As we wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, what do we choose to do in order to prepare ourselves for the day? As a communication strategist, speaker and consultant, Sarah Jaggard’s dream is to begin conversations about identity and holistic health. As a mother and a CEO of her own business, Natalie Collier desires to help every woman find her unique way to thrive. Together, these two friends began “30 Days No Makeup: The Brave Ones Face Themselves,” a campaign to encourage women to take a month off from makeup and the messages our culture sends when it comes to beauty.
How much could this challenge impact two ladies in one month? We asked them for the details.
Darling Magazine: What prompted the challenge?
Sarah: It was one of those things where I couldn’t sleep because I had this idea and wondered what it would be like if people everywhere did something brave and self-loving, even if it were uncomfortable, for a month. In this case, it was women and makeup. I am an avid researcher of healthy emotional behaviors and vulnerability (I’m a nerd, I know), so this particular dream really came to me through that and my own personal experience of using makeup as my primary form of identity.
… I had this idea and wondered what it would be like if people everywhere did something brave and self-loving, even if it were uncomfortable …
I’m the woman with hot pink lipstick and black eyeliner, always. It’s my staple. ‘How would I feel if I didn’t wear those things?,’ I asked myself. I didn’t like the feelings I had when I honestly fumbled through answering that question in the privacy of my own head. So I knew something deeper was going on. I wanted to be brave enough to push into that and uncover what that is. I called Natalie, who shares a similar heart to mine, the next morning.
Natalie: I knew in my heart it was something we were meant to do together, and it was created within 24 hours!
DM: Who is the challenge intended for?
Sarah: The intention is simply for women, in this case, to take 30 days of observing themselves and loving themselves without anything additional. It’s for women everywhere to face themselves and what comes up for them when they do something brave but risky that tends to defy cultural norms. We are fond of the double entendre.
DM: What are some of the broken messages of beauty you see in culture today?
Natalie: I recently heard Sarah Dubbeldam speak at Q: Women and she shared something so profound and it rocked me in the best way: a flaw is only a flaw when measured against an ideal.
With every billboard, movie, and photoshopped picture our culture tells us the ideal is perfection. Perfection is an unattainable lie that leaves beautiful, young women feeling they lack something.
Sarah: Gosh, as though magazines and TV weren’t enough, through my one-on-one interviews with women for this project I saw some very specific, startling patterns come up. I will boldly say all of these answers are true of Nat and me, too. One pattern was, “I use makeup to accentuate the good qualities and downplays the bad ones.” That implies there are bad parts to how someone was created, and that is a flat out lie.
We hope we can begin to give women the freedom to tear down the illusion that beauty is one perfect ideal.
The second pattern was fear of being judged by other people for not wearing makeup, even by women who wore minimal makeup. I found that fascinating. Women expressed they did not feel put together without makeup, and that they try hard to make it look like their makeup is natural. So we collectively try hard to make it appear that we do not try hard. I recall watching an interview with Amy Adams at the Oscars talking about how long it took her to get ready, and she said she spent over ten hours preparing to look as natural as possible. She laughed about it, as did I! We have to look at that, though. I believe images in print, commercial, and entertainment give women the idea that a nose can be too big, a chin can be too pointy, eye can be too small, or cheekbones can be poorly placed. Says who?!
Natalie: We hope we can begin to give women the freedom to tear down the illusion that beauty is one perfect ideal. And, in so doing, begin to build a message that is true and life-giving.
DM: What are some messages of beauty you hope culture can evolve to include?
Sarah: I don’t believe this sort of social sickness is tied only to makeup; I believe it’s broad enough to cover much of how we all live our lives. It’s the idea of perfectionism our culture buys into. We hope to urge women to care more about what they think about themselves than what others think of them. I hope to bring a message of holistic beauty that can only come from within.
Natalie: We want to invite culture to explore the truth that they are image-bearers of their Creator. We hope to outshine the lie of “perfect” by providing an outlet for women to teach themselves about their deep worth and unique beauty.
DM: Many women see makeup as a way to express their personal style. What do you say to those who may critique this campaign?
Sarah: I love this question! First, let the record show that we LOVE makeup. Like, really love it. I spend lots of money on it … MAC is my favorite brand. As a prided makeup connoisseur, I will say this campaign is not about makeup-hating or being anti-girly.
As a prided makeup connoisseur, I will say this campaign is not about makeup-hating or being anti-girly.
Natalie: This is only about experimenting for a designated amount of time and seeing what comes up when we engage in something extremely brave and uncomfortable.
Sarah: I believe the only downside is us being faced with our own self-esteem. Why do I believe I need something in addition to my own, natural face? That’s a hard question for me.
DM: How do you personally expect to be changed through this campaign? What do you expect on day 31, when the challenge is over?
Natalie: I’m hoping and praying for new freedom to just be totally myself. I’m sure I’ll come face to face with deeply rooted lies I’ve held as truth, since I was a little girl primping in the mirror. I believe this is just the beginning of the #30daysnomakeup Campaign. The topic of self-worth and real beauty is deep and wide and powerfully holistic. My hope is this will be the first page in a long and lovely journey with myself and my generation.
Sarah: I expect to feel proud of myself for doing all of my daily activities, including speaking in front of 1,200 people weekly and sitting in board meetings with big wigs and potential clients, without makeup and turning over my fears and insecurities as they come up. Identifying my fear and dismissing it with truth. I love makeup but my worth as a woman does not come from it. I expect to have more love for myself, more acceptance, and a greater understanding of what true beauty is – courage. I can’t be one of the visionaries and founders for this without doing it myself! Ironically, my fiancé is thrilled because he prefers my natural face.
I expect to have more love for myself, more acceptance, and a greater understanding of what true beauty is – courage.
DM: What is the art of being a woman, to you?
Sarah: To me, the art of being a woman is feeling incredible in my own, unique skin. I know a woman who loves herself when I see her. She doesn’t hold shame in her eyes; she is madly in love with herself as a creative expression of love.
Natalie: The art of being a woman is living beautifully comfortable in my skin. It is courageous vulnerability that lovingly nurtures and offers life and light wherever it goes. It is owning my beauty in a way that inspires other women to love themselves and celebrate their own.
Join Sarah and Natalie in this make-up free movement at 30daysnomakeup.com and on Instagram, @30daysnomakeup. The first campaign launches tomorrow on November 15. We want to see your pictures and highlight your stories!
Top image via Caitlin Colcolough; Middle and bottom images courtesy of Sarah Jaggard (middle) and Natalie Collier (bottom)