Confession: I’m not a makeup girl.
In sixth grade, my girlfriend Jennifer Mason gave me my first item of makeup: Mary Kay blush in that iconic pink compact. But I have no idea when I purchased any of my own makeup because for years, makeup and I weren’t really friends.
Even today, I keep it minimal – mostly because I like it that way, but also because quite frankly, I don’t really know what to do with it. And when I venture beyond my most basic capabilities, I feel somewhat clownish. And am certain the rest of the world agrees.
Don’t get me wrong, I have makeup goals, two to be precise: 1) rock some red lipstick and 2) a cat’s eye like Adele.
Have they happened? Will they happen? Probably not because number one intimidates me and I cannot fathom accomplishing number two on my own nor have I ever bothered to get someone else to do it for me.
So yeah, back to what I was saying: I’m not a makeup girl. Which is why the last year or so has been kind of interesting because more and more, I’ve found myself unwilling to leave the house, even to do the simplest thing like drop off some dry cleaning or grab some groceries, without putting a little something on my face.
How strange to have spent most of this life running damn near everywhere without anything more than moisturizer on my skin to now making sure I at least run that ice-cold rollerball from Clinique under my eyes to get rid of the bags and dark circles, dab some blush on my cheeks, and fill in my brows.
Fill in my brows?
Yes girl. You read that right. Fill in my motherfucking brows.
It’s because at age 45, I finally feel slightly older – I didn’t say old – and like maybe, just maybe, I want to reconsider exposing the world to my slightly older, unmade up face. Especially those goddamned brows, the same ones that used to be bushy and thick and gorgeous and now, in my forties have thinned and are possibly showing the effects of one or two too many bad threading jobs. (The ONLY part of my forties I don’t like is the hair loss – it’s also the part of the aging process no one really discusses. But I’m putting it on blast: it happens mamas – get ready for it – your gorgeous hair will thin.)
So the other day I was scrolling through Brown Girl Magazine – have you heard about them? If not, click the link, they’re pretty stellar – and saw this black and white photo of a group of gorgeous South Asian women with a tag line about baring their “insecurities” for the camera. First off, my brain was like what the fuck are those gorgeous things insecure about, then I read Jasmin Rahman’s accompanying article, A Group of South Asian Women Dared to Bare Their Insecurities in Front of a Camera, and kind of fell in love.
Rahman is a makeup artist and unlike me, knows her way around some products, but found herself saddened by women’s attitudes about their own skin and beauty when it comes to using those very products, products Rahman believes are made to enhance our natural selves, not cripple us. So she launched the project #BareFacePlay as a way to get women – all women, not just us brown ones – to start opening up about our beauty insecurities and challenging ourselves to love our skin in its most natural form: scrubbed clean and laid bare.
#BareFacePlay is a challenge to dig deep within your soul and ask yourself when you’re putting makeup on or getting dressed, questions such as: Why am I making this choice? What would happen if I left the house without makeup on or without covering that imperfection? What would happen if I posted a photo on social media like this? What would happen if I went to a social gathering with my natural face in tow? – Jasmin Rahman
The women of Brown Girl Magazine accepted Rahman’s challenge and published their photos and personal stories and all of them are moving and relatable and got me thinking about my own desire to cover up and enhance a little here and there every time I go somewhere. And whether I’m brave enough to publish my own #BareFacePlay story – not really, but if Rahman’s project inspires me enough to post about it, I should also share my own. And how I’m going to try and love my slightly older face a little more.
Yes. I’m going to try. In fact, posting all these makeup free, fucked-up-brow photos seems like a pretty decent start. And yes, I am patting myself on the back and yes, that is okay. Someone’s gotta do it.
So that’s the scoop. My #BareFacePlay story.
Thanks to Rahman and her campaign, the next time I’m running out to grab some Ethiopian from Walia, and I start to head upstairs to my bathroom and dig through my makeup bag, I’m going to stop and ask myself: do I really need perfect brows to pick up some grub?