As a woman, I've felt the seemingly never-ending pressure to make an impression based on my appearance alone. In a time where attention spans are short and beauty standards are unrealistic, first impressions are made in an instant, with just one look at someone's face. It is common for women to often unnecessarily apologize when our makeup isn't perfect or our hair isn't done. None of this is new information but why don't we talk about it?
Makeup is undeniably a form of art, next level of self-expression and has an important place in our society. It has become the norm that is often a shock when women aren't wearing, so much so that any big-name celebrity's make up free selfie ends up with its own segment on E! News and a timely article to coincide. Women face an unfair challenge to present themselves as conventionally attractive — due to the state of a patriarchal and often misogynistic society — and many of us don't take the bait. And yet it is seen as revolutionary when the makeup is removed. Where will this problematic aspect of society take us?
I haven't worn makeup in about two years. Its use or lack thereof in my life stems from a personal preference to bare it all and a desire to feel completely comfortable in my own skin. When I made the decision, I did it consciously. I didn't do it to make some outward statement (though it may have turned into that). I did it to allow myself the room to grow in my confidence and to repair a broken relationship with myself. At the time, my insecurity was at an all-time high and I was using makeup to hide, to paint a perfect picture. I thought I was only hiding physical blemishes; my skin had been breaking out at a rapid pace, but as time went on, I knew I was hiding more.
Struggling with self-esteem is not a singular experience and my experience is not even extraordinary or much different than anyone else's. The way that I've chosen to tackle this isn't the only way to do so, either. I enjoy makeup and have racked up hundreds of tutorials and product reviews in my YouTube watch history; I admire the self-expression and creativity that comes with it. It just isn't for me right now. I've come a long way in building up my own self-esteem and finding ways to appreciate my natural beauty and I've enjoyed giving myself the chance to do so. I am learning to love myself without makeup so that when I do eventually wear it again, I'll love myself just as much.