For me, makeup used to be an art. My tube of Sephora red lip stain was a non-negotiable staple in my life. Perfect eyeliner wings took much too long to achieve, yet I went through the painstaking process of pencilling them on every morning – and, most of the time, erasing them and starting again because I messed them up. (To be fair, some people did notice my hard work, and I’ve often been complimented on it.)
But this annoying routine wore me down over time. At first, I limited my eyeliner and lipstick use to just a few days a week before giving up on both of them completely. I cut my makeup regimen down to a super quick four minutes – foundation, powder, blush, mascara. Boom, I was ready to walk out the door, and I still felt like I looked presentable.
Then I realised that was the whole problem – why should I have to put a fake face over my real face just to feel like I’m worthy of being in a room full of people who don’t care about what I look like?
To tell you the truth, neglecting my makeup initially spawned from a mixture of laziness, a lack of time, and mounting stress. I didn’t go into this thinking, “Yeah! This is empowering! I’m going to fight the patriarchy with my exposed pimples!” I just didn’t put it on. I didn’t think about it, and I had too much going on in my life to care what other people thought about it, either. If they didn’t like my face, they didn’t have to look.
But what surprised me most was the fact that I started to like my real face. After my first makeup-free month, my skin cleared up remarkably and I was much more comfortable going out into the open au naturel. I even stopped doing my hair, preferring to throw it up in a sloppy bun or let it cascade into its natural kinky waves instead of frying it to a crisp with a flat iron.
And truthfully, I just feel better overall. Saying goodbye to my beauty routine has saved me hours of time and boosted my mood and self-confidence unlike anything else. Even when I do have a breakout, I don’t feel the need to slather a pound of foundation on top to cover it up. I no longer feel ashamed or inadequate when I’m with other girls whose makeup is flawless, while my pimple face is on display for the world to see. So what? Who cares?
The most important people in my life certainly couldn’t care less. I’ve worn makeup exactly twice in the past 3 months – once when I went to pick up my fiancé from the airport after spending four months apart, and then again on my sister’s birthday. Honestly, they wouldn’t have cared if I’d gone out wearing pyjamas. But I care about them, and I want to look nice for them. That’s my choice. Makeup is expensive, and I want to spend it on people who matter, not throw it away on a selfie or an hour-long class full of people who don’t even know my name. I can choose whether or not I want to wear it instead of feeling like I have to, or like I owe it to the public to hide the blemishes and flaws that make me human.
Don’t get me wrong, all you beauty-savvy ladies out there who love wearing makeup for whatever reason have my utmost respect (and slight envy of your skill sometimes). I’m just grateful that I live in a time where women can feel confident enough to stand up to and overcome the ridiculous beauty standards set against them if they so choose.