On Not Wearing Makeup

I pretty much stopped wearing makeup during the past year. Mostly out of laziness – sleep is a precious resource, people. It was not some kind of experiment trying to counter the ridiculous beauty standards society imposes on us. But it may have gone off in that direction a little bit.

ElleIt wasn’t very hard. If it was, I would have gotten over my laziness. But once you start asking yourself “Am I going to feel like taking this off tonight?” you know your makeup bag is going to get a nice long break.

I did wear makeup for special occasions, some parties, but not all, some concerts, but mostly the ones where I was on stage myself, a 10 k race (it came with my race pack and instantly doubled my makeup inventory). I was going to put on makeup for the first day of my internship, only to realize three days later that I’d completely forgotten about it. No one commented on my face, ever, except for my mother, saying that I was right to finally follow in her footsteps and chucking the mascara that fails to deliver on its promises of angelic beauty, steamy sex, and true love.

I got very used to my bare face. I have never used copious amounts, and some products just confuse me – I would not know where on my face to put blush, or how to wear lipstick in everyday life. Additionally, my glasses are very prominent, obscuring my eyes quite a bit. I also like being able to say that I don’t wear makeup.

I must also admit that I have been blessed with natural coloring that lends itself to this experiment: dark lashes and eyebrows, not too pale, very clear skin. So I never felt the need to use makeup to cover up my insecurities – I used clothes for that, and so far, I have not adopted a naked policy on that one. This explains how not wearing makeup didn’t feel like giving anything up – it felt like gaining time.

And yet, sometimes I wonder if I am selling myself short by choosing not to beautify my face. Whenever I see an exceptionally beautiful woman on the street, I notice whether or not she is wearing makeup – she is. They all are. Is it the makeup that makes them exceptionally beautiful? Are exceptionally beautiful women more prone to using makeup? Have I forgotten how to appreciate natural beauty, no longer recognizing it when it passes me on the streets? Can I blame the media for perpetuating a heavily madeup and photoshopped version of beauty? I recognize natural beauty in the mirror, but I’m biased. Would others recognize it in my face?

I wonder how and if things will change once I no longer wear glasses after getting lasic surgery later this week. Will the two-week period of makeup verboten be enough for me to get used to my new face so that I won’t feel the need to break out the paint jars? Will I start having fun with makeup because my glasses no longer hide it? Or, worst-case scenario, will I use it every day because I’ll feel too plain without it?

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12 thoughts on “On Not Wearing Makeup

  1. You should not overthinking this. I wear makeup when I feel like and I don’t when I’m lazy or not in the mood. All my friends and family know me with and without makeup, I don’t think about it to be honest. Many times I don’t even know if I am wearing it or not, have to think for a few seconds if I don’t have a mirror at hand.
    Who cares if a woman is naturally beautiful or not (maybe the man waking up besides her)? If something catches your eye, enjoy it like you would a beautiful painting. 🙂

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  2. I’ve never liked wearing makeup. I’m like you, I have great skin so I didn’t really need it to cover anything. But I always wore mascara until a few years ago. Then I just stopped. I got tired of applying it and taking it off at night. I get the same compliments I always got, but I feel healthier and cleaner without the mascara. I never could understand lipstick. I tried it a few times and it just felt odd to me. I’d see myself in the mirror and think it was just weird having “painted” lips. All I know is, if a guy preferred a girl who wore lots of makeup, he just wasn’t for me. 🙂

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  3. When I moved to Colorado last year, I mostly gave up makeup (I still wear mascara most days). It was a natural choice…people here where it a lot less than anywhere else I’ve lived.

    I have also given up nail polish, which I used to apply weekly. That was definitely out of laziness…I just didn’t one week, then didn’t the next…now it’s been 4 months.

    I haven’t given away my nail polish yet, but I don’t see myself going back to weekly application.

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  4. Thought provoking! I’ve been wearing make up less lately, but still wear it to work. I feel fine without it mostly because I’m either by myself or with my family, but when others are around I do feel naked. I also don’t have the greatest complexion, though. I think beauty has been manufactured, and those beautiful women probably don’t look the same without it caked on. They are probably still beautiful, but not in the manufactured way we’ve become accustomed to.

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  5. Such a lovely piece. I didn’t wear make-up during some of my travelling in the summer and I don’t think anyone noticed. One of the guys I used to live with commented about my minimal make-up routine and how I look the same with/without make-up – which I took as a compliment.

    We have definitely been accustomed to daily make-up routines in a Western society, whereas my friends who live in the Philippines barely wear any at all – yet their skins are glowing and youthful-looking. I’m not sure if they look radiant due to their less made-up faces or because the societal pressures to wear some aren’t present; whatever it is, it is working!

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