What Happens When You STOP Wearing Makeup?
Since I was 12 years old, I’ve worn makeup. I was a late-bloomer, and I knew it, so I tried to make myself look as pretty as all the best friends in the “glamour shot” pictures you’d take at the mall. Foundation, eyeliner, glitter around the eyes- all the 90’s trends. I didn’t know how to apply it- I would have chin streaks for days. My eyes looked like deep black circles. (Mom- you are saint for “letting me be my own person”.)
Once high school happened, I started on the puberty train. I’d have the occasional breakout, which would lead to an occasional picking of said breakout, which would lead to heavier makeup. Rinse and repeat… all the way through college. College was the WORST. My acne was always cystic- I would have painful bumps that would try and break my skin's surface and just wind up seeping. They were completely hormonal, and no matter how many treatments or medications my parents got me… it got worse and worse. I even got blood work to see how my hormone levels were! I’d spend 2 hours in the mirror before college classes would start (7am!) trying to be able to just LEAVE THE HOUSE without my face seeping. It was absolutely horrifying, and left me very little self-esteem. I hated looking people in the eye…
Once I graduated, I went on Accutane. I knew it was an aggressive treatment, but I felt it was my last resort. I had been cast as the leading singer of a Las Vegas show… with huge tv screens on either side of the theater showing close-ups on my face. I lost out on a reoccurring character for a soap opera because my skin wasn’t clear enough. Horrible. So, the decision was made- I went on it.
It was amazing. I felt like a new woman. Bold. Confident. I looked people in the eye. I was glowing.
And yet I was still wearing makeup.
I think it was from years of pigmentation, (plus my skin is extremely sensitive), but I NEVER went out of the house without a full face of foundation on- even after being pimple free. Throw in 6 years of stage makeup every single night, sweating in Vegas sun… I was even that girl wearing makeup to the gym- my poor skin never had a fighting chance to breathe.
Over the last 5 months I have been on medical leave from my show, so I had no rules about how I had to look. I wasn’t seeing anyone other than family and closest friends… so now was my chance! I made an effort to get rid of all of the extra “stuff.” No fake lashes, my nails weren’t always perfectly manicured, my hair was always air-dryed and left un-dyed for MONTHS (and for us fake redheads- that’s a bold move.) But most importantly… I stopped wearing makeup.
I started slow… with no eye makeup. At first I felt like I looked sick. But slowly I adjusted...and then switched from my foundation to powder, and then from powder to tinted moisturizer… and then nada. FOR WEEKS. AND WEEKS.
I even went out to an industry event at a dive bar without a stitch of makeup on… and no one said anything. No one cared.
I will tell you right now- it has been the most liberating month of my life.
Allure posted an article back in 2016 titled, “Women Who Wear Makeup to Work Get Paid More, Study Confirms”. 20% more to be exact- grooming “accounts for the entire attractiveness premium of women.” Another study said that foundation “concluded to be the product making the most difference in female attractiveness… may give a stronger impression of health and symmetry- enhanced beauty.” (Psychology Today- Mulhern, Fieldman, Hussey, Leveque, Pineau)
And you know what? I get it. When you take a few minutes to groom, look your best, you feel confident and ready to tackle anything. You look healthy and vibrant, so you act how you feel. And that’s empowering in itself. But after seeing the other side of the coin, I have to say the confidence I’ve received from doing the exact opposite has been drastically larger than the previous mindset! I’m not some naturally perfect bombshell without makeup, but I actually started to feel pretty! It felt fresh and authentic to me… especially after also figuring out that all of those “makeup-free” Instagram selfies were completely and utterly BULLSHIT… and all those girls look just like me in the morning. Major eye roll. “When one has no real life, one lives by mirages. It’s still better than nothing.” –Anton Chekhov
I feel like I am renewing myself starting from the inside… with my skin. If I get a tiny breakout, it goes away in 2 days instead of 2 weeks. If I have redness in the morning, I don’t look in the mirror and go enjoy my day anyway. My MIND cleared, because my face cleared, so I was able to find the confidence in myself without the need for excess “stuff”.
That’s the lesson I’ve learned… I don’t “need” it anymore. I just LIKE it. It’s fun. It’s enhancing. It’s a hobby, but it isn’t my identity. Hell, I’m even starting to think I am naturally decent-looking, which is hard for me to even type.
I challenge you all to go at least a weekend a month without wearing a stitch of makeup… but leave the house! Run errands! Go to happy hour! Go on a date with your boyfriend or husband makeup-free… even if it’s just to a dark movie theater. I can almost promise that after awhile, if you allow yourself this mental and physical cleansing, you will feel on the inside as beautiful as you look on the outside- all natural.