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Mon, Apr 05, 2010
The Straits Times
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Dare to bare
by Karen Tee

As a newlywed 18 years ago, Christin Lim went to great lengths to ensure that she was always picture-perfect.

She would wake up before her husband to slap on make-up and

wait for him to fall asleep at night before removing it.

'I was shy about showing him how I

looked without make-up,' says the marketing services manager, now 37.

She finally gave up the tedious routine after a few months. His reaction when he saw her bare-faced for the first time? 'He said I looked the same,' she recalls with a laugh.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best. 'If you look good, you feel good and you are more confident,' says Dr Adrian Wang, a consultant psychiatrist at Gleneagles Medical Centre.

But when make-up becomes a form of armour that you cannot live without, you might have self-esteem issues, says Geraldine Tan, a psychologist at the Centre for Effective Living, which provides counselling services.

'Many will tell you they hate what they see in the mirror when they are without make-up as they have a distorted self-image,' she says, likening make-up in this case to 'disguise'.

Take blogger Wendy Cheng aka Xiaxue, who is famous for her thick coats of mascara and false lashes. 'If I'm not wearing make-up and people look at me, I'll feel that people are talking about how ugly I look,' says the 25-year-old.

'If I'm wearing make-up, I'll think they are looking at me because I'm 'chio'.' 'Chio' means pretty in Hokkien.

But doctors say such insecurities are often unfounded.

'Some women wrongly assume that people are critical of them without make-up but, in reality, most people would not be that bothered either way,' says Dr Wang.

While vanity is not an illness, he warns: 'When you go to extreme lengths to put on the full works for small errands such as buying food at the coffee shop, there may be a problem.'

Thankfully, most women here appear to have no issues with their body image.

In a poll of 70 women aged 14 to 60, 80 per cent of them told Urban they have no problems stepping out of the house without make-up, and 73 per cent do so at least once a week (See Street Poll on Page 26).

Here, Urban convinces four high-profile women - aesthetics doctor Georgia Lee, 41, Sulian Tan-Wijaya, 44, senior director of retail and lifestyle at Savills, socialite-entrepreneur Jamie Cuaca, 36, and Jo Yong, 48, brand general manager of Estee Lauder Singapore - to go bare-faced for the camera.

The only concession we made was to allow them some concealer under their eyes to correct for the harsh studio lighting.

Blogger Cheng agreed to go without make-up for only half her face.

Says Tan-Wijaya: 'I'm glad I did this. I like the way I look without make-up - I look younger and my eyes look bigger.


>> Bare-faced beauty: Dr Georgia Lee

>> Bare-faced beauty: Sulian Tan-Wijaya

>> Bare-faced beauty: Jo Yong

>> Bare-faced beauty: Jamie Cuaca

>> Bare-faced beauty: Wendy Cheng aka Xiaxue



This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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