I stopped doing my hair and make up for a week of work on a cosmetics counter
I had barely stepped through the door before the first comment
No one likes the idea of getting out of bed for work, so knowing that you have to spare a good 45 minutes to do your make-up and hair just makes the experience even more unbearable. Add on to this another 10 minutes looking in every mirror in the house before you leave just to make absolute certain that in every possible lighting your face doesn’t look too orange, your eyebrows aren’t too dark and your bear ear buns aren’t wonky, plus eating and showering and this easily means getting out of bed at least a good hour and a half before you actually need to leave.
I’m in no way the sort of person who refuses to be seen in public with no make-up on, but work always seemed different. I’ve always felt that if I didn’t wear any make up or make a bit of effort with my hair, then I wouldn’t look presentable enough to be on the shop floor, especially working at Boots where I’m actually trying to sell make up to people.
I wasn’t really reassured when I arrived to work on the first day of being bare faced. I walked through the door and it took less than a minute for me to be told that I looked really tired. Fair enough, it was 8am but I actually felt more awake than I usually do. I let this comment pass as it was the first time I’d turned up without the eye-bag-hiding power of concealer, but less than 3 minutes later this comment was backed up with, “You look like you’ve just rolled out of bed.” I get it, you think I look dog rough without make up.
Turns out it wasn’t until a few hours later that this person actually twigged that I looked like this because of my lack of make-up. I’m not really sure them then telling me this made me feel any better, it more backed up the fact that I look like enough of troll when I don’t wear make-up and my hair is shoved in a bun on top of my head for them to comment on it. Thankfully, these were the only negative comments I received. Someone else just said that I looked really young and one girl couldn’t figure out why I looked different and put it down to me just not wearing eyeliner. I’m not overly sure how she couldn’t figure out what was different, I look like the featureless face of the moon without make-up on.
After the first day, I felt a lot less like I didn’t look good enough for work when not wearing make-up or doing my hair. It definitely made me feel like I would happily go in again bare faced. When the time came for my next shift however, I was back to wanting to cover my face. I was working with some different people and couldn’t be bothered to get any more comments on looking ill or tired. I also didn’t want people think I’d just given up with caring about my appearance and in the same way expected to receive comments about having given up. Clearly I greatly overthought the amount people actually care about how I look as there wasn’t a single comment. Either that or they were polite enough to keep their comments to themselves. I was simply asked ‘how come I’d stopped wearing make-up’ but I figured this was fair enough after 4 years of working there, every shift with a full face done.
My Saturday shift came and all I can say is thank goodness for nude coloured lipsticks. Being asked to go over to the No7 counter to put on some lipstick to promote it was a weird one seen as I didn’t have any other make up on. Even the nudest colour against my pale skin still looked pretty odd. I certainly wouldn’t look at me and think “Yeah that’s a great look, I’ll definitely buy that lipstick now.”
By the end of the week, whilst I did appreciate the extra hour in bed each morning and the fact that I didn’t have to worry throughout the day that I’ve rubbed off my make up or that my hair is falling out of place, I doubt I’ll be giving up wearing make up for work altogether. Somehow having a face of make up makes me feel more awake whilst at work anyway. I found myself this week rubbing my eyes a lot more, which obviously I wouldn’t have been able to do had I worn make up and my eyelids feeling heavier from doing this.
It has at least made me see that the majority of people don’t recoil in horror if you’re not wearing make up to work and haven’t properly styled your hair. I definitely build it up to be a far worse experience than it is. Word of warning though, if you are going to not wear make up for work, I’d still advise looking in the mirror properly before you leave. Walking into work, talking to 3 colleagues and then going to the bathroom to find I had soy sauce all over my chin wasn’t one of my finest moments.