Makeup Free Mondays with AOL’s Grace Gold: A Beauty Queen Strips Down

By Grace Gold,

The shrill wail of a fire alarm shocked me out of bed – and I made a dash to the front door of my apartment to see what was going on. There was no smoke, but my nervous-looking neighbors were streaming down the hallway to evacuate. I stepped into flip-flops, grabbed my laptop and handbag – and was about to leave when something made me stop short and turn around. I ran to the bathroom, opened up my zippered gold Sephora makeup bag, and quickly patted concealer under my eyes.

Then my eye caught the glint of lipgloss, and I pulled out three shades to choose from – when the realization that the building might actually be burning down hit me again. I decided that the fire fighters could survive seeing me without shiny lips. Off I ran – but with my makeup bag tucked safely in tow, so I could discreetly gloss up safely outside.

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Lucky for us, it was a false alarm triggered by electrical smoke – but the incident made me realize how the need to look attractive is so deeply ingrained in women, that it can cause us to do insane things like touch up for a fire. Please tell me I’m not the only lipglossed crazy woman?

But I think it goes much further than simply the superficial. For tens of thousands of years – and long before the feminist revolution of the last decades – being beautiful was basically your sole tool of power and survival as a woman, not to mention your only key to propagation – unless you were one of the very rare lucky few to be born in the ruling class. That’s some deep stuff, and I think it’s still very profoundly rooted subconsciously in all of us.

When I heard about Makeup Free Mondays, I was totally inspired by Alexis’ idea of celebrating beauty in its glowing intrinsic form that never needs a touch-up, refill or blot. I covered Alexis and her liberating concept for AOL’s StyleList, and the story pulled in over a million reader hits in just a few days! Ohhhh, and the comments. Let’s just say it’s a topic that gets women – and men – talking.

On my makeup free Monday, my morning routine transformed into a kick-ass sprint that got me out the door faster than this body has moved in twenty years. (Full disclosure: I did swipe a clear lip balm on, as well as Cle de Peau’s concealer under the eyes – the perfect creamy full coverage stick they may as well bury with me, because I’ll refuse to enter the afterlife without it. And apparently, a fire too.)

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The best part: the time savings kept paying off interest throughout the rest of the day and night. With no lipstick to reapply, mascara flakes to check for or powder to blot, I didn’t have to make a beeline for the bathroom after every meal and snack. I simply used blotting papers to stave off the greasies, and swiped lip balm on in two seconds flat (with no compact needed.)

Now, I can’t lie. I’m forever a beauty girl who lives for the Sophia smoky eye and the power of the pouty pink lip, but I’m going to throw in more of these makeup free days. Not only does my skin feel refreshingly free and all this extra time fall into my lap, but when a guy compliments me in the street, there’s nothing like smiling and knowing it’s the real thing he’s seeing!

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Grace Gold is an NYU journalism graduate who has covered beauty for AOL’s, People, People Stylewatch, and Harper’s Bazaar. She is also the author of The Boob Job Bible: 10 Steps to a Sexy, Safe Breast Augmentation. A competitive figure skater for nearly ten years, she loves keeping fit yet indulging in the Sunday Times, long baths and delicious restaurant jaunts with good friends.