As strange as it may seem, I never wore makeup (consistently) on a daily basis. Sure, I’d sport some eyeliner and lip gloss for special occasions or job interviews. But for some reason, I never really remember or care to put it on when I wake up in the morning.
Yet ironically enough, I made it routine to gel my hair and apply my makeup religiously as a teenager. I was definitely not the most popular girl in school. Yet, that didn’t stop me from experimenting with “barbie pink” (yes, barbie pink) lip gloss and turquoise blue eye shadow – colors that drastically clashed with my complexion.
Not that I would suddenly morph into Kate Upton (or Megan Fox, or whoever was a sex icon from 2002-2006). But, the universal concept is that women are expected to apply makeup – to disguise, accentuate, fit some sort of mold as to what’s considered acceptable in today’s society.
I used to be ashamed, insecure and while parts of me still are, I now revel in my natural beauty – with and without makeup. How did I do it? Well first, I evaluated all of the factors that affect my self-image and their correlations to makeup.
1. Genetics (Celebrating Your Beautiful Self With or Without Makeup)
Allow me to explain. I have a lot of long, thick, curly/wavy/frizzy hair. Once compared to a “lion’s mane” by a hairdresser, I’ve somewhat developed a codependent relationship with my tresses. While I do straighten my hair from time to time, the fact that it typically takes me an hour to an hour and a half on average to do so allows me to take the “easy” way out and let my hair fall as it may. While many may condemn me for not serving as an avid fan of the flatiron, I have to say this: you’ve probably never had to deal with a lion’s mane. And I commend you for that. Lucky bitches.
Alas, this all ties into my point about genetics. Whenever I did get my makeup done – whether it be at prom by a professional or before club hopping by a platonic amateur – I found I wasn’t quite fond of the results. I’m a proud owner of a prominent Italian schnoz, sexy thick eyebrows, oddly flat cheeks and eyes that are way too far apart. Red lipstick and pink blush only harshened my already dominant features, And makeup artists didn’t understand that – couldn’t find a way to compliment my olive skin tone or my long nose. Just like fashion designers couldn’t accommodate attire to my huge boobs, hips, or thighs – or to every body (type) that ever existed – it seemed I couldn’t discover a look that works for me, which only made me resent myself more – as if no look would ever work. Well, I’m not going to get plastic surgery or starve myself, especially when I know my eyes will still be too far apart and no matter how thin or big I am, I’ll always run shit with my thunder thighs and big tits.
So I made like many college girls (rez or not) did and sit in class – seldom in sweatpants and a ponytail, but with a naked face (most of the time). I witnessed the fact – through trial and error – that black eyeliner and clear lip gloss softened my features more, establishing itself as my go-to look for the occasions I did wear makeup. And it was working for me. Since I never wore makeup, people would shower me with affirmations and exclaim random ones like “Val, you look so good bare face. I couldn’t even tell” (until I mentioned it to them) or “Val, your skin’s so clear. How do you keep it that way?”, in which I would respond that I “rarely ever wear makeup.” And I never realized I didn’t wear makeup. It never posed as a problem…
2. People’s Opinions (Realizing That YOU Decide If and/or When to Wear Makeup)
Until someone told me otherwise…
It was someone who had no business prying into my personal appearance, someone who I had only knew through a mutual friend. He attempted to soften the blow; saying something reiterated along the lines of “Val, I just think you’re so beautiful – but you don’t show it. You don’t wear makeup, because you don’t want people to focus on your face. You’d rather have them focus on your body.” Sorry, what?!
While he was partially right (I rarely remember to put makeup on, because I don’t like the fact that it accentuates my “flaws”), I didn’t appreciate him calling me out on my self-image issues and jump to conclusions about my love life: (“you’ve never had a boyfriend, have you?”) Who was he to psychoanalyze? Especially when a few friends agreed to analyze his intentions? Sure, I also believe that wearing makeup is apart of making yourself presentable in the workplace, on a date or in any social situation; but the audacity to make someone feel like they “need” to wear makeup is like suggesting you picked on them specifically to prove that they really “need” to wear makeup – as if they need to camouflage their natural selves.
3. Society’s Distortions of Beauty (How To Recognize Real from “Fake”)
According to a recent survey, 33% of females avoid seeing their partners in the morning, so they won’t “catch” them without makeup. As a self-depreciating woman, this statistic revolts – yet still simultaneously resonates with – me. We shouldn’t feel “naked” or “uncomfortable” without makeup, especially with our boyfriends or ourselves.
Men always quip that they want the “natural look,” but I don’t think they know what that really means. They’re often the same ones who drool at photoshopped images of caked-up models and date perfect-looking “bunny” types, but then end up shocked when they experience the “before” picture – the washed-up face that begs the question: “Who are you really?”
Look, all I know is that I wouldn’t want anyone to NOT recognize me and think I was someone completely different when they saw me barefaced. I want them to think that the “before” picture is the real me, the only picture they want to see – stripped down to the essence of my true self. Especially at the gym. Girl – no one wants to watch you run with mascara dripping down your face.
This is what I’m saying…
So, I dare you to go bare – walk outside and let your nude epidermis breathe, penetrate the fresh air as you strut down the street. Visit the grocery store, parade around the mall, enter class fashionably late – I don’t care! Just do whatever you please, without a thought as to how you look naked. Yes, naked, Naked of your true self, naked letting all your inhibitions run wild.