I love wearing make-up. There’s something ritualistic on sitting down at my desk, laying everything out, and getting to work. I start with foundation, covering my face and making it smooth and even. I draw on my eyebrows, making them thicker, fuller, even. I put on my blusher and bronzer, layering highlighter on top. I coat my lashes with thick mascara in several coats. I sweep on eyeshadow, draw on eyeliner. I finish off with lipstick or lip gloss, and then I’m done.
Sometimes, it’s a bit rushed. I’m late to work and I have to hurry my routine, frantically caking it all on quickly, not realising that in the morning light whilst commuting to work I look a bit like coco the clown. But when I’m going on a night out, I take my time. Paired with a glass of wine and some female empowerment music (traditionally, Destiny’s Child), I’m having a party all by myself before the actual party begins.
I tell myself, like other girls do, that I wear make-up because I enjoy it, not because I need it. But that would be a lie.
I lived with a girl at university that used to wear a face full of make-up even when she was going to the shops, and I thought how silly it was. Girls at work would wear false eyelashes, fake tan and fake nails. To work! I only ever used a full face of make-up if I was going for a big night out, but after a while, it began to change. I got insecure, and started to feel better when I looked better. It’s the same as wearing nice clothes when you go out, instead of shabby old tracksuits (which yes, I sometimes adorned on very hungover university mornings.)
I took pride in my appearance. I love looking nice, love wearing nice jewellery, nice clothes, and fabulous make-up. But I began to become more and more dependent on always looking nice, on always wearing make-up. And it’s starting to wear a bit thin.
I first realised make-up was becoming an issue in my life when I removed my make-up and I didn’t want to look in the mirror. My natural face didn’t look like me; it felt foreign, hideous.
Let’s be honest for a second: some people do look better with make-up. It covers our imperfections, makes us look healthier, brighter. I have very fair hair, so my eyebrows and eyelashes are basically invisible. I work a lot and get little sleep, so I have bags under my eyes, my pale skin needs a bit of blusher to make me look less like death, and my skin has imperfections, as most people.
I’m a confident girl- when wearing make-up. but without it, I started to feel like a shell. Even when going round to the shops to get some milk I found myself putting on just a bit of make-up, in case I bumped into someone I saw.
The other day I was extremely hungover, and late to work. I had no choice but to wear the bare minimum of make-up, and I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t talk to people as much, I just wanted to get through the day with my head down. A few people commented on my appearance, wondering if I was tired or ill.
I’ve found myself growing more and more panicked about how terrible I look without make-up, particularly in situations where people have to see it. I’m going on holiday with my friends soon, and they’ll see me without it. When I start dating someone I look nice, but will they still like me without make-up? Would they have entered a relationship with me if I’d gone to the date bare-faced? I think about guys coming up to me on nights out, or people that only see my snapchat and Instagram pictures, and I wonder if they would still approach me if I didn’t have make-up on.
I still love wearing make-up. It’s fun, I can experiment with different colours and styles. I love mixing eyeshadow colours, picking out different lipstick dependent on my mood. I love how shimmery my face is after I put highlighter on. But now I’m beginning to feel guilty, hating the fact that it takes layering on make-up to make me feel better about myself.
The strange thing is, if I never started to wear make-up to begin with, I would still be confident. As a child or young teen, I never worried about make-up. But with the abundance of make-up tutorials on YouTube and facebook nowadays, make-up has become a necessary, essential part of our shopping lists, rather than a luxury. I had a friend who would put aside her small wages on food, make-up and then bills, in that order. She prioritised buying foundation over her rent sometimes. Now I don’t think I’m that far gone, but I never thought I would become the person to hate my face without make-up. I’m so used to wearing make-up that it feels strange without it. It would’ve been so much easier if I never put it on to begin with.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Like all addicts, I have a plan to stop my addiction. (yes, i realise I’m beginning to sound like an alcoholic). Instead of quitting cold turkey, I’m going to slowly wean myself off make-up. I thought I would share my technique on here to help other gals out there reduce the amount of make-up they wear in small, easy steps.
Firstly, prioritise your make-up. What is essential, what items can be dropped one by one.
- Starting off I’ll drop the lipstick and gloss. I’ll only use Vaseline to keep my lips smooth.
- Eyeshadow is certainly not essential, and so unless it’s a night out, I won’t wear it.
- After that, highlighter and bronzer can go.
- Blusher is the next off the list.
- The next step will be removing foundation from my routine. I can make this step simpler by still using concealer for problem areas (bags under eyes and imperfections)
- I will improve my skincare routine and wear moisturiser instead of foundation so my skin still looks healthy.. After I feel more comfortable, I’ll stop using concealer.
- After that, I’ll stop using mascara. Luckily I don’t wear false eyelashes, but if you do, the first step is get used to your eyes without eyelashes, and then go from there. You can do it in even smaller segments, like only using one coat, or only on the top lashes. You could also use clear mascara to enhance your natural lashes, but I don’t think I’ll bother with that..
- The final, dreaded step, not drawing on my eyebrows. As aforementioned, I’ll probably do this in stages by drawing them in lighter each time. Alternatively, you could semi-permanently tint your eyelashes and eyebrows so it still looks like you have make-up on, but you’re bare faced. I think for the first time I’ll do this, and eventually go back to natural.
Et voila! In gradual steps, you’ve gone back to your natural face! hopefully, friends and colleagues won’t notice the gradual change and so you won’t get bombarded with the tired/ ill comments that people seem to love giving out.
I’ll still wear make-up when I want to, if I feel like it. Like I said, on a night out it’s a very enjoyable part of my night. But when it comes to casual hanging out with my friends, going on holiday, going to work, I’m going to learn to be comfortable in my own skin and not feel pressured to wear make-up.
We are the ones that wear make-up, not the other way round. Let’s keep it that way.