I recently went to Blue Spirit in Costa Rica for DevaTree’s yoga training, Deep Attunement of the Instinctual Psoas Muscle. I had so many aha moments on this trip! The lessons were layered, my friends. Everywhere I turned, I internalized a deep sense of knowing about something profoundly important to me. I’m sharing these little gems in a series of blog posts entitled “Life Lessons from the Blue Zone.” This is the first in the series. Check back next week for more!

“Whether I’m wearing lots of makeup or no makeup, I’m always the same person inside.” – Lady Gaga

A few weeks ago, the concept of seeing other humans without a drop of makeup on my face would send me into a light panic. Since my trip to Costa Rica involved stepping outside of my comfort zone in many ways, it struck me as the perfect time to experiment with a bare face. I realize this may not be a big deal to many. At the same time, I know that I am not alone, and so for the benefit of those who might be able to relate, I’m sharing my story of going to Costa Rica for a week without any makeup at all. (gasp!) Here I am!


I don’t wear tonnes of makeup, but I always do a basic five-minute face as the fashion experts call it. I used to have acne, and it still comes to visit every so often despite being in my mid-thirties, so I’m quite accustomed to evening out my complexion. My brows are a little sparse, so I fill them in while managing to avoid looking like a clown. A little blush, a little mascara, and I’m good to go. Before last week, I couldn’t tell you the last time I left my apartment with a bare face. Even when I’m going to the gym, I usually at least cover the bags under my eyes. So for me, it was definitely a thing to decide to go away for a week and display my bare face, especially since I didn’t know another soul who would be there. Meeting people for the first time without my “face on?” This was definitely a step outside my comfort zone.

It’s not that I find my face unattractive at all. In fact, I quite like it. However, it still felt like a bold step to remove the option of even minimal makeup right from the get-go. The first thing that struck me is how quickly you can be ready to go when you drop the production of hair and make-up. I could literally be ready for action in 5 minutes or less upon rising. I used that time to awaken slowly, to listen to the howler monkeys outside my window, and to meditate. It was such a gift to use my few extra minutes to connect more deeply to myself, and to allow for a slow transition from slumber to being ready to face the day. I usually wake up with every second until I have to leave accounted for. No time to relax or check in with myself – just go go go from the moment the alarm sounds. This has a huge impact on my feeling-state throughout the day. Start feeling rushed, and you can bet you’ll feel like you’re trying to catch up all day long. What a relief to move slowly and to connect with my mind and body before going out into the world.

The second thing I noticed is (drum roll please!) nobody cares. Have you ever noticed the number of things that seem so obvious to you, but that nobody else seems to notice? The five extra pounds, whether or not the toenails are done, the stretch marks, the eczema, the mosquito bites that I find so obvious and unappealing…seriously, nobody cares. They probably don’t see it, and if they do, it doesn’t rank.

In addition to not wearing any makeup, I also wore a bikini while sporting the weirdest tan-lines and bruises on my abdomen from a cupping session that drew attention like a car crash. They are a little shocking to see, and it’s very instinctive for humans to give a lingering look when something is surprising to the eye. Nobody likes to be stared at, but I ended up feeling totally fine with passers-by looking at my belly like there was something deeply wrong. I simply stopped caring. I was neutral, relaxed and free.

I still like to feel put together, but it was so liberating to allow myself to allow my imperfections to be visible and stay committed to the experience of being bare faced for a week. I went beyond enduring the change to actually embracing it. It was as if to say, “This is me, right here, right now. And I’m good with all of it.”

This whole experience was a bit of a self-perception detox. I am now so much more comfortable with my bare face. I am less self-conscious and more confident. Now I’m waaaay less concerned about what people think of the way I look. These are all wonderful benefits, but there’s more. I somehow felt more present and connected, as though with the thin layer of makeup gone, there was no barrier between myself and the outside world. I was bare and I belonged.

How about you? Is there some aspect of your appearance that feels like a non-negotiable ritual? What if you dropped it just for a few days? What might that be like? Let me know in the comments below.