Fresh Year, Fresh Face

It’s the first day of 2012, and I’m beginning it fresh-faced (without makeup) thanks to a conversation almost a year ago with Megan Ann Ward, a then-local Victoria slam poet.

photo: Frans Jonker used with permission

During a Tongues of Fire event in January 2011 (Buddy Wakefield returns!) we were commenting on short hair styles, and shaving our heads. One conversation thread lead to another – we talked of short hair and nude photo shoots, our reticences and fears, and people’s reactions. Then Megan Ann told me about her attempt at a month without makeup.  This intrigued me; after all, I’d just posed nude for the Babes Go Bare 2011 calendar.  It seemed like an interesting personal challenge. Could I survive a month without makeup, and what would people think?

Megan Ann mentioned that she had originally decided on December – which proved to be a bad idea given the number of parties and dress-up events scheduled at that time of the year.  So, I chose November 2011 and posted an event to Facebook.  However, November was not the ideal choice, as it coincides with Movember, and confused many people. Would we be makeup-less as a Movember alternative, raising funds for cancer?

After some discussion it was decided to move the event to January 2012, with the tagline of Fresh Year, Fresh Face (#FYFF)(Thanks to Catherine Novak for the name!). Initially some people wanted to raise funds for cancer, but I ran out of organizational steam on this front.  Perhaps in future years the possibility can be further explored.

Last year I challenged all the women I knew to see how it would feel to go without makeup for one month. I had just realized my own dependence on it, and how I felt “not put together” or somehow undone leaving the house even without a little eye makeup. I wanted to see how I would feel- and how other women I knew- would feel after a month. The freedom I experienced was amazing. I even performed and went to parties without any makeup. I have nothing against it, I’m not a hater, I just don’t want to live my live believing that I’m not pretty or presentable without a layer of “enhancement” on my face.

These days I barely wear makeup at all, once in a blue moon, and it feels great. Sometimes I’ll throw on some mascara, but thats about the extent of it. I can feel beautiful, strong, professional, and whole without it, regardless of what the media tells me. 🙂   Megan Ann Ward

I’m a professional woman of “a certain age” and VERY blonde. Makeup is a regular part of my routine, unless I am camping.  I’m interested to see, not only how it feels to have extra time in my day, but also how I am perceived in the business world.

On January 26th and 27th, Cinecenta, at the University of Victoria, is screening MISREPRESENTATION, a film that touches on how media treats women in popular culture and politics, often reducing comments and discussion to appearance alone.

According to the documentary, the media’s foremost message is that a woman’s value is to be measured by her youth and beauty, making it difficult for young girls to reach their full potential and women to reach positions of power.  The Vancouver Film Festival.

Will this be my experience?

Among my friends, associates and acquaintances, women fall into two groups – those who rarely, if ever wear makeup, and those who are never without it. Please feel free to join me in this month of exploration. You can post comments to my blog, the Facebook event, your other social media sites or blogs. If you’d personally like to make it a fundraiser, (we talked initially of ovarian cancer research through the BC Cancer Agency and Foundation) I can put you in touch with the appropriate person at the foundation.

Photo: Frans Jonker used with permission

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.


  1. HI Janis! I was about to email you and follow up on this a couple of days ago, but the inertia of the holidays got to me.

    I am so glad you followed through with this, I will definitely join you! In fact, I’ve been putting off replacing my mascara all through December in anticipation of going make-up-less for January. I was thinking yesterday and this morning about how my first post on this subject should go, and I’ll get to writing it today.

    So – here goes! I’ll have my post up later today.

    • Tori – thanks so much for joining me! I look forward to reading your post. I plan to provide updates during the month.

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