Confession: I'm not really into makeup

Full confession: I'm not interested in makeup.

Sure, it can be a great way to accentuate your features or try out a fun new look, but the wondrous world of eyeshadows and lip glosses has always made me, well, a little uncomfy.

But I've come to realize that this is totally OK. It just took some time for me to get there...

My introduction to makeup

I was first introduced to makeup when I was about 4 years old—which, in my opinion, is *way* too young.

I did ballet for many years, which involved dress rehearsals, recitals and, yep, stage makeup.

Granted, the makeup for a bunch of youth ballerinas was pretty basic (we're talking some red lipstick and maybe a hint of eyeshadow). But despite the simplicity of the look, I absolutely hated wearing it. I didn't like feeling the products on my face, and feeling like I couldn't eat or drink without messing anything up was unbearable.

Sure, I looked different, and my features popped more on stage, but I didn't feel like me. I felt uncomfortable and would spend my performances counting down the minutes until I could wipe my face clean.

I ended up focusing more on sports toward the end of middle school and quit ballet, which solved the makeup issue—at least for a little while. I missed dancing, but I loved not being required to have anything on my face.


Makeup realizations

For the rest of middle school and most of high school, I didn't really have to think about makeup. Up until last year, I only went to Catholic schools that had strict dress codes and required uniforms, so aside from an occasional swipe of mascara, most students didn't wear makeup during the day. But I was still very aware of the fact that most of the other girls at my school still knew *how* to do makeup.

I, however, didn't even own any makeup—let alone know how to apply it.

This fact was brought to light during my high school's theater productions. My castmates and I would be in the choir room getting ready for a show (putting on costumes, fixing our hair, doing vocal warmups), and I would notice all of the other girls taking out their sparkly makeup bags and mirrors and using products like they were pros.

I kept my face bare for almost every show, and, although it was self-imposed, I couldn't help but feel like I was missing out on a fundamental part of girlhood. Tbh, I felt inadequate for not knowing how to use makeup. I felt like women were expected to wear it, and I was falling behind by choosing not to.


Learning to accept myself

My senior year got cut short by the pandemic, and my first couple years of college were primarily online. This meant that I had plenty of time to reflect and change my thought process in relation to makeup.

During this period, I thought a lot about what makes me happy and tried to make time for these things. Running? Check. Reading? Check. Doing makeup? Still not for me.

Through some positive (and often repetitive) self-talk, I learned to embrace myself for who I am. I began to understand that I am still beautiful without makeup—and that it's OK that I'm not a cosmetic pro. I learned that I'm allowed to have preferences just like everyone else, and if I don't love the feel of makeup on my skin, I don't ever have to wear it again.

This isn't to say that I haven't still struggled. There are days when I feel like my entire IG feed is full of posts about makeup, and I have to work harder to quiet any thoughts telling me that I should be wearing makeup, too.

But I always bounce back. I've come to understand that everyone has a different journey with makeup, and that it is absolutely not necessary to use it if you don't want to—no matter your gender. Currently, I'm happy sticking to my lip balm and keeping the rest of my face bare. And if I change my mind in a month, a year or 10 years and decide that I want to try wearing makeup? That's OK, too.

For now, I'll keep going with my no-makeup look and keep working to feel confident without knowing all the ins and outs of beauty products. As long as I'm happy and comfortable in my own skin, my natural look is here to stay.


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Top and slider image: @chloelukasiak


by Maggie Salter | 5/22/2024