Barefaced Beauty

by Carissa

Two of the Barefaced Beauties I run with.

"What's the point of putting on makeup? It's like saying you don't like the way your face is normally."
-12 year old son

Sometimes I get a niggle of a thought.  Is it strange that our definition of beauty involves painting our face, dying our hair, tinting our skin, surgically altering our body?  What is beauty?  What makes you feel beautiful?  For each of us I'm sure it varies greatly.  Does the woman who has gone to great lengths to alter her appearance feel beautiful?  Can one do none of that and feel beautiful?

Two years ago I decided to stop dying my hair.  I knew I was starting to get grey hairs and I chose slowly greying hair in my natural color over regular highlights.  This allowed me to save time and money and for the health of my hair to improve.  Ultimately though, I wanted to find beauty in my natural hair color.  I wanted to embrace the grey hairs instead of hiding them.

This summer I stopped wearing makeup on a daily basis.  My nineteen year old sister had done the same because she found she was struggling to accept her face as beautiful without it.  She decided to spend a month not wearing makeup as an experiment.  This break allowed her to reset her expectations and gave her back that sense of beauty.  I was intrigued.  I wasn't a big fan of the way I look in the mirror without make up.  Could the same happen for me if I stopped wearing it also?  

I started the experiment and found that I did indeed grow accustomed to how I looked without it.  I loved bypassing application in the morning and not needing to take it off at night.  I looked around me and noticed that plenty of other women weren't wearing makeup either and that emboldened me.  It helped that I live in Portland because there are many women who already embrace this look.    I noticed that when I did wear makeup it felt like a special occasion.  What was formally my norm became the exception.  While I wish my experience was all roses that hasn't been the case.  When I look into the mirror sometimes I feel more blah than self assured.  I am still in the process of finding the beauty in my natural face.

The more I got used to seeing my own face without makeup the more I noticed the contrast in others who did wear makeup.  Women on TV or in print ads looked REALLY made up and those that were DECADES older than me appeared to not have any wrinkles.  That made me sad.  I want to find beauty in the lines and creases that will increasingly grace my face.

So what does this having to do with running?  There is a connection.  Running is a social outlet for me.  Whether I am running with others or on my way to a run I've become very comfortable spending time with other people looking the same way I look when I roll out of bed.  Between this blog, my Facebook account and Instagram many of the pictures that are floating around of me are before, during or after a run and the same is true of my friends.  When I see my friends without makeup I think they are beautifully perfect.  That is how God sees us too and how he wants us to see ourselves.  This post isn't about judging someone else's beauty routine but a call to say you are beautiful without it.  May those of us who need to grow in that truth, myself included, embrace it.    

Beauty in my grey hairs  
Beauty in my wrinkles  
Beauty in my pale skin, muted lips and short eyelashes  

"You are all together beautiful my darling, there is no flaw in you."  Song of Songs 4:7

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