Put your best face forward — but leave off the make-up: A social media campaign is challenging women to go "bare-faced" for a few days, and to post pictures online.

The "Barefaced & Beautiful" campaign  (on Twitter, ) is sponsored by the Renfrew Center, which specializes in treating eating disorders.

 

Dr. Becky Walter is a therapist at Renfrew's Radnor offices, she says the campaign is not anti-make up. Rather, its goal is to point out that for many women, wearing make-up is related to low-self esteem, and body image issues.

Walter says women and girls should question their own relationship with make-up.

"How do I feel with and without make-up, what prompts me to want to put it on, what are the messages that I say to myself about who I am, and, is that based on internal characteristics, or is it based on external physique?" explained Walter.

Walter says most women use make-up simply as a way to look their best, but some use it as a way to mask negative and unhealthy feelings about their appearance, so the campaign is meant to encourage women to accept and enjoy their natural appearance.

She added that for many Renfrew clients, wearing heavy make-up is a significant aspect of their disorder.

Former Renfrew client Kari Adams used to not even leave her bedroom without wearing make-up.

"Foundation, mascara, lot of mascara, false eye-lashes, and eye shadow and lip gloss, and lots of self-tanners" recalls Adams of her daily beauty routine.

The New Jersey mother of two says her heavy make-up use was tied to very low self esteem, distorted self image, and her life-long eating disorder. She always felt bad about the way she looked, and thought using more make-up could draw attention away from the fact that she was "too heavy." Adams is now in recovery and is participating in the "Barefaced & Beautiful" social media campaign. She posted her picture on Twitter using the hashtag #barefacedbeauty, looking confident and healthy, wearing no make-up.

Adams says the campaign will start a conversation about make-up and its role and meaning. "Let's focus inward for a few days, let's see our true beauty, let's see what we're really all about."

The campaign is part of National Eating Disorders awareness week, which started today.