My addiction to cosmetics was born the Christmas of 5th grade. My mom, a makeup addict herself, bought me my first kit, complete with a Caboodles case.
I was obsessed.
The possibility of changing my look with the swipe of a makeup brush mesmerized me. I could be edgy one day with a smoky eye or sassy the next with a swipe of red lips. I loved the possibility at my fingertips.
My relationship with makeup in my teens was a relationship of convenience. When I felt like doing my makeup, I did. If I was too tired, I didn’t. Makeup-free Mondays were just a part of my life; I never felt like I had to wear makeup to leave the house.
Fast forward to today, and my relationship with makeup has intensified. Call it aging, social pressures, or paranoia, but suddenly makeup is an essential crutch to my confidence. When I look in the mirror after the shower, my dark circles and eye wrinkles scream to be covered up. My pale skin, once a blessing, now taunts me until I add some glow. Without contouring, my face feels blob-like, my nose outrageously noticeable. Eyeliner, mascara, and three shades of shadow help me feel like my eyes aren’t drooping to the ground.
In 2015, the prestige beauty industry reached $16 billion in the United States, according to the NPD Group. Clearly, I’m not alone in my love of beauty products; I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing.
While I heartily believe inner beauty is way more important than outer, I also think it’s okay to love makeup. I’m not here to psychoanalyze makeup addictions, and I hope you’re not either. Whether our relationships with makeup are caused by vanity, a lack of self-confidence, or the media, I think the key is using makeup in a way that makes you happy with yourself. I don’t think a makeup addiction should ever mask the fact you are beautiful the way you are, though.
Still, even the best of us can lose sight of this concept. Our intentions might be good, but our use of makeup can veer into the land of being self-critical. The eye shadow palettes, age-defying concealers, and magic potions make us feel like we can’t face the world in our own skin.
This summer, I’ve been re-evaluating my addiction with makeup. Makeup free movements have been in the news, including Alicia Keys’ #NoMakeup Movement.
I’ve taken on a more informal movement of my own. I’ve spent at least two or three days a week makeup-free this summer—mostly out of sheer laziness stirred by the summer heat. Below are some benefits I’ve found. Hopefully it’ll encourage you to put down the brushes and take it all off—your makeup, that is.
1. A carefree beauty routine has allowed me to enjoy more important things.
According to Melissa Dahl’s 2014 article on The Today Show website, the average woman spends 55 minutes on her beauty routine. The calculation was from a Real to Ideal Body Image Survey through AOL and Today. This, according to the article, equates to two full weeks spent on our looks during a single year!
This summer, I spend about three minutes swiping on sunscreen—and then it’s out the door. A laid-back beauty routine has given me more time to focus on everything else. It’s nice to not stress about perfecting my eye shadow blending or lipstick application. If nothing else, my husband and I haven’t fought over how long it takes me to get ready. Instead, we just pick up and go, enjoying adventures in our town.
When you step away from the beauty products, you realize how much time you spend getting ready, re-applying, and analyzing your appearance. I’ll always love makeup, but sometimes, especially over the summer, it’s good to reclaim your time and focus on other things—like the relationships around you.
2. My skin is getting a much needed break.
This summer, I’ve been living in sunscreen during the day and moisturizer at night. I’ve already experienced less breakouts and softer skin. The 5:2 Skin Diet gained popularity last year in which dermatologists recommended going makeup-free two days a week. Although some claim two days of makeup-free isn’t necessary to improve your skin, several dermatologists and fans of the skin diet touted truly noticeable results, as noted in this article on The Daily Mail.
For me, my personal results are convincing enough evidence that skipping makeup a day or two a week can be beneficial.
3. I’m learning to love my own skin again.
The more you delve into the world of makeup, the easier it is to get consumed with perfecting your looks. Watching videos on Youtube can leave you feeling flawed and unskilled. This can lead to a lack of confidence. Suddenly, you’re only seeing what’s wrong with your face. It’s a dangerous, slippery slope that can lead to feelings of inferiority.
Reconnecting with my face sans makeup has surprisingly given me a boost of confidence. The first time I went to Sheetz makeup-free and realized people didn’t gape or run screaming from the store, I exhaled.
There are so many more important things than wearing the perfect shade of lipstick every single day. When you see yourself the way you are, you start to see the positives, not just externally, but internally as well.
I will always be a makeup addict because it’s just who I am. Ulta and Sephora are my havens; I love trying new products and playing with my looks.
However, going makeup-free here and there has allowed me to redefine my relationship with makeup and my self-confidence.
If lipstick makes you confident and you have time for it, wear it every day. If eye shadow is your go-to, then blend away.
However, don’t be afraid to take a step away from the makeup brushes and see yourself for who you are, even if it’s just for one day.
Taking it all off and braving the world can be scary after a life behind the makeup mask. However, you might be surprised how much lighter and more radiant you feel in nothing but your own skin.