In the words of Shania Twain, ‘Looks Like We Made It’. Whether you love or loathe Christmas, it's behind us and all we have left is a Tupperware full of shreds of drying turkey, the mountain of paper and glass recycling – plus the accompanying walk of shame as you try not to let the many, many bottles clink too much – and the Gaviscon that will be by your bedside until mid-January. But, it's not all over, we still get to enjoy our Christmas presents.

This year I asked my husband for little luxuries, things I wanted to replace but would never justify the cost. For me ‘little luxuries’ means make-up.

This is how my husband became intimately acquainted with the website MakeupAlley as he searched through reviews for primers and eyebrow gels, like a new traveller navigating a foreign land, occasionally looking up from light of his computer screen with a look of bewilderment, ‘Do you know how much mascara costs?!’ I’m actually very low maintenance – I recently lost my hairbrush for two weeks and didn’t give a care – but I have always loved make-up.

I remember the first time I ever wore a full face. I was 13 and we were rummaging through my friend’s sister’s make-up bag in her Wishaw flat.

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My friend Kim, and her sister, were half-Spanish, so the dark beige pancake stick I smeared over my face made me glow like an out of season pumpkin, but it didn't matter, I was hooked. Blue silvery shimmery shadow and black pencil gouged into the eye water line, enough mascara to make my eyelids hang half mast and the absolutely essential Rimmel Heather Shimmer lipstick.

Suddenly, I was a new person.

My application technique got better as I got older but no more subtle. The term ‘layering on the slap’ really did suit ‘more is more’ me.

In my late-teens, I discovered a thick cat's eye sweep of liquid liner that became my signature, holding me up when the rest of me felt like it might be falling down.

When I turned the big age of 35, I mastered the bright red lip and switched to slightly nicer products packaged in metal not plastic, which made me feel glamorous, even as the rest of my body craved comfy shoes and jersey fabrics.

I remember vividly that the greatest privation when I had my baby and there wasn't a minute between the cycle of washing the bottles, changing nappies and googling whether I was messing motherhood up, was not having the five minutes I needed to do my face.

There are still photos of me on social media completely make-up free, squinting into the light, high on oxytocin and sleep deprivation. And, even though I should look more like myself without make-up, I barely recognize that woman.

It's interesting to me then that there is now a trend for actresses of a certain age taking to the red carpet make-up free. Francis McDormand, Alicia Keys and this month, Pamela Anderson, at 2023 Fashion Awards, completely barefaced.

In the pictures – because why shouldn’t a 53-year-old not wearing make-up be international news – she wears a chic white trouser suit, her hair is loosely tied back, her natural beauty and good bone structure shining through.

The Herald: BaywatchBaywatch (Image: free)

This impacted me more than I can say because in those teen years, when you’re working out not so much what you want to be but what other people want you to be, Baywatch was in its glory years and Pamela Anderson was considered ‘the ideal’.

Everything about her was pneumatic, blown up, exaggerated: the lashes, the hair, the lips and, of course, the boobs. I was taught that to be like her would be to be desired, to be valuable.

Thankfully, unlike one of the waitresses I worked with, I didn’t take out a bank loan to buy a car and instead use the cash to fill my boobs with silicone. But I did burn myself to a crisp, standing naked in tanning booths slathered in coconut lotion, Sun-In-ed my hair to a brittle white blonde and layered on more make-up than a 17-year-old face should probably carry.

And I was rewarded. Suddenly, I wasn't considered shy, dorky or unattractive any longer. I discovered that looking like others wanted me to look held power.

Pamela Anderson reaching an age where she no longer feels she needs to please others was a whole moment for me.

I have considered giving up make-up before. I know it's expensive and it takes time. Once I was doing my make-up in front of my goddaughter, perhaps three or four at the time, and she asked, inevitably, ‘Why are you doing that?’

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As I smoothed blusher over my cheeks the first answer in my head was, ‘Because this makes me better,’ but of course the literal translation of that is, ‘Because I am not enough,’ and that was never a message I was going to pass on to my young goddaughter and so I replied, ‘I like the colours and it's fun’.

Unlike Anderson, I'm not quite ready to go barefaced. The truth is I'm still very attached to my black eyeliner and my red lip, plus my poor husband’s efforts can’t have been in vain.

On harder days my ‘warpaint’, as my mum used to call it, still feels exactly like that. But I do notice I go more days with just a nice-smelling moisturiser and a smile on my face and don’t feel as entirely naked as I used to.

It turns out, if the choice is to get the make-up bag out or read a few more pages of a book, or make endless Play-Doh snakes with my little boy, or just have an extra 10 minutes in bed, I know what I’ll choose.

Perhaps that's the answer. Make-up can be fun and expressive but I don't want to feel like I need a mask to face the day.

The way I look is good enough and I don't owe anyone a perfectly primed, highlighted face to move about the world. Neither, it turns out, does Pamela Anderson.