It's Only Skin Deep

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Lesli NolenBy Lesli Nolen
September 2010

About mid-July, I decided to not wear make-up for two weeks.  I wanted to experiment with the idea of how I would be treated based solely on my looks.  I didn’t think this would be a hard assignment. What started out as an experiment to see how others viewed me without make-up turned into a self examination. I discovered I am my own worst critic, not others.

Before doing this I talked to my husband, Breech and daughter, Skylar about doing this. Breech was all for it. Skylar on the other hand was a different story. She immediately began asking questions. What if we run into one of my friends and they make fun of me because my mom doesn’t have any make-up on? What if... What if....?  I tried to explain to her I wanted to know how others viewed me if I didn’t wear make-up. I wanted her to know that outside appearances doesn’t make the person.  I told her  I am who I am because of my heart not because of what I look like. After talking to her for a while and getting her to see the big picture of this, she was on board.

First day of the journey wasn’t too bad. I had lots to do in the office, therefore I didn’t see many people. On the way home from work, I needed to stop at the store. As I was waiting in line, a gentleman with his sick baby girl, began the conversation. We talked about children in general and a little of this and that and as I was leaving, I reached for my shades and remembered I had no make up on. This person, whoever he was, was not bothered by my outer appearance. I left there with a smile on my face and was excited about my two week journey of no make-up.

The next day I again showed up at work with no make-up on. Thank goodness my co-workers are great and didn’t mind my little experiment. I think it took them a while, but they adapted to the new scenery quite well.  That day the Fed-Ex man came in looked at me strangely when I said I could sign for the package. I don’t think he thought I was an employee. I had just walked in the office before he arrived and was standing there talking, purse on my shoulder and of course no make-up. We kinda laughed about it and then thought we probably would think the same thing too.

Later that same day I was around some people I see on a regular basis. I was surprised when the questions starting coming.   “Did you have ‘work’ done?” “Are you having work done?” “Did you forget something this morning?” I just laughed and said no. I think I was more shocked that none of these people asked me why I didn’t have make-up on or if something was wrong rather than the questions they did ask. I couldn’t stop thinking about their questions. I kept hearing them over and over in my head.

I was amazed at how I let those little questions get to me. I was almost hurt because they thought I was having “work done,” meaning plastic surgery. My first thought was, I’m too young to need that. Then I began questioning even my own conclusion. Does make-up really make that big of a difference in how I look. How much do looks matter today? How much do looks matter to me? Am I who I think I am?  I looked in the mirror that night and realized this experiment was more about me than anybody else.  

Lesli before make-up. Then I got to thinking about my job. Do looks matter when it comes to my selling advertising? I was a bit naïve and thought, “no way.” So I did some investigating. Turns out looks may not be on the top of the list with some, but it does help. Some of my clients told me they would rather have something pretty come through the door rather than something not so pretty.

Throughout my two-week experiment, I came to a couple of conclusions. First of all, I was the person who had the biggest problem with my not wearing make-up. It took me the longest to overcome what I saw when I  looked in the mirror.  My reflection wasn’t what I expected it to be. I’m so used to seeing myself with make-up on, that I forgot what the real me looked like. Every time I saw myself in mirror I had do a double take. I didn’t know who this person was.

Lesli after make-up. But, after two weeks of no make-up and lots of soul searching I discovered I was exactly who God made me to be. My little imperfections are perfect. God sees my heart, not the color of my eye shadow. I’m not saying looks don’t matter and that you shouldn’t look professional in a place of business, but outer appearances shouldn’t be our primary concern. As I said, I bagan this journey wanting to find out how others would judge me without my face on and I ended up finding out who I was.

If you didn’t get a chance to see the real me with out make-up on the accompanying photos will let you compare and contrast. So if you see me one day not looking quite right, remember it’s my heart that makes me who I am, not my make-up. I received lots of advice and opinions while on this two week expedition and one wise lady told me, “Your make-up does enhance your external beauty, but doesn’t touch your inner beauty as it needs no enhancement!” 

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