Model Naomi Campbell
By Erickka Sy Savane

There was a moment a few months ago when I was getting ready for an event, standing in the mirror with a tube of lipstick, wondering why I was about to paint my face. I’d done it a zillion times without question, but this time, I just felt silly. What I really wanted was to go completely as I am. Now, I don’t mean butt-naked, but naked-face. Is this what it means to get older? Still, I went ahead and did it, and when I got to the event and posed the question to a few friends they looked at me like I was smoking crack. Wanna clear a room? Start talking about age. My bad.

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However, as Alicia Keys has continued to pop up all over the place sans makeup I feel vindicated. I mean, Alicia is a mom, like myself, and she’s getting older, plus she's got a lot to 'lose' by showing up as a star without the perceived 'shine' (makeup to give her that 'glow'). So really, I feel the need to ask, how do we feel about makeup?  Does saying no come with age?

Alicia Keys
I start with one of my favorite California girls, Angie B. T.
A model back in the day, Angie never left home without a fully made up face. In fact, sometimes she wore makeup to bed. How does she feel about it today, now that she's in her forties?

“I still love makeup, and lashes, and adorning myself with jewelry,” she says, “but what has changed is I don’t feel the need to wear it all the time. I appreciate my beauty without it.”

She says the change wasn’t so much an age thing, but more about the different changes in her life. She broke up with her finance, her mom and sister both passed away in the same year, and not long after she fell, fracturing both of her ankles.

“It was hard at first, not to feel sorry for myself,” she says looking back, “but being in that space where I was literally crawling to the bathroom with no makeup on for such a long period of time stripped away all the pretense I had in my life. I had to find my inner strength and what re-emerged was this beautiful woman that I am today.”

Wow, what don’t break you makes you stronger. She does still have two makeup must-haves…

“I have to wear a little concealer under my eyes and I must fill-in my eyebrows because I never had any growing up, and without them I look like an embryo,” she jokes.

Okay, so now I’m thinking about my partner in crime, super-producer Sidra Smith. Not because she looks like an embryo, but she is all about that face- no makeup, no hair, she don’t even care. Talk about a natural beauty. Has she always been this way or has it come with age?

“I’ve always been this way. Even back when I was modeling I was never that girl to run around after a shoot in full makeup. The only time I do feel a certain pressure to wear it is on the red carpet and making appearances with my twin,” she says. Ironically, her identical twin sister is ultra-glam actress Tasha Smith, and the two couldn’t look more different, and yet the same.

Sidra and Tasha Smith
So would she ever do red carpet appearances bare-faced?

“Absolutely!” she says with conviction. “I get more compliments and feel more beautiful without it. If anything, makeup makes me feel cheesy.”

She nailed it because, looking back, cheesy is how I felt at the event that night. Why did I ultimately do it? Vanity, and wanting to fit in. But when I really think about it though, it’s not so much about age or whether to wear makeup or not, but the freedom to live the way we want to live. Today, I put on bright green socks when I went for my morning jog, something that I’ve been wanting to do for weeks, but would tell myself that it didn’t match, and what would people think? It’s nice to know that I no longer care.

How do you feel about makeup? Is wearing it a must or does it depend?

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or ErickkaSySavane.com