WHY I STOPPED WEARING MAKEUP
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
I stopped wearing makeup, *insert shocked face emoji*! Depending on your personal preferences this may or may not sound like a big deal, but for me, it's huge, considering I have spent not only the last 5 years, but most of my adulthood hiding behind a mask. Trying to look beautiful.
A few weeks, I woke up as normal, meditated and headed to the bathroom to get ready. On this particular day I wanted to get to work early. Brushing my teeth and staring at my reflection in the mirror, I thought something, about myself, that I hadn’t in years, “my skin looks good”. Which may not sound like a life changing breakthrough statement, but for me, it was that and so much more.
Since the end of 2014 I have been hiding behind layers of foundation, tan, my hair, glasses, anything I could so people wouldn’t see my face, anything that made me feel like I had a barrier between me and the world. Having a one on one conversation with someone made me feel like throwing up. I would not be paying attention to a word anyone said, just watching their eyes to make sure they were not looking at the red, pussy, itchy and sore hormonal acne that had decided to take up residency on my face around December 2014.
Leaving the house without makeup was not even a possibility in my mind. I had let the fear of what others thought and I how I felt when I looked in the mirror completely destroy my confidence and cause extreme anxiety.
For the last year I have been taking Oratane, something I swore I would never resort to, but after trying every diet, antibiotic, cream, ointment, regime, natural, chemical, nothing, everything standing on one foot whilst touching my nose and circling anticlockwise with my left arm in the air, nothing was working. In the end, my mental health had to come first, I took the plunge and visited a dermatologist. Being on the medication is not a walk in the park and not for the faint hearted but it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Due to a combination of laziness, liking a more natural look and not wanting to smother my skin in nasties on the daily, I swore to myself that as soon as I got to a point where I felt comfortable I would stop hiding behind my foundation. To be honest, I never expected the day to come, I made the promise to myself and completely forgot about it. Nearly a year later, here I was, staring at myself in the mirror, hair like a blonde birds nest, toothbrush in hand, toothpaste dripping down the front of my pyjamas, thinking my skin looked good, MY, skin looked good. So, as I wanted to get to work early, I decided to go foundation free. Leaving the house, driving to work, there was not one single negative thought going through my mind, HUGE deal. Walking into work I even forgot I wasn’t wearing foundation, even BIGGER deal.
It wasn’t completely free sailing, I did have a moment (or seven). Obviously I expected the “are you tired today” or “are you ok, you don’t look well”, the usual reaction when people who aren’t used to seeing you without makeup do. However there were one or two that were taken a little more by surprise and my confidence wavered. “Oh my god, what have I done?”, “Am I really out in public with no makeup on?”, “Your spots may have disappeared but your still covered in scars and pigmentation from the medication, how did you even think you could get away with this?”, "Just pretend you're sick and go home", just some of the thoughts swirling around in my mind for the first few hours, and then, I got over myself.
I reminded myself of my feelings earlier in the day, and just how far that meant I had really come.
For the next couple of weeks I was up and down. One minute so proud of myself, feeling on top of the world, the next being very tempted to cover up the reminders of my past few years and feel “normal” and "pretty".
As the days passed I realised something. Not only was I having a lot less negative thoughts but I was actually having a lot of positive ones. I caught myself gushing to my partner about how good my skin looked. I willingly posed for photos with no makeup on a recent camping trip with the family, again something that might not sound like a huge deal, but the last camping trip we went on, I had myself hauled up in the ladies bathroom, crying in a stall waiting till everyone had left the room before I came out to brush my teeth.
Removing the makeup and unmasking myself, actually allowed me to get to know me again. What I really look like, without the foundation and filters. Only then was I able to begin to fall in love with me again. To regain my confidence, to stop thinking about what others might possibly be thinking of me. I finally realised, their thoughts, have nothing to do with me. Facing fears isn’t easy, but for true transformation, it’s a necessity.
If there is something you're hiding, either from yourself or others, perhaps my story can encourage you to start the process of facing your fear, overcoming it and experiencing that expansion. You might be experiencing something similar or it may body image, learning to drive, leaving a job to start a new career or being honest with a friend or family member. Whatever it may be, I can promise you, the sense of freedom and expansion you’ll gain is worth every uncomfortable feeling you go through. Growth can hurt, it can be hard, I know this, but the inner peace that waits on the other side for you is absolutely worth it.
Remember, you are not your fear, don’t let it rule your life like I did, don’t let it affect your ability to live a life of joy. Also remember, that it’s ok to talk to somebody, to share, to find someone that will listen. That might be a friend, family member, colleague or a professional, but you don’t have to be alone on any journey. Asking for help is not a weakness, it’s a strength. Just think about all the times you’ve offered or wanted to offer help, there are people waiting, just waiting to be of help to you, let them.
If like me, you're hiding behind your makeup I want you to ask yourself a few questions. Why do you wear makeup? Because you like it? Why do you like it? Is it an expression of your creativity and personality? Is it because it makes you feel beautiful? If so why does it make you feel beautiful? Why does it take wearing makeup to feel beautiful? Where does your measure of beauty come from?
I'm not saying you have to give up makeup forever, I haven't, I still enjoy wearing it for special occasions. I just want you to question yourself, to get to the real reason you're wearing it. Is it for you or for others? To think about the possibility that through years of social conditioning and being bombarded with advertising campaigns, that we've been made to feel like we need it to be beautiful. That we've been made to feel we're not "done up" or "presentable" without it.
If you don't feel beautiful without makeup I want to share something with you. You, you are beautiful, but you don't need me or anyone else to tell you that. It needs to come from you.
Unmask yourself and fall in love with you.