Without A Mirror For 3 Days…


…and it’s not what you think. 

How many times do you check yourself out in the mirror?

I bet it’s one of the first things many of us do in the morning and one of the last before turning in. Checking out our hair, our makeup, our outfit, our teeth, sharing secret smiles, maybe even throwing in a smoldering “model” glance or two. Ok, time to wrap it up. This happens multiple times a day. But what if you don’t have access to a mirror? For three days? Someone once told me that the world might stop spinning?

I went semi-off-the-grid camping for four days and three nights, with little access to water, clean restrooms, and zero chance of a shower. The only way to catch my reflection was via a severely dusty window.  Welp, so long makeup, goodbye skincare routines, see you later hairstyles. Hello life without knowing what you look like to those around you.

Living without a mirror is freeing. Almost immediately, life gets much more simple. It shifts from how you look, to how you feel. You begin to nourish your body from the inside out — drink more water when you are dry, eat more veggies to “feel” good, get more restful nights’ sleep. You start to realize that you don’t need concealer, eyeliner or mascara to be yourself. Quite the opposite, truly. You begin to need clean and SPF-protected skin, clear and curious eyes, and a big ol’ smile. The vulnerability of not knowing what you look like can be scary. But, friends, all-natural becomes the beautiful norm.

Now, as I sit in my LA apartment, fully equipped with mirrors, I feel a change — that shift I previously mentioned — in my life. I have embraced the idea of “bare” beauty, and do not spend more than two minutes in front of a mirror, only to slather on moisturizer and eye cream. A few weeks ago, I noticed that I needed new mascara. I still haven’t gotten around to it…

I encourage you to try this sometime. Maybe not for three days, but possibly for one. Or challenge yourself to be aware of how much you rely on a mirror or how much time you spend in front of it. Because I guarantee you need not be. Spend that time outside, exploring, sharing stories with friends, or learning something new. I promise it will change you.

+What are your thoughts on this idea? I’d love to hear them. 

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  1. Wow — I love this concept, Joanna! I feel the same way when I go camping and have limited access to life’s conveniences. (Though I admit, once I meant to bring along a compact mirror and freaked when I found out that I forgot to pack one!) But it does feel very freeing and I believe it’s healthy to avoid mirrors every once in a while to challenge yourself to pay attention to the important things (like your health) and grow in confidence and security. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh this would be torture for me. First of all I HAVE to do my make-up in the morning, otherwise I just don’t feel like myself. And since I have very shiny skin I check my face in the mirror ALL the time to see if I need to reapply powder or blot.

  3. I *love* being away from a mirror and having hairy legs and being free. The only social concept of female beauty that is way too deeply engrained in me – say I have a week in the wilderness like you – I have dark hair and thus, a hairy upper lip. I wish Kate on Lost would have had a lady moustache.

  4. This is one of my favorite things about camping. Not knowing what you look like, not caring and guess what… no one else cares either! It’s a beautiful thing to reconnect with yourself through nature, to not have the burden of vanity creeping around the corner. I struggle with incorporating this into my everyday life but I’m learning. Thanks for the reminder to concentrate on inner rather than external beauty.

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