried none-the-less. And I couldn't believe it- I actually felt beautiful with barely any makeup on. It made me wonder how many women are living with this false perception of beauty. It also made me furious because the standard for men is much, much lower. They don't have to wear makeup, why the hell should we?
Let me say- if you like makeup and actually enjoy it as a hobby or career, there is nothing wrong with that. As long as you are doing it for you. And as long as when that makeup comes off, you can still feel beautiful. I had to convince a few of my project models to come do this for me and they were very apprehensive and afraid they would look ill. Some of them wouldn't even go to Walmart without it on. This is how high the standards are in American society.
Look at these faces below and tell me they aren't all striking. Think of the thousands of years before this, when women were considered beautiful without filters. Sure, makeup has always existed but it was for the ultra rich. The hard working middle class women, the peasants, the ones that birthed the future of the world, the ones who fought in wars, the ones who kept countries and homes going during times of famines and bloodshed. They didn't have time for makeup. And they were goddesses.
You don't need makeup. I dare you to try it, even if it's only a week, to just feel happy with your face again.
Want to get involved and spread confidence?
Upload a selfie on social media with the hashtag #barefacedproject and share the beauty!