I Refuse to Wear Makeup: Notes from a Bare Face Beauty

Because she’s bad and she knows it 😉 #barefacedbaddie

The craze was kicked off by Alicia Keyes some may say but I was with this craze long before she went public with it. I have sworn off makeup completely for several years now. Slowly baby stepping my way down over the years from wearing full face to no contouring to no blush, to no foundation, to no mascara, to no eyeliner, and now I am here completely naked in the face. From formal functions and interviews to chilling with the homies, this face is always naked 🙂

This post is not to bash the rather nice young ladies who prefer and enjoy to beat their faces. Not in the least. I am simply pointing to my own reasonings and logic in the case that maybe there is someone out there tossing around the question, “to beat the face or to not beat the face?” I guess I owe you an explain of why and then how, in that order.

The Why

There are a few reasons why I ditched the makeup:

  1. The money — Because initially at the time I was struggling financially and had to chose between buying food or buying foundation. And because I’m a self declared fatty, I always choose food.
  2. Amount of effort — Call me lazy or just plain inexperienced but I hated spending the extra time in the mirror in the morning. Just saying. That extra hour of sleep would do a lot more for my puffy eyes than trying to cover them with foundation.
  3. The feminist in me had an uprising — I think I was single and going through one of those independent, feminist phases where I wanted to feel the rawness of my prowess.

“If you bad and you know it then photoshop ain’t gotta show it.” #Teamnakedface

The Results:

  1. It. Feels. Amazing. — Lets start the results off by saying that I feel sexier and more feminine than I have ever felt before. Just a freeing feeling to be purely your naked self. Besides, there is no better feeling than hugging somebody without worrying about leaving your face on their shirt. No need to worry about the dreaded raccoon eyes midday. Party and dance all night without fear that your face will melt off. Forget having to sneak out before the guy you are dating wakes up because you don’t want him to see what you look like without make up on. And for sure, just jump into the pool…the water’s fine.
  2. Healthier skin and lifestyle — I started devoting more time to taking care of my skin and eating healthier. Instead of covering up blemishes and relaxing into bad habits, I took a more proactive approach and decided to work on the root of the problem from the inside out. Facial reports show that my face is thankful for it. I experience wayyyyy less breakouts and irritation. My acne has cleared up and my skin is even.
  3. Saved Money — less money spent on beauty products meant more money to save or to spend elsewhere like on books or traveling. Uh yea, I’ll take that.
  4. More time — Less time spent beating “le face” meant more time devoted to something else in my morning routine like meditation. Mental beauty matters too.

So, to the brave ladies who dare enter a corporate office in the nude, be strong. To the young woman who desires to love all of herself, flaws, blemishes and all, be strong. And to those wondering what a certain liberation feels like……a makeup wipe or a wet nap is only an arm’s reach away 🙂

 

Advertisements

Never Washing My Face Again — NOPE

Why Did I Chose to Experiment with Facial Products?

Cause I had mad pimples and like many of you, I started googling and self researching remedies for irritated skin and pimples. Of course I came across the usual advice: Use newer, more expensive must-have facial cleanser, astringent, toner, and creams. My mom even convinced me to visit a doctor who prescribed a topical cream to be applied twice daily.

Issues with the Solutions Presented:

(1) I was budget sensitive

(2) I hated the idea of adding more product to my already long and time consuming daily regime

(3) a;sldfjasdlkfjsdlfkdfljk —Frustration because NOTHING seem to be working and I was spending mad money, yo!

What Did I Decide to Do?

I decided that I would take matters into my own hands, quite literally. I handmade my own solutions (cause Clinique is too fancy and shawty got bills to pay). I started by combining honey and sugar as a rub and used lemon juice with it twice a week. I also decided that for a while, I would simply do nothing to my skin but let it breathe. Thinking of my skin as an organ, I figured that it had been pretty overworked as of late trying to adjust to the different products I had been using.

Results?

ARGGHHHH— PIMPLE OUTBREAK HYSTERIA!

Here is where I do not lie to you as readers. Some may refer to my “do-nothing” method as the “caveman” regime. No water, no soap, no handmade solution, no nothing to your skin. I tried this for a week and my skin rebelled. Breakouts happened all over the place. I had pimples the size of walnuts in places that one cannot dare hide (i.e, dead between my eyes. I mean, come on, people have no choice but to look at this point)

Sticking with it

Despite the crazy rebellious backlash, I held my ground, refusing to put anything on my face. About 3 weeks, in I noticed something short of a miracle — my skin cleared up. My mom noticed it before I did. Not only did my pimples disappear but my skin was much softer and appeared to be glowing. Thank Mary and Joseph! YES!

Caveat

Even though I refused to put anything on my face for a week and a half, the remaining 3 weeks I resorted to simply splashing water on my face every morning, lightly massaging the skin, and rubbing it with my fingers. Once a week I would add my homemade product of 1 parts honey, 1/2 part brown sugar, to my regime using it as a facial scrub. After scrubbing and massaging lightly with the honey sugar rub, I would lightly pat my face with lemon juice, let it dry, and then wash it off with water. THIS. WORKED. WONDERS.

* I hereby swear by it*

Ditching all of my previous facial cleaners and creams, I felt like singing the old negro spiritual, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I’m free at last.”

BUT…..WAIT. We got too excited…..

The issue with makeup. This topic here is enough for a separate blog post in itself but I will say here that I was able to go without using skin care products to clean my skin because I was already in the habit of not using enhancing products on my face like makeup. I believe that if you put products like makeup on your face, it is most natural that you would have to put more products on your face to get it off. That’s just the nature of the game. And if you’re one of those conspiracy theory types, totally unlike myself, you would then be lead to believe that the beauty industry is intrinsically designed this way. Beauty product makers and skin care product advocates influence each other and help keep each other afloat.

Overall Takeaywas

*I am happy to have been brave enough to experiment.

*Shout outs to my husband who is secure in himself enough to not be repulsed by a wife who’s face resembles a nestle Crunch bar.

*And kudos to myself for sticking with this. I got a much needed confident boost after not dying with embarrassment or being overly self-aware of my facial maladies.

*Self-realization came about—  knowing that I am the only person in this world who can make me feel ugly.

The Essence Within

Closing my eyes, I am wrapped in velvet darkness that caresses me. The darkness transforms into the light of peace, calming the storms of my mind. Racing questions, instantaneous thoughts, self deprecating feelings all wash away here in this space. Like my secret retreat. Silent tears sleigh down the hill of my cheeks as I relish in this peace and calm, closing the doors of senses, letting the world fall away. I am grateful for this space. I sit asking the Infinite for strength to continue in my mortal form with its finite intelligence. I ask him to let the peace of this place remain with me when my eyes open. I dread opening my eyes and rising from my meditation pillow before realizing that this feeling in itself is a form of Maya. So I sit a bit longer, praying fervently for me to believe in true stillness and peace of mind. I pray for greater faith in the unseen— Peace. For me, I know not of peace. Not of what it looks like, what it feels like, or how it sounds. It takes much faith for me to believe that sitting here is okay, that this moment is supposed to be okay. That each moment is perfect and peaceful as it is.
No matter how difficult it is at times, I find comfort in meditating. My most favorite places to meditate are in the shower or in the woods while it is raining — because no one can distinguish the rain from the tears falling from my face. I cry often. Gut wrenching sobs that cripple my back forcing me to my knees. I have always cried when I pray, even from a young child. I cry out of sincerity. Out of sheer will for a greater, deeper faith for that which I am praying.
Most of my mediations, I am asking for strength and fortitude to continue with life. Pleading with God to arm with me his blessings of peace and fortitude for nothing else in this world is worth having. I beg Him to equip me with whatever it is that I need to complete this mission called life. I remind Him that I am suffering in this human form and need his help. Stretching my hands to the sky on my knees with tears streaming down my cheeks, I remind God how hard the suffering is. I bare my flesh to him, exposing deep ebony skin. I cry to him, saying “Master, Infinite Creator, please remember me. Remember that I am in this black girl form. This black skin is drenched in suffering, in past pains, past hurts. Though I know I have a mission here on earth in this body to complete, please be with me. The cross of this black skin is heavy. walk with it I must. Times come when I want nothing more than to meditate on you and practice your teachings when this brown skin fails to believe. This brown skin and the pulsing blood in my veins carry with it the sorrows of a thousand slaves. This brown skin knows little of peace and trust. Lord, you know I have the faith to believe in you even though I lack the faith to believe in myself. Lord, God, please give me the love of all loves — the love of myself. For if I am able to love myself, I am able to express that love to others, as it is your will Lord.”
I pray this prayer and have been praying this prayer for as long as I can remember. Not exactly in those words. I find it difficult to meditate deeply or to enjoy life as fully as I can because my mind always seems to get the better of me. Growing up Black, I was always told, “You have to work ten times as hard as everyone else just to get half of what they get”. This philosophy became the backdrop for my life, filling it with fear and anxiety. I overworked myself to the point of exhaustion and then would get depressed when I physically couldn’t go on because to me, if I was not working like a slave, I was worthless. At work I would arrive early and leave late, working overtime even when I wasn’t paid for it. I didn’t mention any of the injustices that happened to me because I was taught that suffering injustices is the norm for my life as a black girl and that to speak up for myself would attract attention, and attention was bad because I should just feel grateful they even allowed me to be there in the first place. I was inadvertently taught to expect and accept a life as a second class citizen both in this country and in my thinking. Was I groomed and primed to hate myself?
I continued through life always trying to prove myself and denying the luxury of knowing peace. I got to a place in life where I questioned the point of any of it. I asked God why did he make me? I felt ugly, worn, and insane. I wanted to know why God was so unmerciful to people with dark skin. We were brought out of slavery only to have physical chains be replaced with mental ones. In my thinking, I was sure that physical chains could not hold a match to mental chains, for who has the key to free a man in mental chains? Oh, how I felt conned again. I felt once more like a loser as if the pains of suffering would go on forever.
After a very dark episode of depression that landed me into a mental hospital for a week and after quitting my job, I began to get heavily involved in meditation. It was through this meditation that my pain and suffering made sense. I learned about reincarnations and the purpose of this physical body. I began to believe that I was not my body nor my mind but I was an essence that was temporarily residing in the current earthly form. It gives me solace for when times are hard. For those times that the color of my skin causes me to doubt and hate myself, I remember that I am not this black skin, I am the essence within. And if God selected this particular earthly form of black skin with all of its pains and suffering for me to reside in during my mission on earth, He must have also known that my essence is already well equipped.

The Secret of Routine

The only time I can remember solid routine in my life was in grade school. After that, I saw no use for it. It was a mere hinderance to my day. So here I sit on a Saturday afternoon in a coffee shop sipping a spiced chai latte. My soul’s desire is to taste of the place where things were created. For instance, one day soon, I shall taste the warm dark spice of chai in the depths of a remote town in India where it is grown and harvested. I will have it prepared by local farmers who know all the secret things of the herb, it’s medicinal and recreational purposes. Here I will laugh with his wife as I bounce their baby on my lap recalling my first time tasting of it’s sweetness. They will laugh at at how I first attempted to prepare the herb with hot water and sugar. I will tell them how and who drink their teas in my country.
I dream of things such as this. I write them down eloquently, flourishing each sentence and daydream with my signature flare.
I am searching. For me to be searching, some may say that I am lost, or weeded. My mind sometimes adrift like loose leaves in a storm. Yet, I am here, as solid as a fortress nonetheless. I am right here. With you.
Routine, yes, routine. I have read in books how routine builds strength and enables you to replace and reshape the muscle of habit. This is all true but most important or most peril in this instance is what to build routine around, what to make a habit? From an early age, my life and routine was centered around work, either my parent’s work or soon after, my own, or the work of others. School generally started around the same time that parents went to work. Our times to arise from sleep were set to the time of not being late to work. Lunch breaks were timed and coordinated around work productivity. Dinner was coordinated around the end of the work day. Recreation, relaxation, and spiritual activities took place with whatever time was left over from our work day. What we were taught in school was in direct coordination of a work-centered curriculum aimed at shaping young minds into obedient future employees and acclimating them into the work culture.
Gaining entry into adulthood, I faced a crisis. To continue as I was taught or to answer another question that begged an answer or me: Can I do it another way? Is there another way? By another way, I mean, is this all that life is about or can I live it another way? I wished to read and pray in the early part of my day. I wanted to work but a few hours each day. To be honest, most of the 8 hours a day I put into a job, only half of that day was really productive. I wanted to drink tea, read, and sit in deep thought for several hours of my morning. I wanted to have breakfast and let it digest before moving onto other things in my day. I wanted time to write and to be.
I made it my mission to live the life I wanted to live. In books, we are told that we are habit forming creatures by nature. I can see the results and impact of a strong and deeply rooted routine. This is why we are here and have evolved into an universally accepted truth that the perfect work day is 8hr and the perfect work week is 40 hrs. We also accept all of these other truths that are encased in labor laws about work and our time. There is strength in habit and routine. Obviously. I soon learned a thing or two. If you don’t form new habits to replace your old habits, you will not win. I tried a few times unsuccessfully to check the work lifesytle at teh door but  found that the power of a routine was strong. I had to replace it, before completely destroying it.
This is where I am today. I am here, creating a routine to disrupt the alignment of fate the stars have bestowed upon me. To shake the bonds of routine. To be.  You too can change your life with a new routine.
My new routine involves taking care of me and my priorities first in my day. At first this seemed so backwards to me. I felt out of place. But I did it anyway. You would think that doing what you wanted when you wanted to do it would feel liberating. It did but worry would sometimes threaten to get the better of me.
Setting Your Intention
Intention is the power of your will. Setting your intention means stating, believing and affirming what you mean and want to do. I like to write so I always set my intentions in writing, meditating and verbally.
I took a hard look at my life and discovered that I had lost my curious zeal and appetite for life. I found that by asking myself what I really wanted, I did not know. So for now, I found a routine that sounded promising and went with that one while promising to myself that I would spend some time investigating what I wanted. Something gave me the inclination that I would soon find an answer to what it is that I truly wanted.
Routine:
Early rise with tea and meditation, writing, then work, home, relax, read, tea, meditation. I wanted the majority of my time to be spent working on myself vs working for someone else. This is not to say that I neglected my responsibilities of taking care of myself and my family. This is all I needed to know.
I found that there was a purpose and a mission beneath the madness. I was not a mental health case. I was a human. Being. Human. This was of little solace to me. But it gave me enough room to work. So I set to work. Each day I made it my mission to live as if I were already free. I set my intention as I knew I was able to bring it to fruition. I felt my the muscle of my will growing stronger. I knew I was close to that which had called me. A familiarity settled upon me. Like an old friend coming to visit, I felt a peaceful nostalgia.
This routine awakened and tuned me to postulate what I will write. This book was meant to be a guru. I came across a guru in a book. An omnipresence that existed everywhere and nowhere. I knew things that I could not prove but was content to know. The need to show and tell relaxed. I begin to drink from the fountain of knowledge, gaining real truth and power. I felt a dawning arise in me. I knew there was a common denominator of all things in this world. All we needed to do was awaken to it. To feel it. To experience it. To be one with it.
The secret is to wield the power within and act responsibility without.

Going Without a Mobile Phone in 2017

A few days into the New Year of 2017, I decided it was time to ditch my mobile phone device, my smartphone. This was not my first time thinking about the idea of being phoneless. For a while in 2015 and 2016, I played with the idea of going backwards in time and getting a flip-phone.
At any rate, I decided that today was good as good as any. I guess I did have some middle ground I could rest upon, Google Voice. Before totally giving up my mobile phone, I set up a google voice number for instances where it seemed almost dire. (Use your own discretion as to what is deemed dire. Dire in my case was needing a number for potential clients could call and leave messages for me. )
How to Go Without a Mobile Phone?
Step #1: Open up and Tell People
This step, especially as Step 1 may seem a bit weird. Let me assure you that you will want to be as prepared as possible when doing this. Doing this step first also strengthens your resolve for the time after you have stopped using your mobile phone. You will appreciate knowing possible objections to your decisions and criticisms from others as knowing them will help you come up with creative alternatives.
Step #2: Plan Your First 30 days
Having a plan for your first 30 days will help ease the transition for yourself. For just 30 days, try to calendar out for usual interactions you would have by phone. For example, make a plan weekly to communicate with your friends and family. Going mobile less, time can be your friend or your enemy. Trust me, you want time to be your friend. Having time as your friend means that you stay committed to time contraints as much as possible and you want others aware of your commitment. When events or such circumstances require that you be at a place at a certain time, being mobile less, you do not have the option to text or call to let someone know you will be late. Planning ahead is how you make time your friend.
Step #3: Know Your Limits
Knowing yourself and your limits is crucial. Know that sometimes, you will need to communicate with others that are not immediate to you. Let’s face it, in this day and age, you are probably never less than 10 feet away from a person with a mobile device or access to a telephone. Use your resources wisely. I do not advocate using unsafe measures but I have been know to walk up to a stranger or a store to ask someone to use their phone if I get lost. Know that there are limits. Know when you need to reach out for help or when you need access to a phone while you are out. Lastly, have confidence that you will be okay. Even in emergency situations, think clearly and act fast.
What have I learned since going mobile less?
I learned that there are not nearly as many emergencies that pop up that require me to have access to a phone. I also learned that I have to rely on my instinct and myself when faced with a problem or issue instead of relying on instant communication. I have learned a lot of random things going mobile less:
  • I learned how to navigate my surroundings better;
  • I learned that not everything is an emergency and that eventually everything works itself;
  • I learned that life is more interesting when you are looking up and not down at a phone;
  • I learned that I am much more resourceful than I ever could have imagined.
If you think going mobile less is for you, give it a try. Even if you don’t think it’s best for you, it won’t hurt to give it a try and see what you learn. Let me know if you have tried to go mobile less before or if you are going mobile less now.
Good luck!