Why I Quit Makeup

Why I Quit Makeup

My experience with my no makeup challenge.

The first day that my parents finally let me put on foundation was a glorious moment. It was the night of my 10th grade homecoming dance, and I felt like Cinderella when her fairy godmother raised her magic wand and transformed her into a princess. Except my magic wand was a mascara wand, and this magic didn’t end at midnight.

12 years later and I was no longer the raggedly clothed Cinderella, but the Godmother herself. I had mastered the art of the winged liner and unearthed the secrets of the perfect red lip. And then I did what everyone least expected me to do, I stopped wearing makeup.

I locked away my heavily filled makeup bag and challenged myself to a week of no makeup. This was by far the hardest challenge I have ever given myself. Throughout the week I had people come up and ask why I put myself through a week of no makeup. Some people were inspired, some were confused, and there were the others who thought it was the most ridiculous thing they had ever heard.

“Why a no makeup challenge?”, you may ask. Well, this is why.

1. My makeup was becoming the root of my confidence.

This is the main reason I started this whole personal challenge.

By time I was in college, I was wearing makeup every single day. I would run late for work because I needed to make sure that my eye-liner had just the right angle to it. There were times when my outfit wouldn’t feel complete if I didn’t have a layer of foundation on, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a crowd if I didn’t have a solid set of products on my face. I wasn’t myself without it.

I eventually realized that my makeup was becoming the sole source of my confidence. It was the only thing I identified myself through, and I knew I was so much more than that. I knew I could be defined by so many other words than just, “pretty”, “beautiful”, or “sexy”, because I know that I am more than just my physical appearance.

I want to be admired for my persistence in life, not by whether my foundation matches my skin tone, and I want someone to fall in love with my mind not just my appearance.

I noticed that my life had begun to revolve around the physical aspects of my identity. In my mind, people were more concerned about how pretty I was before how interesting I was.

Right before I decided to take on this challenge, I took a step back. Did I care about appearances when it came to other people? Wasn’t I the person to be attracted to a person’s witty and sarcastic sense of humor, to be drawn in by their selfless personality before anything else?

I wanted to have people love me for the same reasons I loved them. And for that to happen, the first step was to remove the mask that I had been hiding behind, and allow them to get to know the real me.

2. It was taking away my time — and money.

Being a recent graduate I already had little money to my name, and the impending doom of loan payments always leered over me. One trip to Ulta or Sephora would knock me back a good $60 — and that was just on the days when I didn’t actually need anything. After calculating it out I was spending well over $100 on makeup each month. (After checking my Mint account I found out I was spending about $154 a month on makeup).

To put it into perspective, that’s 10 glasses of wine I could’ve bought at the bar, a month’s payment of utility bills, five pedicures I could have enjoyed for myself, or a weekend road trip. Better yet, it was $154 I could have had in my savings account for when my loan payments came back in. In all honesty, it was money that I didn’t have the luxury of spending.

As far as time goes, I set a clock for how long it would take me to do my makeup. A full-face of eyeliner, concealer, foundation, and a half-way rushed contour job would still take me 25 minutes to complete. I didn’t even time the nights when I was going out and wanted to be real glamorous. 25 minutes may not seem like much, but add that up every single day for a week and it becomes a lot. The worst part, doing my makeup was a lot like brushing my teeth — I couldn’t skip it even if I wanted to. That’s how important doing my make-up was to me, and that started to scare me.

3. Skincare.

I have been very lucky that I have always been blessed with fairly clear skin. Minus the initial puberty burst of ’07, I rarely had acne. However, the older I became the more I committed to a daily makeup routine, and the more damage I was doing to my skin. Of course I didn’t notice this damage immediately, but now years later I’m starting to see evidence; the dry skin, the clogged pores, and yes, even the faint lines of future crow’s feet. The wear and tear of rubbing on and wiping of makeup every day clearly wasn’t doing anything beneficial to my skin, so I wanted to give my skin a chance to have its first real break in 10 years.

Spending less time on my makeup routine left me with some time to work on a healthy skincare routine. I even put together a personal mixture of oils for my sensitive and fickle skin. Just within the first few days there was an immediate difference. My skin, which normally became dry and flaky midway through the day, kept its hydrated glow. The small blackheads that speckled my nose were disappearing since I wasn’t clogging my pores up daily with makeup. By the end of the week, my skin was the healthiest it had looked in years.

I successfully lasted a solid week without make up. Mind you, it wasn’t easy. There were melt downs in front of the mirror. There were awkward strangers coming up asking if I was “okay” — your girl here has some serious dark circles. Not every moment this week was easy. But, I started to experience the moments that helped me realize why I did this. The friends who hardly took notice I wasn’t wearing any make up at all. The day that I looked in the mirror and felt so happy with what I looked back at. And finally, the day that I hardly looked in the mirror at all.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Shaving My Head Taught Me That Self-Confidence Does Not Depend On How I Look

Shaving my head helped me gain more self-confidence than I ever thought possible.


Hair is something that has more power over us than we think. Historically, hair was viewed as a way to identify your gender, marital status, religion, or social position. In the Quapaw tribe, single Native American women wore their hair in braids, while the married woman wore it long and loose. Hair can be sacred, as well. Many Sikhs believe that hair should not be cut in any way, as it is a gift from God.

In most of Western society, hair serves simply as a gender marker. Although we are straying away from traditional gender roles, long hair usually signifies femininity and short hair represents masculinity. The media portrays desirable young women with long, silky, effortlessly perfect hair.

For me, my hair served as a comfort. Although I struggled with its frizziness, brittleness, and tangle-ability, I relied on it to make me feel secure. When it hung to my waist in high school, I would use it to cover up my arms and shoulders when I wore sleeveless tops, as I didn't like these parts of my body.

As a child, I remember watching Natalie Portman on the Oprah Winfrey show, talking about having to shave her head for a movie role. Even though I thought it was extreme, her calm and pragmatic demeanor about it changed my perceptions on having a shaved head. I remember her saying, "I always wanted to do it once in my life, anyways. It'll grow back my natural color eventually."

Months before I left for college, I began to devise a plan. I would dye my hair the fun colors that I wasn't allowed to in high school, and then shave it all off for the new year. I got started the week after I moved into my dorm and bleached my hair. As the chemicals burned my scalp and made my eyes water, I realized that there was no going back now. I had committed to shaving my head.

When January rolled around, I was starting to get apprehensive. The weekend I had marked on my calendar approached, and I trekked through a snowstorm to the nearest SportsClips. The barber seemed bewildered at my request but didn't give me any time to reconsider. She took the clippers right to my head, and I watched as my bleach-damaged locks fell to the ground, much like the snow outside.

The first week was hard. I didn't recognize my reflection and often caught myself reaching up to play with my non-existent hair out of habit. I only went out in girly outfits or a full face of makeup, as I felt the need to assert my femininity.

As the weeks went on, however, I began to fall in love with my stubbly head.

Would I recommend shaving your head? I would. Although the journey has been challenging, the benefits make the shave well worth it. Not only do save time in the morning, but I also have learned how to stop hiding behind my hair.

Shaving my head taught me how to stop relying on my appearance for self-assurance. When I had long hair, I would often base my validation around how I looked. Although it provided me temporary confidence, it meant that I wasn't placing any confidence in my other traits. I cared more about how the world saw me than how it heard me. Now that I've stripped myself of my comfort blanket, I feel as though I can conquer anything, no matter how I look.

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