I Went Makeup-Free on a First Date—This Is How It Went Down

For most women I've discussed it with, going makeup-free is a complicated issue. Why wouldn't it be? We've been raised to believe covering our "flaws" is not only preferred but a necessity each time we cross the front door. It's been deeply ingrained in our minds and souls that things like blemishes, discoloration, and shine are to be banished from our faces—that showing our natural skin is something to fear.

Pop culture rhetoric describes women who choose to forgo makeup as "brave" and "inspiring"—a label which all too often feels condescending rather than flattering. Is it brave to allow passersby to witness my face, unobscured? Are you inspired by my inability to wake up early enough to apply product before work? It's a ridiculous notion, and yet, women have been taught to feel uncomfortable without everything carefully applied, blended, and dabbed—especially in a romantic context.

To challenge that very concept, I decided to relinquish my tight, patriarchal-generated grip on my go-to sheer-coverage foundation, subtle luminizer, and various other "vital" date-night makeup products for a night. The setting? A blind date. As someone who feels quite comfortable makeup-free at the office or out with friends, a first date—with a stranger no less—is still unchartered territory.

I don't hate my natural face by any means, honestly, quite the opposite. I appreciate the fact that I have bright, unproblematic skin and take my regimen pretty seriously. But the air-brushing effect of Fenty's foundation is not lost on me, and I'll be the first to admit I feel more traditionally attractive when I'm wearing it. Below, find my thoughts, anxieties, and realizations during my blind date spent makeup-free (as well as the heavy-hitting skincare products I used prior).