You’re already beautiful; now show the world your ‘naked face’

It’s no secret what’s in my bathroom drawer: makeup, a hair straightener, perfume, nail polish, lotions, a curling iron and much more. I call these things my beauty essentials — tools of the trade that are important to girls everywhere.

Admittedly, I rely on these products, and I know I’m not the only one. Appearances matter, especially for women. We work tirelessly to smooth our frizzy hair, achieve flawless skin and seek perfection to no avail.

Two women, Molly Barker and Caitlin Boyle, are quite familiar with this primping cycle. The duo started “The Naked Face Project” a few months ago as a way to figure out the intention behind their beauty habits.

Barker and Boyle are no strangers to encouraging and empowering women. Girls on the Run, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping preteens gain self-respect through running, is Barker’s movement.

Boyle’s revolution is called Operation Beautiful, in which people post anonymous notes in public places in an attempt to end negative self-talk.

Over the years, they kept getting the same question: “Why wear makeup or color your hair if we are beautiful the way we are?”

Neither woman had a solid answer. And so “The Naked Face Project” was born.

The idea behind it is simple: no makeup, no nail polish, no hair products, nothing for 60 days.

“We said to ourselves, let’s just eliminate all of our primping habits,” said Barker. “Let’s go to the beauty desert, so we can figure out why we’re doing these things.”

The two women have learned so much. For Barker, it’s been a fascinating journey so far.

“I discovered how my feelings about myself had gotten tangled up with my appearance,” she said, exhaling as she told me about her experience. “I love the things I’ve done with my life, yet I still have issues with my beauty and body and everything. It’s been an enlightening process.”

I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if the ladies of Chambana embarked on such a journey. Here, and on every other college campus, there is an obsession with physicality. We pile on mascara and curl our hair, and for what? To attract members of the opposite sex? To feel better about ourselves?

Perhaps Barker and Boyle are truly on to something.

If we attempted “The Naked Face Project: University of Illinois,” we could come one step closer to understanding ourselves and our reasons behind all of these beauty habits. Getting our eyes off ourselves is by no means an easy task, but this project might go a long way when it comes to eliminating selfishness, vanity and narcissism.

“Just try it for two weeks and see what happens,” said Barker eagerly, excited to see her project reach a new audience. “For us, we began to feel free at that two-week point. If you can get through two weeks, you’ll really reap the benefits.”

Two weeks. Au natural. Girls, can we do it?

Melanie is a freshman in Media.