Singaporean Girls Circuit Breaker

After 2 months, Singapore’s Circuit Breaker is coming to an end. And while this period of isolation and working from home has been punctuated by uncertainty, there are some small, unexpected joys to be found too. Cue showing up for work barefaced, with unruly brows, wearing pyjamas. 

We asked 9 Singaporean girls to share with us their #nofilter stay-home self-portraits and how they feel about not having to dress up, put on makeup or do their usual grooming routines during the Circuit Breaker period. 

1. “Going shirtless has allowed me to be more comfortable in my own skin”

work from home mars

“Nothing is more liberating than being 100% comfortable while working. And for me, that means being shirtless and wearing shorts while churning out emails.

For a position like mine that is very client-facing (I’m an account manager), it’s important to look presentable. This means I’m usually in pants, a long skirt or dress at the office. Working from home has allowed me to be in 100% comfort.

Why go shirtless? As a budding tree hugger, I’ve stopped using air conditioning for the past 4 years. The afternoons can get pretty warm, especially since I sit facing the window. Minimising the amount of clothing I need to wear is ideal so I can be comfortable. Of course, I wear a shirt when we have video calls!

Being shirtless has allowed me to be more comfortable in my own skin, and I’ve learnt to accept my flaws more, which is empowering.”

—Marissa Yeo

2. “Not having to straighten my hair every day has improved my relationship with my appearance”

work from home peps

“I have naturally wavy hair that I used to dislike and complain about all the time. Before the Circuit Breaker period, I religiously blow-dried and straightened my hair every day. I even have a straightener on my desk in the office.

Not gonna lie, during the first few days of working from home, I continued to blow-dry and straighten my hair. I was so tied to the ‘straight hair’ identity that I couldn’t separate myself from it.

But one day, I was too busy to blow-dry and straighten my hair so I just let it dry naturally. To my surprise, I actually liked how I looked.

To a certain extent, it stripped me of the aforementioned identity. More than how I looked, it made me feel more free as well. Not having to straighten my hair made my relationship with my appearance better, because it lifted that burden of having to look perfect every minute of every day.

I think I’d subconsciously held myself to this standard of ‘hair perfection’ and what 10/10 hair looks like. But ever since I started wearing it naturally, I feel more carefree. My hair looks less ‘neat’ and ‘perfect’, but that’s exactly what I love about it. It’s like I’m embracing myself in my raw form. It has taught me to own me before anyone else does.”

—Pepita Wauran

3. “I don’t have to use more energy to remove makeup, which is something I dread”

work from home char sew

“I love how I spend 5% of my usual time getting ready, instead of having to wake up 45 minutes earlier to prep my skin, put on makeup, do my hair and think of what to wear. All I do now is the bare minimum, which is to brush my teeth and wash my face in the morning.

I feel comfortable 24/7 wearing home clothes the entire day. Going braless means I don’t feel restrained in any way and my boobs are not sweating.

The best thing is that after a long day of work, I don’t have to use more energy to remove any makeup (which I dread the most) and contact lenses. My eyes and skin have never rested for so long before!”

—Charmaine Sew

4. “I am embracing the natural woman that I have become”

work from home joie

“During this period, I’ve become more accepting and am embracing the natural woman that I have become. For one, woman-scaping is no longer required because no one is going to see my armpits or nether regions.

It may sound gross to some people but after a while, I realised it’s easy to forget that you have a garden growing. In fact, it’s almost liberating because if it’s socially acceptable for men to leave their armpits hairy, why not women too?

Although I don’t think I’ve reached the stage of ‘rejecting the razor’ just yet, I’ll definitely be less mindful of needing to look clean-shaven all the time.

It’s changed my mindset of how I look at other women as well. We’re subconsciously taught by the media to view hairy women as ‘unsightly’. But now if I ever spot a woman flaunting her natural beauty on the street, I think I will choose to celebrate her confidence instead.

I’ve also realised that I only find it important to dress up and put on makeup when I’m meeting someone else. Subconsciously, I’ve associated feeling good about myself with physical validation from others. It’s perfectly ok to dress up and put on makeup to look good, but do remember to give yourself a break from time to time, because you don’t have to convince anyone that you’re beautiful but yourself.”

—Joie Tan

Also read:

3 Singaporean Millennials Share Why They Still Put On Makeup During Work-From-Home Season

5. “Not having to groom my brows is like a weight off my shoulders”

work from home penny

“My favourite part of the Circuit Breaker period has to be not trimming my brows and going barefaced every day.

It’s a little embarrassing to say, but my facial hair grows out real quick, so I usually groom my brows every 3 to 4 days. Not having to groom my brows is like a weight off my shoulders. It’s no longer something “I have to do to stay presentable” since I don’t have to stay presentable at home. At the same time, it irks me a little to see my brows growing out, so I still end up doing my brows every 2 weeks.

I’m also quite distressed by my acne-prone skin. Going barefaced every day has proved to be very effective for me in keeping the little buddies away, and it makes me UNBEARABLY HAPPY to have good skin. It feels like I have newfound freedom too, since I can touch my face wherever (though not recommended) and not have to think, ‘Oops, did i rub off my brows?’”

—Penny Wong

6. “No bra means no underboob sweat. That’s made me a very happy girl”

“I’m enjoying going braless. No bra means no underboob sweat. That’s made me a very happy girl.

I’ve also had more time for self-care days. Twice or thrice a week, I light a candle, put on a clay mask and eat some grapes with jazzy music in the background. It’s a huge privilege.”

—Dayana Rizal

7. “My skin can look its worst on a bad day and I won’t feel embarrassed”

“Because I don’t need to dress up for people when I work from home, I don’t need to waste a lot of time on my appearance. Plus if I have any online meetings, my video camera quality makes it seem as if I look ok even though I haven’t brushed my hair since waking up.

I get to focus on my skin more instead of what I am going to cover it up with. My skin can look its worst on a bad day and I won’t feel embarrassed because I’m not meeting anyone, so I can let my skin heal and recover naturally.

I also have a newfound love for Uniqlo’s Bratops, which means less pain and annoyance when wearing bras.”

—Pearly Choong

8. “Nobody is going to care enough to look and judge how I look”

“I love not having to put on makeup every day because I can wake up later and take a nap on my bed during lunch without having to worry about dirtying the sheets. It also gives my skin some space to breathe and clear up pimples and stuff.

I also love being able to walk around in my sports bra and biker shorts (because i work out almost every day and there are no males in my house). The weather has been really hot lately, so it definitely helps to be wearing less. This way, I can have less clothes for laundry and it still puts me in a productive mood to work before I work out in the evening.

The best part about these 2 things is that nobody is going to care enough to look and judge how I look. I’m going to miss wearing workout clothes freely and not getting judged for it. I think if I wore them out to the gym or to run, a lot of people would end up staring and I don’t like that.”

—Sheryl Chua

9. “Letting my brow hair roam free has been really liberating”

“I’m someone who depends a lot on foundation as I have some acne scars and spots on my face. I like not having to feel the need to cover them up during this period, and it has actually taught me to embrace my bare skin.

I’m also someone who constantly grooms my brow hairs (aka plucking the strays). Letting them grow and roam free has been really liberating.

It’s made me realise how minuscule these are in the grand scheme of things. Instead of focusing my time on these minor things, I’m investing the time towards self-betterment and self-discovery (personality and character-wise) and it’s making me a happier person.

I’ve also been living in oversized t-shirts with no bras or pants and it’s amazing.

In the long run, I might depend less on foundation and concealer. I want to nail the “heck-care” attitude and be more confident in myself as a person. As for the brows, I’ll go back to grooming them. Liberating as it is, I can’t deal with the stray hairs.

I’m going to miss being able to live freely at home without worrying about or conforming to social norms, like having to wear a bra, pants or makeup. Basically, having to look presentable.”

—Nadia Elijanto

9 Women Share With Us The Perks Of WFH During Singapore’s Circuit Breaker

The Circuit Breaker is drawing to a close and a new normal will soon be upon us.

On top of nailing your home office set-up and figuring out how to up your productivity while working from home, it is also important to look back and think about what this stay-home period has taught us about what really matters, and how we can emerge from this unprecedented period as better versions of ourselves.

Also read:

I Reset My Skin With A 5-Step Korean Skincare Routine Now That Makeup Is Not Needed While Working From Home