Don't Let Makeup Make You
by Alisha Dhillon
Perhaps you’ve heard that Alicia Keys stopped wearing makeup a year ago. I didn’t know until I’d read an article recently in which she was both praised and berated for not wearing any to the VMAs. My first thought was, “Wow she’s brave! Good for her!” My second was “How is this a big deal?” I’ve remained conflicted between these two sentiments since. We live in a society that has allowed her choice to bare all to be a subject of controversy. Therefore, it is brave of her to continue foregoing makeup to public events. She’s taking a stand, but also she’s setting an example: it’s okay to be comfortable with yourself!
The article struck me especially hard because a few months ago, I also made a decision to lead my life (mostly) sans makeup. Unlike Alicia Keys though, I make exceptions: I wear it to work and I wear it on dates. Since I only work part time and rarely date, I’ve been able to bare a fresh face about 80% of the time. Like Alicia Keys says in her Lenny Letter, I’m tired of hiding! As she so effectively put in “Girl Can’t Be Herself”, “Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem!”
I don't want to imply that makeup is bad or wearing it makes you less confident or beautiful. I just personally feel that a lot of my confidence was lost when I started wearing it all the time. I don't really remember having a lot of self-esteem when I was younger but I certainly had more than none. Up until a few months back, I had been putting on makeup within 10 minutes of waking up and not taking it off until I was ready to go back to sleep. I’d always spend as little time as possible looking in the mirror while it was off because I hated seeing my flaws.
But then a couple of my friends participated in the 30-Day No Makeup Challenge and I got to see them transform into super confident women. I decided that the possibility of feeling better about myself was worth a little unease, so I wanted to try it as well. My version was modified, of course. I would’ve only been able to skip makeup for 30 days if I stayed in my bedroom for the duration of the month. Instead, I started by not wearing it on days that I only had class or errands to run.
Since I started using makeup significantly less often, I've genuinely begun to like my face. I’m starting to accept, and sometimes even embrace, my flaws. The skin under my eyes is really thin which showcases my veins. I used to hate this and it was the first thing I’d conceal. Now I’ve realized that my veins are actually kind of cool. Instead of feeling self-conscious about them, I feel like I can take on anyone like the badass vampires in The Vampire Diaries. I no longer mind that people stare at them sometimes because they make me unique and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Let me be clear, I’m by no means healed of the desire to wear makeup. There are definitely days when I see someone really attractive or someone who hasn't seen me without it before and I think to myself Why the f**k didn't I wear makeup today? But then I remind myself that I skipped putting it on because I don't and won't need it.
An added bonus to my no-makeup trial run was that my skin drastically improved. I’ve tried tons of acne products to no avail. Some of them were more effective than others but nothing has been more beneficial than going makeup free! I’d always said to myself that I would stop wearing makeup once my skin cleared but it never cleared because I was wearing it all the time. It was a vicious cycle.
I invite you to try wearing no makeup as well, or even just less. I recognize that it’s not easy to just stop wearing it. But remember that wearing makeup isn’t vital, it’s just a habit and habits can be changed. There’s a huge difference between wearing makeup because you want to and wearing it because you feel like you need to. I know makeup isn’t always about hiding and insecurity. Sometimes it’s just a fun and creative way to express yourself, but I’m talking specifically to those who feel like they need it. You don’t. Spend some time thinking about how wearing it affects you. It's become so normal to cover up our exteriors that it isn't a conscious decision anymore and it really ought to be.
If the aforementioned benefits haven’t convinced you to wear less or no makeup, think about your wallets! If you wear less makeup, your expensive trips to the mall to replace products will also become less frequent. So there you have it! Confidence, clear skin, and extra pocket money can be gained if you decide to skip the makeup and sleep in instead. If nothing else, it's worth a try!