By: Paola Aguilar
Last year this video in which YouTuber Nikkie puts makeup on half of her face to show the power of makeup became viral. Nikkie originally created this video to show why she loves to wear makeup and why women shouldn’t be shamed for wearing makeup.
I loved this video and still do because anytime I tell someone how much time I spend doing my makeup every day, I always get comments like, “Why would you do that?” or “You look fine without it.” It’s irritating because I wear it for myself and not the opinions of others. I wear makeup because I enjoy applying it, finding my favorite products, and trying new beauty trends.
However, I also know that I feel terrible about myself when I don’t wear makeup and get told that I look tired. I have an immense amount of respect for women who regularly don’t wear makeup. When I go without makeup I’m constantly worried about the criticisms of other people whether they voice them or not. Take For example Alicia Keys is now going without makeup as a rejection of our society’s beauty standards. It’s a beautiful and empowering act of rebellion but with all the backlash she’s received, it’s not welcoming territory to wander into if you’re thinking about not wearing makeup.
I started becoming dependent on makeup around the age of 13 when I had severe acne. I now have a decent amount of scaring that I still prefer to cover up. Given that, I spend an average of 30 minutes every morning applying makeup and I still feel pretty dependent upon it. Realizing my dependence on external beauty, I took it upon myself to challenge my ideas about my own beauty and go one week without makeup.
Day 1: Sunday
I spent most of the day in my room doing homework and completing various other work tasks that I needed to get done. Weekends are usually no makeup days so I figured this would be a good day to start. As soon as I saw my skin in fluorescent lighting, I was anxious to apply foundation to hide the acne scars and marks that cover my cheeks but I was able to resist. Later in the day I delivered my makeup to one of my friends and ask that she store it for the remainder of the week.
Day 2: Monday
I missed my alarm and slept through my first class of the day. I also had a terrible zit on my lower lip that is usually easily concealed with my foundation but on this particular day, it was out for the world to see. It reminded me of the time when I was first getting acne and applying makeup to conceal it. When I was in middle school and even through high school, I consistently used concealer and foundation to hide my acne because I was mortified at the idea that any of my classmates would see the imperfections on my face. Throughout the day I also realized how convenient it is to not have to reapply or fix my makeup throughout the day.
Day 3: Tuesday
Today things started to get difficult. I have realized just how much I relied on makeup not just for concealing my acne scars, but for confidence. I put in the effort to curl my hair and wear a dress but I still struggled to feel good about myself and to feel beautiful. I felt like there was nothing I could do to feel beautiful and it broke my heart. This was definitely a “fake it ‘til I make it” kind of a day because every time I looked in a mirror it would chip away at my confidence.
Day 4: Wednesday
I stayed up pretty late the night before so bags under the eyes were definitely a thing. However, the convenience of not putting on makeup before class meant sleeping in a few extra minutes. I still avoided mirrors because I was afraid that I wouldn’t like what I saw and would struggle with my self-confidence throughout the day.
Day 5: Thursday
So far, so good. I looked in the mirror on this morning and had a sense of genuine happiness for the first time all week. New lipstick came in the mail and I applied it on my friends since I couldn’t put it on myself. I went out with my friends and going out without makeup was probably one of the strangest things I’ve done. Getting made up before a night out is one of my favorite things to do. I expected being out at the bars without makeup would be the most difficult part of this week but surprisingly, it wasn’t. I was with some of my best friends, having a great time, and my confidence in meeting new people was through the roof.
Day 6: Friday
By this day I have finally gotten used to not wearing makeup and I am actually liking it. I wore a cute outfit and went out to dinner with my friends. Mirrors were not the enemy anymore and the fact that they weren’t made me that much more confident.
Day 7: Saturday
I took the LSAT on Saturday morning. I woke up early to have breakfast with a friend before the test and felt great all throughout the day. My confidence never faltered because I wasn’t wearing makeup. I had plans to go out with friends that night and broke the no-makeup streak on this evening. To my surprise, putting makeup on again didn’t magically change anything. I just looked different but I felt the same way as before.
I feel like I’ve preached for so long about how beauty is something that is more than just skin deep but I found myself relying on external appearances for my own confidence. My morning routine had to be quick because the longer I looked at my face and all the scars and redness, the more upset I would get about having to go all day without covering up my imperfections. It took a few days for me to accept the natural me as the real me and once I did, I felt so much better about myself.
I was happy to find out that the way people treated me was never significantly different and most of my friends never mentioned that I looked different than usual. Particularly going to a bar without wearing makeup I thought would have been a starkly different experience than when I go wearing a full face of makeup. My self-confidence ended up being the primary reason I enjoyed myself that night and why I felt confident for pretty much the rest of the week.
Overall, I found some importance in both the act of wearing makeup and going bare. Not wearing makeup for a week made me realize how much better I felt about myself when I was no longer casting so much importance on my external appearance and putting more emphasis on my internal self. I also missed the act of applying makeup. I never thought that I would miss the struggle of filling in my eyebrows or evenly lining my lips.
I love wearing makeup and I don’t think I will ever completely give it up just because of how much I enjoy putting it on but my own internal struggle of getting through an entire week without makeup has definitely increased my self-confidence. Knowing that I can still be just as confident if I don’t have a full face of makeup every day is empowering and knowing that my external appearance doesn’t dictate my self-confidence is an even more amazing and indescribable feeling.