My Beauty Challenge: The Makeup-Free Monday (Week 1)

For every Monday this November, I won't apply

One of my favorite lyrics of all time comes from Aslyn: "I wanna know that I'm taken care of. Know who I am is not about makeup..." I realize, I'm kind of a hypocrite. Confession: I never leave home without eyeliner and lip gloss on. My mom blessed me with great skin so I've never been a slave to foundation, concealer or powder, but when it comes to making my eyes pop and keeping my lips luscious, I can't deny products!

So here's my usual routine: a pencil liner over the lid, followed by a liquid liner to keep them from smudging (no matter how oily my skin gets throughout the day), lengthening mascara, then another layer of mascara (but this time for volume). After that, I give the balls of my cheeks a modest dusting of a mauve bronzer. Then, once my eyes and cheeks are done, I slap on some pink or peach lip gloss, and I'm good to go.

Last week, Alexis Wolfer, founder of The Beauty Bean, challenged me to a makeup-free Monday (the Real Beauty movement), I was a little hesitant. Surely, there have been days when I was in such a rush to get to work, I didn't have time to apply my full-on face, but to do it purposely -- and on top of that, actually embrace it? Hmmm... Can I do this?

Today, I did! And I must say, I don't look scary. As much as I appreciate the benefits makeup can give, it was quite liberating to end my morning mirror routine at moisturizer. Now, I can rub my eyes if they're itchy. I can drink coffee without leaving a lip residue on the cup. And the best part is, I can sing those Aslyn lyrics and not feel like a total sham. As it turns out, who I am is not about makeup after all.

Check back every Monday this month as I will be makeup-free! I'll also offer up some valuable tips as we go.

Today's makeup-free beauty tip: Facial toner is a must! After you cleanse, swipe toner across your face with a large cotton ball. Not only will doing so shrink pores (that would be visible if you're not wearing any foundation), it also gives skin a healthy glow. I use Neutrogena's Alcohol-Free Toner ($7.27 at Walmart). It's very gentle -- perfect for sensitive skin!

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