My Relationship With Makeup (And How It Has Changed Over the Years)

I started wearing makeup when I was 11 years old.

At this age, I didn't have a single blemish to hide or any circles under my eyes to be ashamed of. I saw makeup only as an accessory, not a necessity. The thought of walking through the halls of my middle school with blue glittery eyeshadow and hot pink blush on my cheeks makes me cringe now, but back then I didn't have a care in the world. This was my first encounter with makeup, and it seemed like a good one at the time. When I got to high school and my face started breaking out due to acne, I added foundation to my makeup routine and (thankfully) took out all the horrendous color from my eyes and cheeks.

During this second stage of my journey with makeup, I will admit that I did use products because I was insecure about the way I looked.

I didn't feel worthy of being called beautiful, both by myself or others. I remember setting my alarm for 5:30 a.m. every day my sophomore year of high school, even though I didn't have to be out of my house for another two hours, so I could “put my face on” and do my hair. Although 20-year-old me finds the idea of waking up so early just to do my makeup insane, that is oddly what helped 15-year-old me get through the school day. Which brings me to where I am now in my life: I have reached a third stage of makeup since starting college, a stage that I am very happy with. When I was a child, I used makeup solely out of curiosity. When I turned into a teenager, makeup was something I needed in order to feel comfortable with myself...

Now that I'm an adult, I put stuff on my face as a hobby.

The older I get, the more comfortable I am with my bare face.

When I'm bored or want to try something new, I put different colors on my lips, draw a black line over my eyes, and comb my eyelashes with sticky mascara. I use it as a creative outlet, which is something I never used to do before. I don’t need to wear it every day, but sometimes I do because it's freaking fun. I am comfortable without it, but I like to have it on to make certain features stand out. The older I get, the more comfortable I am with my bare face. I don’t know how my future self will use makeup, but I know that right now I am content with our relationship. I don’t need makeup in order to step outside or feel beautiful about myself, but who cares if I did? What difference would that make in my personality, my work ethic, or anything else a woman should be judged by other than the presence or lack of eyeshadow and lipstick on her face?

As long as you are doing what you need to do to feel comfortable and happy with yourself every day, it does not and should not matter what that thing is. So wear that bright red lipstick if you need to, darken in your eyebrows, and go about your day looking as fabulous on the outside as you are on the inside. Or don’t wear makeup at all! Let the freckles on your nose and cheeks breathe for a few days, that’s okay too! But whichever you choose, do it because YOU want to and because it makes YOU happy. Full faced or bare, you are beautiful.

All images provided by the author except 1 and 2