Going without to showcase within

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Does the thought of leaving the home naked terrify you? For some women, that’s exactly what it feels like to head outside without makeup. But it doesn’t have to.

People choose to wear makeup for many reasons: to look good/polished, feel more themselves, or simply as an expression of creativity.

With Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions slashing opportunities for in-person gatherings in recent years, some women have come to rethink their relationship with makeup. This trend can be seen on Instagram, where #nomakeup has more than 20 million posts.

A holistic approach 

Amy Erbacher is a holistic self-care and beauty expert whose own relationship with makeup and beauty has been shaped by her experiences. She was a model and television presenter before moving into beauty therapy.

“Everything was just so exterior,” she said of the entertainment industry. “Being judged and getting a job because you’re a particular look … Deep down, I sort of lacked that confidence, really. That’s why I wanted to explore beauty therapy and shake it up a bit to focus on the internal – because no matter what treatments or whatever you have, if you don’t love yourself, how is there ever going to be a possibility to love the exterior?”

She says everyone’s relationship with makeup is different and it all comes down to the individual.

“For some, makeup is a ritual, a bit of self-care. For them, the pandemic may have been a time to experiment and explore makeup,” she said. “They may have made up their complete face every day, which is perfectly fine if that makes them feel good.”

Changing it up 

For those who opt to take a break from regular makeup – whether due to lockdowns or inspired by the countless #makeupfreeselfie posts on social media, what can they expect?

Ms Erbacher says they might notice their skin detox.

“The skin would be so used to having a particular foundation or certain ingredients on [it], that they might find that when taking a break, their skin might go through a detox,” she said.

“And hormonal changes – depending on if you’ve got product detox that’s superficial on the exterior of the skin, or it might be internal, which is hormonal, resulting in a different type of breakout underneath the nose, and so forth.”

Because everyone (and everyone’s skin) is different, one might also experience the other extreme.

“The skin might be looking absolutely beautiful, radiant and clean because it’s having a break [that’s] potentially letting the skin breathe,” Ms Erbacher said.

Getting the foundations right 

To make the most of makeup-free skin, Ms Erbacher recommends following a good, personalised skin regime.

“That means investing in a scheme regime that’s treating your current skin condition because your skin condition can change,” she said. “For example, during Covid, some people took up a lot of sweaty, outdoor activities, or maybe wearing a mask caused more congestion.

“Also, just because a celebrity might be using this latest product doesn’t necessarily mean the product or regime is going to work for you, because we’re all bespoke, living different lifestyles, and we’re all made up uniquely and differently.”

A simple cleanser is very important to remove the “daily grind”.

“Even though you don’t have makeup on, you’re still getting that environmental buildup,” Ms Erbacher said. “I always say a good test is not wearing any makeup or sunscreen, and wiping a cotton pad on the skin – you’ll see all the residue from walking out in the garden or, depending on where you live … it could be the smog, the wind dirt and the pollutants.”

She recommends cleansing the skin in the morning and twice at night to remove any impurities.

“From there, you could use an active, like an essence, which is just fresh and dewy for the skin, and that allows for the other products to penetrate deeper into the skin, and you could use an active moisturising cream,” she said.

Ms Erbacher says many people are aware of the importance of internal hydration but don’t take the same care with their skin because they believe a moisturiser will cause acne.

“Yet the reason why they have oil on their skin might be because their skin is dehydrated, which is why it’s producing oil,” she said.

“The key is to really understand your skin. Just keep to a simple skin regime, don’t overdo it, and stick to a regime that’s best suited for your skin condition at the time.”

Inner beauty 

Diet also plays an important role in complexion, so it’s important to eat well to enhance the skin’s look when makeup-free. Ms Erbacher recommends following a Mediterranean diet of mainly fresh foods.

“The less processed, the better,” she said.

Drawing on her holistic expertise, Ms Erbacher emphasises the importance of taking care of yourself as well as your skin.

“The skin is our largest organ, and whatever’s going on in our body shows on our skin externally,” she said. “It’s a great insight into what’s actually happening on the insides of our bodies.”

Stress is a trigger for reactive, sensitive and problematic skin. Mindfulness can play an important role in combating stress, says Ms Erbacher, whether it’s taking a walk or investing time in your rituals.

“Don’t just slap on a crème,” she said. “Take a few deep breaths, and really take the time to smell the cleanser and feel the cleanser to be in that moment.

“With the pandemic, and with the uncertainty in the world going on at the moment, we should stop and have that stillness in our lives, look after ourselves with those rituals, and not feel guilty about enjoying them.”

For more and to read the feature as it appears in this month’s issue of Retail Pharmacy Assistants e-magazine, visit: rpassistants.com.au/retail-pharmacy-assistants-march-2022/