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Facing The World (Without Makeup)

Phoebe Baker Hyde, author of "The Beauty Experiment" (Courtesy of Phoebe Baker Hyde)

Phoebe Baker Hyde, author of “The Beauty Experiment” (Courtesy of Phoebe Baker Hyde)

Phoebe Baker Hyde was a new mother living in Hong Kong when she realized that using makeup and otherwise enhancing her appearance daily was just another burden in her already overwhelming day. Baker Hyde decided to do an experiment — no makeup, new clothes, haircuts or jewelry for an entire year.

Baker Hyde, who now lives in Brookline, chronicles her experience and her search for inner beauty in her new book, called “The Beauty Experiment”:

I looked at my reflection and despaired. As an exhausted young mother I felt ugly and saw that a new dress or face cream would never help. I was at risk of passing on a habit of feeling miserable about my looks to my baby girl — if nothing changed.

She joins Radio Boston to share what she found out about herself and what really makes a person beautiful.


Other stories from this show:

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  • Kara

    I’m very glad you took on this topic! I had the opposite experience and came to a similar conclusion. Through high school and college, I didn’t wear make up because I thought that smart girls weren’t supposed to care about beauty. In my late 20′s I started to wear make up, pay more attention to my clothes, and get my hair cut in salons, and I was surprised at the subtle ways that the reactions of others around me changed. It was empowering to realize that I could increase the  positive ways people responded to me, both personally and professionally. It was at a time when my confidence was increasing, and I agree with your guest that it is the internal journey that matters the most.


    Of course, it helps if, like the author, you are, by any standards, a “babe”, but an intelligent woman without make-up is a pearl without price.

    • YouCan’tFoolUs

      She might be intelligent, but someone needs to tell her that you cannot catch a cold by going out in the cold with a wet head.  And whether or not she is a babe, hmm, I wonder if she would have gotten the book published if she had been unattractive.  Probably not!

  • YouCan’tFoolUs

    I would take this more seriously if this author wasn’t trying to make money off of her experiment.  And now she is living in Brookline, MA (one of the most expensive suburbs of Boston!).  She could go a whole year without buying new clothes because she already had everything she could possibly need!  Even you, NPR, have fallen for the scam.  What this author is selling as an experiment is something many women have already discovered but haven’t decided to sell it.  I only wear make-up when I get dressed up to go out for dinner with my husband, otherwise I don’t.  And I didn’t need a book to tell me what to do.  What a joke!  By selling her book she is making a mockery of what she is trying to sell.

    Many women could have written this book but chose not to because they don’t want to burden their sisters with more pressure.  One more book to buy.  Save yourself some time and money.  Don’t buy it!  We are smarter than that!

    • Sara

       I agree. I’m a 31 year old woman who never wears makeup (most of the women I know don’t, either) and I’m wondering why on earth this is newsworthy. An overly privileged suburban mom decides to go without something that is by no means a necessity – how is this new or interesting or noteworthy?

      I rolled my eyes when I saw this story on the local news channels and boston.com, but I really expect better from NPR.

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