As a freshman in high school I was introduced to the wonderful world of makeup. I saw its transformational powers and I was hooked. Even just the magic that was black eyeliner allured me into this world filled with colors that gave me instant confidence. I’d go from a shy girl who wasn’t a fan of staring at herself in the mirror to a less shy girl who LOVED looking at herself in the mirror.
Now, I wasn’t that good at doing my own makeup. I really had a few staples that I relied on. Some bronzer, eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara. Nice and simple. Of course I experimented with makeup throughout my teens and even now still find it fun to play around with some bright colors or recreate a Pinterest look I found. Regardless, makeup is a fun way for me to express myself and how I am feeling, just like clothing.
More recently, however, I’ve found myself not wearing makeup. There are a few reasons I decided to go makeup free. One, I don’t have that much time in the morning before work. Two, and most importantly, I have found I don’t need it.
Maybe it’s that I’ve grown, maybe it’s that my priorities have evolved. But whatever has happened, has allowed me to step away from that makeup brush and embrace my natural makeup free face.
I felt naked at first. I didn’t realize how the tiny little embellishments I did to my face felt like protection. They were my armor in a world where being a female feels like a never-ending appraisal of beauty. The first day I went makeup free to work I was nervous that I would be super shy and not want to talk to my coworkers for fear of them staring at my pure all natural makeup free face- freckles, blemishes and all the imperfections that makeup tends to hide. But to my surprise I was motivated to continue this makeup free look. I didn’t get any comments at all about my makeup free face (because I have terribly irrational fears that people care about how I look when the reality is that they don’t give a shit). By shedding my makeup routine I allowed myself to learn things about myself that I still continue to learn by going makeup free, below are just a few of the things that going makeup free has taught me.
1. To love myself exactly as I am
The struggle is real. Loving yourself, whether it’s your body, face or any part of you that makes you insecure is something I think everyone struggles with at some point in their lives. We all have insecurities. By going makeup free I learned to be less insecure. On one particular day when I was feeling extra crappy i stopped by Starbucks before heading to the office. While standing in line, a random guy complemented me. Hearing that you are beautiful at 8:30 in the morning on a busy workday was probably the best feeling in the world. I’m not suggesting we should aim to receive validation from external factors, but boy does it sure feel good to hear compliments from others. And by hearing that simple compliment, the next time I looked in the mirror I no longer thought I looked like crap. My own insecurities began to fade. By continuing to go makeup free I began to see my true beauty- my inner beauty (still working on that though).
2. Appreciating my flaws
This goes hand in hand with #1. I don’t know why I’ve always felt that my skin was somehow a flaw. That my eyes were too big and the bags under my eyes were terribly noticeable. (Can I blame the media? Let’s go with that!) To be honest, I had a hard time staring at my face without picking out my perceived imperfections at first. But after gaining confidence and realizing that appearances really don’t matter and simply aren’t as important as the media makes them out to be, I began loving my face naturally. Learning to appreciate all the flaws allowed me to find an appreciation for myself that I never knew existed. It was a relief.
3. I really don’t care about makeup as much as I thought I did
Feeling flawless, or like you just woke up like this (because you did) is empowering. Once I stepped out of my comfort zone of having makeup on my face I empowered myself and embraced all the benefits of being authentic. I no longer cared whether I had time to apply eyeliner. It made me work harder to show up to work on time and I was able to spend a little more time picking out an outfit to wear.
I became accustomed with going without makeup pretty quickly, much faster than I had anticipated. It was a smooth and stress-free transition. However, I still love makeup. It’s just that now I don’t feel the need to wear to it everyday. I also don’t use it as a shield, I use it only to empower myself. Makeup may be a shield, but it is not a weapon. It is a transparent cloak that everyone but you can see through- all potions have limits to their power. You look the way you do, and you can either accept it now and get on with your life or you can continue painting your face in the vain hopes that one day Scarlett Johansson will gaze back at you from the mirror. She won’t.
Wearing eyeliner and mascara never hid what I looked like from others. Men did not recoil at the sight of unfinished lashes. Women didn’t make snide remarks. Even though makeup does function as a confidence booster, sometimes it’s definitely empowering to throw away the crutch. Personally, I still feel the need to wear makeup on special occasions- a date, or a presentation at work- a touch of color can serve as a bolstering shield. So I will still continue to buy makeup and wear it seldomly. My biggest take away from going makeup free is to be confident no matter what. To have inner confidence. And that inner confidence will get you farther than any outer confidence might.
So if you are ready and want to challenge yourself, I suggest going makeup free. Even for just a day. The benefits that you will receive are sure to change your life. To have an opportunity to gain some inner confidence, some resilience to knowing you can conquer your fears, is huge.
Now I would love to hear from all of you. Have you ever tried going makeup free? If so, what lessons did you learn from that experience? And if you try going makeup free please share any lessons or insights you may have gained from the experience. I love hearing all your feedback. If you liked the post or have any other comments please share them below. Let’s continue this conversation.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!