If you’re a girl who wears makeup on a daily basis, you know exactly what it’s like to suddenly go without—you feel naked. It’s almost as if when you apply your foundation in the morning, you’re also putting on your personality, your motivation, your energy—everything! So what happens when you suddenly cut out that routine for an extended period of time? Well, I took it upon myself to find out!
I went two weeks without putting on an ounce of makeup; not even when I had an important meeting or when I was hanging out with my lady friends and I knew without a doubt there would be photos taken and posted to social media. Needless to say, it was my worst nightmare—or so I thought. It turns out that not wearing makeup, while scary at first, ended up being the best thing I could do.
I won’t talk about the physical benefits here, what I want to focus on is the mental aspect of this challenge. I experienced ups and downs, but in the end what I received was an abundance of self-esteem. I now know that whether or not I wear makeup has no bearing on what I can do. I’m still a badass lady boss with my imperfections showing!
The first day was inarguably the worst—I was having a hormonal breakout which made my skin look way worse than normal, and the bags under my eyes could have gotten me a part on The Walking Dead. I made sure my hair and outfit looked amazing because I felt almost ashamed to go out of the house without covering up my imperfections; I wanted to distract the outside world’s focus from my face to other parts of me so that I would feel less insecure.
I noticed that as soon as I stepped out of my apartment, my already low self-esteem plummeted. I felt that anyone who looked my way and had the misfortune to see my face would be disgusted. When I got to campus this feeling only intensified. I kept my head down and avoided conversation at all costs. My energy and motivation throughout the day were nonexistent and I found myself feeling out of sorts. It was like because I wasn’t wearing makeup, I wasn’t myself!
I got a few comments from people asking if I was tired or sick, and after 10-plus times of clarifying that my skin just naturally looked like that, I was ready to quit. My stubborn nature kicked in at that point and said that not only was quitting cowardly, but this two weeks of a clean face would actually be really healthy for me—both mentally and physically.
By the end of the first week, I wasn’t completely comfortable with my naked face, but I was really digging the benefits. The physical ones were most noticeable—my skin was clearer, less dry, and looked a lot less dull; however, the mental ones interested me much more. I was carrying myself with the confidence that I used to with a full face of makeup, even though I wasn’t wearing any. My energy and motivated were back up to normal levels, and I didn’t feel like I was walking in a fog.
I still shied away from photographs and tried my best to distract attention away from my face with accessories. I was more comfortable talking to people, but not much. When I was conversing with people I would still be inwardly panicking thinking that the group was just horrified at my face and that’s all they could focus on. I noticed that I still wasn’t comfortable in these situations, so I made sure to put myself in them more often in hoped that I would overcome my anxieties.
The one major thing that stuck with me at this point was that I still felt as though I couldn’t do things to the best of my ability. The motivation was there, but the confidence in my ability wasn’t. It was at this point that I really started to think about how I viewed my relationship with makeup. Was I really using it as a way to boost my confidence so much so that I didn’t believe in myself without it? I was, and that was a way of thinking that I desperately wanted to change by the end of the two weeks.
By the last day of my two-week experiment, I had a completely different outlook on life. I paraded around my naked face with pride and carried myself with more confidence than I ever had before. I noticed that I actually felt more like myself than I used to, and I was a lot more comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t shy away from cameras or social gathering for fear of exposing my imperfections—I embraced them!
While I was originally wary of this experiment, it turned out being the best thing to happen for my confidence. I no longer feel like makeup is a part of who I am; my personality, accomplishments, confidence all come from what’s inside of me, not what I put on me. While makeup is a fun way for me to relax and add a little fun to my morning routine, it is not a necessity for me anymore.
I feel just as comfortable with and without it in terms of being comfortable with who I am. There will always be days where I’m having a bad breakout or I look a little more tired than normal, but that has no bearing on what I can accomplish in a day or what I am capable of. I can be a lady boss with or without foundation and I plan on embracing that.