I used to wear makeup to work. Every day. And it took me what feels like a lifetime to answer the question why? There are the obvious reasons: I want to look good. I should look good. I look more put together when I wear it. I feel better about myself when I wear it. But that rabbit hole starts to get reaaaaaaal dark if you keep climbing down. Wait, why does makeup make me feel better? Don’t I look good without it? But society dictates…and so on.
Why did I stop wearing makeup? Because I fucking felt like it.
I remember when I started to fade out makeup use. I got a lot of, “Ms. C, are you sick?” “You look tired today.” “Is everything okay?”
Cool. This is helping, she said, sarcastically.
Can I blame them? No.
Okay, I absolutely did for a minute. Because wtf. If you don’t have anything nice to say…but that was the turning point—people believe this behavior, these comments, are nice. The question “are you okay?” comes from a place of concern. But really, it comes from a place of subversive norms.
And that’s where the rabbit hole takes you. And if you keep going down that aforementioned rabbit hole, you can see why. In the 90s, all my favorite catalogs, yes catalogs, featured grungy, punk, goth-style females that weren’t airbrushed or covered in foundation. Delia’s, Alloy, Zoe. I miss the 90s…Fast-forward to 2019, and we are living in a completely different marketed world. Between filters on Snapchat/Instagram and every airbrushed/botoxed celebrity, how can a female FEEL good every day simply being themselves?
To be clear—I will never put down a woman for modifying her body. And I actually love putting on/wearing makeup. I’d like to point out I have myriad pictures on this website that are airbrushed and creatively inspired. And I love them. My best friend and I had a blast working on these creative shoots. But what have I learned over 34 years? They are just that—an artistic expression—a moment in time that does not need to be fulfilled every day I get up and leave my house. And that’s the takeaway. I stopped letting it control me. The feeling of “have to.” The feeling that people won’t like me or care about me without my mask. Because that is MY personal takeaway. I was being controlled by an external force, and my intentions were driven by fear.
Sadly, it feels true and is often reinforced on Instagram. I get the most “likes” from filtered selfies. I get the most responses from pictures with loads of makeup. And that’s okay. Now. After a lot of self-work and self-worth.
But to those that are still struggling to find the balance between I love myself/fuck makeup, and I will NEVER leave the house without it, here is a reminder: it’s okay. It’s okay to wear it. It’s okay to not wear it. It’s okay to wear it every day. It’s okay to wear it on a special occasion. But if the conversation in your head is fueled by negative self-talk and societal standards based on fear, it’s also okay to start exploring the why, just as I did.
Check out my inspiration page for some books that can help you feel better about all of your choices, no matter what those choices look like for you. But at the end of the day, no one should feel they “have to” do anything. Especially if that negative “have to” is coming from your own damn mind! Except maybe go to work…we gotta eat, right?
But that’s why I stopped wearing makeup. Because now, I get to sleep in longer and call myself beautiful every day, in a way I never thought possible. Free your mind. Free your heart. And free your damn face.
[If you are the person that needed to hear this, please leave a comment! Even if it’s a simple smiley face. If you hated this, please leave a comment. Even if it’s the middle finger emoji.]