A few weeks ago, I decided to stop wearing makeup for awhile. If I were being partially honest I would say this decision was based on the hot weather and humidity, which caused any makeup I applied to promptly slide off my face in an unsightly Maybelline mudslide. If I were being totally honest, I would admit that I was also feeling super emotional and kept randomly crying and messing up my mascara and finally just decided to stop wearing mascara so it wouldn’t get messed up. (What? I’m 28! Obviously I’m an emotional wreck!)
I thought my makeup hiatus would last a few days, but I ended up enjoying the barefaced lifestyle so much that I didn’t open my makeup bag for two full weeks. This might not seem like a long time, but I’ve worn makeup almost every day for many, many years. A makeup-free vacation, weekend, or random weekday wasn’t uncommon for me, but to give it up for 14 days in a row for no particular reason was definitely a major adjustment. I learned some things about makeup, and about myself, in the process…
1. “Getting ready” time is important, even if it doesn’t involve makeup. When I took makeup out of my “getting ready” equation, I discovered I could be out the door in about 10 minutes (get dressed, de-frizz hair, locate car keys — Boom! Done!). But one thing I realized during my makeup hiatus was that even though it was nice to streamline my routine, I actually missed the chunk of time I spent in front of the mirror. Leisurely applying my powder and mascara allowed me ample time to wake up, have a few solo dance parties, and mentally steel myself for the day. Now I know that even if I’m not wearing makeup, I still prefer to give myself a generous chunk of morning prep time.
2. My boyfriend doesn’t seem to notice the difference. I’d worn makeup every day for so long I just assumed it would be super noticeable to everyone around me when I stopped wearing it. I was wrong. It usually wasn’t until I brought up the fact that I wasn’t wearing makeup that my boyfriend would say, “You’re not?”
3. My daily makeup routine had gotten more complicated than it had to be. When I started wearing makeup again, post-hiatus, I wanted to be thoughtful about which products I used instead of just reverting to my old routine, which had gotten pretty lengthy and complicated over the years. Going without makeup made me realize that a lot of the products I’d been including in my daily routine were not really worth the effort. Blush, mascara, and brow pencil are basics I like to keep in rotation, but a lot of my other “must haves” got tossed, and I don’t miss them.
4. Skincare is more important than makeup. Before my makeup hiatus, I put minimal energy into taking care of my skin and maximum energy into covering up any skin issues that arose from my negligence. Going without makeup made me want to switch up my priorities. The more TLC I give to my skin, the less makeup I want/need to wear.
5. Removing eye makeup is a pain in the ass. When I wore makeup daily, spending a few minutes every night removing said makeup was just a given. No matter how tired I was, I knew I’d have to prop myself up in front of a mirror and wipe away my eyeliner and mascara — and I couldn’t rush it too much either, because hello, eyelashes are fragile. You know what’s awesome? Just being able to splash your face with water and go to bed. I could really get used to that. In fact, I kind of did get used to it during my makeup hiatus, and now taking it off seems even more annoying/time-consuming than usual.
6. I love the feeling of the sun on my bare face. This wasn’t a huge epiphany, because I don’t wear makeup on beachy vacations, but it was so nice to feel the sun on my face while doing everyday things like running errands or taking walks through my neighborhood. (Oh, and just in case my dermatologist is reading this, of course I was still wearing sunscreen!)
7. There are two very different reasons I wear makeup. One reason is rooted in self-expression. I might have the urge to play with a fun eye shadow color or wake up feeling kind of vampy and want deep red lips to match my mood. The second reason is rooted in insecurity and the belief that I don’t look good enough without makeup. The two weeks I spent not wearing any makeup really highlighted the difference between these two motivators for me. There were days that I felt like wearing makeup because I wanted to define my eyes for a night out or just really missed my hot pink lip gloss, and there were other days when I wanted to wear makeup because I was afraid of being seen without it. Ideally, I’d like my daily makeup habits to be motivated by creativity and expression rather than fear and self-doubt. It’s a challenge, but I think I’m on the right track.
[Photo of woman with makeup brushes via Shutterstock]