I love makeup. There’s something so satisfying about having a killer contour or winged eyeliner so sharp it could cut someone. To me, makeup is an art and something I love to play with. Although despite my love for makeup, if you only ever encountered me during a weekday, you’d think I hate it. I rarely wear makeup during the week, and if I do, I throw on some mascara while running out the door. While I love wearing makeup, I also love to let me skin breathe (and be able to wipe my face without having to worry about getting panda eyes). I really only ever do a full face of makeup for a special occasion or when I go out on the weekends.
While watching the VMAs the other week and marveling at the star’s fashion and beauty choices, up popped Alicia Keys on my screen looking as beautiful as ever, without a drop of makeup on. Alicia Keys has been very vocal about her boycott of makeup and I think it is absolutely incredible, but something about her going to an award show bare-faced while surrounded by stars done up to the 9s was even more empowering. That’s when I got to thinking about what must be going through her head. She has to feel somewhat self-conscious, even for being such a beautiful woman. I was inspired by her bravery and decided to take it one step further and test it out for myself.
I was, for the first time ever, going to go out on the weekend with no makeup on, and I learned more than I thought I would.
While I thought not wearing makeup would cut my “getting ready” process in half, in reality, I spent just as much time as I normally would because I felt the need to overcompensate.
I spent far too much time on my hair making sure that every piece was perfectly curled and that it was just the right amount of “I might have spent hours on my hair or I might have woke up like this.” I think I may have used a can of hair spray. Once my hair was to my liking, I moved on to my outfit.
I had a constant struggle of trying to find something that I thought would look okay with my makeup-less face, all the while feeling the need to show more skin than normal in order to make up for my lack of look. Since I could no longer hide behind my makeup, I was trying to hide behind perfect hair and a perfect outfit.
Before I had even left my apartment, I was coming to the reality that, while makeup is an art and I genuinely do love doing it, I also use it as more of a shield than I thought I did. I didn’t think I would get any attention since I wasn’t wearing makeup so I thought, “well maybe if I show more skin, guys won’t notice my bare face.” It was a horrible attitude to have, so I decided against my original outfit and changed into something more modest.
I arrived at the party, trying to exude as much confidence as I could while knowing that everyone could visibly see my pores. I was greeted with hugs and every time I said hello to someone, I felt the need to explain why I wasn’t wearing makeup. I desperately wanted someone to ask me about it so I could say I was doing this for a social experiment. I didn’t tell anyone though because I didn’t feel like I should have to give people a reason as to why I didn’t wear makeup. I easily could have been in a rush to get ready and didn’t have the time to get all glammed up.
I was self-conscious walking around the party at first, but after realizing that no one was treating me differently, and only getting one “you look tired,” I was starting to feel back in my element. I enjoyed the rest of my evening only occasionally thinking about my experiment and doing my best to own my really natural look.
In the end, I learned just how much I can use makeup as a mask at times. The greatest lesson I learned was that I truly should be doing my makeup for myself, because I genuinely enjoy it, not because I want to blend in with everyone else. What makes those couple hours on the weekend so much different from the 5 days a week I don’t have a second thought about not wearing anything?
Makeup is a beautiful thing and, in reality, can help with insecurities we all have, but every once in a while we all need to come face to *bare face* with ourselves and realize that we don’t need makeup to feel beautiful and fit in. While I probably won’t go bare faced again on the weekend for some time, I will try and wear less makeup when I do, and wear my self-confidence instead.