How one woman gave up mirrors for a year
Kjersten Gruys, a UCLA Ph.D. student, gave up mirrors for a year, even on her wedding day. How did her brave experiment turn out?
Thu, May 31, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Last year, Ph.D. scholar Kjerstin Gruys vowed to go where few women would dare: into a world without mirrors for an entire year. (Read about the challenge here!)
And as if that doesn’t sound daunting enough, six months of the no-mirror ban was planned to lead up to the UCLA Department of Sociology student’s wedding day.
So how did the grand experiment go? And did Gruys (pictured) experience a boost in self-esteem and confidence, as was her hopeful hypothesis at the outset?
You can file this one a success, though the ride had moments of turbulence. “The greatest challenge was resisting mirrors when I was by myself,” Gruys tells YouBeauty. “I had a habit of looking into the mirror as a form of companionship, which I didn’t realize until I was in the midst of the experiment. My reflection was a friend of mine!”
Remarkably, the newlywed staved off looking in the mirror for an entire year as planned, with just a few slip-ups that she discloses on her blog. Among them, while shopping bridal jewelry ideas with her future mother-in-law (we’ll give her that one!). And if you’re wondering about the wedding gown, Gruys cleverly picked out the winner before the experiment officially began.
During the year without mirrors, Gruys regularly applied a hint of eyeshadow, mascara and lipbalm without the aid of a reflection, though one of her concerns was that the bare-bones beauty routine would cause others to view her as lacking professionalism, and maybe even have others find her less pretty. Yet the experience proved Gruys’ lingering fears wrong.
“The most important lesson was finding out that my husband, family, friends and colleagues didn’t seem to notice or care that I had downgraded my beauty routine,” says Gruys. “I still wear a bit of makeup and enjoy shopping for clothes, but I remind myself that at a certain point, good enough is good enough, and my time, energy and money can go towards other things I care about.”
On the big day, the bride had her hair and makeup professionally done, and took comfort in the knowledge that, “no one would let me walk down the aisle with spinach in my teeth!” she says.
And upon seeing herself as a bride for the first time when she received her wedding photos? "I was thrilled with the photos, and thought I looked pretty great! More than anything, I looked happy."
As for the hubby, he’s thrilled his companion only hogs the bathroom for a few minutes in the morning now and breezes through primping for date nights and dinners. For Gruys, the time she does spend with makeup in front of the mirror is more fun now, too.
“I really started to miss the creativity that comes along with applying makeup, styling my hair, and putting together fun outfits,” says Gruys of her time without mirrors. “It taught me to enjoy the fun side of beauty, and to appreciate my body and style because of my uniqueness, rather than to base it on other people’s standards.”
Also on YouBeauty.com:
Quiz: How's your self-esteem?
MNN tease photo of mirror compact: Shutterstock