What Happened When I Stopped Wearing Makeup

What Happened When I Stopped Wearing Makeup

When Mary stopped wearing makeup, what changed more? Her skin or her outlook on life?

Here’s my half-and-half photo with no makeup on the right side of the pic!

Make-up is great. The possibilities! The colours! The glitter! The confidence that ensues when you know you look fabulous. The security of knowing you still look amazing even when you’ve had no sleep or have been plagued with an acne breakout or if, for some reason, you just don’t feel like you look quite yourself. All well and good, but one day, I decided that it isn’t for me. I’m not going to talk about inner-beauty (although that’s really the most important thing), but about our perception of beauty and imperfection.

The main reason I decided to cut the cosmetics was for my health. I noticed that when I took off my foundation I looked old, tired and dull – I figured that rather than covering that up, it was time to make some lifestyle changes so that even without make-up, I could look healthy and nourished.

That got me thinking: maybe make-up is part of the problem. Maybe it’s contributing to the lifeless look. Maybe I’m careless when it comes to removing it, but maybe it would just be better to not put it on at all.

So, yes, it did start with a desire to look ‘naturally beautiful’. I think (but I’m not sure) that by drinking more water and eating more nutrient-rich foods, my skin does appear brighter, but to be completely honest, it isn’t really about that anymore. I’m starting to think that it’s not my skin but my perception of it that has changed.

It didn’t take long for me to notice that even if I’d had no sleep or was breaking out, although I recognised that I wasn’t looking my best, it didn’t bother me half as much as it would have done if I still thought covering it up was the best solution. I realised that if I looked tired, it was because I was tired, so why should I try to hide that? Especially since I’d probably tell everybody, anyway! As for zits, uneven skin and everything else, sometimes that just happens. Sometimes that’s just what I look like. Through not wearing make-up, I’ve learned to be so much more okay with that.

Women receive more encouragement nowadays to be confident about their bodies (although pressure from the media, magazines and models to look a certain way is still a problem). We’re encouraged to accept our body type, our natural shape and size (and so we should!) but there is less emphasis on our natural faces. Women are under pressure to trick the world into thinking we never age, we never look less than perfect – even though we do and everyone knows it. I see it as a similar issue to that of body hair removal; many women feel pressured to instantly remove hair from areas where it naturally appears. In the same way, there is pressure to eliminate any imperfection on our faces even though time, stress, hormones and the general living of life are constantly stacked against us.

In summary: make-up is a wonderful thing. It’s fun, expressive and experimental. But faces are beautiful, YOUR face is beautiful, whether you’re young or old, healthy or poorly, tired or full of energy, whether you’re wearing make-up or not. Your face tells a story.

In the words of Roald Dahl, ‘If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.’