Makeup is, sort of obviously, a huge part of my life. Not only do I spend a considerable amount of time writing about it, it's also just, in a personal way, a huge thing. I spend a lot of time doing it. It boosts my confidence. And, most of all, it's just a lot of fun. (Well, most of the time.)
I decided to put myself to the test and go makeup-free for two entire weeks to see what it would feel like and what it could do for my skin. Many people believe that giving up makeup helps your skin to “breathe” and therefore results in fewer blemishes and oiliness. I've also been reading a lot of annoying Tumblr posts lately that encourage women to go without makeup and to not rely on it, which I feel is totally annoying and bogus, but that's for another day.
The main reason I decided to go makeup-free is just to see if I could (I could) and if I would enjoy it (I didn't). I gave it my best shot for two whole weeks — to be perfectly honest, 13 days and then I cracked — and here's what happened.
The first few days were OK, mostly because I mainly work and study from home, so I didn't have to face that many people. I struggled a bit on the first, Tuesday, though, when I had to go to church and potentially be on camera, because I'm vain and think I look quite gross sans makeup. But I did it, so I'm courageous, and yes, you should congratulate me.
The rest of the week went off without a hitch. When the weekend rolled around, though, it became a lot more difficult. I had to go to places without my suit of armor on and I actually, embarrassingly, felt really self-conscious. I felt as though people were noticing my makeup-free face, even though I'm sure everybody has a life and wasn't looking at me specifically and wondering why I looked so bad.
I realised that I am kind of dependent on makeup to make me feel confident in public. I actually felt really small and insignificant, as though I was less worthy than other people. If you would have told me before I started this experiment that I'd feel that way, I would have said that that was really silly, but there I was, walking around stores shiftily, feeling so aware of my bare skin.
You see, the problem is that my skin isn't in a super-good place at the moment, with random blemishes appearing here there and there. With no way to cover them up, I felt like they were so obvious and humiliating. I even began to notice how uneven my skin tone is, and how many wrinkles I have at the tender age of 25. So, no, it definitely did not produce any confidence-boosting effects.
Speaking of my blemished skin, by the time two weeks were up, it was in no way, shape or form better than when I had started. In fact, it's looking a little bit worse now, which I don't think has anything to with the lack of makeup, but definitely tells me that makeup is in no way disallowing my skin to “breathe.” Maybe it's because I'm really serious about removing my makeup every night, but I guess wearing makeup all the time isn't ruining my skin after all.
I realised quite early on that the best way to feel a bit better was to make sure my clothing and especially hair were on point, so I focused on that instead, shuddering only slightly when I looked at myself in the mirror before leaving home.
In week two, I confess that I used mascara and brow powder one day, because I had to be somewhere important where pictures would be taken and I didn't want to feel totally horrendous, but I still managed to keep the makeup off of my actual skin, so I didn't cheat that much.
All in all, this was actually surprisingly difficult for me. Makeup is how I feel good. It's how I hide my insecurities and flawed skin. It's how I can face many situations, even when I don't feel like it. I didn't realise that I was so reliant on makeup to help me feel better about myself. Especially because, last year, I was ill for an extended amount of time and I didn't wear makeup at all (and didn't care to). Looks like I'm the exact person those Tumblr posts warned me about. Oh, well.
So, I know that I can do this, but I also know that I don't want to do it. And I think that's okay.