The no-mirror makeup challenge

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A few weekends ago when I was back home visiting my younger sister, Jenna, we had a family function that we needed to attend. Obviously, we had to look our best for this event. My little sister and I both fought over the mirror, as the other bathroom in our house was occupied. I tried doing my mascara but because Jenna was in my way, I couldn’t properly apply my eye makeup and it made me nervous whilst applying.

Eventually, I got frustrated and so nervous about how my makeup was going to turn out that I told Jenna that she had to let me use the mirror so that I didn’t end up having clown-like eye makeup for this family event.

“Don’t you agree that a mirror is a girl’s best friend?” Jenna asked after I had pushed her out of the way so I could put my mascara on without poking my eye out because of “blindness.”

A realization then dawned on me. Jenna was right and Marilyn Monroe was wrong; diamonds were not a girl’s best friend.  The real best friend for a girl, when she is applying her makeup, at least, was her mirror. Without the mirror, how would we know if our makeup was decent enough to go out in public?

We have become so reliant on the use of a mirror that there is a sense of panic when the mirror is being occupied at that crucial moment when we have to apply eye makeup before a big fancy date or a fun night out with your friends. One can even say that it is almost blinding when the mirror has been taken away.

As part of a social experiment, Wilfrid Laurier University students Sarah Mathews, Domenica Condie and Brittany Diaram volunteered themselves to apply their makeup first with the use of a mirror and then without a mirror so that they could compare their faces afterwards. The results were all quite hilarious.

With a mirror
My three willing participants started the experiment off with the easy task: putting makeup on with a mirror available to them. There was very little room for hesitation as the three girls took turns with the mirror, taking their time to perfect their makeup.

With the girls each taking about ten minutes to do their makeup, each of the participants emerged from the washroom with flawless and detailed eye makeup and an even application of foundation and blush.

While it was slightly uneventful due to the predictability of the results, the girls washed their makeup off and prepared to do their makeup in a bathroom where the mirror was completely blocked off by two large black garbage bags. This was where things got interesting.

Without a mirror
If there is one thing that we can take away from this experience, it is that women are much more confident when using a mirror as they apply their makeup.

Though the results were not completely and overly drastic like I thought they would be, there was a notable difference in the end results when we compared the outcome the girls had when doing their makeup with a mirror present. When questioned about the results of doing makeup without a mirror present, Mathews noted that her eye makeup was not even and done a little thicker than usual and Diaram felt uncomfortable applying makeup on her eyes. Condie admitted that she was uncertain about how much makeup she was supposed to apply, especially when it came to the actual application of her foundation, as there was the fear that it would not have an evened-out tone. Her biggest worry came true when she was finally shown the results.

“I thought my makeup was uneven,” Condie shared after seeing herself in the mirror for the first time. “I didn’t know where I put makeup on, so I just kind of rubbed it in everywhere and I would prefer to have a mirror.”

When Mathews was asked about how she felt after seeing the results of her makeup job without a mirror, she asked the question that every girl inadvertently thinks about when they do an inadequate job doing their makeup, whether a mirror is present or not. “Is it fun when you go out in public afterwards and everyone sees what a bad job you did on your face?”

Once I saw the girls scrubbing their imperfect makeup off their faces, it was safe for me to assume that these three participants won’t be doing this challenge again unless it is for another experiment that I can coerce them into. One thing is for sure: these girls have a new appreciation for the mirror in their bathroom and in their bedroom.

Having a mirror present is the key ingredient to having your makeup come out successfully rather than having you stepping outside looking like a clown.  The no-mirror makeup challenge certainly was an experience that took these girls out of their comfort zone, something that they certainly did not enjoy.

“I found the fact that I was temporarily blind greatly impeding my process,” Mathews confessed. “I discovered that I appreciated being able to see myself when I put my makeup on my face.”

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