Self-Acceptance & Lip Gloss: My Journey With Makeup

We all remember those days of running into the bathroom, finding your mom or grandma’s makeup bag and piling on as much product as you could. Nowadays, we’ve all learned better. You may be thinking, “But what if I haven’t?” Well, don’t worry — because we're in the same boat. Here are the confessions of a 19-year-old college girl who just learned how to apply makeup.

Growing up, I attended a private school that didn’t allow girls to wear makeup or nail polish. When I was younger, it didn’t seem to matter; all that I cared about at that point was getting a spot of the swing set. However, when I reached the dreaded middle school years, looks became more important. At first, it was silly things like whose hair braids were better, or whose skirt was hemmed the shortest — But sooner or later, it started to turn into the comparison of who is better.

I remember girls starting to slip makeup bags into the girl’s bathroom during lunch to put on lip gloss. Then, it was as though if you didn’t wear makeup, then you weren’t good enough. Up until this point, I truly had to be okay with what my natural beauty was. I didn’t try to hide any imperfections mostly because in my middle school mind, my face had no imperfections. But you know the drill, in middle school (and even sometimes now) what one group does, the rest follows. So, I tried desperately to learn how to do mascara and eyeliner, but truly, I think I messed up something every time.

For the first time in my life, I attended a public school for high school. And things changed. Finally, makeup and nail polish weren’t taboo. Boy, you better believe that meant I went for it. Even though I had no clue what I was doing, every morning as a freshman, I asked my mom to do my makeup — and mistakes were made. If there is one thing everyone should know about me is that I am not shy about colors. I used to own neon-colored jeans and felt my best wearing them. And most days, I would color-coordinate my eyeshadow to the color of my jeans. Yikes.

Through the span of about a year, I finally stopped using makeup. At all. The last straw was getting my freshman yearbook picture back. I had such an extreme amount of black eyeliner on my face that my eyes just looked like two black holes. That’ll stir something in you to never want to look like that, I can tell you that much.

For almost the rest of my time in high school, I rarely touched makeup. I would do the occasional cute, subtle eyeshadow and lipstick for special events but nothing that most people would call makeup. Nowadays, my Instagram discover page is filled with crazy talent makeup artists doing the most extra looks for “everyday occasions.” Something that I’ve learned from moving away to college is that I will never pull off those looks. Speaking of college, I finally learned about the beauty of balance when it comes to makeup. Gator game days sort of forced my hand and inspired me to learn how to do my makeup. So while my roommate was studying away in our dorm last year, I watched dozens of makeup tutorials. Now I can safely cover the most basic makeup looks.

Here’s the thing: even now in college as I reach adulthood, I am okay with not doing makeup. I know that I can rely on what I naturally look like and not feel insecure walking around campus all day. And honestly, if that isn’t enough, I am totally #teamsleep and would much rather sleep an extra ten minutes in the morning than try to look just a little more put together. Although makeup can be a really good thing and make you look, and feel, like a girl boss, what matters more is having a healthy relationship with your appearance.

The final confession of a 19-year-old makeup amateur: feel beautiful, no matter what that means to you.