On January 1, 2017, I decided that I would try to go the entire first month of the year without wearing makeup of any kind. That meant no foundation, coverup, blush, mascara, eyeshadow, eyeliner, nothing. I wanted to try this challenge because I had become so dependent on makeup in the past that I wanted to prove to myself that I could function as a normal 22 year old girl in society without makeup to hide my blemishes and imperfect skin with acne, acne scars, discoloration, and a lack of brightness that makeup gave me. There’s nothing wrong with wearing makeup obviously, but for me it was a way to hide myself beneath something that wasn’t really me.
From the age of 13 and beyond, I have been taught by the media, the internet, and other girls around me that if my skin is not completely flawless or my eyelashes are not long and curled naturally, that I have to wear makeup to cover up these “problem areas”. In 7th and 8th grade, I would put on foundation and coverup to hide my blemishes and then get so embarrassed if any wiped off on my clothes giving away the truth that I was wearing makeup. Looking flawless without any help from makeup is the goal, but that is just impossible for pretty much everyone. As I got older, makeup just became a part of the daily routine and in college I would even put on a bit of foundation before my 8am classes or else risk someone seeing my naked face covered in pimples and unpleasant discoloring. It’s exhausting to be this worried about something like a few red marks on your face while you’re also trying to get A’s in all your classes, maintain a decently healthy body, and keep up with your social life. It’s frankly unhealthy, but I was obsessed.
So in 2017, I decided to give my skin a break and do something that I don’t usually do which is go completely makeup free for as long as I can manage. Sure I don’t look great all the time, but most normal people don’t and sometimes I find myself seeing red bumps on my face and shrinking away from the mirror in embarrassment, but that’s a part of life. We, as girls, have been taught that our looks are our everything and honestly most of us do believe that. We think that a few red marks on our face or discoloration makes us less of a person or less of a woman which is simply not true. Makeup can be a fun hobby and enhance our natural features, but it should not be a shield that we hide behind when we’re having a particularly hormonal week or we haven’t been eating as healthily as we should.
After not wearing makeup for a month I can safely say that no one shrieked out in horror after seeing my bare skin with some zits and straight, fair eyelashes. People are far too concerned with their own lives and their own problems to worry about whether you put on concealer under your eyes today or put on some mascara to really make your eyes pop.
As of now, I’m giving up makeup indefinitely during the week and will allow myself to wear it on the weekends if I so choose. I need to give my skin some time to breathe and cleanse itself, something I have not done for almost 10 years. I have found myself pursuing other interests now that I no longer spend large chunks of time staring at myself in the mirror. I read more, play with my bunny more, sleep in more than I used to, get ready much faster, feel less self conscious, and even feel more comfortable in my own skin. A life without makeup is a life I want to continue to live and I hope that I can completely come to terms with how I look in 2017 because it is something I have been struggling with for as long as I can remember.
There is no perfect person and we all have our flaws. It is a matter of accepting those flaws for what they are without hesitation. If wearing makeup makes you feel beautiful, great! But, if it only makes you feel beautiful because it hides who you really are, then perhaps its time to reevaluate whether it is something you like or something you need.
What habits are you going to change this year? Are you going to give something up or implement something new and awesome into your daily routine? Let me know, I’d love to read about it!