Girls, stop clutching your contour kits and eyebrow gel because I'm not about to tell you that you can't have them anymore. I promise.
Makeup is fabulous. I watch my face transform into something new every time I do it, I love trying makeup tutorials, and Sephora is my first stop whenever I go to the mall. I totally get it. My problem was (is) that I didn't feel all that confident when I wasn't wearing makeup. When I took the time to put on makeup in high school and college, I strutted around campus like I owned the place. When I didn't take the time, I hid underneath sweatshirts and baggy jeans...head down, walking quickly to get where I needed to go.
Fast forward to 2014. My first post-graduate school job was a 10-month appointment for each calendar year, so I had six weeks off each summer. I had decided to spend those six weeks working for a summer camp. If you've ever been a camp counselor you know that makeup is pointless. It was too hot, I was running around too much, and waking up for flagpole in the morning was hard enough without throwing in a beauty routine on top of it. Besides, I was there to enjoy time with my friends and the kids. What strikes me most about camp was that there was never any illusion about what we all looked like at our worst. All of us walked around un-showered, sweaty, stinky, muddy, and messy-haired at least three days out of the week. Some of my camp friendships are the most meaningful ones I've ever had because we accepted one another for who we are, not for what we look like. It dawned on me during those six weeks that makeup had been a barrier to not let people get to know me. It's easy to keep things surface-level when you're trying to portray yourself a certain way. Without that barrier, I was able to form friendships much faster.
When I left camp, I brought back with me the desire to go on without makeup for as long as I could. Except for truly special occasions, I stuck to my word. You have no idea how freeing it is to shower, dry your hair, and walk out the door in the morning. I was confident enough to post #nomakeup pictures on my social media, go to brunch or dinner au naturale, and meet new people without worrying what they thought about my face. It's a game changer, y'all! I learned to love myself for who I was, because I knew it was possible for other people to like me for more than what I look like on the outside.
Nowadays, I've started to wear makeup a little more often and sometimes I hear that self-conscious voice in my head telling me not to look frightening when I go out in public. When I go on dates, I do my entire makeup routine and wonder if I'll ever be confident enough to meet someone without poking and prodding at my face first. I've lost that summer 2014 feeling. So, I think it's time to bring back the #nomakeup look once again, and I want to encourage anyone who is feeling brave to try it with me. You can wear makeup for special occasions, but resist the urge to put anything on your face during a normal day. Sure, it feels foreign and weird at first but you'll be surprised how quickly you'll get used to loving your face as is. Personally, I don't think any of us have ever needed to wear makeup to look beautiful. The less pressure we put on ourselves to conform to societal standards, the more confident we become.
The more confident we are, the more beautiful we are.