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There are many ways women and girls are encouraged to wear makeup, but utlimately, just walking around with it on is good advertising. The phrase “You look pretty” is often replaced with “Your makeup looks pretty today.” I’ve said it. I’ve heard friends say it. I have to admit that I’m more inclined to compliment someone on their looks if they’re wearing makeup. This reliance on makeup has become so engrained in our society and in our heads that even public officials can’t escape it.

Some of us may wonder how makeup successfully alters someone’s appearance. In my opinion, makeup may enhance our features, but it doesn’t make us prettier.

Trying to enhance our features isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the hype surounding it definitely has harmful effects. Recently, Instagram model Essena O’Neill spoke up about altering her Instagram photos.  O’Neill explained how and why she edited her photos, writing captions about the amount of time it took to get the right photo (one picture took 100 shots!). The captions even detailed how much she was paid to wear sponsored clothing items. To me, this just validates the fact that all women face immense pressure to look a certain way. In a video that O’Neill made herself, she goes on to say that, “There is so much more we could be doing than just editing ourselves and proving ourselves to others.” In reading this, it occurred to me that our dependency on makeup creates the urge to edit ourselves non-stop.

It frustrates me that so many women and girls refuse to leave the house with no makeup and feel the need to apologize for their natural looks. Why should we change ourselves and feel uncomfortable if we don’t wear makeup? Women’s self-efficacy should not be dictated by their looks. If we play into this, we perpetuate the idea that we need to be pretty in order to be successful and happy. These 8 astronauts didn’t need makeup to work in space, so we shouldn’t need makeup to go to school or hang out with our friends.  

This should not be the world we live in. The fact that so many of us feel uncomfortable in our own skin is a cycle of self-doubt and maybe even self-hate that will be passed on if we don’t actively change it. Don’t apologize for a makeup-free life. We are beautiful, strong, powerful women and we don’t deserve to be misrepresented. We can accomplish anything, maybe more than we ever imagined if we step away from the mirror. 

Melissa is currently an English major at the University of California, Davis and, in addition to this, she is pursuing a minor in Economics. Melissa currently has a part-time job on campus in addition to writing for hercampus.com. You can follow her on instagram at melissa_hosking
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