Is anyone else tired of the whole, “stripped down to embrace your real beauty” movement that has been going on these days? Meet Phoebe Baker Hyde, a woman who gave up fashion and makeup for an entire year to find her natural beauty and a better sense of self…and then wrote a book about it titled, The Beauty Experiment: How I Skipped Lipstick, Ditched Fashion, Faced the World without Concealer, and Learned to Love the Real Me.
For an entire year, Hyde swore off beauty including makeup, new clothes, salon haircuts, and jewelry. Let’s just hope she at least moisturized. Do you know what a year without good moisturizer and SPF can do to the skin?
Appearing on a Boston news show this morning wearing just tinted Chapstick, Phoebe Baker Hyde was patronized by the glamazon hostess about how gorgeous she looked without makeup. I will admit, Hyde looked lovely (albeit a bit plain Jane) during the interview, yet, I’m not sure why we’re still beating the “self acceptance through letting it all hang out” movement. Hyde isn’t the first person to go a year without makeup or fashion and then write a book or blog about it. In addition, we’ve seen countless movie stars sans-photoshopping, without makeup on with all their figure flaws hanging out in the breeze. It’s like the new trend to be admired is to look like you’ve just rolled out of bed and barely put a comb through your hair. Makeup and caring about your appearance is like the new evil, it seems. Believe me, I don’t love overly photoshopped images, am miffed by what the media world has done to young girls and their self-esteem and even wrote a book about women working with what they have. But, perhaps that’s my point; we’ve abandoned making the best with what we were given and are now at the point of, “well, let’s just let it all go.”
During the interview, Hyde admitted to being in a place where an experiment seemed like the right challenge to take on; having just moved overseas, becoming a new mom and dealing with self-doubt. When a dress “failed her”, and didn’t make her feel beautiful, she was upset with herself for feeling so vain and realized she was confusing looking great with self-confidence. “You can’t buy self-worth” the host said (um, thanks for that one, Captain Obvious) and Hyde continued by saying that the whole experiment was to get her inner-beauty to grow and to take a hard look at the role that beauty and appearance played in her life. It’s something we should all take a look at in some point in our lives, for sure. Yet, have we gotten to a point that we have to go to such extremes or that it is viewed as bad to apply some makeup, to strive to be fit or to care about your appearance beyond reasonable maintenance?
Trite as this story is, I do applaud Hyde for doing this. It’s clear that this is what she felt she needed in her life at the time and I am glad that it proved successful for her. As a result of this experiment, based on the interview, it sounds like Hyde took control over something that was controlling her. Additionally, during the interview she didn’t preach that this is the way we should all find our way towards greater self-acceptance. This was just her way. How can anyone fault her for that? It’s not Hyde’s journey itself that irks me, it’s this whole overwrought topic that does.
While Hyde clearly needed extremes to wake up her inner-self, do we all need to live in such extremes? Feel lost in your overly made up facade? Give up beauty products, let your loose arm skin flap like a flying squirrel and show off that back fat (Yes, I’m talking to you Tyra Banks). Just like we’ve started to ridicule the thin girls as evil while embracing a curvier figure as healthy and beautiful, we’re doing the same with beauty. It’s always so black and white. In our society, to embrace something as good, something always needs to be cast out as bad. So now what? Makeup bad, natural good? I just wonder if we’ve gone too far and if learning to live in the balance of the two is a better place to reside.
Watch Phoebe Baker Hyde’s interview below.