I Cut Back on Makeup for a Year, then This Happened...

By my sophomore year of college, wearing a full face of makeup every day had become second nature to me. In high school, I woke up at 5:00 in the morning to shower, do makeup and straighten my hair before my early classes and even earlier extracurricular meetings. In college I kept this routine, sometimes even doing my makeup at night before class so it was done by the time I woke up. Unhealthy right? It also didn’t help that, to save on setting spray, I used a classic dance trick: hairspray. While I do have fun doing my makeup and like to experiment with new looks, the reason I kept up this exhausting routine was because of my acne. I’ve struggled with acne since about 3rd grade. I went on antibiotics and birth control for it, but those only stopped it from going from bad to worse; they didn’t really clear up the mess I already had.

Of course it’d dawned on me that one of the contributing factors could be the foundation/powder/concealer/foundation sandwich that I was piling on my face, but it was a bad cycle I couldn’t see a way out of. How could I stop wearing all of this makeup without people seeing how truly terrible my skin was? It was definitely one of my biggest insecurities, to the point where if I ever had a guy over or was at a party, even overnight, I wouldn’t take my makeup off. Even when I was just with my friends I would keep my makeup on if I had a breakout..

By winter break 2017, though, I had reached my limit of putting up with this issue any longer. That previous semester, I grew tired of getting up early for a full makeup routine, and I wanted the next relationship I was in to be one where I could wake up next to my partner makeup free and feel beautiful, or at least not like crap... I knew that the only way I could truly fix my skin, was by giving it the chance to breathe, and that it would be better to put up with my skin looking bad for a little bit in order for it to look better long-term. So, I decided that I would only wear makeup on weekends and special occasions in 2018.

Over that Christmas break, I got a facial to help with some of my pore problems, and after the holidays, I stopped my makeup use. It was hard trying to avoid doing my normal routine at home, and I was worried I would run into people from high school looking washed up. As I moved back into school, my skin still wasn’t great and it felt odd trying to pick out cute outfits when I felt like my face didn’t match them. Once classes started, though, not wearing makeup easily became one of the best decisions  I’ve ever made: there’s nothing better than a goal that requires less work than before! I combined wearing makeup less often with drinking more water, and over a couple weeks started seeing a lot of improvement. It also helped to change my pillow cases every other day or cover them with a t-shirt or towel because it stopped as many oils, face products, etc. from building up on the surface I was sleeping on. I also made sure to always sleep with my hair tied back to prevent the oils and hair products from getting on my face all night. After a few months, although my face still had some acne and scarring, I couldn’t believe how much of a transformation I saw since deciding to make these lifestyle changes, and it made me so happy when other people started complimenting my skin too!

I still struggle with my skin to an extent. There are good and bad days, and I’m not completely satisfied with my progress yet. But with that being said, I’m proud of the transformation I’ve seen, I feel confident going out into the world and posting pictures of myself with no makeup. The main goal of reducing my makeup use was to improve the quality of my skin, which I did, but what was even more rewarding was gaining the confidence to go about my life and feel good about how I look without having to take 30 minutes to put on an elaborate foundation/powder/concealer routine. This upcoming year, I plan to further improve my skin by eating healthier, and to trying to avoid picking at pimples and blackheads (my favorite pastime). If you have ever considered cutting makeup out of your routine, or even reducing your use of it, whether it’s to help with acne or not, I definitely recommend it and wish you luck if you ever try it!