Growing up, I wore a lot of makeup. It was caked on to cover up acne and self consciousness. I spent years waking up early to ‘put on my face.’ One day, when I was in college, my neighbor bluntly said, ‘Why do you spend so much time putting on makeup? You look the same either way.’ Her words hit me. I was wearing makeup to look different, to look prettier, but the world didn’t see it that way. They just saw me.
From then on, I stopped wearing makeup. I did a hard swing in the opposite direction, going au naturale and promoting self-love. My actions said, ‘Look how confident I am! I don’t need norms! I have hairy legs and don’t wear a bra or makeup!’ But underneath, I was still getting used to seeing my bare face in the mirror. I was still trying to figure out who I was.
Years of exploration later, I finally feel like I have at least a general idea of who I am. I recently started a corporate office job and got a whole new professional wardrobe. For a more polished look, I decided I wanted to start wearing makeup again. I worked with a girl at Bobbi Brown to create a look that emphasized my facial features without feeling too heavy or fake. The foundation is just enough to cover my rosacea, the mascara makes my eyes pop, and the lipstick makes me feel like a total badass. Looking in the mirror, I look older and more mature. I feel confident, sophisticated, and classy. I like the way I look, but I’m not trying to cover up my face.
Wearing makeup again has made me realize the confidence and maturity I’ve gained over the years. I don’t feel like I need it, the way I did in the past. As I wipe down my face each evening, slowly exposing my bare skin, my whole body relaxes. That’s the face I know. The love for my natural appearance has subconsciously been growing over time. I finally see that I needed those granola years to learn to appreciate my pure beauty.
Now, I wear makeup at work and a clean face on the weekend. I love the way I look both ways, and that is self-love in its truest form.