Some people can’t imagine going to work or class without first “putting on their face.” Others only wear it on special occasions, and some refuse to wear it at all. However, for many women, putting on makeup is part of the daily routine.
I am the same way. Ever since I was in high school, I always made sure to make time for my makeup routine. Even when panicked about making it to an exam on time, I always “put on my face.” Lately, I’ve been realizing that I quite literally put my insecurities concerning my looks above even my education. How sad is that? This thought made me reevaluate my relationship with my makeup bag, which had been my bestie for so long.
I was prompted to look up the effect of women’s enslavement to their makeup, and I found some very interesting information. First of all, over 44% of women feel that they are not attractive if they don’t wear makeup. That is just about half of the female population, which is ridiculous. Our definition of beauty changes rapidly. Concerned your eyebrows may not be totally on fleek today? Well, in medieval times, women just plucked out their eyebrows . Who knows, that trend could be back again in the next decade or so. Humans have weird thoughts on beauty and it changes. Why should we base our daily routines on other people’s definitions of beauty, which could be different tomorrow?
Not only are a large percentage of women feeling the need to wear makeup in order to feel attractive, but a quarter of young girls begin wearing makeup at only 13, or even younger.
Looking at the amount of time and stress I put into my appearance—when wrapping up my senior year on a positive note should be my priority—I realized that I needed to distance myself from my toxic relationship.
From Monday through Friday, I wore no makeup. To work, class, and to hang out with friends, I had a fresh face. (Okay, yes, I cheated once or twice if I had a particularly horrid blemish, but for the most part, I was makeup free). It was hard, especially when I found a new lipstick on sale that I REALLY wanted to wear. But I was committed to getting used to seeing myself in the mirror, every day, with no foundation, eyeliner, eyeshadow, or lipstick on.
It was difficult, but it was also extremely rewarding. The first few days, I thought I looked puffy and sleep-deprived. Granted, I was sleep-deprived, but I don’t like other people knowing it. There were times I wanted to put on a bold lipstick because I felt it would make me look better, and thereby make me feel better. One day, one of my coworkers asked what was wrong, and even went so far as to say I “looked dull” and then, “oh, I see, you’re not wearing any eyeliner or anything.” That was fun. However, things began to look up.
By Wednesday, I thought my face was actually getting used to being bare and was looking more natural and healthy. Someone asked if I was wearing makeup one day, and when I said no, they told me they thought I looked more beautiful without it. I think my being comfortable without makeup on helped me to look better…and even more confident. The extra half hour of sleep may have helped a bit as well.
While I enjoyed the week without makeup, and I genuinely feel more confident walking out in public without being burdened by the need to go through my makeup routine, I still can’t be completely parted from my friend, Mr. Makeup Bag. Putting on makeup is, to some, an art. It is a beautiful art as well. I love learning more about makeup trends and techniques. I do spend too much on lipstick, and not because I care what others will think of me…because I genuinely adore lipstick.
According to this article, two-thirds of women find going out in public without makeup on just as stressful as going to a job interview or first date. For better or worse, it appears that makeup has a strong hold on a woman’s confidence. I enjoy makeup because I like how I look in it, and I enjoy putting it on. However, I don’t enjoy that I feel insecure and nervous at the idea of walking out of the house without makeup on. This experiment truly helped me with that insecurity.
So, I challenge you, if you wear makeup, take tomorrow and make it a “no makeup Monday,” and if you enjoy the experience, make it a full week. There is nothing wrong with loving makeup and putting it on. As I often say, sometimes putting on my makeup feels like drawing in a coloring book, and it’s quite relaxing. However, if you feel that it causes you anxiety, and it is taking away from things that are more important, try to distance yourself, at least a little.
I feel that my week away from makeup was extremely beneficial. I am now more confident in my own skin, and I can prioritize other things that are more important than my own looks. Take tomorrow, maybe take the whole week. Makeup is fun and sometimes relaxing in its own way, but don’t let it define you.