How do you feel when you look in the mirror? And that would be before you have a chance to put your make-up on. Are you happy with what you see?

For a lot of women, the act of putting on make-up is not merely an act of embellishing their natural beauty but a necessary mask to protect themselves against the world. They see themselves as being inadequate and unattractive without it. In fact a recent study showed that almost half of the women surveyed have negative feelings about how they look without make-up.

I love make-up and whilst I do feel prettier when wearing it, I will admit that I’m lucky if I actually manage to get some on most mornings. My view is that I get precious little enough sleep so if I can get another five minutes in the morning and sacrifice the make-up, so be it! I have been known to put it on sitting in traffic jams before now (not recommended) but as a general rule, I can’t bothered.

I am lucky though in that whilst I have the occasional random spot, I basically have very good skin. As long as I cleanse it in the evening and make sure to slap masses of moisturiser on it, it stays on a relatively even keel until my hormones start butting in. That said, if I had more issues with my skin, I’m sure that I would be ladling on the foundation and concealer like there was no tomorrow.

But when did women go from seeing make-up as an exciting luxury to an absolute necessity? As much as I seem to spend my life blaming the media, I do think that they have a certain responsibility. We are bombarded by images of celebrities that have been airbrushed into perfection. There are new foundations being brought out every week (or so it feels), offering light-reflecting particles, liquid light, better coverage, etc, etc… Is the implication that anything is an improvement on our own skin?

I know people who feel compelled to reapply their make-up (on top of their existing make-up) two or three times a day, making sure it looks “perfect”. I’ve read articles about people who will wear make-up to bed so their partner never sees them without concealer or mascara. Are they really so scared that someone might see beneath the make-up, beneath the mask that so many women wear? What made us all so scared to be seen?

I think it is a bit of a sad statement on the human condition that in this time of alleged freedom for women and equality so many of us feel compelled to hide our faces from the world, that we feel shamed by how we really look. I don’t know how we got here. I don’t know why we got here. I do think that we all need to become more comfortable with the skin we live in and our true faces, before we add the make-up. They are the only one we have and by not accepting that image in the mirror, we deny who we truly are. And if we cannot accept who we are, how can we really accept anyone else?

Are you a die-hard make-up wearer who would never be seen without having put at least foundation and mascara on? Or are you more like me, happy to wear it but equally happy when you don’t?

Average Josephine x

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