A huge part of growing up that we often forget is the ability to wear makeup and the desire for physical beauty. Starting off as little children, we watch our moms' carefully applying lipstick and mascara saying "mommy needs this to be pretty". We may even try it ourselves, smearing an abundance of different colors all over our faces, looking like a clown that had a rough night. We will get told, "wait until you are older".
Time goes on and now you're in middle school. We have hit puberty and so our faces are less than perfect. We have acne and braces and are just figuring out that we have boobs. This is so confusing and emotionally tolling that we want any fix we can get. We look at magazines, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube to find glamorous people sporting looks with makeup. We think that if we just had some eyeliner and pressed powder, we too could look more normal and less like 13-year-old misfits. Now you are at the phase where your dad checks your eyes for black lines and gives you hell for trying to fit in. At this point in life, Dads are the worst. We don't see that we actually do look like raccoons, and our Hollister shirts are 4 sizes too small. We just want makeup to fit in. We wanted to be "cool".
Then you grow up, makeup becomes a necessary part of your morning routine. You learn how to contour and that needing 25 makeup brushes is worth the investment. You obsess over makeup tutorials and different release dates of palettes. We look to make up to make us feel better; feel like a woman. We, as women, spend hundreds of dollars on designer lipstick and eyebrow gel. It can take up to an hour to put it all on so we can look hot af, or we spend an equal amount of time trying to pull off the "natural" look. It becomes our identity.
Trust me--I was this person. I spent approximately $300 on makeup this summer. THIS SUMMER alone. And that itself is what some people spend in a single trip to Sephora. I have become a slave to the makeup industry. And don't get me wrong, makeup is empowering. It makes me feel beautiful and sexy and admirable. I love how it makes me feel when I wear it. But it made me hate myself when I didn't have it on. I would look in my magnified vanity mirror and obsess over how imperfect my face was without bronzer, foundation or highlight. I obsessed over my blonde eyelashes and my disappearing eyebrows. I was putting myself down without even knowing it.
After I decided that I needed a break from makeup, I started to stumble upon other people who have also decided not to wear makeup. The #nomakeupmovement has picked up speed and more and more women have taken to the idea of loving yourself as it is. Icons, like Alecia Keys, have sported the no makeup look, and let me tell you, it is so beautiful. She is so fierce, strong, and most importantly, authentic in her actions and her presence emulates that.
I am learning to love myself, and it's truly life-changing. By making this subtle switch I am slowly beginning to see my true beauty, not just physically, either. The Merriam-Webster dictionary states beauty to be "the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit". How extraordinary is the ability to be beautiful as a whole person, not just on the face or body? And don't get me wrong, I still look in the mirror and grimace, but it is becoming less and less frequent. Sometimes I even see a glimmer of the young me, looking wide-eyed and full of excitement. I have opened my eyes and closed my wallet, and I look forward knowing inner beauty doesn't come in a little-striped bag.