Quitting Makeup Saved My Skin… And My Self-Confidence Too

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with makeup. As a young child, I associated makeup with femininity and beauty, constantly looking forward to the day when I would finally be able to look elegant and beautiful. To this day, I vividly remember sneaking into my mom’s bathroom when she was at work and stealing a tube of red lipstick. I then proceeded to apply it in excess, beyond the outline of my lips, leaving me with an uncanny resemblance to Ronald McDonald.

As I embarked on my middle school years, I remember being elated when my parents finally let me start experimenting with makeup. Throughout the years, I went through some unfortunate makeup atrocities: orange foundation lines on my jaw, excessive eyeliner on my lower lid, boxy eyebrows… Yeah, you get the gist. However, I slowly came to love makeup in my early high school years. It was the greatest part of my morning, as it allowed me to express my creativity while simultaneously feeling pretty, which was a rare feeling for me in my mid-teens where my self-confidence was as fragile as an eggshell.

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In the past few years, however, my relationship with makeup shifted quite a bit… and not for the better. For the first time in my life, I started to develop pretty bad acne. For months on end, my T-Zone was covered in multitudes of painful pimples. No matter how many creams and washes I tried, nothing got rid of it. Every morning, I would cake my face in foundation, concealer and powder to try and mask the many pimples I was sporting each day. For a while, it worked, but by the end of the day, I could still see the red bumps peeking through a translucent layer of foundation. As time went on, the acne continued to worsen, and I had enough. 

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There were only a few occasions since I started wearing makeup in middle school that I had the confidence to spend a full day exposing my natural skin. Even before I developed acne, I simply wasn’t secure in the way my face looked without makeup. But once my acne got to its worst, I made the decision to quit makeup entirely. The first few days were by far the worst. I was constantly terrified that people would look at me different or wouldn’t value me the same as they did before. However, I quickly grew into the mindset that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. This was the most authentic version of myself and I shouldn’t have to hide it. It’s definitely easier said than done, but once I stopped caring what other people thought of me, I was instantly so much happier. 

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As the weeks went on entirely makeup-free, I noticed drastic changes in my skin occurring. The acne was finally starting to clear up, my T-Zone became less oily, my chronic redness ceased to exist and my overall complexion looked radiant and glowing for the first time in years. For the first time in my life, I genuinely felt beautiful without makeup. Just weeks before this, the very idea of confronting the surrounding world with my natural skin entirely exposed filled me with anxiety, but after taking a step back and realizing that my natural skin is beautiful (with or without little red bumps), I was able to cure both my skin and my self-image. Ever since I quit makeup cold-turkey back in July, I’ve been gradually incorporating specific products like mascara and eyebrow gel back into my daily routine. However, I can confidently say that I have no plans of using foundation, concealer or anything that covers up my natural skin for a long, long time.

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Makeup can be an extremely fun tool to enhance natural beauty or even used as a creative art form. This article is not to say that people shouldn’t wear makeup. I genuinely love makeup, and I think it can be a source of self-confidence in its own. However, if you’re anything like me and have tarnished your relationship with makeup by using it as a mask to hide your insecurities, I urge you to try and take a step back from skin makeup. Let your skin breathe, and always remember that you are beautiful no matter what your insecurities tell you. 

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