Five women gathered after work May 31 at what might seem an unlikely setting to discuss going without makeup for a month: a women's resale clothing store.
JoAnne Golleher, who co-owns Smart Girls Resale Fashion with her mother, Jamie Goeringer, came up with the experiment to encourage women to focus on inner beauty instead of their looks.
Golleher said the idea came from an article that she read in HomeLife, a publication of Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian organization based in Colorado Springs, Colo.
But while her inspiration had a religious foundation, Golleher stressed that any woman could benefit from going without makeup for a month, regardless of creed or age.
She and her mother said as many as a dozen women took part in the project, including members of Goeringer's church.
Goeringer said she did not receive any negative reaction from her husband, Tim, or others for going without makeup for a month, but planned to resume wearing makeup daily.
However, she changed her mind after Golleher said she will do without makeup one day a week.
Golleher invited life coach Robyn Coffman of Prescott to speak at the introductory meeting. Coffman said she conducts four-week workshops for women on self- and body image.
Her audience consisted of Golleher, stay-at-home mom Candice Smith, 34, of Prescott Valley, single mom Christina Horn, 27, of Prescott, and her own mother, Susan Shields, 65, of Prescott.
The participants said they started applying makeup during their early teens.
"Most women have a hard time being comfortable in their own skin," Coffman told the gathering.
Coffman referred to Galatians 5:1 in the New Testament.
"'It is for freedom that Christ set us free,'" she said. "'Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.'
"Everything I do comes from my Christian perspective," she added.
She cited the biblical maxim that vanity is a sin.
"As families, we must reflect the beauty of God," she said. "We represent beauty."
Coffman asked her audience to close their eyes and picture Eve: "what size shoes she wears, how tall she is, what shape were her hips, what her personality could be like, the texture or length of her hair, the shape of her teeth."
Smith said she pictured Eve with "the perfect body."
Coffman responded, "We have no description of Eve, and yet she is considered to be the epitome of beauty in God's eyes."
Then she asked, "Is it possible that there is a form of beauty that transcends looks?"
Coffman said the 30-day no-makeup challenge gives participants a chance to dispel myths.
"You will always be the most beautiful because you will be what you are supposed to be," Coffman said.
The five women gathered for a photo to record them wiping makeup from their faces. They planned to meet again in 30 days.
Horn, a preschool teacher, said she participated because she was applying stage makeup for her two daughters, Genvieve, 8, and Trinity, 6, for a dance recital.
"I just felt they don't need it," she said. "I got to asking myself at what age do we need it."
Golleher blogged about the experience at www.smartgirlsresalefashion.blogspot.com. She posted: "I attended church last weekend without make-up and it turned out to be no big deal, even though I felt a little insecure. But this time is different. Throughout the weekend I will be in front of a few thousand people. Gulp..."
Contacted June 17, Horn said no one said anything to her about going without makeup.
"It's no big deal anymore to go out somewhere without any makeup on," she said. "I honestly think I won't wear makeup much anymore."
Horn and the other participants did not attend the get-together that Goeringer and Golleher planned for 6 p.m. July 2 at their store.
The meeting started after part-time employee Stefany Jaurigue, 19, of Prescott Valley headed home. She acknowledged she did not participate in the project because "makeup is part of me."
Jaurigue said she did not see any differences in her bosses but commented Goeringer "looks more sassy with makeup."
Goeringer, who said she had bad skin about 15 years ago, applied makeup that morning, while her daughter put on makeup the previous day.
"The big thing was to look nice," Goeringer said. "It's all about the heart, whether you wear (makeup) or not."
Both mother and daughter felt better about themselves.
"I had this misconception it was going to be a big deal - and it wasn't," Golleher said. "It is not that we are totally against makeup."
Neither was Coffman, who said going without makeup made no difference to her.
However, she said, "It made me realize I needed good sleep" to prevent bags from showing under her eyes.