I started wearing makeup in middle school. Now, I never did a true full face for my day to day wear. My makeup look for each day consisted of concealer at first, then it evolved to concealer plus mascara. Eventually, I would add some blush if I was feeling fancy. Of course, I would essentially put concealer all over my face so I really should have just invested in some foundation. Middle school was also when I started doing shows. These shows were what really taught me how to use makeup. I quickly learned how to apply my own stage makeup and from there it was simply a matter of learning to apply with a much lighter hand.
At the start of high school, I continued to stick to my concealer, mascara, blush combo with the occasional bit of eyeliner and eyeshadow for things like presentations. I would make sure to wake up early enough each morning so that I would have the time to “get pretty” before school. To me this was normal, it was what girls did. My mom never wore much makeup and, much to my lamentation, my older sister didn’t in high school either. This feeling that I needed to wear makeup didn’t stem from my family, it just developed on its own. I felt prettier when I wore makeup. It was my battle armor.
Overtime though, my skin couldn’t keep up. I’ve always had very sensitive skin, and here I was putting chemicals and products over it every day. My skin continually got worse. I had eczema on my face, my acne was flaring up and it made me miserable. All I wanted was normal skin like the other girls. I just didn’t understand why mine was like this. What I didn’t realize was that a lot of the other girls had issues with acne, even if they didn’t struggle with eczema. They, like me, simply hid their imperfections under their makeup artistry.
One of my favorite shows is The Voice. When Alicia Keys was a coach on the show, I learned that she had chosen to stop wearing makeup. This blew my mind. She looked great! How did someone who didn’t wear makeup, have skin that looked that good on tv. At this point I had already begun to investigate not wearing makeup in order to help my skin, but I hadn’t committed to it. Looking back, I wore makeup because I was insecure. I thought that by not covering my flaws, I wouldn’t be as pretty. Seeing what not wearing makeup did for Keys’s skin convinced me to actually give the makeup free life a try.
Partway through my sophomore year of high school, I made the switch. At first it was hard. I was so used to covering up any perceived flaws in my skin and now I was doing nothing. I felt naked without my shield. Overtime though, it started to become normal, my skin slowly began to heal. My acne calmed down, the eczema became manageable, and then rare. I started to feel pretty again, only now I knew that my beauty wasn’t because I was hiding, it was because I was embracing who I was, flaws and all.
Don’t get me wrong, I love wearing makeup sometimes and I don’t shame anyone who chooses to wear it regularly. I still wear makeup from time to time whether for a show, a special event, or just because I feel like it. The important distinction though is that I don’t feel like I have to wear it. Going makeup free was the best decision of my life. I stopped wearing makeup to make others view me as pretty and instead, embraced the fact that I felt beautiful and strong. When I stopped wearing makeup regularly, I not only healed my skin, I healed my self-confidence as well.