For some, getting dolled up means a swipe of eye shadow, a dab of lipstick and a pair of stilettos. But Molly Barker and Caitlin Boyle from Charlotte, N.C., have redefined what it means to put their best faces forward. Founders of the Naked Face Project, 51-year-old Barker and 27-year-old Boyle are on a mission. According to USA Today, they have decided to give up makeup, shaving, jewelry, heels, straightening irons — you name it — and go au naturel for two months.
Both women work for organizations that empower young girls and encourage them to embrace their inner beauty. Barker founded Girls on the Run, a self-esteem and running program, in 1966, and Boyle is the founder of Operation Beautiful, an international note-writing campaign to end negative self-talk. Both healthy-living mavens, they were actually inspired by earnest questions from young girls whom they work with: “‘If you tell me I’m beautiful just the way I am, why do you color your hair or wear makeup?’”
Realizing their hypocrisy, Barker and Boyle decided it was time to practice what they preached. After booting everything from antiwrinkle creams to deodorant from their daily routines, the pair have made some refreshing observations. “There’s a natural flush to my cheeks,” Barker told USA Today. “There’s no need for blush there.” The project has perks unrelated to looks. Less time primping means saving time and money. According to WFMY News 2, Boyle says she is no longer running late constantly and both women have saved about $300 over the course of the commitment.
At least 30 other women are trying the experiment. Similar challenges like Project 10 Pan, in which obsessive cosmetics shoppers vow not to buy more makeup until they finish 10 products, have gained momentum. Whether wearing makeup out of habit or to disguise insecurities, many women find it liberating to shed their cosmetics crutch.
Thanks to their two months of product detox, the ladies have a better answer for those little girls looking up to them. “What I would tell little girls is that I don’t like feeling like I have to do certain things, and I’m the same person whether I follow these routines or not,” Boyle says. “Real sexiness and real confidence come from within.”