What I Learned After A Month Without Makeup

Originally posted on December 6th, 2016 on Her Campus UCF.

Like most middle school girls, I began experimenting with makeup at a young age. Always eager to grow up, it provided me with the illusion that I was a grown up. At such a young age, I became dependent on painting my face to create a mask of pseudo beauty. Since the age of twelve, I have refused to leave my house without the bare minimum of makeup in fear that someone would see my fresh face. I became self-conscious without my mascara and perfectly winged eyeliner and spent the past six years of my life hiding behind the safety of makeup. I admired those who could balance both and change it up depending on if they felt lazy or not; but even on my worst days, I made sure to get up in order to do my hair and makeup because god forbid I am seen for who I truly am.

Yet this all changed starting a month ago. As we entered the month of November, I challenged myself to go the whole month without an ounce of makeup. Yet cutting it out of routine completely was slightly too extreme for me. So I decided to cut it out of my routine for a majority of the month, with the exception of four days scattered throughout, to see if I could do it.

I figured I’d keep it up for couple of days before babying out and going back to normal, yet I decided to try it anyway. It was a strange feeling to wake up in the morning and greatly modify my routine that I have been using for a third of my life. Looking in the mirror, I saw someone I didn’t recognize. My freckled were visible, my eyelashes were stubby, and the dark circles stood out under my eyes. I wasn’t comfortable with the sight, but refused to let myself get worked up about it. As I went on with my day as usual, I felt the need to apologize to everyone I came across for looking dead. To my surprise, most people didn’t notice, and those who did complimented my fresh faced look.

The first week was the hardest because I wasn’t used to walking past mirrors and not recognizing myself. I didn’t feel as self-conscious as I thought I would until I opened my Snapchat camera and immediately tried to hide my face with a filter. But, the positives outweighed the negatives. As the month went on, I felt my skin clearing up. I was able to shave 45 minutes out of my morning routine which allowed me to get more sleep. I was able to rub my eyes without fear of ruining my eyeliner. I stopped curling and straightening my hair everyday and fell in love with the way my natural hair looked. Sure I was self-conscious at first, but I learned to love myself more in a natural state which really boosted my self-esteem.

On the few occasions that I actually did wear makeup, it felt foreign to me. I used the same routine that I had in the past, yet I felt like I had caked on too much. After seeing nothing but my fresh face for weeks on end, it felt strange to be all done up and I felt like I was overdoing it even though it was the look I had always done in the past. My friends were supportive of me and although I wasn’t always comfortable in my skin, this taught me that looks aren’t everything.

In this month I learned that looks aren’t everything, and although I have always been invested in my appearance, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I clearly didn’t have faith in my looks. After not wearing makeup or obsessing over my hair for a month, I became much more accepting of myself, and others who choose not to wear makeup. I am relieved to be able to wear mascara again, but I no longer feel dependant on wearing a full face of makeup.

It is a nice feeling to finally be comfortable with my natural look, but I won’t continue doing it everyday of my life. I love experimenting with makeup and trying new looks, and I did miss out on that for the past month, but I am so glad that I did. I learned to love myself, which is the most important thing to do.

I highly recommend anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable to step out of their comfort zone and try this. You don’t have to jump in head first like I did, but try it for even a day or a week and you’ll be amazed by the results.

I love wearing makeup, and now I love that I have the courage to go out without anything on my face.

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