8 Surprising Things That Happen When You Stop Wearing Makeup Every Day
Picture this: I was 24, working my first “real world” job in the big city and after spending way too many hours a morning staring in the mirror, I was spending way too many hours a day staring at a computer screen (that hasn’t changed), and way too many nights drinking way too many bottles of red wine (that hasn’t really changed, either) and then falling asleep with red wine lips and all my makeup still on.
One morning, I woke up to find that my skin had broken out (likely from too much makeup, not enough sleep, and wine-induced dehydration). I looked in the mirror and had an immediate flashback to that one time in elementary school when the popular cheerleader pointed to me and was like, "ew, gross, you have pizza on your face," and I shrunk in my desk, knowing full well that the pizza she was so kind to point out was actually acne. Because I was 14 and going through puberty and I had broken out.
Almost ten years later and I was still getting breakouts. I didn’t want to aggravate my face any more than it already was. So naturally, I called in sick to work and decided that I wasn't leaving my little apartment until my skin cleared up.
I was prepared to hunker down for days, weeks even, if it took that long.
And then I got hungry.
Obviously, there was no food in my house, which left me with only two options: starve, or venture out into the world without my “face on."
My stomach always wins when it really comes down to it. Which is probably why I've failed at every fad diet I've ever tried.
Hmmm…. This isn’t so bad, I thought to myself as I approached Subway, a full half-block from my apartment. Nobody’s even looking at me funny, it’s like they can’t even tell that this isn’t what I usually look like. (Which might be one of the sadder things I’ve thought to myself, because actually, it was exactly what I looked like in my natural state.)
I ordered my Spicy Italian sub with confidence, fully forgetting that I had a pimple the size of a quarter on my chin, and nobody even batted an eye. Not the girl in line behind me, or the Sandwich artist, or the guy at the cash register who rung me up and offered a kind, “Have a nice day,” as I left the building.
I felt invigorated, self-assured, and unstoppable.
Like, if I could leave my apartment without wearing makeup, what else might I be capable of: running a marathon? Writing a book? Befriending Lena Dunham in a totally non-creepy, but really meet-cutesy way?
I was on a new path. After returning back to my apartment that day (and after eating my Spicy Italian without the top bun), it occurred to me that this whole not-wearing-makeup thing was kind of gratifying. It occurred to me that, unless I was taking a selfie on my lunch break, it probably wasn’t necessary to wear makeup on the days I worked from home. It probably wasn't necessary for me to wear makeup when I was running errands, like getting groceries or going to the bank. I could most definitely skip the mascara at the gym because the second you start sweating, that s&!t burns. And a night in with the girls? What’s the point of putting on a face, really?
Before long, I was scarcely wearing makeup at all. And things were starting to happen...
(And I'm not just talking about the obvious "things," like, that my skin *miraculously* cleared up. And then stayed clear. Or the fact that, at 27 years old, I'm getting ID'd more than I ever did in the makeup wearing days of my early 20's.)
8 Surprising Things That Happen When You Stop Wearing Makeup Every Day:
1. Your friends take notice.
When you stop wearing makeup every day, the first people to notice are usually your friends. Unless you have a significant other. But even then, if your significant other is male there’s a good chance he’ll be completely unfazed by the transition. AND SO HE SHOULD BE.
But your friends, they most definitely take notice of these things. And they drop it into conversation, all casual, like, “so you don’t really wear makeup anymore, huh?” and you’re not really sure if it’s a question, or a compliment…or just a gentle nudge to start wearing makeup again.
2. You have a lot of extra time on your hands.
You know how getting ready to go out (even just to the Chipotle down the street) used to take like 10 minutes to shower + a million minutes to stare at yourself in the mirror while you applied your face. Yah? Well, you can skip all that.
When you stop wearing makeup every day, getting ready to go out (even just to the Chipotle down the street) suddenly takes no time at all. You walk into the bathroom and look at yourself in the mirror wondering what to do next. The answer is nothing. You need nothing.
(You wink at yourself in the mirror before exiting.)
3. You re-acclimate to your natural face, sans makeup.
Okay, this sounds weird, I know, but when I stopped wearing makeup, I was all like Woah, you’ve got freckles, face! And Where did those come from?
When you stop wearing makeup every damn day, it’s like getting to know someone you used to be friends with a long, long time ago — someone who has freckles! — and you know that they feel familiar, but you don’t actually know anything about them anymore.
For the first while, you might look in the mirror and be all like, who am I? Eventually, though, you’ll come to know — and dare I say, LOVE — the person looking back at you in that mirror. (Spoiler alert: that’s YOU!)
4. You lose your VIB Status at Sephora.
To be honest, I don’t even know what VIB stands for, but when I got an email from Sephora informing me that in order to maintain my VIB status I needed to spend another $152 before the end of the year, I couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic for the days past when I’d happily drop $152 in one visit without blinking a perfectly lined eye.
Bonus: You have a lot more money, now.
I’ve been demoted to just a regular ol’ “Beauty Insider” now, which is ironic because since my demotion I subsequently feel like an outsider anytime I walk into the familiar place for “old times sake." Nobody points to their name tag or offers to help me. They see my pores (*gasp!*) and bare lashes, and they know I’m hopeless.
5. You second guess yourself.
Eventually, when you stop wearing makeup every day, there will come a time when you second guess yourself. In a crowded lounge on a Friday night, you will wonder aloud to your boyfriend if you’ve “let yourself go” as you scan the room filled with fancy girls with their fresh blowouts and fancy lipstick and fancy airbrushed faces.
This is the part where you have to pull yourself together — emotionally. You’re beautiful exactly as you are. And if you want to wear lipstick and eyeliner and mascara and bronzer, there’s nothing and no one holding you back. Believe it or not, what you do with your face is totally up to you.
6. You lug around a bag of makeup everywhere you go, anyway.
This one drives my boyfriend crazy because he doesn't understand the point of purses and gets annoyed when I have to "check" my luggage at the airport instead of "carry-on" due to the presence of makeup in my bag, that's in liquid form, and that I never actually use.
But here's the thing boyfriends will never "get" about you lugging around a bag of makeup everywhere you go even after you've stopped wearing makeup every day: You do it out of habit. You do it just in case. Because despite the fact that you've never really had to use it, there’s comfort in knowing it’s there.
7. When you do wear makeup, you feel, like, really pretty.
I'd be lying by omission if I didn't tell you that sometimes, I still wear makeup. Like for special events, date nights with bae, or when I’m on a private island with 14 girls, and we all just want to have hot pink lips and sparkle a little, you know what I mean?
And it's a little bit like putting on a sequinned gown when your usual attire is jeans and a tee. You feel a little over-done for about 43 seconds and then you're all like, "look at me, I'm a vision to behold!"
Now, on the days I do wear makeup, I have fun with it. Looking "perfect" isn't something I try to achieve anymore because I know my face, au natural (huge f%*king nose and all), is already perfect and anything I add on top of that is just playing dress-up.
8. You feel comfortable. Proud. Confident.
And this is everything. When you stop wearing makeup every day, you stop obsessing over all the things you need to change about your face — like, contouring to make your nose appear smaller is no longer on your mind — and you start to appreciate not only the natural beauty in yourself but the natural beauty in others. And that right there is a really f*^king beautiful thing.
I know I may not be the most beautiful girl in the world — I know that I can dip to a hard 5* when I haven’t gotten enough sleep, or when my skin is acting up, or when I haven’t showered in a couple days. — but I’m doing me, like look at me, this is my face.
*I’m saying this to be funny. Are you laughing? I don’t actually rate beauty on a number scale. I only do that with pizza.