I have been wearing makeup since the sixth grade. It started out with just mascara. Three years into my habits, my first breakup triggered an interest in eyeliner (fourteen year-old me was very visually emotional). Senior year added daily lipstick, and eventually blush. After seven consecutive years of wearing makeup to school every single day (I kid you not, every day), never going out in public without it, and adding the whole works for photographs, the idea of going an entire week without it was a laughable attempt, at best.
Yet, here I am. It has been exactly one week. I have not even used colored lip balm. I have gone through every emotion on the spectrum about my naked face and I've come to this realization: I never wore makeup for other people. It was always to save my own perception of myself, but there are so many things about myself that are better than the makeup on my face. It took me going without it to see that.
The first day was horrendous; the number of people that asked me if I was okay was just disheartening and the lengths I went to to hide my face were absurd. Because I thought I looked worse, I allowed myself to feel worse. I thought I was actually getting sick by the third time someone asked and I blew off all my responsibilities to sleep it off.
The rest of the week was, fortunately, much better. After asking some very honest friends for their very honest opinions, I was reassured that the difference was actually minimal. Four people later, I realized that it was plainly ridiculous to rely on other people's opinions to judge my own appearance and came to terms with the fact that it's not an integral part of who I am.
I've always been a confident person. Because of this, I blew my own mind this week. I simply cannot believe that I've felt obligated to use time out of my day for this for so long. The same friends that are always on my side did not treat me differently. My teachers did not. My floormates did not. So why has this regulated my life for so long?
For anyone who is also loyal to their makeup habits, you should know this: my girl friends have been cheering me on all week; they would rather see empowered than dolled up. As for my guy friends, I asked numerous (from athletes, to theatre kids, to scholars, etc.) and not a single one of them said they preferred girls with makeup. Most of them were entirely indifferent and a few prefer girls without makeup. While I am sure there are plenty of guys out there who think girls are better with makeup, it seems that I have not befriended any myself (coincidence? I don't think so). The point is, good friends don't like you any less or more because you spent fifteen fewer minutes getting ready in the morning.
I am not denouncing makeup; I'll probably continue wearing it at least semi-regularly. But that's because of my preference, not someone else's. My mother always told me that makeup isn't intended to change the face, only to accentuate what is already there. It's nice to change things up once in a while, but there's no need to feel impelled to wear makeup. It's more of a treat to me now and I can appreciate it more by not incorporating it into my style every day.
As for whether or not others should wear makeup, I think most people would agree that it's entirely a personal choice. Wear every day, or never, or just for special occasions, or just when you feel like it. It's up to you and nobody else should be allowed to sway that decision.