I panicked when I read that there were no blow dryers or flat irons allowed at Blue Osa Yoga Retreat on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. Do they not know what my hair does in the humidity? The same information sheet also said that most people choose to not wear any makeup. What? No hair technology and no blemish coverage for an entire week? It had been on the bucket list to go in public without makeup for 24 hours, but this was taking it to the next level.
photo by crazy in the rain
Blue Osa was not only about practicing yoga, but it was also about relaxation, serenity and appreciating the skin that you are in. Traveling here was the perfect opportunity and place to go au natural.
I actually don’t wear heaps of makeup. I only own one color of lipstick, one never-been-opened blush and there is not a single eyeshadow in my makeup bag. Gasp.
But, and it’s a big but, for the past ten years I have been suffering from melasma, dark brown patches of skin on my face, which get worse in the sun. The gobs of creams, painful lasers and protective sunscreen can only do so much. So, I do feel a huge sense of security while wearing foundation, concealer and powder to balance my skin out. Throw a little mascara in there and this simple makeup routine makes me feel prettier.
I’m not gonna lie, the first day was tough. Really tough. Especially since I was at this yoga retreat with more than a dozen other high profile travel bloggers whom I had never met before. I wanted to have my “A” game, which typically would have included a jar of Mac Studio Fix foundation. That first evening, I was grateful when the sun set and darkness began to fall.
No one would be able to identify that gargantuan zit on my forehead and dark circles under my eyes at dusk.
The next morning I washed my face and then spent some time creating an acceptable up-do that would help prevent the unruly wave that would have occurred otherwise. This ritual continued for a couple more days, until I finally said screw it and left my hair down to dry naturally.
Let the mane’s chaos begin.
For seven days, I went to all meals, activities and tours without wearing a stitch of makeup and just combed, air-dried hair. This may have not been a stretch for some girls, but it was for me.
With that said, there was something extremely liberating about showing off the real me, me without my painted security blanket and the comfort of electrical hair assistance. It forced me to concentrate on my personality and appreciate my natural beauty, something I had really never done before.
The sky didn’t fall, people didn’t make fun of me and I left with many more friends than I had arrived with. Nobody seemed to care about my uneven complexion and rebellious hair.
Plus, I had so much more free time without having to do my daily makeup and hair routine. Oh, the things I could accomplish with that extra time back home.
Did I feel pretty?
I have to admit this experience was not all roses and butterflies. There were plenty of moments when I was tempted to put on just a hint of foundation or at least flat ironed the ends of my hair.
There were definite times that I felt attractive and others not so much, but I realized that it didn’t really matter. This experience wasn’t about who was the best looking or had perfectly lined lips, it was about sharing in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and forming lasting friendships.
That had nothing to do with a tube of mascara.
I did not throw out my makeup bag upon returning home from my travels, but I did have a different perspective. A new mindset that makes me concentrate on engaging with a person and leading with a smile rather than a decorated face.