Through the first year of their relationship, Fay Adhiambo had never let her boyfriend see her without make-up on. In the morning, she woke up in the wee hours to touch up before he woke up.
“I literally used to sneak out of bed to shut myself in the bathroom, shower and apply my make-up,” chuckles Fay who has now been married for three years, adding, “I made up bogus excuses why we can never go swimming, to the beach, camping and even shower together. Basically, anything that would wash my make-up off,” she continues.
Fay says although many people tell her that she has natural good looks that do not need enhancing, she still only lets her facial therapist see her bare face.
“I worry that people won’t find me as attractive with a bare face,” admits the 28-year-old who says make-up makes her feel complete.
Patricia Moraa shares the same sentiments. She too never let her boyfriend see her without make-up on in the first months of their relationship. “Make-up is the best way to express myself.
It is not an illusion, it’s an enhancement of the already existing beauty, it is a representation of who I am on the inside,” she explains. Although five years into the relationship, she is now comfortable letting her boyfriend see her without make-up, she insists that one should let their other half know them deeper before showing them your face without make-up.
“A man first falls in love with the made up you and maybe he would not be as interested if your face did not look so pretty as it does with make-up,” she says, noting that apart from her boyfriend, she also does not let other people see her without make-up on. Even the smallest of errands have to be done with make-up on.
Patricia and Fay’s make-up routine sounds tedious, not to mention costly, yet they are not alone. In a Kenyan make-up and beauty facebook page, Glam Life, many women admit that they cannot step out of the door without make-up on.
On the international scene, a newly-wed man in the United Arab Emirates last year divorced his wife saying he could not recognise her when he saw her natural face for the first time after her make-up got washed off when she went for swimming. Celebrity make-up artist, Charlotte Tilbury, in 2015 admitted that neither her former husband, actor Charles Forbes, nor the man she is married to, film producer George Waud, has ever seen her without make-up.
“My mother always said: “Keep the mystery alive”,’ she says. “At night, I lock the bathroom door, take off all my make-up and then reapply my eyeliner and a little bit of mascara.
They’re my bedroom eyes,” she adds. “In most relationships, especially when one gets into marriage, there usually comes to a point when women become secure that they are loved for who they are, as well as what they look like,” says psychologist and relationship counsellor, Peter Watiti.
He says women at that point let their guard down and gradually stop wearing make-up until their partner sees them bare-faced. However, he warns that to be married, or in a long-term relationship, and still feel the need to be fully made up at all times isn’t healthy.
“This scenario is not any different from a woman not wanting to be seen naked by her husband. It suggests she doesn’t feel strong enough in her relationship to be herself and that she fears there would be a change for the worse in her marriage if she was seen without make-up,” she notes.