During my teens and early twenties, I spent far too much time worrying about what everyone else thought of me and the way I looked. It got worse when social media took over — suddenly I saw hundreds of images of other women, friends and strangers who looked better than me. I became even more paranoid about my looks. Then one day, I looked in the mirror and said, “Screw it!” Here’s why I stopped wearing makeup:
- Makeup and confidence are not the same things. It took me a while to realize that makeup didn’t make me confident. If I was self-conscious without makeup, I was just as self-conscious in it. I used makeup as a Band-Aid to cover the real problem. I wasn’t confident in who I was. I thought I had to be someone else, and that wasn’t something makeup could fix.
- Insecurity is less attractive than no makeup. I’m more than my looks. That wasn’t easy to learn. I thought that if I looked a certain way, it would open doors or get me where I wanted to go. Ironically, the opposite happened. When I put all my value on my looks, my insecurity was evident to everyone, and people aren’t attracted to insecure people. Walking with my head held high, sans makeup, helped me make far better impressions than when I covered my face in goop.
- Good guys don’t care. When I was young and dating, I REFUSED to be a girl that would allow a guy to see her without makeup. It didn’t matter if we went to the beach or camping, I brought my makeup and hair stuff. I thought it mattered. It didn’t. Why would I want a guy who cared about my attractiveness with or without makeup? I want a nice guy. I’m not here to make a guy think I’m attractive. My husband tells me, regularly, that I am more beautiful without makeup. He loves me and sees me in all my glory (attractive or terrifying).
- Makeup is not my identity. For years, I thought of myself as two different people. The girl in makeup, and the girl without it. It meant that I didn’t feel like “me” when I took a shower or woke up in the morning. That was a terrible way to live. Now, I know I’m me when I’m in sweats rocking a ponytail and covered in acne cream. Just as I’m me when I’m fully decked out for a wedding.
- Dressing up means missing out. I used to miss out on a lot of great activities because I was so worried about being “pretty.” It was total crap. No one is gorgeous if they’re having a fun day at the beach. No one looks their best after a hard run or while hiking for six hours on vacation. And that’s okay. I’d rather participate in everything than sit on the sidelines and worry about looking perfect.
- Strangers don’t care and neither do I. Okay, let’s say a stranger judges me for leaving the house without makeup and my hair still wet from a shower. Who cares? I’ll never see that person again. If their life is so boring that they are going to think about me and dissect my looks from a five-minute interaction, that’s their problem. Not mine. But, in reality, strangers aren’t paying attention to me. They’re caught up in their own life, and I’m nothing more than a blip on their radar. Just like they’re a blip on mine.
- Makeup is expensive and time intensive. I’ve been to Sephora once in the last three years. Imagine how much money I save! Sure, I still have the basics for nice nights out or for an important client at work. But, six out of every seven days, I go bare. That means I can get ready in the morning in thirty minutes or less and I don’t have to budget for hundreds of dollars worth of beauty products. Don’t get me wrong; I still take care of my skin and hair, but all the other trappings I don’t have to worry about.
- I learned to love the best parts of me. When I stopped worrying so much about how I looked, I started discovering all the other parts of me that are awesome and incredible. I discovered I love running and competing in marathons (which you totally cannot do in makeup). I also found out I had the confidence to run my own business and be my own boss. I rediscovered my love of traveling and in the last two years have visited four continents and ten countries. Without makeup, I learned to focus less on the façade and more on the interior me. I discovered that I love her.