I’m no stranger to no makeup days. I barely wore makeup during high school or my first two years of college. I used to save makeup for special occasions or days when I was bored with copious amounts of time.
During my junior year of college I started working, and I moved into a leadership role in my organization, the pressure was on to “be pretty”. I also turned 21 and started feeling like I needed to transition into trying to look like an “adult.”
I can’t tell you how many times I heard “You’re 21? I thought you were 12.”
Now I certainly don’t think I look 12, and I’m pretty sure most people don’t really think I look 12 either, but I could easily pass for being 16, which is still significantly younger than I actually am.
I started to wear makeup almost every day that I knew I’d see people around campus. I was new to makeup, and I was slow with application. It took me at least an hour to get ready, and as a student who worked an overnight shift that ended at 8 a.m. with a class that started at noon this routine started seriously cutting into my sleep schedule.
I dreaded getting through the days that I didn’t have time to do my makeup. I was so self-conscious and I found myself criticizing my face to the point that I pretty much refused to Snapchat my boyfriend back on the days I didn’t get to my makeup even though he’d seen me without makeup many times before.
I’m still learning the art of balance and time management for my morning routine. I’ve realized that an hour-long makeup routine may not be sustainable for everyday wear. I’m learning to accept myself on the days that I don’t get to my makeup.
The truth is, those around me probably don’t spend even half as much time thinking about my makeup-less face as I do.
This year when Her Campus at VCU planned to take photos to celebrate National No Makeup Day, I have to admit, I almost didn’t go. I tried to convince myself I needed sleep (I did, but I wasn’t going to get it during that time anyway). I told myself I had a lot of work to do (I do, but not so much that I couldn’t spare 10 minutes).
I didn’t want to go because when I looked in the mirror all I saw was the red spots and eye bags adorning my face. The girls in Her Campus at VCU are absolutely gorgeous, and I figured I’d look embarrassing standing next to them with no makeup.
Now, I don’t know if any of them were as self-conscious as I was, but I did notice that none of them really looked all that different to me. If I hadn’t already known what we were doing for the campaign, I don’t think I even would have realized that they weren’t wearing makeup. They looked just as beautiful to me as they always do whether they’re wearing makeup or not.
National No Makeup Day is important because it serves as a reminder to everyone that their natural beauty is a beauty worth celebrating. National No Makeup Day isn’t about shaming people who wear makeup, and it doesn’t mean that wearing makeup takes away from anyone’s beauty or that they’re less beautiful for wearing it.
To me, National No Makeup Day is a reminder that no one was born with a perfect cat eye, those smoky lids or lips that red. It’s a reassurance that a no-makeup day doesn’t make you any less beautiful. A natural face is a face just as worthy of being seen.
Whether you celebrate National No Makeup Day today or not, I’d like to encourage you to make your own “no makeup day,” and not spend it hiding in your room. It’s worth taking any steps possible to build your self-confidence and increase your self-love.
Photo Credit: Chelsea Schmidt