No More Skin Makeup In My Life

I’d like to start this piece off with a disclaimer stating that I am by no means shaming people who wear skin makeup, enjoy skin makeup, or even rely on skin makeup to feel good. I am discussing my experience and the conclusions that I have drawn from it. I share pieces of my journey with you in the hopes of provoking metacognitive thoughts that cause you to evaluate your true feelings on your decisions and patterns; something that I aim to spark within myself too. I believe in empowering women no matter what they look like or what decisions they make about their bodies. Deciding to stop wearing skin makeup is a decision I have taken to empower myself. Fight on, my friends! Keep on doing whatever it is that makes you feel great.

My face is not one color.

IMG_0980Its base is an ivory tone, however there’s a lot of redness in the T-zone area, acne scars on the cheeks and chin, and dark brown freckles all over. I also have a scar on the outside of my left eye from being too ambitious of a pre-walker, and managing to hit myself in the face with a wooden chair I thought would hoist me up. That’s my face for ya. This face is pretty human. Many humans have acne, scars, freckles, or rosy hues to their faces. Others have different characteristics to their faces. Some people have facial hair, some have nose rings, some may have both. The point I’m making here is that we all have faces with skin and then what society teaches us to be “imperfections.”


This face has taken a few good beatings.

IMG_5130My sophomore year of high school is when I really got into makeup. I would make anyone with a driver’s license take me to Target so I could sit my butt down and look through products for up to an hour. You wish I was kidding. My makeup stash was my favorite thing, and my de-stressing activity was actually organizing my makeup. Once again, you wish I was kidding. I would wake up an hour earlier than usual for school just so I could do a full makeup look and put unnecessary heat, via styling tools, into my hair. I’d pick out the “perfect” outfit from my unnecessarily over-stuffed closet, add the perfect perfume, and be out the door to catch the bus without eating breakfast or seeing my parents and grandpa, because clearly eyeshadow was more important than family or nutrition for survival.
IMG_5191The first step to every makeup routine for me was primer and then foundation. I’d apply primer to ensure that my makeup sustained itself all day because, God forbid, somebody could see that my skin was not perfectly even and matte. Then I’d go in with the foundation (it took me longer than I’d like to admit to stop buying the orange looking stuff). This step took the longest because it was the most important to me. Then powder, another layer of stuff to keep it all looking good and full-coverage throughout the day. Then bronzer because, again, God forbid anybody knew I was the most pale Hispanic and Indian person anybody ever knew. Also, I was already a size 6 in jeans, but I believed that I was obese (whoa, body dysmorphia) so I thought I desperately needed to contour my face. For non-makeup geeks reading this, contouring is adding shadows to your face to create an illusion of a different, more defined bone structure. The blush, eyebrow gel, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, and chapstick. I was in the band at school (I played the saxophone), so I couldn’t wear lip products without a huge mess, so those were reserved strictly for weekends and special occasions. That’s only the makeup. There was also hair, outfit, perfume, jewelry, and nightly skincare/eyebrow grooming. Are you exhausted already? I sure as heck am.

I relied on makeup to build a positive self-image.

IMG_5125I was building a bit of a better self-image for the physical aspect of my being, but not the several other – more important – facets of my identity. I call this time in my life the “barbie phase.” Because that’s what it was. I wanted to look as much like a barbie as possible. Tiny waist, no fat on my body, long straight hair, and sparkly big eyes. That’s what I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, I still did other things with my life aside from obsess about my looks. I was always a strong student academically, I was a captain of the speech team, a soloist in the band and the musical’s pit orchestra, and I was playing tennis. The agenda was booked. Yet, I somehow believed that makeup and clothes were more important than things like sleeping, eating, interacting with my family, or being a good person on the inside. I didn’t gather any self-worth from being a good student, musician, orator, or athlete – it was all about the packaging.
I talk a lot about how beauty channels on YouTube influenced this behavior in this previous post.
IMG_5140Needless to say, some life happened and I grew up. From that insecure, pretty dang good makeup, 15-year-old in the trendy outfit straight out of the Forever 21 ad – I have become a different person. I am almost 19 years old, and I have made an executive decision about my future with makeup (yes, it is an executive decision because my life is an important endeavor, okay people).

I will no longer be wearing skin makeup. 

My senior year in high school is when I became a big fan of the makeup routine that involved a thick coat of mascara and nothing else. I would only do a full face on weekends or for special events. That stands true today, except I’ll wear mascara on a weekday once or twice a month. The most makeup that goes on this face on the daily is Burt’s Bee’s lip balm. I just got done with my freshman year of college, and it is safe to say that leggings and oversized Illini sweatshirts are the move. I do a lot of glasses, messy bun, no makeup, only earrings days. This is because I study hard, I write several pieces a week for various publications on my campus, and I run a blog 100% by myself. I also make time to talk to my parents and my niece every single day, and I have learned to prioritize sleeping well. I do a lot, man. I don’t think that wearing a full face of makeup will really affect me positively when I’m hunched over an iced coffee, getting carpal tunnel in some lecture that I have to take frantic notes in.
Overall, since my barbie days, I have really grown to be more comfortable in my own skin. It is what it is. I am a great human being with so many more important characteristics than “pretty,” or “ugly.” I like makeup still, but I no longer buy much of it, and I no longer watch tutorials and channels on YouTube devoted to it. It isn’t an interest of mine anymore. I have also noticed that I do not enjoy how my skin feels when I put makeup on it, and I do not enjoy how my eyes feel when my eye makeup runs into them. These feelings have been enough for me to decide that foundations, concealers, powders, primers, blushes, bronzers, and highlighters are no longer something that I will be wearing on my face. This isn’t a hard thing for me to do on regular days during which I do not wear makeup.

The special occasions are the scary part.

For special occasions, I have always been a fan of going all out in the makeup department. I needed to be photo-ready at any angle during the “barbie phase.” A lot of what I liked about my look had to do with having even and smooth skin. I’ve never liked having random brown dots of different sizes and pigmentations all over my body. Nobody likes acne scars. I have no idea why, but I look like I have a permanently sunburnt nose. That’s how my face just is. During my sophomore and junior years of high school, I would get endless compliments on my makeup job and my selfies from these occasions on which I spent well over an hour applying cosmetics to my face. I still use some of these selfies 3 to 4 years later.
My lovely cousin is getting married at the end of this week, and I am so excited to attend the 2-day wedding event. Weddings are great – it’s a bunch of people in good moods celebrating love. But, this is the first occasion at which I have decided that I will be going bare-faced. I’ll still wear eyebrow gel, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. But my freckly forehead and acne scarred cheeks will be on full display. Earlier today I started getting cold feet. I looked in the mirror at my societally defined imperfections, and decided that I needed to go to the nearest drugstore and buy a full coverage foundation and a translucent powder. I later regrouped and decided that I need to face this irrational fear head-on. When I look back at these photos from this wedding in a few years, I’ll remember the dances and the toasts, not the condition of my skin.
I’ll let you all know how this wedding goes in either a follow-up blog post, or an Instagram. I am truly looking forward to feeling a bit uncomfortable. I have dark under-eye circles. I have dark freckles on light skin. I have red areas and acne scars on random patches of my face. But I’m going to dance my heart out at this wedding and have a blast with my family.

Body positivity can be strong one day, and then hide under a rock the next.

It’s a toughie in this society that we live in, full of extremely specific standards of beauty. It’s hard to talk yourself out of these messages you hear every day.
I am beautiful in any and every face that I put forward. With makeup, without makeup, or somewhere in between. Here’s to hoping that I’ll grow into being able to believe that every single day. Here’s to hoping that you’ll grow into being able to believe that for yourself every single day too.

2 thoughts on “No More Skin Makeup In My Life

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