My Whole Life Changed When I Stopped Wearing Makeup For A Week

Rarely do I leave the house without some form of makeup on—yes, even to the gym. Wearing it makes me feel more put-together and super confident. However, even though I love putting my face on, as they say, I recently realized that I hadn’t really seen my bare face in a long time, save for a few minutes every morning and night before bed. I decided to challenge myself to go a week without makeup, and here’s what I learned:

  1. It changed my personality. Makeup has been a part of my morning beauty regime for years, so catching my barefaced reflection in the window of the coffee shop I ducked into that first morning was a bit jarring. I noticed that I was quieter, less outgoing and made myself smaller—and not just because it was early and I wasn’t yet caffeinated. Because I feel confident with it on, it was like I took that confidence away when it was off. That was a little unsettling.
  2. My bare free face looks so much younger than my made-up one. As I settled into my challenge, I actually noticed how much younger I look without my trusty war chest of makeup. My skin actually is pretty healthy underneath it all.  That made me feel really good about myself.
  3. My skin felt like it could breathe. I like a full-coverage look, but that means my skin is often under a few layers of makeup (maybe not visually, but literally). Without makeup, my skin felt like it could actually breathe and evened out way more.
  4. My skin was visibly less oily. You know how cosmetic companies are always trying to make the “dewy” look a thing but for many of us, our skin just looks shiny and oily? Well, my skin ACTUALLY looked dewy for once in my life when I stopped piling on the makeup. Hallelujah.
  5. No one really cared that I was makeup-free. This may sound controversial, but I care about putting my best face forward and for me (and many other women), that often includes wearing makeup. However, it was nice to discover, though, that my best face can also be makeup-free. Even though I felt like I was more forgettable, less noticeable and less attractive without makeup, no one treated me any differently. This is probably because no one noticed or even cared. My irrational fear of standing out in a bad way was erased when I realized no one was spending their time scrutinizing my face.
  6. I actually felt a new confidence by day seven. By the end of the week, I felt a surging new confidence. I realized that I’d been relying on makeup to give me a confidence boost about my appearance for so long because my made-up face is so integral to the person that I am in public, whereas barefaced-me usually reveals herself only at home. Rediscovering my natural bare face has reminded me that makeup is an option, not a necessity.
  7. Sometimes, concealer really is enough. My skin is pretty clear but like many women, I have those few pesky spots that just won’t clear up! If you’re like me, wearing just a little bit of makeup to cover those spots makes you feel less insecure that it’s all anyone is looking at when they look at you. The day after my challenge, I applied my primer but skipped the BB cream and just spot treated with concealer. I found that this is just as effective at helping me achieve the fresh-faced look I was going for.
  8. I learned to love both versions of my face. In a society that places unfair beauty standards on women, sometimes we feel like wearing makeup is a requirement, not a choice. It’s so important to remember that it’s totally okay to do both. In fact, I learned that I actually like both looks equally. I love that I can serve fully made-up fierceness or fresh-faced realness on any given day. Whether I’m in full makeup or sporting bare face, it’s all about how I express myself to the world. That kind of versatility is awesome.
  9. I wear makeup for me, not anyone else. The bottom line is that this is my face and I can choose to do whatever the hell I want to do with it. If I want to look completely done up, I can do that and be great. If I want to go all natural, I can do that too. Plus, my boyfriend hardly noticed that I wasn’t wearing any makeup anyway. Either I’m really good at the no makeup made-up look (I’m not) or he doesn’t really care either way. I think it’s the latter and that’s okay with me. Wearing makeup is for me, no one else, and that’s how it should be.
Marie is an ambitious millennial woman, leading a corporate life by day and doing her best to live, laugh and love.