Marilyn Monroe once said, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” While she may have been referring to how a woman behaves at any given time, I believe this mantra resonates with one’s outer appearance as well. Not that opting for a beauty product-free day is synonymous with a woman’s worst, but it does nod to a woman’s natural self, which is not always dolled up and dressed to the nines.
Thirty-one-year-old Samantha Micklethwaite’s husband has not seen her barefaced once throughout their four years together, and while I wonder what that says about Samantha, I also wonder what that says about her husband. “I worry he won’t find me as attractive with a bare face,” Micklethwaite tells Daily Mail. “He has only ever known me with make-up on. It’s exhausting making sure I am the first up every single day, but I worry Wayne has fallen in love with the made-up me — and wouldn’t be as interested if I didn’t do it.”
Is this not a red flag waving high? According to Daily Mail, one-third of women wake up to put on makeup before their partner rises, while 3 percent of women make it a priority to never let their partner see them barefaced.
I always took notice of my mother’s lips. They are rarely — if ever — without color. One Sunday morning, while my father was downstairs cooking breakfast, my mother shook herself out of our lazy, television-immersed zone and got out of bed, went to her dresser and applied a light pink-tinted shade. I asked her why she was even bothering to put on lipstick only to eat eggs in her nightgown. She simply told me that she likes to look nice for my father.
Though he would find her beautiful regardless, I always found this to be a sweet gesture. It is natural to apply an extra shimmer of gloss or throw on a pair of slightly higher heels to “wow” that special person. It is not, however, natural to completely hide the face beyond our cosmetic masks.
Micklethwaite sets two alarms every night — one for the appropriate time to wake up for the day, the other at 4 a.m. to remove her makeup from the day before and instantly apply a new batch. Surprisingly enough, and so unfortunate at that, she is not alone.
Neither the former nor current husband of makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury has seen her face without makeup. She tells Daily Mail, “At night, I lock the bathroom door, and I take off all my make-up and then reapply my eyeliner and a little bit of mascara. They’re my bedroom eyes.”
Bedroom eyes? My bedroom eyes are either completely or almost bare, with a bit of pesky eyeliner that refused to come off. Two years with my boyfriend, and he has seen every which way my face can transform with or without makeup. I’ve never seen him flinch once.
What these women are failing to realize is that this is extremely unhealthy in regards to their mental health, their skin and, not to mention, their wallets. Micklethwaite’s beauty routine is costly, and not just in terms of money. The wear and tear of applying and reapplying makeup on a constant basis is sure to damage her skin. ‘I’ve told her hundreds of times she is stunning,” Wayne says. “I can’t imagine she’d look worse without make-up, but she just won’t let me see. I actually think I’d prefer her without it.”
As much as women enjoy putting on makeup for their significant other, they do it for themselves just as much if not more than for the acceptance of others. While we all may not feel insecure and depend on the power of makeup — which is a thing, mind you — there is no denying that it makes any one of us feel a little more confident in our appearance. It is when makeup becomes the sole provider of confidence that the admiration of what it can do becomes an obsession and reliance.
There is a lesson to be taught through the use of cosmetics that I believe is important to relay to our daughters and future generations of women. Makeup should be used as a beauty enhancer and not be seen as a tool to create beauty that did not previously exist. And while accepting ourselves is enough of a struggle, finding someone who accepts our natural selves should not be.
If you find someone you feel is special enough to pursue a life with, then the only way a relationship can function healthily is by both partners exposing their true selves and being valued and loved for exactly who they are. If a man or woman takes their leave after you show them your true self, then this is not a fault on you, but on them. Makeup may secure a pretty face, but it cannot guarantee love.