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The Naked Face Project and Motherhood

One of my biggest concerns about motherhood is not whether I’ll get an epidural or if I’ll use disposable diapers, but what messages I’ll be subconsciously sending my child about femininity, masculinity, society, and beauty.

Like the vast majority of women, I wake up every day and engage in Beauty Habits designed to improve my outside appearance I wear makeup nearly everywhere; I get my hair professionally cut and dyed hair (about $160 every three months!); I shave my armpits, bikini line, and legs; I get my eyebrows waxed (for $40 a month!); I do my nails; I wear uncomfortable clothing.  In short, I spend a lot of time, energy, and money on ‘improving’ my looks. 

That’s why I’m excited to announce the launch of The Naked Face Project, a ‘personal and social experiment’ by Molly Barker, the 51 year-old founder of Girls on the Run, and myself.

For the next 60 days, Molly and I will give up all traditional feminine Beauty Habits including wearing any makeup, removing any body hair, altering our hair from its natural state (dying, curling, straightening), wearing uncomfortable feminine clothing (high heels, tight skirts), wearing jewelry (with the exception of wedding bands), painting our nails, using anti-wrinkle or anti-acne lotions, wearing deodorant, or styling or cutting our hair for reasons other than function.  We plan to blow dry our hair (because it’s the winter), brush our teeth, wear sunscreen, and dress appropriately but comfortably for the occasion.

I don’t know if there is something inherently wrong or contradictory with my Beauty Habits, but I feel so dependent on the intention behind them, like if I don’t wear makeup or shave, I’m not a ‘real’ woman.  It has gotten to the point that I am not sure why I do it at all or who I am doing it for.  And trust me, I don’t wear makeup, shave, pluck, and wax because it’s ‘fun.’

I’m excited to learn what I discover about myself through this experiment.  This is our journey to explore what happens when we start living in complete alignment with the message we encourage others to live by.  We do not know where The Naked Face Project will take us.  We do not have a hypothesis we hope to prove or know how we will feel at the end of 60 days.  We’re not trying to make a specific political or feminist statement.  I’m definitely not saying makeup or shaving is evil it’s just that I’ve never tried to go without it, so I don’t know how I really feel about my Beauty Habits. Molly and I simply want to live in our own space of natural beauty and be more intentional in our actions.  To do this, I feel like I have to fully immerse myself in living as a woman the ‘other’ way – I realize that a lot of women already do this, but I never have.  I’m curious to see where it takes me, and how it impacts my concept of motherhood and womanhood.

I would love you to follow the journey and hear your thoughts!

For more information, check out TheNakedFaceProject.com, as well as my introductory post on Healthy Tipping Point and Molly Barker’s introductory post on Wandering Through Nothingness.

Also on Babble: Moms without makeup! 25 moms show their real, beautiful, uncovered faces

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