A couple years ago, I called a strike on makeup.
I spent a good chunk of my life worrying about it, and I’d had enough. I was fed up with smearing my face with toner and caking my eyelids with shadow and mascara. I was also tired of waking up in the morning with it all over my pillow, because I
didn’t forgot to wash my face the night before. I mean, SO WHAT if I didn’t feel like makeup? If I didn’t wear it, did that mean I was lazy? Unkempt? Foolish? Radical?
We are told repeatedly from the time that we are little girls to those first moments of feminine maturity that women wear makeup…and then they BECOME beautiful. We are passed down beauty tips from our elders- our mothers, sisters, and friends (the “do’s” and “don’ts” of cosmetic application), and then we use that new found knowledge to find our own way via trial and error.
As a young woman, it’s fun and it’s different. It’s like a rite of passage.
Yet as we move through our youth and we start to make that turning point; no longer a “spring chicken” but an aging glass of fine wine- we women can take and unhealthy turn and identify our beauty ONLY with the contents of our cosmetic bag. We are brainwashed through movies, commercials, and magazines that our beauty only rest within these products; that natural beauty is virtually unknown and that if we want to attract ANYTHING in our lives that we better have the perfect lip-liner to do it.
In my 20’s, I started to see this toxic dance I was doing within myself. I felt somewhat embarrassed if I left my home without my makeup. And I felt like my femininity dropped a few points in its absence. This led to an all out quest to figure out why I felt this way without makeup- and was it really so wrong on either side of the fence?
The 30 Day NO Make-Up Challenge
I came to the conclusion that I was letting makeup define me. I was allowing it to make me feel better or worse about my physical form and even my value as a person. One day I looked in the mirror before leaving the house and just said “No.” The “no’s” began to add up- I was starting to say NO to the false image of myself and say YES to my true beauty. If someone wasn’t going to talk to me based on my lack of product, then that was something that they needed to work out with their own ego.
I chose to love myself, exactly as I was. The infinite shining star. The maiden and the mother. The essence that is me.
My stance against makeup slowly turned into a habitual act. The longer I went, the more I didn’t care. When I did decide to wear it (due to shame or self-loathing), I would forget halfway through the day and smudge my eyeshadow lol. And I no longer thought that I looked better with makeup- quite the opposite actually. It made me feel…strange. Like I was trying to be someone else other than myself.
I started to wonder if I’d ever feel good about wearing makeup again…and if I should feel ashamed for wanting to wear it. Then something magical happened.
I had gone so long without makeup that I realized that makeup does not make me beautiful. I MAKE MYSELF BEAUTIFUL. Through being kind, nurturing, honest, loyal, and living my life with integrity and determination. No amount of eye-liner or lip gloss was going to make me be a better person. I had to be a better person. Period.
Over the course of this quest I was able to connect with myself on a different level, and accept certain parts of me that I never had before. I decided to remember the joy I felt as a young woman, wearing different colors of shadow and feeling creative and free. It was then that I chose not to be on one side or the other…but just to be me, whatever that felt like in the moment.
I have chosen to use makeup when I feel GOOD ALREADY. When I want to step out of the box a bit. But NOT TO DEFINE MYSELF. I haven’t gone back to daily applications, but I’ve buried the hatchet with my makeup bag. I use only organic and cruelty-free products, and I use them sparingly. I use them out of choice, and not because some magazine told me to.
I encourage women to try this challenge for 30 days. Even though I did this for longer than that (about 2 years and counting), I think that women can really break down boundaries within themselves through a practice such as this. We need to stop allowing the media and magazines to set the standards for beauty. You can take the most “beautiful” girl in the world- if she is vain, unkind, and cruel, she is not truly beautiful. It’s our personalities and our qualities as a human being that make us grand. It is our actions and spirits that make us beautiful from the inside out.
The most important thing you can learn is how to love yourself for who you really are, without the war paint. Love yourself for the blemishes, the crows feet, and the defined smile lines. This is part of being human.
These little “mistakes” are what make you the beautiful YOU! Divine and unique. Don’t cover it girl.
*P.S. Come visit me on Instagram and join the challenge! Hashtag your photos: #nomakeupboho
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