Going without makeup for a week was the best thing I ever did
You don’t realize how much you rely on it until it’s gone
I’ve always been a confident person – confident in who I am and what I bring to the table. But, like pretty much every other woman out there, I have struggled with my own perception of the way I look.
I’ve gone through phases, attempting to find my own style and look. I’ve gone from jet black hair to blonde, to almost everything in between. I’ve worn a full face of makeup every day, and I’ve also worn minimal makeup every day. Although, as I’ve gotten older, I have become less fixated on my physical appearance, and more focused on who I am as a person.
When the opportunity presented itself to go a week without makeup, and write about my experiences, I figured it would be a breeze. It was actually more of a challenge than I thought.
I’ve struggled with acne since I was in sixth grade, and I’ve done very harsh treatments to get my skin to be as clear as it is now. But those treatments left me with scarring, mostly on my cheeks, and it’s one of my biggest insecurities. I found myself wanting to use concealer, at least to cover up the marks, but I couldn’t.
The second day of my no-makeup challenge, I went out to a nice dinner with my friends. All of them had their hair and makeup done, and there I was sitting fresh-faced, in a cocktail dress, feeling extremely out of place. Every time someone looked at me for more than a couple of seconds, I thought, “Oh God they’re probably looking at this giant pimple on my forehead.”
In all reality, they weren’t staring at the pimple that I thought was “so huge.” Instead, they were probably just observing the table full of a group of noisy girls. After the dinner, I immediately regretted focusing all my energy on what everyone else thought of me, instead of engaging in the conversation with my friends. I gained absolutely nothing from being self-conscious, and it really just made me feel worse in the end.
I really did believe that this week of being fresh-faced would be easy for me. So why was it all of a sudden so hard?
Taking a step back and looking at the way society perceives women truly helped me see where my insecurities came from. Women are expected to be perfectly put together when it comes to our outer appearances. If we look disheveled in any way (sweatpants, dark circles under the eyes, blotchy skin, etc.) then obviously we do not care about ourselves – we’re lazy.
But, if we do take time with our appearance and dress up with a full face of makeup, we’re trying too hard – a “cake face.” And then you have the comments about how “girls who wear no makeup are so much prettier.” There’s no happy medium.
We worship celebrities who are constantly appearing flawless to the public eye, and then we crave the, “30 celebs without makeup,” article that some tabloid posts because we yearn to find the flaws.
The beauty industry has been built by preying on women’s insecurities, continuously boasting about “miracle foundation,” “20x longer lashes,” and “larger lips in seconds.” We spend hundreds of wasted dollars in the beauty aisle trying to find the remedies for our insecurities, but the fact of the matter is: there are no remedies and we will never be satisfied until we truly realize that our own self-worth is not dependent on how a warped society demands us to be perfect.
I’m glad that I spent a week without makeup, and I plan to spend many more without it. My perceived “flaws” do not define who I am, and I’m more than a pimple or a scar. I know who I am, and I don’t need concealer to show it.