I Stopped Wearing Makeup And Started Seeing The 'Real' Me

I Stopped Wearing Makeup, And I Finally Saw The Real Me In The Mirror

Over time, I began to realize other benefits to this new practice. Many makeup products contain unhealthy chemicals, preservatives, additives, and other ingredients that can contribute to premature aging, irritation, and breakouts.

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For the entire four years of my high school career, I spent an hour and fifteen minutes getting ready every morning. A moderate chunk of this time involved putting on makeup. I definitely enjoyed this routine. It was fun to play around with different colors of eyeshadow and add symmetrical wings to my eyeliner with the precision of a spinal surgeon. As I put on each component of makeup, I felt my true beauty start to take form, and my confidence grew. There were some days when I overslept and had less than 20 minutes to get ready, eat, and catch the bus. But for four years, five days a week, I never let my face go entirely naked.

I am a senior in college now. I haven't put makeup on in weeks. And I've learned a lot about myself, society, and life.

I have no idea how or why, but suddenly, I just started to ask myself why I wore makeup every day. It was time I faced the truth: I definitely wasn't wearing makeup the days I stayed home, so it was clearly primarily for the sake of others. Had makeup become a crutch for me? A result of personal insecurities, or looming social pressures?

I have always had a feeling that society coerces women into wearing makeup (pretty much everywhere, including the workplace), and once we do, it's a trap. Gradually, the woman's dolled-up face becomes intertwined with her identity, both to others and to herself. When a woman who normally wears makeup suddenly shows up without any on, it can feel like showing up to a formal job interview in sweats. Do not get me started on people who will tell a woman she looks tired today for some reason (pro tip: don't do this). Nearly all women in the public sphere, including celebrities, news anchors, and politicians, are seen wearing makeup without fail. Do these women feel the pressure too, and by conceding to it, do they feed the societal demand itself?

Is this some vicious self-fulfilling prophecy?

I wanted to find out what was keeping me in this cosmetics confinement. So when I went to South Africa as a short-term study abroad program, I did the unimaginable... I didn't put makeup on in the morning. At first, I was acutely aware of my naked face. I would look in the mirror and feel nervous that I didn't look like myself anymore. And then after a few days, something strange happened: I began to feel completely normal without makeup on. I pretty much forgot about makeup!

And that's the beauty of it: not wearing makeup simplified my life.

I got to sleep in a little longer, and it took much less time to get ready during our rushed mornings. I didn't have to worry about smudging, fading, or creasing on my face during the long days in the African summer heat. I didn't have to spend extra time making sure I got every little speck of makeup off before falling onto my bed at night. My perspective fundamentally shifted: when you stop wearing makeup on a daily basis, you start to realize you don't need to look photoshoot-ready all the time. You start to realize there are more important things, like appreciating a moment so much that you forget to care about your appearance.

When I got back from the trip, I decided to continue not wearing makeup every day. After a while, I began to notice what I really looked like. Before, when I thought of myself, the image of Sarah With Makeup came to mind. It wasn't until I broke the habit that I realized I had barely left time to live in my real skin, to know and appreciate and love my natural features.

By not wearing makeup, I finally started to feel like my naked face was my true face. It's something I want all girls and women to feel.

Over time, I began to realize other benefits to this new practice. Many makeup products contain unhealthy chemicals, preservatives, additives, and other ingredients that can contribute to premature aging, irritation, and breakouts. I feel good not having that seep into my face on the daily. I initially thought that not wearing makeup would automatically lower my confidence, but the opposite happened. I was proud of my courage, and my normal healthy self-confidence quickly returned. I can look in the mirror in the morning and see myself, not a "before" version of myself. I feel free from the self-imposed fallacy that I have to do more to look and feel good.

That trip to South Africa was exactly one year ago. It's been a truly productive year for me in terms of self-growth, and that's partly because my core identity has shifted to be closer to the real me, #NoFilter.

Of course, there are thousands of girls and women who use makeup as a form of art or a means of self-expression. In many ways and circumstances, makeup can be used as a tool of empowerment. I am in no way saying that makeup is entirely evil and everyone should avoid it at all costs. In fact, I still wear makeup every now and then (parties, concerts, photo shoots, and whenever I feel like it) and that's completely fine. I believe it's important for girls and women to realize that we singlehandedly decide what we should do with our bodies. Whenever we give in to anything that goes against our personal beliefs or desires, we're perpetuating the problem. I don't wear makeup every day because I don't want other girls to think they have to wear makeup every day.

When you put on makeup, I invite you to ask yourself why.

Are you doing this because you want to, or because you feel like you need to? If you love the aesthetic, creativity, makeup community or the pure ritual of it, great! The most important thing is to be honest with yourself and make sure you're giving your natural beauty the respect it deserves.

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.


2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."


3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.


4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."


5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."


6. Greek symbol of Inguz: Where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."


8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya).


9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.


10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love, and creativity or to put yourself into whatever you do.


11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from "The Hobbit." It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.


13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength and stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.


16. A glyph means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."


18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe and the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can remind us of the inconsistency of life. It also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.


SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos


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To The Girls Who Have Doubts About Their Worth

You can do so much more than you know!

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I won't say I'm a professional at this, but it is a frequent state of mind. I think that's just something we all go through. Whether it be during high school, college, or even later. There's a small part of your brain that whispers, "You don't deserve this" or "You're not good enough." And despite all of your accomplishments and how far you've come, you believe it. It's not your fault, it's none of ours, it's just something that makes us second guess everything about ourselves. It's not intentional, it just happens. Sometimes even without us knowing it. So, this article is for you all. I hope it helps.

This past semester has been the best one of my three years of college. I got the best grades, the highest GPA, and I actually enjoyed myself. I am in my major classes, and it really made me proud that I made the scary switch. I am in a much better place and I am so thankful. I am changing apartments next year and living in the same complex as three of my best friends. I am going to get a job and enjoy my senior year. So, despite having all of these amazing things in my life, there is still a sliver of doubt that I don't deserve it. Since I found my passion, I'm not allowed to have two fantastic internships or a summer job. Or time next semester to enjoy my college career. And it doesn't matter how many times my mom reassures me that I'm doing great or my friends tell me that this is the happiest they've seen me, I still have this doubt.

My advice for dealing with the negative thoughts is this: tune them out. Say f*** it, and just do your thing.

All you can do is better yourself and your future. Take risks and do something that you actually enjoy. I didn't realize how much I hated business until I switched to journalism. Even a small change like that has really turned my entire life around. I have met so many fun and awesome people that I now call my friends because of this switch. It's OK to be nervous but take that leap of faith. Trust yourself. You are capable of so much more than you let yourself believe. As long as you are safe and careful, make things happen. Apply for that job. Get that tattoo. Do what makes you happy. Because that's all any of us want. We all want to be happy, and if you can do that, you can do anything.

Yes, putting yourself out into the world is super scary. But it's worth it when it matters and it's something you want to do. You are worth so much more than you are aware of, and that stupid, little voice in the back of your head should be your motivation. It should push you to become the best version of yourself you can be. Don't let it hold you back, let it push you forward. You don't want to miss out on awesome opportunities because of that stupid voice, right? Right! So, just tell that voice, "Give it your best shot" because you just use that voice to motivate yourself to do the best you can. Nothing should hold you back, even that little voice, because, you can move mountains and change the world.

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