There are many important milestones when it comes to modern-day romance. There’s the strategically sent friend request, the first kiss, the first FaceTime chat, the couple’s first Instagram upload, and the list goes on.
Lately though, I’ve been thinking about one relationship milestone in particular: the point at which your significant other sees you without makeup. Through an informal polling system (namely, forcing my friends and coworkers to divulge their secrets), I’ve deducted that the timing for this step varies greatly across the board—from a few dates to a few years!
To ignite a candid conversation on the topic I figured I’d offer my personal experience and take on the issue. Read on, and who knows? Maybe you’ll relate!
I love makeup. I love applying it carefully (glass of wine in hand, oops) before a date, I love the boost of confidence I get when the wings of my eyeliner are symmetrical, and I love experimenting with different shades of lipstick for way too long before I head out the door. You may be saying, “Um, duh, you’re writing for a beauty website, of course you do,” but I offer this information as acknowledgment that I probably fall far on one end of this discussion’s spectrum.
That said, I take my bare-faced reveal seriously. In my mind, the possibility of running into a new crush with zero makeup—or sunglasses to hide behind—is kind of mortifying. In past relationships, I usually waited at least a couple of months before going totally bare-faced. I know, you brazen, makeup-ambivalent babes are probably wondering how one can keep up appearances for that long. The truth is I slept in my makeup (like a bad, bad girl) and always toted liner and concealer around for little morning touchups.
After some time though, my comfort level would rise and lead me to stage two of this process: the phase-out.
In polling my contemporaries (and honestly considering my own habits), I’ve found that women usually have one or two cosmetic security blankets they’re most reluctant to be seen without. As I’ve shared before, for me, it’s eyeliner. Concealer and mascara seem to be other popular answers. One of my pals even maintains that her boyfriend of three years has never seen her without concealer on. The point here is the cosmetic security blanket is usually the last item to be abandoned on the road to bare-faced romance.
I like to take the reveal in increments. First I’ll let my gentleman see me without foundation and concealer. Next go blush and bronzer, followed closely by eye shadow and lipstick. Once I’m in a phase where I feel comfortable with only my eyebrows and liner done, we’re about two months deep. He knows how I like my coffee, I know how chubby he was in middle school, and things are progressing. Finally, the ultimate reveal usually happens while traveling together. In this scenario, there’s a shared bathroom and several days together, so I finally tell myself—buck up, wash your face and get over it. Of course, there are a few things I hope he will say…
When the makeup finally comes off two things happen. First, men don’t usually react as dramatically as expected. As nervous as women are to wipe it off, I’ve heard repeatedly from guys that makeup is “not a big deal.” Not a big deal? Great. Lovely. Splendid, guys.
Secondly, every woman thinks to herself, “I hope he compliments me when I don’t have makeup on.” Even if you’re the coolest, most confident, generally badass gal, it is the ultimate compliment to hear you look the best in your most natural state.
In the end, it’s clear that this milestone hinges on two things: confidence and comfort. And so, I’m curious: When do you usually feel confident enough to take it all off? Is there a general time frame or has it varied in different relationships?