I think I skipped that phase in high school where I did the whole make-up thing. I was a little busy practicing piano in the morning before school. And after school, I was a little busy with volleyball, more piano, church, and homework. But now that there’s a college diploma packed away somewhere, and I play piano (very rarely) and volleyball (less rarely), I have a little more time on my hands.
One night in September 2015, I was working in the Emergency Room for an evening clinical. I was pretty hyped up on adrenaline when I got home and couldn’t sleep. I figured there was no time like the present to make my first “real” make-up purchase. In my defense, I actually did my research before I made the purchase. I had spent a few weeks asking around for recommendations. My highest priority was using make-up that was good for my skin. I asked my mom’s facialist and she recommended bareMinerals. So on that adrenaline-hyped night I pressed “submit order.” Ninety dollars and a week later, the bareMinerals starter kit was delivered to my doorstep.
I usually just curled my eyelashes and swiped a coat of mascara on. I didn’t use foundation, concealer, etc. I opened up my bareMinerals package and realized I had no clue what to do first. So I turned to Pinterest. Then Pinterest lead me to Youtube. There I discovered an entire community of make-up vloggers that post make-up tutorials, product reviews, monthly favorites, etc. I had so much fun with it. I actually got excited in the morning to put my make-up on and experiment. I found it was something that allowed my mind to escape and just focus on one thing. It was such an interesting concept to me. The eating disorder was the tool I used to escape in the past. The eating disorder allowed me to tune out everything and allowed my mind to be engulfed. Obviously it was an unhealthy escape. This past year I would get excited to come home after class and watch my Youtube videos. I would look at the clock and see an entire hour zoomed by as I watched videos and played with my growing make-up collection. My mind seems to always be “on,” and for some crazy reason, this former tomboy found that make-up turned her brain “off.”
I have found the same to be true with blogging. Two hours can fly by as I prepare a blog post. I get laser focused on one thing: writing. In fact, these past two weeks, I have been writing everyday. However, it seems that each post I start stems into five different ideas. So while no posts have been officially posted, there’s about fifteen half-completed ideas floating on my computer.
That long introduction was to set you up for my main attraction today, my no make-up week.
“THAT’S what she looks like without make-up? She looks like a completely different person!” I didn’t realize Ben had glanced over at my computer while I was watching a Youtube make-up tutorial.
Yes, I would agree with Ben. A majority of my Youtubers completely transform themselves into someone slightly resembling their no make-up face. While I have and always will gravitate toward the natural make-up look, it got me thinking. As I expressed earlier, make-up served as my escape, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t depending on it. I didn’t want it to be my mask that I depended on.
I have heard many women claim, “I need to put my face on,” or “I can’t go out in public without make-up on.” I’ve even heard younger girls say, “I would never let my boyfriend see my bare face.” Now that I said this, I feel you may fall into two categories. Either you agree and have said these statements before or you are judging the ones that do. Before you continue in either direction, let me stop you. Make-up serves a purpose for each woman differently. Some may enjoy the process. Some are super creative and like playing around with different colors and techniques. Some may use it to enhance their natural beauty, to emphasize features they like about themselves (I would put myself in this category). Some may use make-up as a mask to hide behind. Make-up is their confidence.
“Gotta check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.” Ben and I like to say this phrase. I wanted to check myself before I wrecked myself. I wanted to make sure I was still using make-up for fun, not as a mask to hide behind. What better way to “check” myself than an entire week free of make-up.
I started a Sunday night at our church’s ice cream social and I ended my week the following Sunday after church morning service. A full week. I worked the front desk of the gym every morning, taught exercise classes, ran errands, went to church, went out to dinner, and said good-bye to some friends – all make-up free.
At first, I enjoyed waking up at 5:15am, not 5:00am. Those extra fifteen minutes of sleep were nice. I honestly forgot I wasn’t wearing make-up; bareMinerals is very lightweight and has a natural “skin-like” finish. However, as the week progressed I had some friends stop by. At first one friend planted herself smack dab in the middle of my forehead. The second friend planted herself right between my eyebrows. The third friend made a few appearances on my cheeks. Plus, as I was going to bed too late and waking up too early, those under eye circles became quite pronounced. In fact, a student walked into the gym and said, “Wow! You look really tired!”
I didn’t quite know how to respond.
I also have stick, straight eyelashes. They are long-ish (thank you Dad for those genes). I like to curl my eyelashes to give myself a more awake, eye-opening look. When I discovered the eyelash curler in 7th grade, I never put it down. I would never leave the house without my eyelashes curled. I depended on it.
My biggest struggle that week was wanting to curl my eyelashes and conceal those zits and under-eye circles. Those were the only things I really missed in terms of my confidence level. I felt I look tired and not as polished without those. But as for the other make-up items, I seemed to give those up easily.
But, I did really miss playing with my make-up collection. Yes, it sounds silly, but I did. Even if I have no plans to leave the house, I usually play around with different looks and products. But in the spirit of the no make-up week, I felt I shouldn’t even play with it. (I will admit that I still kept up with my Youtubers.)
Because I felt less polished on my face, you think I would try compensating by making my hair nicer or putting more effort into my outfit. However, at first I had a black-and-white, (not grey) mindset. Because I didn’t do my make-up, I cared less about my hair and what I wore. It was a domino effect. However, instead of rocking the grunge-look for a week, I snapped myself out of it. I spent the extra time curling my hair or trying a new outfit combination. I even tried going to bed earlier! I felt more awake, I looked more awake, and I felt more confident, while still make-up free.
The following week, when my no make-up challenge was complete, I found I still used less. The first day I only used concealer and an eyelash curer. The rest of the week, I kept it very simple. I knew I could confidently rock no make-up, so putting make-up on wasn’t a necessity.
There are communities of make-up artists that dramatically transform their clients and on the opposite spectrum there are communities of make-up shamers. I’m not encouraging either. If someone wants to completely change their face with make-up, then they can do that. If women want to wear make-up, then they should feel free to wear make-up. While I personally prefer more natural, beauty-enhancing make-up, my priority is making sure make-up isn’t a mask I hide behind. It’s something I enjoy, but I could live without.
Now, I encourage you to check yo’self before you wreck yo’self. I thought I would easily give up my make-up routine for a week. In actuality, it was a little harder than I had anticipated. Challenging myself to go make-up free for a week exposed areas where I don’t feel as confident. I encourage you to try the no make-up week and see what it reveals to you!