I have had a love/hate relationship with makeup for as long as I can remember. As a child I was fascinated by this tropical-inspired palette my mom had, since it was so colourful. When my grandma used to watch my brothers and I, she would give me “makeovers” using fancy brushes with no makeup on them, but I felt like I was getting the royal treatment. It wasn’t until I began high school that I was allowed to start wearing makeup. I thought I was so grown up, even though I had been using sparkly Hilary Duff brand makeup! After only a couple months of makeup experimentation I gave it up, not to wear it again until my prom four years later. After graduating high school I attended college, and was still makeup free, but began experimenting again once I finished school and was working full time. While never becoming very talented, I enjoyed playing with eye liners and eventually lip colours too. Since 2010 I had been wearing some kind of makeup almost every day, but my usual included eye liner, mascara, liquid foundation, and pressed powder. I felt like makeup helped cover my acne-prone skin, and drew attention to my eyes, which I considered my best feature. With a bare face I felt plain, gross, and sloppy.
Last summer we had a severe drought accompanied by very high temperatures. My face kept getting sweaty when I was out and about, and in an attempt to discreetly rid myself of it I would lightly press a napkin on my skin. This ended up wiping off a lot of my makeup, so I had to reapply. I quickly realized that it would be so much easier to forgo the foundation and pressed powder all together. Then I developed very itchy eyes, which I assumed was a seasonal allergy symptom. Additionally, my eyes grew swollen, red, dry, and runny all at once! It was very painful, so I resorted to allergy medication which is not something I like doing. I stopped wearing eye makeup because it kept getting smudged from all the stuff that was going on it my eyes.
By the end of the summer my eyes were better, and I realized I had not been wearing makeup for weeks…and I liked it!
In fact, I liked it so much that I decided to stop wearing it for good. My skin could breathe, I didn’t have to worry about smudges, I was saving time and money, and I felt more secure about my problem skin. Previously, I had tried to cover the redness and bumps with makeup, but I needed to apply SO MUCH and it looked really caked on. And every time I scratched my face I’d end up with makeup under my nails. Gross! But when I let my face just be as it is, I stopped worrying about covering the perfect way, making sure all the lines blended well, and so on. I have had acne since I was young, around 11 or so, and it is something I will likely live with for many more years. Makeup didn’t fix it; sure it covered it temporarily but at the end of day when I took it off, I was reminded of the imperfections I saw. Living without makeup has forced me to accept this aspect of my physical self. There are days that my skin is nice and clear, and others where it is acne ridden. There is no predictability with it, but I’m fine with that now.
Additionally I have stopped plucking my eyebrows. Around the time I started wearing makeup I also was gifted with the opportunity to have my unruly brows thinned and shaped. Unfortunately for me, in the 10+ years since that first wax, I have gone from pencil thin to shaggy and everything in between. I tried my hand at shaping them myself and have had the professionally waxed. After so many years of trying to achieve perfect eyebrows, I finally gave up. And let me tell you a secret: it is freeing. I no longer need to pluck stray hairs, ensure I keep both eyebrows even, worry about going too thin. I still pluck the hairs that annoyingly grow between my eyebrows, because I do not enjoy having a unibrow! But thankfully they are not a common occurrence. I feel now like I should amend my earlier statement about not wearing makeup again…since I spent so many years waxing and plucking, my eyebrows now have some bald patches. I am considering purchasing brow filler to disguise them, but will not be using it every day. Who knows how long I will want to use it? I may get tired of the hassle after a few days, weeks, or months!
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I have nothing against makeup! I know it is a creative outlet for many, it is fun to experiment with, etc, but I didn’t like how it was becoming such a priority in my own life. Upon self reflection I realized that I had been using makeup to get attention, to make myself stand out. That is what I have a problem with. Instead of focussing so much time and energy on the outward, I wanted to work on being a better person and shining a light for Christ. Of course, one can still do that with a face full of makeup, but it was not something I personally felt comfortable doing. That is why I have no intention of wearing makeup again in the near future. I have grown so much more confident in myself that I would not feel like “me” if I put on eyeliner now. Before, the thought of leaving the house with a bare faced made me nervous and I avoided it at all costs. Now, I am not concerned so much with the physical.