Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

I Wore Full Makeup For a Week & This is What Happened

When I was 6 years old, my older cousin Lizzie gave me a makeup kit. It was pink with purple drawers and a small mirror and filled with headbands, cheap nail polish, eyeshadow, and lipstick. It was a dream come true!  I was so excited when she gave it to me—I was finally able to act like a grown up and do my makeup just like the Spice Girls!

My parents were not as happy with this gift, though; they were not comfortable with their little girl wearing makeup. Since an early age, my parents taught me that makeup is not something I should wear to become beautiful, but something that highlights my beauty. As any loving dad would, mine told me I do not need makeup, and I believed that. My mom also taught me that I don’t need makeup to cover my face and how my skin could become ruined because of makeup, especially if I start using it at an early age.

I was also taught that makeup should be used just for certain occasions, which is what I used to do; whenever I went to the movies with my friends and my crush was there I would apply mascara, when I had a wedding, bar mitzvah or a celebration my mom would apply a little foundation and blush, and in our yearly Israeli Dancing Festival I would wear the crazy designs that looked good with our outfits on stage. But other than that, my face was completely naked.

Related: 3 Professionals Share Their Best Tips for Natural Makeup

I started to wear “real” makeup after spring break of senior year of high school. My makeup consisted of BB cream, bronzer, and mascara and, for me, that was full makeup. It was something simple, but it did indeed highlight my beauty. But once I started college my routine changed. Some days I would wear what I considered full makeup, some days I would just apply bronzer, and other days I wouldn’t even touch my makeup bag.  I will admit that I am comfortable with my own skin, and it is normal to find me around campus without any makeup—even while out on the weekends.

Then one day I decided to conduct an experiment in which I would have to wear full makeup every day. Not just BB cream, mascara, and bronzer, but eyeliner, eyeshadow, and maybe some contouring. No matter where I go, I would have to wear makeup. It was extremely weird that my face didn’t match my mood most of the time, especially since I was jet-lagged for half of this experiment. (I spent my winter break in Israel, and I landed the day before I started this challenge.)

Day One

I was so excited to start this experiment. I just bought a new foundation, so I was actually excited to try it on. It took me a while to get it even, but once I did, I felt accomplished. I woke up that day an hour before I had to leave my house when I normally take care of my morning routine in less than 30 minutes. I put some powder and concealer, and I contoured my face a little bit. I applied bronzer and some blush to make my cheeks less pale, and put some eyeshadow on my lids. I tried to do a little bit of a smoky eye with earth colors, and I finished up with some liquid eyeliner, crayon, and purple mascara.

At work, all of my co-workers told me that I looked different. I was sick last month, so most of them told me that I look much healthier and they could tell I was rested. It was weird to receive compliments from my co-workers, especially since I’m just an intern. On the way back to campus a couple of guys cat-called me, which made me feel extremely uncomfortable, but—I have to admit—it made me feel noticed. I also went to the gym that night, still wearing makeup which was extremely disgusting; I could feel the makeup melting on my face, and the mixture of sweat and foundation was making me anxious. I couldn’t enjoy my run as much as usual because I was paying attention to my face. As soon as I got back to my apartment I took it the makeup off, and I felt relieved. This week couldn’t go by fast enough.

Day Two

Tuesdays and Thursdays are my days off, and I normally go to the business building on campus or to a small coffee shop to get my work done. I was still jet-lagged, and all I really wanted to do was wear sweatpants and UGGs and binge-watch on Netflix. I had to write some articles and start my assignments for the online class I was taking, so I sucked it up and made myself move out of bed. I did wear sweatpants and a t-shirt, but did my makeup as required for this challenge and headed to the business building. I spent the whole morning there and then went shopping with one of my sisters from my sorority. It was great to try on clothes looking good. I haven’t been shopping in a while and having my makeup done definitely made me feel better about myself.

Day Three

I did my makeup with excitement on this morning and I went to work. I was told again that I looked great and well-rested, and that I should keep doing whatever I was doing. I had a sorority event that night and I knew I had to look put together especially being part of the executive board. I wanted to look my best, but I already had makeup on and I didn’t know how to re-touch it, or how to fix my smudged eyeliner without taking off my eye makeup completely.

Related: 14 Thoughts Girls Have When Applying Makeup

I had to ask my friend to help me out and fix my makeup because I never had to do so. When I got to the event, my sisters told me that I looked great and healthy. I felt so pretty that all I wanted to do is take pictures and have them up on social media. To be honest, I wanted a guy to see those pictures on Facebook and see if that gave him an excuse to talk to me. If I was wearing makeup, I felt like I might as well use it to my advantage.

Day Four

I had to wake up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday because I was being initiated into my sorority. We were told that we need to wear really natural makeup and I thought that was hard to accomplish with my challenge. I manage to do it as natural as possible and headed to the event. Because we were the first class getting initiated, we were taking an exorbitant amount of pictures, and I was happy to capture the moment. I felt so pretty that day that all I wanted was to take more pictures (after initiation of course). 

By the end of the day, I was so ready for a night in, but my friends wanted to get together that night. I hated that I had to wear makeup again that day, but after a couple of shots of espresso, I managed to find the motivation to do it. My friend helped me transition my full day makeup to something more suitable for the night. I felt weird wearing such a bright lipstick and more eyeshadow than I ever imagined, plus she even helped with winged eyeliner! We got to the get-together, and a guy who did me wrong a couple of months ago actually approached me to talk to me. Unfortunately, I knew he was definitely talking to me that night because of how I looked. I forgave him a long time ago, but the fact that he would just talk to me because I was looking good made me feel uncomfortable. I ended up leaving the party and went directly to bed.

Day Five

Sundays are supposed to be lazy days, but I had back-to-back meetings the whole day. I actually woke up feeling terrible, so I ran to CVS to buy some brownie mix. That always fixes things, right? It was one of those days when you don’t want to move from your bed, much less look presentable. I put a big hoodie on and did my makeup against my will. I never put makeup to run errands, much less when I am still wearing my pajamas! I had to admit that putting on makeup made me feel better and cheered me up a little bit. I made the brownies and ran from meeting to meeting the whole day. My last meeting was the formal chapter, and I wanted to look good. By the end of the day, I was starting to think that wearing makeup was not a hassle, but something I could actually enjoy.

Related: 7 Beauty Hacks That Will Change How You Use Makeup

Days Six and Seven

These final two days were pretty normal. I guess people got used to me wearing makeup and looking more put together. The only big thing that happened was that one of the members of a board I am part of introduced himself to me again—because he didn’t recognize me.

Overall Experience

My perception about makeup changed completely during this challenge. I still believe that makeup highlights your beauty and that full makeup should be reserved for special occasions. But I have to admit that I enjoyed feeling pretty and put together, it gave me a little push during those days when I was feeling down or when the jet lag was too much to handle. It also made me think about the perception people have of me; people compliment me when I wear makeup, which highlights my beauty. But they don’t compliment me when I am brave enough to go around makeup-less. I guess wearing makeup is a double standard kind of thing; it makes me feel more confident when I wear it but makes me guess my beauty when I am not wearing any.

I also decided to not wear any makeup the day after the challenge, and I felt uncomfortable during the first 20 minutes I was outside. But after a while, I realized that the only person I want to impress right now is myself, and if I am not wearing makeup in public is because I do consider myself pretty enough.

At the end of the day, I know that if I decide to wear makeup it’s because I want to and because it makes me feel better—not because I expect a compliment or a random guy to talk to me.

Orly is a Venezuelan senior at Drexel University majoring in Public Relations and double minoring in marketing and writing. In her free time, you can find her in a coffee shop writing, color-coding her way through life or binge watching One Tree Hill for the fifth time. She manages HCD's Facebook page as well as their Twitter and hopes to make a career out of social media someday.