My journey, Personal Development, Self Development

I’m free! Makeup free!

About a month ago, I watched a video on TEDx Talks that put into question something that I avoided analyzing for a very long time. Tracey Spicer, an Australian journalist dares to question the time spent on beauty by women and “deconstructs” herself in front of the crowd in order to show us who really lays behind those layers of makeup.

From a very early age, I watched my mother put on makeup and immediately presumed that this is what women have to do. I was never into fashion, trying on new things, being creative with my image, so I always found a burden having to “fix” myself every day. So, little by little putting on makeup became a must and a part of my daily routine.

However, since I always wore “natural” looking makeup that would fix “problems” such as pale cheeks and lips, dark circles and small, tired eyes, I never dared to look further into this issue until I watched this video. And only then I realized that even the small amount of makeup that I was using had already an incredible amount of effect on the way I perceived myself without it and the way others saw me without it.

Believe it or not, deciding to never wear makeup again was one of the hardest decisions that I had to make in a very long time, which makes me feel very shallow and ashamed of myself. I had so many conflicting questions in my head, some of which are hard to verbalize.  Besides this, just as Tracey Spicer mentioned, the effect that it had on the people around me was extraordinary to watch and witness. I had so many people especially at work mentioning that I look very tired and pale and some even asked if I cried or if I am coming down with the flu.

Therefore, what I realized during this short time is that by putting in so much time, money and investment into our beauty, we are raising the beauty standards for all women around the world. Both men and women, are starting to forget what a woman’s natural beauty looks like. We simply expect women to have permanently rosy cheekbones, colorful lips, outstanding eye lashes, and a fresh, young and vibrant look. We have become used to a fake beauty that is no longer accepting of our natural beauty. Most men don’t wear makeup, and yet we don’t see them as tried or pale because we are not used to seeing them otherwise. The more we work on ourselves, the more expectations there will be from ourselves and others in regards to our beauty.

Having said that, I would like to share with you my most intimate thoughts which I confronted this past month, just to show you to what extent this beauty issue has become:

1. My first thought was related to work. As if, makeup and work should ever be used in the same sentence… I thought that without makeup I would look less professional or as if I’m not taking good care of myself. Interesting right? As long as I shower, use a deodorant, dress appropriately, why would makeup be considered as “taking care” of myself? So I thought, if a man looks professional enough without makeup at work, so should I, right?

2. Then, I thought of all the special occasions. Weddings, reunions, etc. It was so hard for me to envision going to a wedding without makeup. It almost seemed like a sacrilege. And then again I asked myself, if a man doesn’t feel the need to wear makeup at a wedding, why would I?

3. For me it was very hard to imagine not buying anymore the usual girl items. So, you mean I won’t buy any more eye shadow, blush, mascara, makeup remover?? It seemed like such a ground-breaking decision to give up on all the cosmetic products out there which are advertised as a necessity and a must for women.

4. And then, this was one of the most painful thoughts… I thought I had to accept the fact that now I won’t be a good-looking girl anymore. I tell you, it was a hard pill to swallow and not because I had made that decision, but because it was painful to analyze my thoughts and see how much I have been affected by the definition of beauty in this world and how important it has become to me/us.

Now, I am at the stage where I still cringe my teeth when I get out of the door makeup free. I feel like something is missing, I don’t feel special, I feel ugly and erased. I constantly think of what others think of me and how they judge my “new” pale and sick face. But you know what? I will cringe my teeth and feel ugly and judged until I accept who I really am and my real beauty. Deciding to be makeup free should not create so much anguish.

But in the end, there was one major thing that helped me put everything into perspective. If I ever have a baby girl, I would never want her to think that she is expected to do the same thing. I would never want to be in the position when she asks me at 5 years old to paint her beautiful, tiny, natural nails or to put on makeup on her perfect little face. I don’t want to tell her like Tracey Spicer that society expects me to do it. I want to be able to tell her: society might expect something from me, but I chose not to do it. You always have an option! And if she decides to use makeup, it is fine by me! I think that makeup can be a form of expression and creativity just as clothes are. But, I have to make sure to show her that she should never feel obliged to follow society rules that could encourage lack of confidence and trust in one self. If she wears makeup it should be only because she loves putting in on and not because she needs to hide flaws or look prettier than she already is. Unfortunately, I was using it for the wrong reasons and this is why I had to stop.

Well, there it is… For now, I am standing in front of you vulnerable, makeup free, feeling judged and not so special ☺. I hope this will change soon!

Photo Credits: Ken Heyman

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