Do you think you could go makeup free for 24 hours?

Makeup Free Me is a charity movement that seeks to empower Aussie women to develop and nurture positive body image.

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of makeup but by going makeup free for a day, Makeup Free Me hope to promote positive body image – especially as only 4% of women think of themselves as beautiful!

We chat with Makeup Free Me founder Merissa Mathew on how the idea came to her, and why she quit her job to champion this amazing campaign.

1. How did the idea of Makeup Free Me come to you?

There’s a saying ‘be careful what you wish for’. In my case it was ‘be careful what you pray for’ because I said a prayer and it was at that moment that this idea came about. The funny thing is that prior to starting this campaign I never left the house without makeup on. In fact, when the idea came to mind I started laughing out loud but I released later that my own insecurities was what made me perfect for this venture. Since then I have gone out a few times without makeup on and its refreshing, freeing and scary all at the same time. I’m only now learning how to love me, the natural me.

2. What was the process of quitting your job to focus on this full time like?

Two weeks after my ‘aha’ moment I resigned from my job and I left the next day. It was the most surreal feeling as I’ve never done anything like this before. Whilst there has indeed been sacrifices (like not having any income as yet) I’ve never looked back and I know that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing in life.

3. Do you think most women use makeup to enhance their features or to hide behind it?

We undertook a brief survey last year and the results showed that more women wear makeup to cover up their blemishes than to enhance their features. Two other key findings were that many women feel more confident when they are wearing makeup and that being beautiful is about being confident. If we link these two findings, could this mean that many of us women feel that being beautiful is about being confident and to help us achieve that confidence we need makeup? Interesting!

4. Most of us wouldn’t leave home without makeup – how do you encourage women to just try doing it for a day (or longer)?

I am in the category of ‘most’ as I struggle to leave the house without makeup on. I trialled a makeup free venture to the shops the other day and guess what? No one looked at me different, no one treated me different and I can’t explain the freedom I felt. I would encourage women (like me) who would struggle to leave the house without makeup on, to try going makeup free for a short period. Maybe a trip to the shops or a drive to get petrol. I’d also encourage women to take on this challenge with their girlfriends. It’s more fun and of course you feel much more supported when you do it with your girls.

5. What are the best ways to encourage positive body image in our daughters?

I think it is important to teach our girls that it’s not about comparing weight, shape or size as one particular body can’t be compared to another. Rather it’s about enabling our bodies to be in the best possible condition that it can be in for our age and stage of life. We also need to teach our girls about what is real because like us, they are exposed to so many advertising images that distort what they think is the ideal body to strive for.