This story was originally written by Antonia Hoyle for DailyMail.co.uk
Every night before she goes to bed, Samantha Micklethwaite sets two alarm clocks. When they sound at 4 am, she slides out from under the duvet — while her husband, Wayne, lies sleeping — to shut herself in the bathroom. Then she removes the make-up she’s been wearing overnight, only to painstakingly apply more.
Extraordinary though it may sound — particularly as many would argue that Samantha has the kind of natural good looks that don’t need enhancing — the 31-year-old has never let her husband see her without makeup.
Exhausting routine: Samantha Micklethwaite, 31, gets up at 4 am to reapply make-up despite her husband saying he’d prefer her without.
‘I worry he won’t find me as attractive with a bare face,’ admits Samantha, who married Wayne last May after three years together. ‘He has only ever known me with make-up on. It’s exhausting making sure I am the first up every single day, but I worry Wayne has fallen in love with the made-up me — and wouldn’t be as interested if I didn’t do it.’
Samantha’s morning routine sounds arduous, not to mention costly, yet she is not alone. A recent survey found that one-third of women get up before their partner to apply makeup in secret, while 3 percent would never let a man see them au naturel at all.
Among them is celebrity make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury, 41, who recently admitted neither her former husband, actor Charles Forbes, nor the man she married last June, film producer George Waud, has ever seen her without makeup. ‘My mother always said: “Keep the mystery alive”,’ she says. ‘At night, I lock the bathroom door, and I take off all my makeup and then reapply my eyeliner and a little bit of mascara. They’re my bedroom eyes.’
But can a woman’s marriage ever be happy — or healthy — if she won’t let her husband see her in the way nature intended?
Keeping the mystery: The 31-year-old has never let husband Wayne (pictured together) see her without makeup.
‘In most relationships, there usually comes a point when women become secure that they’re loved for who they are, as well as what they look like,’ says psychologist and relationship coach Jo Hemmings.
‘They let their guard down and gradually stop wearing mascara and lipstick until their partner sees them bare-faced. 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.
‘It’s not that 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 — that there is a fear there would be a change for the worse in her marriage if she was seen without make-up.
‘It can be a form of facial dysmorphia. It’s similar to a woman constantly altering her face with cosmetic surgery — she has lost perspective on her appearance.’
Certainly, Samantha’s reliance on her cosmetic second skin seems to date back to her formative years when, aged 13, she developed freckles.
‘They made me feel ugly, so I began covering them with foundation — and the habit continued,’ says the retail assistant from Wakefield, West Yorkshire. ‘Make-up transforms me into a more confident person. Without it, I think I look horrendous — pale, washed-out and ill.’
‘Illusion’: Sylvia Jarrett, 70, makes sure husband Geoff, also 70, never sees her make-up free.
As a result, over the years Samantha has spent a small fortune on beauty products. Having found that cheap foundation clogs her pores, she spends £50 on a bottle, which only lasts her a fortnight. Before applying this, there’s a layer of primer and concealer to go on.
A £15 pressed powder finishes off her ‘base’. Then she applies two shades of eyeshadow, liner above and below her eyes and a coat of mascara to her lashes — which, she confesses, are not even her own, as she has semi-permanent false eyelashes applied every two to three weeks at £20 a throw. Then there’s bronzer, blusher, lipstick, and gloss.
It’s an expensive — not to mention exhausting — beauty regime. But even Wayne, 52, a social worker, can’t convince Samantha she doesn’t need it. ‘I’ve told her hundreds of times she is stunning. I can’t imagine she’d look worse without make-up, but she just won’t let me see,’ he says.
‘I actually think I’d prefer her without it. I used to wonder why she locked herself in the bathroom at 4 am. Now, I realize she does it for herself as much as me.’