Whether you’re rolling your eyes at the title of this blog post or thinking Yay! Makeup talk!, chances are you have an opinion on the oh-so-popular beauty enhancer.
We use makeup to play up favorite features, to hide those pesky blemishes, to make us feel older or younger or just all-around better.
I have a history with makeup, and I’ll bet you do too.
I always saw my mother as a natural beauty when I was a child. She wore little makeup, perhaps throwing on a little blush for rosiness or mascara for effect. Makeup wasn’t a big part of her routine, so I assumed it wouldn’t carry much weight in my life either.
Well, around the ripe ol’ age of 13, acne made an appearance on my forehead and suddenly makeup seemed like a good option. From late middle school through high school, I used concealer to cover bumps and foundation to even out redness caused by harsh topical skin treatments. I felt confident—so long as I wore makeup.
Through my college years and beyond, makeup was simply part of the routine. Though acne became less of a struggle, I was not used to having a bare face. In fact, I often felt uncomfortable to be seen without makeup.
Isn’t that silly? Makeup is such a simple thing, yet I gave it a lot of power in my life.
Fast forward to 2016, and my new years resolution was to try something new every month. I attempted tennis, poaching eggs (to make my beloved eggs benny), and starting a book club, among other things. But when June rolled around, I had just begun a new job and relationship, so I figured my quota for “new” had already been met for the month. But then an unexpected moment of being seen makeup-free changed my mind. In this encounter, I remember being truly embarrassed for being caught au naturel—not my proudest moment. So I decided right then and there that June would be my month of going makeup-free.
I picked one day of the week to wear makeup (Sunday), and then decided that there would be no more than sunscreen and moisturizer on this mug of mine for the rest of the week.
In my makeup-free month, I realized two things:
- I like going makeup-free sometimes and have learned to feel just as confident without it as I do with it. (Though I want to emphasize that this is a learned trait; it’s not inherent. To be confident is often no more than a choice that is made.)
- I like makeup. I realized that I enjoy playing up certain features, like high cheek bones or long lashes. Though I certainly wear less makeup than I used to, it’s still a small part of my daily routine, and I’m ok with that.
During the month of June, only two people commented on my bare-faced self…and both were boys. Interestingly enough, both preferred me with no makeup. My favorite comment from one of those friends was, “you just look more real.”
Again, there is nothing wrong with makeup. I wear it most days and enjoy it. But I never want to get to the point where my worth depends on it again.
I’d love to hear from you. What has been your history with makeup? What’s your current philosophy on it?
Currently listening to “When the Stars Go Blue” by Ryan Adams