MAC, Urban Decay, STILLA, Colour POP, Beauty Blender, FENTY BEAUTY.

If you're like me then just the mention of those beauty brand names brings you a spark of joy because you absolutely love makeup! For me it all started back when I was 15, I dove into the makeup world after watching a few of Michelle Phan's youtube videos with my older sister. All of the colors, looks and different kinds of makeup products were always so exciting to learn about and play with.

Though, as the years went on, I noticed not only my skills and collection of products was growing but also my overall "need" of makeup. By the time I was 18 I wouldn't step foot outside of the house without at least having my basics on because if I didn't have it, I felt incomplete. What didn't help either was constantly being exposed to magazines, billboards and just a whole lot of ads that screamed in your face how you needed to wear all of these products in order to make sure you were looking like the best version of yourself. So in the beginning stages of my "figuring out who I want to be" / confidence building era, I believed 100% that without my concealer I looked like a gross troll.

Now that I am 24, over the last few years, I've started to notice a change in the community of men an women who wear makeup. As the more "natural" look is starting to gain traction among those of us now entering the real community of beauty consumers, more and more people are embracing what their face has to offer rather than caking on layers of makeup. Which is why for the last couple of weeks I have been sporting a no makeup look. No, when I say no makeup look it's not your typical "no-makeup" makeup look where you have bronzed your face and put on some fake freckles. I mean barefaced, no foundation, no concealer, no mascara, no primer, NOTHING. And let me tell you that this has honestly been the most amazing thing I've ever done for my skin and overall confidence.

The first few days I was pretty much a wreck, which sounds a bit extreme because it's just my bare face, I mean it's not like I've never actually gone a couple of days without wearing makeup before. It was the fact that I knew that I wasn't allowed to wear any that was freaking me out. Any chance I had to look at my reflection and completely judge my mug, you know ya girl was there. My eyebrows, the empty gaps seemed bigger. My pores? craters. Eyelashes? Apparently, I didn't have them. I literally thought I looked horrifying and I found myself constantly picking apart my facial imperfections.

Once I realized how badly I had been judging myself simply because I didn't have any makeup on, I realized a major flaw in myself. I was dependant on a mask to make myself feel beautiful. What made things worse is that, before all of this, I was spreading a message of how women and men are beautiful no matter what their faces looked like with or without makeup and here I was hardly able to like my face unless I had on mascara. How could I spread this message if I couldn't even begin to understand it?

End of week one beginning of week two, I decided to stop nitpicking the flaws in my own skin and just roll with it. I stopped looking at my face as a problem and decided to start complimenting myself, which is 100% harder than it seems, at least for me it was. Also with the detox of makeup, it got me thinking more and more about my actual skin care. I invested in a few products from Riley Rose, and instead of covering up any "issues" I had with my face with makeup, I used my new skincare to improve it.

By the end of week three, I pretty much fell into a rabbit hole of skincare knowledge. Of course, before this challenge, I was taking care of my skin before but now I had really started to understand what my skin needed from me. Honestly, while I was still struggling to really love my bare face, I noticed how much more I liked the way I was looking.

Week four, the last week of this challenge was oddly the hardest for me. After I had gotten into a routine of taking better care of my skin and making sure to not nitpick my own face, it was actually Instagram that started to make me upset. I was on the explore page when I started to dive into that Instagram makeup hole, where like twenty minutes later I was deep into James Charles page sister stalking. I noticed how badly I wanted to quit the natural look and go ham on the face beat. Though as I went into the bathroom to start pulling out my makeup collection, I realized I didn't want to use the makeup to feel pretty or even feel normal. I wanted to use it because my creative bug was biting and I wanted to try all of these colorful looks.

So, at the end of this long month of zero makeup, I learned a few things that I think everyone should know when diving into the makeup world.

First, makeup is there for your entertainment, it's not something you need. A lot of people, especially women, growing up when exposed to makeup hear a lot of the phrase " I need this" in front of some kind of beauty product. When they hear it, instantly they start to grow with the idea that without these certain products in their lives they are lacking. This is obviously not the case and we need to stop associating needs with makeup. What we really need is to be told we are beautiful no matter what we put on our skin, and to embrace every little perfect imperfect piece of ourselves.

Second, get a skincare routine. Seriously get one. The best thing that came out of this challenge was actually taking the time to deep dive into what my skin needed from me in order to glow. If you want your skin to improve, learn about what kind of skin care works best for you. One month obviously isn't long enough to completely learn about your skin type, but it is enough time for you to get into a cleansing daily habit.

Third, don't be so hard on yourself. There is not enough time on this planet for you to waste your time nitpicking at the things on your face you wish could be a certain way. Get comfortable with your face, and learn to love who you are. Of course, it is completely up to you what your level of comfort is but at the end of the day as long as you love who the person in your reflection everything will be ok.

Makeup will always be one of my favorite things to do, but now when I use it it'll be for fun. Never again will I use it as a beauty crutch for my own confidence.