I Fell Down the Cosmetics Rabbit Hole

 

bad gal lash mascara

I started experimenting with cosmetics sometime in 2009. Previous to that, I didn’t even know how to apply mascara. And only five years previous to that, I’d never plucked my eyebrows.

Because I grew up being told that I didn’t “need” makeup, and since I’m an incredibly lazy person by nature I embraced this news with open arms. Even back then, though, the very phrase gave me pause. What kind of human being “needs” makeup? How did the transition to feeling fine barefaced to feeling naked without makeup take place? Wasn’t it unhealthy for women to feel self-conscious to the point of terror at the very idea of being seen without cosmetics?

And I learned in time that there are levels and reasons and it’s complicated. Many of my friends with pale hair say that mascara is essentially “necessary” to keep them from looking entirely eyelash-free. My friends who have been playing with makeup since they were wee consider it an expression of their creativity, in the same way that I see personal style and dressing as an expression of mine. And I still found plenty of women who wore nothing but Chap Stick and felt lovely as spring flowers. And, having experienced the gamut, I still went barefaced myself every day.

Then I started shaping and filling my brows. Then I learned that a swipe of lip gloss helped me look less cadaverous in photos. Then I met Sonja – my gorgeous, makeup-loving soul sister – and she started sending me goodies. Eyeshadow primer, concealer, fancy glosses, and even mascara. I literally needed lessons in how to apply the stuff, but once I began tinkering, I saw how fun it could be. I started using my Saturday morning dawdle-time to hone my makeup routine. And it was fun enough, but I still couldn’t fathom doing it every day.

Then a few months ago, something shifted. I think it was around the time that I learned a dark, heavy eyeliner looked bizarre on me but a lighter one looked perfect. Oh, and that my eyes looked larger if I lined my lower lids very subtly. Because those two discoveries? They shifted my makeup application from “passable” to “compliment-worthy.” And I LIKE compliments. Friends, coworkers, and a certain husband started heaping on the makeup praise, and suddenly I felt more motivated to make my routine a daily one.

So I did. I started wearing makeup every day after swearing for my entire life that I’d never do any such thing. And it didn’t take more than a week of daily wear for me to feel naked without makeup. A week, people. Suddenly, my naked face seemed pale, wan, undefined, less-than. I tried to tell myself that I just liked how the cosmetics enhanced my natural features, but it wasn’t the makeup wearing that affected me. It was the not-wearing. It was when I woke in the morning and saw my ghostly, soft, makeup-free face that I felt a stab of dissatisfaction. That face will look worlds better once we get some blush on those cheekbones, won’t it?

Then my face got mad at me. My right eyelid got dry and a bit swollen. A robust crop of zits appeared. Something awful happened to my right eye that made it look like I’d contracted conjunctivitis, and I spent three days dousing it with eye drops. And since eye drops and eye makeup don’t play nicely together, I was barefaced again. And the spell was broken.

For a while anyways. My desire to apply crept back in slowly over the months and years, and now I find myself doing brow pencil, undereye concealer, mascara, and blush every day. And it’s not much and I still don’t know how to contour or do a proper smoky eye. But I have become less comfortable leaving the house totally barefaced. And the older I get, the less comfortable I find myself with that option.

Makeup, like anything that enhances and highlights your physical attributes,Β can feel like an addiction. At a certain point, you feel dependent on it. Your baseline for looking “good enough to leave the house” moves, and you may feel a bit trapped. I know I do. I resent my mascara and the whopping 45 seconds it takes to apply. And there’s no doubt in my mind that my own feelings are driven and supported by socially driven beauty norms. But the bottom line is that I want to feel good about how I look. I want all women to feel good about how we look. No one “needs” makeup. Not a single one of us will cause observers’ faces to melt off if we head to work sans foundation and eye shadow. But so long as we remember that – so long as we know in our bones that makeup makes us look and feel better, but that there is NOTHING aboutΒ us that literally requires its application for presentability – it is merely another tool we use to alter our appearance and boost our confidence. Like clothes. Like shoes. Like hair color, beautifully designed eye glasses, shapewear.

I do understand that makeup has become a symbol of oppression and manipulation, and when I hear about women who refuse to let their families or spouses see them without it, I do cringe. But I also know that makeup can help women with acne and rosacea feel less self-conscious. It can help women facing stressful days full of conflict feel strong and confident. It can be an important self-care ritual and a rewarding medium for self-expression. It is not something that can be universally dismissed as a tool for controlling and shaming women because many women take tremendous joy in wearing it.

I’m not thrilled that I now feel compelled to wear makeup every day. But I’m more aware than ever that makeup is a complex force in our sartorial lives. And that steps I take to make me feel better about how I look are steps that I must examine, understand, and ultimately own.

Image courtesy BenefitCosmetics.com.

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  • I’m still willing to leave the house without makeup. When I do put any on, it’s a mineral powder foundation plus a little color in my eyebrows plus a little light lipstick of the non “long-lasting” kind. Too much crud around my eyes gives me eye infections, so I never wear mascara.

  • I started wearing make up when I was about 12 I think. My mum has always been a ‘make up before leaving the house’ kind of person and I think it rubbed off on me. There were some disasters, and in those teenage days going to school with make up on was severely frowned upon, not just by teachers and parents, but by fellow students as well.
    I don’t think it was until I was in my late teens/early 20s that I started wearing make up with more regularity. It would probably have been around the time my skin decided to rebel and I developed adult onset acne, not just on my face but on my back, a condition which still plagues me today, nearly a decade later.
    I don’t wear make up every day now: my skin has cleared to a level where I don’t feel horrendous, and I prefer that extra 10 minutes cuddling my OH in the morning to getting up with time to put it all on. I try to wear mascara and do my eyebrows every day but some mornings I can’t cope with even that (this morning for example).
    I wish I had time to do my make up daily, if only for the reason that i am sure some of my acne is not helped by my propensity to touch my face and make up stops me doing that.

  • Sue

    I started wearing makeup after I graduated from college and got a job in an office, where I wound up wearing skirts and dresses most of the time. I thought I “should” wear makeup in that context, so I went to the Clinique counter and got the basics: foundation, blush, mascara, eyeshadow, lip gloss. I learned how to put it on and thought I looked okay. Then one morning I was in a hurry, so I omitted the makeup to save ten minutes, and when I got to work a woman told me I looked sick. That really bothered me. My natural face made me look sick, and only if I wore makeup did I look healthy? I decided that, for me, I didn’t like the message that sent, so I stopped wearing makeup for more than twenty-five years. In the last year I’ve experimented on rare occasions with a dab of concealer, a touch of mascara, and a very light dusting of mineral powder, but only when I’ve gotten much less sleep than I should and I think I look pretty haggard (i.e., I want to look more like my normal healthy self). But this is an entirely personal choice, and I would never condemn anyone for doing it differently.

  • I think it can highlight and enhance your features if you know what you’re doing, which I don’t. I wear a thin layer of Clinique Almost Make-up just to even out my skin tone a bit, and dab on a bit of powder. That’s it. I know I’d look nicer if I could bring out my eyes a bit but I don’t really know how, and I’m lazy. I have too many other things that are higher priorities than learning how to properly apply make-up. It’s on my list of things to learn, but way down near the bottom of that list πŸ™‚ Also, my eyes and skin are REALLY sensitive so I feel like that would make it more complicated.

  • Ana

    I started nagging my mother to let me wear make-up in my late pre-teens, and she finally caved when I started 8th grade. Other than a few years after college, and during some spells of serious, crushing, depression, I’ve worn make-up ever since. Once I hit my late 30s, though, I lightened up on the application, and sort of lost interest in following make-up trends. I know what looks right on me. Other than the occasional slash of really bright or dark lipstick, I stick to neutrals, I have no real brand loyalty, except to my tinted moisturizer and my eye-makeup primer, and I recognise and mostly like my face both made-up and totally naked.

  • Angela

    Wow, I’m first…I have worn makeup since I was 14 or so, to cover bad skin, which I finally cleared up in my early 30’s. I’m 40 now. I will run out with mascara and lipgloss but work or evenings out, I wear the full face, foundation, eyeliner, mascara lipstick. I know that less is more as my skin ages, but if I could quit my job and money was no issue, I would work in a make up counter…I have boxes and boxes of cosmetics, I LOVE them, but initially I used makeup as a teenager to hide, I think. I am much more comfortable in simple makeup now…when I am down, I mooch around Shoppers drug mart oe walmart in their makeup counter, πŸ™‚

  • I started wearing lipstick in high school, and that was the only makeup I wore until my late 20s, when I added mascara and the occasional bronzer.

    In my late 20s, I added mascara and some eye shadow. Once I hit 30 I decided it would be fun (and aesthetically desirable) to start experimenting a bit more, but I am definitely still getting the hang of it a couple of years later.

    I have a pathological fear of looking like I’m trying too hard with my appearance in general–so anything more than light makeup makes me feel really, really self-conscious–especially if I’ve put it on myself and am unsure as to the skill level of the results! But I’m practicing, and getting better (with the application AND with the crazy fear factor)–and for the most part, enjoying it.

  • Rad

    I don’t wear make up, except occasional lip gloss. Someone once gave me a hard time on my blog because she said I desperately needed it, but I figured that she was just someone who felt insecure about her own make up use. Graduate school socialized me not to wear make up, but I am open minded to changing my mind in the future. I have really sensitive, acne prone skin (shakes fist), and I’ve finally found a good skincare regimen that seems to work for me. I don’t want to screw that up. But it’s probably more mental than anything. I hate the feel of anything on my face and I just want to run home and wash it off.
    You look radiant, no matter what you wear on your face. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • I’m not advocating use of makeup, I rarely ever wear any myself. However, I use bare minerals on my sensitive skin and it actually doesn’t feel like there’s any make up on. That’s for if you ever change your mind, if not, keep rocking the bare face! It’s my favorite look too.

  • Ah, makeup really is quite seductive ^^ I use makeup on a somwhat daily basis and I read a lot of beauty blogs. I often find myself thinking that using 9 products on foundation alone is insane! Like 1. face primer (wtf?), 2. concealer, 3. blemish cover, 4. foundation, 5. powder, 6. highlighter, 7. bronzer, 8. blush, 9. make up fixing spray. On the other hand, I can’t help but be enticed by some products. And sometimes, they lure me in. For example, I have acne. It started at 14 and never let go. So I somewhat feel the need to cover it up. For along time, I used foundation, but last year I switched to blemish stick and compact powder. I was content and felt it was better to my skin. But I couldn’t help it: The ladies using foundation kinda looked better. More flawless. So they lured me back in. And on bad days or days I want to look really good, I’m using foundation again. And it’s okay. My usual routine is still the lighter one with stick + powder. I don’t think I’ll ever start piling it on with al the products I listed above. I would feel like I’m suffocating my skin, no matter if that’s actually true or not. I haven’t gotten the need for bronzer or contouring yet either, although I started wearing blush and I really like it πŸ˜‰ I don’t have much of a natural blush in my face to speak of. I don’t ever blush naturally, not even when I’m nervous or agitated. I’d have to be deeply embarrassed to blush ^^
    About the eye makeup, after years and years of doing a lot of the same, I find myself having fun with switching things up lately. I even built a vanity out of spare furniture parts around here and I love it. And I love to buy makeup things! I really try to not overdo it, though. I stick to drug store products to not break my bank and I try to keep the look on *this* side of the border to Drag Queen County.
    Uh, yes, about your questions ^^ I do think I “need” makeup to feel fabulous. I do go out without it, for shopping and a walk or something. But I wouldn’t go without it for a night out or for work. First of all, the aforementioned acne makes it hard not to be self-conscious barefaced. Plus, I have naturally light lashes so they kinda need mascara if I want them to be visible. Then, with mascara alone, they look like spider legs in my light face, so I like to add some eyeliner and eye shadow. It doesn’t have to be intricate though.
    About when I started needing it, I guess it was when the acne set in. I remember my mom suggested mascara for me one day when I was 14 and I didn’t like it. But it wasn’t long before I started to wear makeup, but until my 20s it was only something to cover up my acne and mascara. I think that’s feasible for a teen πŸ˜‰ I do feel that makeup can dramatically enhance my features, especially since they are so light. My boyfriend even said so recently, that there is a dramatic difference between the face I wake up with and the face I have in makeup. He said it as a compliment, and I took it as such. After all, I know it’s true! I like my face as it is, and I know he does, too, but makeup makes it look a lot better. It is as it is and I’m good with it, although I naturally wish that I would look better without makeup, just like that. I actually want to try what I’d look like without it and make a few good photographs and maybe I will. On the other hand, I can’t imagine ditching the makeup altogether. It feels like a step backwards in the beauty department, and since my makeup routine is pretty fun and effortless for me, I don’t think this is where I’ll be heading.
    But seriously: I do envy your perfect skin πŸ™‚ (and thus the abiity to go without)

  • M

    Like some of the other ladies have posted, I started using makeup in my teens to cover embarrassing bouts of acne. My mom is one of those who never, ever leaves the house without makeup: she slathers it on every morning, thick and obvious. So when I started using makeup, I used it just like her. Pancake foundation and heavy powder, gummy lipstick, black eyeliner… what a nightmare. Not to mention, all of my makeup came from the drugstore, so it wasn’t the best quality in the first place. My acne got worse, if anything, which made me only apply more and more makeup. As I hit my early twenties (and I moved to Florida, where makeup has a tendency to melt right off your face), I switched to using better brands. I now use a tinted moisturizer (Tarte) and Benefit concealers, both of which go on very light and do a great job of evening out my skin-tone. I wear those on a daily basis, but the other things — eyeshadow, mascara, blush — usually only get worn when I’m at work and/or going out. It’s definitely been a growing and learning process, and I’m not done yet! But I’m definitely happier than I once was with my appearance and with my makeup.

    • Rachel W.

      Ha! I’m in my early twenties and I just moved to Florida, and I had the same reaction. I was just wondering this morning how all the college kids here manage to wear makeup without it sludging off their faces by early afternoon. Maybe they don’t manage it after all. πŸ™‚

  • i definitely dont NEED makeup, but i do enjoy playing with it and i certainly own a good amount of it. which is sort of funny, since i dont wear makeup on a daily basis. most days i leave the house clean-faced, and most of the remaining days, i leave with just a touch here or there. it is rare that i actually head out with a FULL face — i usually save that for special occasions. not to say that my face wouldnt benefit from a little color or contouring, but frankly, im just too lazy.

  • JennyDC

    I never wore much but (clumsily applied) eyeliner and mascara, and that not until college, really, until my mid-thirties. I like wearing makeup, it makes me feel more confident. Now I wear a light “foundation” – I think it’s not really foundation, it’s Neutrogena Skinlights (something like that), it comes in a tube and is very lightweight – a bit of concealer in the inner corners of my eyes, eyeliner that is actually eyeshadow that I wet with some water, mascara, a bit of powder, and lipstick. Sometimes blush in the winter. I always marvel at the “5-minute face” thing on What Not to Wear because that seems like a while to spend doing makeup – I can do mine in probably 3 minutes. Even on weekends, I’ll put a bit of the foundation in my moisturizer and put that on, plus a tiny bit of eyeliner and mascara. Takes about 1 minute. But I pretty much never re-apply during the day, unless maybe I’m going out after work and then I’ll do some powder and another swipe of lipstick. Which comes off the moment I eat or drink anything, but at least I look good upon arrival.

    I would like to learn how to do the elaborate liner and smokey eye thing, because I like the color of my eyes and would like to learn how to make them more noticeable. Not that I’d probably wear something like this to work (not many people here wear noticeable makeup), but it would be fun to try. Guess I need to go to a makeup counter and tell them to set the makeup gun to “floozy” – no offense to people who wear heavier makeup, I just want to try something really unsubtle, and for some reason at most makeup counters I’ve been to they always seem to do the no make-up make-up thing on me.

    • Karin

      @JennyDC: If you are interested in trying things out yourself, I can really recommend Marlena at http://www.makeupgeek.com. She has great video tutorials, starting from basics up to really extravagant looks. Maybe you could get inspiration there and experiment at home?

  • Mel

    I started using makeup in my teens, I was a self-proclaimed “metalhead” with arms full of spikes and chains, and a rim of black eyeliner and dark gunmetal eyeshadow. That was my only look until around the time I graduated. Then I started doing a more or less natural looking face with foundation and mascara.

    In my current job, I clean things, so there’s a backspray of cleaning chemicals, water, etc, that hits me in the face. If I’m not careful, it’ll cause me to break out around my mouth and chin. I’ve decided the best way to combat that is not to wear any makeup at all. It saves me time in the morning, and I’ve really gotten used to the look of my face without it. I like it. The only thing I do now is put on a lotion with SPF and deal with any breakouts I might currently have (a LOT less, btw, since I stopped with the full face makeup).

    On special occasions, like a wedding I have coming up, I will probably do foundation, lipgloss, eyebrow filler (I have dark well-shaped natural brows that I don’t normally mess with too much) eyeshadow, liner and mascara. But those sort of full-face makeup days happen maybe 3 times a year. I’m looking out for a really good tinted moisturizer though. I’ve been mixing Benefit You Rebel with my daily lotion, which is nice in the summer when I have a tan, but too sheer to cover up any issues I might have. I don’t love wearing heavy foundation to those special occasions, but it’s kind of all I have right now. :/

    • Veronica

      Mary Kay has a good tinted moisturizer and mineral foundation if you ever want to try going that way. What I like is the 100% money back guarantee.

  • Halo

    It’s kind of weird that for a person so into fashion and accessories that I don’t bother with much makeup. I was a child model and a pretty serious ballet dancer, so I wore makeup on stage from toddlerhood onward, and got pretty skilled at applying it. This probably took some of the glamour and mystery out of it, so I didn’t wear much in my daily life as a pre-teen and teen. It helped that I never had problems with my skin, so there was nothing I wanted to cover up. Foundation is completely unappealing to me!

    Now that I’m in my late-30s and “dress up” (according to my coworkers) every day, I mostly come to work and go out bare-faced and well-moisturized. If I wear anything, it’s usually mascara, blush, and lipgloss. I’ll add eyeshadows and liquid liner and some illuminator if I’m feeling really glamorous, but that’s pretty rare.

  • Make up to me is necessary evil. After a somewhat moderate experimentation phase in high school; I’ve scaled down my make up products to mineral powder, blush, one eye shadow, two kohl pencils, mascara and gloss. On most days I wear nothing, because it irritates my eyes removing it and causes my already acne prone skin to break out big time. I prefer to wear it in the colder months when the reaction is less severe.

  • I never used to wear make up other than to go Out (clubbing etc.) and even then I only managed to find one style that I like (any experimentation tends to make me look like an anaemic panda).

    For my job I essentially defeminise completely – I’m a support worker, so I need uber practical and ridiculously high cut clothes. Now that I can’t (…well, more self-imposed than anything else) wear make up whenever I want to, I find myself using it whenever I’m actually off work, almost as a celebration that I can… Then again, I’ve also started wearing ridiculously feminine things whenever I’m not at work, so…

  • Nicole

    Until I started reading fashion blogs fanatically, it hadn’t occurred to me that most women wore makeup everyday. I suddenly felt woefully inadequate. I usually can’t be bothered to put on lip balm, yet I think most would think I have good reason to wear makeup. I have struggled with acne for about 10 years, so I have some significant scarring. I still have blemishes. My pores are large. I have freckles.

    I then tried to wear it. I tried to force myself to get out of bed 20 minutes early to apply make. I found I was horrible at it- I couldn’t get it to look right, but most importantly, I couldn’t get it to look like ME. I only lasted a week before I decided that it wasn’t worth those precious moments of sleep.

    During the same time, I started watching beauty gurus on youtube and accumulated more makeup than one needs in a lifetime. As I reevaluate what I own, I realize that a lot of it was foundation and concealer, in other words, things to hide me and my “imperfections”. This isn’t entirely fair to say since I own so much of it, but no more concealers. If I buy makeup, I’m buying fun stuff: pretty lip glosses, popping eye shadows, smashing nail polish.

  • Samantha

    Here’s what I don’t like about the whole “needing/not needing makeup” thing. I don’t like that it gets turned into a feminist argument where we say “You’re beautiful as you are! You don’t need it! Down with the man!” As you have just stated, wearing make-up makes you feel good. I was also told I didn’t need make-up. My mom never wore it, and didn’t know thing one about it. And you know, there are social problems with that. Living in the South, I think that she actually lost out on professional opportunities because of how she looked (wasn’t much for style, either). Whether that’s right or wrong, it’s sadly a question of survival, and hey, if something is a tool to getting you a job, I think it behooves you to figure it out.

    For me, as I grew older, I realized that make-up helped me feel better about my self-image. It’s exactly the same as wearing flattering clothes. You feel good, so you look good. These days, more often than not, I will wear an extremely light foundation with SPF, because it evens out my skin tone, and mascara because it makes me look more awake. I’ll put on more for special occasions, but mostly, I never think it looks particularly natural. Some days, I can’t be bothered with one or the other, and it’s not a big deal.

    Bottom line, I think that it is an important thing to have some knowledge of, because it’s a societal expectation. You can spend time railing against that if you wish, but I prefer to adapt where it’s not harmful to me and mine. I think that one should be presented with the know-how and tools, and then they should make their own decisions about what is best for them.

    Do I NEED make-up? No. Do I like using it, because it makes me feel more ready to greet my day? Yes. And really, if it makes us feel better about ourselves, isn’t it totally worth it?

    • JennyDC

      Agree with you completely. Looking my best makes me feel more confident, and that means dressing nicely, wearing a bit of makeup, and doing something with my hair (blow-dry at least). I understand some people would rather sleep, but my shower-eat breakfast (yes, I sit down and eat breakfast every morning, and not just a cup of yogurt) – do hair and makeup ritual makes the start of my day more pleasant.

    • I totally agree with you. I believe that I have lost out on some opportunities in the past, because I was clueless about how to dress and use makeup. “Natural” works for some people, but many of us can benefit from the extra help that makeup and an appropriate wardrobe can provide.

    • Nobody’s Girl

      “It’s sadly a question of survival.”

      That’s definitely true, and makes me so sad.

      I think that when feminists talk about not liking makeup, this is what they don’t like.

  • I started wearing make up to cover cystic acne (pre-Proactive days) as a freshman in high school. It was still obvious I had pimples but I was desperate to tone down the red.

    Now that I’ve passed that phase of life (though I do still get pimples) I wear make up during the work day, I feel like it gives me a touch of polish and I don’t feel quite finished without it. That said, at the end of the day I love the ritual of washing it off, exfoliating, and putting on night cream. Even with the pimples and wrinkles I feel my absolute girliest and prettiest at that moment when my hair is pulled back and my face is clean, fresh and moisturized.

    • Cait

      Proactive is my saviour! I wish it wasn’t so wallet-cripplingly expensive, but my God it’s effective and I’ll keep paying whatever they charge because it’s the *only* thing that works for my skin.

  • Ahhhh thanks for addressing a fraught topic in a helpful way. I have never done the full face on a regular basis, but from high school on I would say that I wore at least some makeup every day (that I left the house, that is), generally eyeliner and mascara and then MAYBE some other stuff. I like playing with makeup. I’m a professional classical singer, and I have to be able to do my own makeup for performances, so makeup is even a write-off for me.

    But in the last five years or so I just started to get personally grossed out by the idea that my face is somehow not good enough without makeup. And I am permanently grossed out by the *expectation* that women must adorn and paint themselves in order to look attractive (the world would be more fun if people of all genders could dress up and make up as a matter of course, without fear). So I made it a kind of project to get comfortable leaving the house with just sunscreen on my face, and that’s where I am today. I usually don’t wear makeup unless it’s a special occasion.

    Oddly, one of the things that helped me get to this point was the work of cosmetics consumer advocate Paula Begoun. I bought “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me” 10 years ago or so and it really reshaped my thinking about the cosmetics industry and the messages I’m getting from product advertising. And now I use her skincare products and her website, beautypedia.com, every time I’m in the market for a new makeup product.

  • Tara

    I love love love make-up! Bright eye shadows, red lips even false eyelashes on occasion. I’m definitely an every-day make-up wearer. On days when I say, “I’m not going to wear make-up today,” that still means I’ll be wearing concealer mascara and lip gloss. It takes 2 seconds and makes me look about 100 times better, so why not? I also haven’t seen my natural hair color since I was 15 (I’m 36 now). I am not into any sort of “natural” look for myself when the enhancements are so much more fun.

  • Carol

    Daily wearer here – eye liner, shadow, mascara and lipstick/gloss every day. Sometimes a mineral powder or tinted moisturizer if we’re going out or I’m feeling especially under the weather. My hair is silver and eyelashes nearly invisible, so I like to highlight my eyes with various colors of shadow. The liner helps cut down on the amount of mascara needed, too.

  • KP

    I’m sort of a lurker/reader, so here’s a formal hello!

    Now, I actually hate, hate wearing makeup. My mom has always caked it on, and I never wanted to be like that. I didn’t wear anything until high school, when as a freshman I became a little engrossed: reapplying mascara, touching up powder, etc. However, I didn’t have bad skin, and I didn’t really care for it so I stopped wearing much more than eyeliner until a couple years into college.

    In college, I would rarely wear makeup everyday. I am fanatic about my skin care routine, and that helped my skin to a point. I would occasionally do some cream blush or a little powder, but I was virtually makeup free until I turned 21.

    For some reason, after that, my skin and I have been at a constant battle. I suppose that my blessing of clear skin as a teenager has become a curse of adult acne. My skin is uber sensitive, ruddy, bumpy, and I often break out. I look really young on top of all of that. So, I’ve been wearing way more makeup than I would like for the last three years. I keep it as minimal as possible: concealer on spots, mineral powder, and a little mascara. I’ve tried giving my skin a break from makeup, but that doesn’t clear up anything and I look like I’m 12 (half my actual age).

    So I just deal with it now. Maybe when I’m thirty my skin will be clear πŸ˜‰

  • Diana

    I love mascara and it definitely makes my lashes/eyes look better but am lazy and also hate the removal process (I need super waterproof mascara and it’s REALLY hard to remove – usually I still have some on the second day) so I don’t wear it often these days. I like lip color and eyeshadow too but hardly ever wear it (see above re: lazy, and also it’s too much trouble to reapply lipcolor all the time!). I HATE foundation and never wear it. Most days I leave the house with a completely bare face.

  • I’d love to wear a bit of makeup, but my eyes are against it, so now I only wear a bit of lipstick sometimes.

  • i love this post. i don’t *need* make-up . . . unless i’m all dressed up. then i do. i like wearing it! i think it’s fun and it does make me feel pretty . . . but i feel even prettier knowing that i’m okay with people seeing me without makeup.

  • I started wearing makeup in my mid-twenties. My current makeup routine starts with some foundation under my eyes (the best concealor for under-eye circles that I’ve found so far), some powder on the foundation to set it, a few swipes of powder on the rest of my face, and some creme blush applied with my fingers.

    I really prefer covering the circles under my eyes. Even when I’m particularly well rested and the cirles fade a bit, they’re still dark enough that I frequently get asked if I’m tired or sick or feeling okay. Since the foundation-cover up is the longest part of my make up routine, I figure once I do that I might as well finish the rest of it. The whole thing start to finish takes between 90 seconds to 2 minutes.

    If I’m going for a slightly more noticeable “I’m wearing makeup” look, I’ll put on black pencil eyeliner, which adds another minute or 2 to the whole makeup routine.

  • Sarah

    I just turned 30 a few months ago, and I’ve reached the point where if I don’t wear at least a little bit of make-up, people ask me if I’m “feeling under the weather.” I wear make-up to work everyday – it takes me 5 minutes to do my whole face – but on weekends and days off, I love going make-up free. I will also skip make-up if I have to wake up before 5am – I just don’t want to deal with it that early in the morning, no matter how I look.

    My 5 minute face is: primer, tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, cream blush, curl eyelashes, mascara, a little highlighter over the cream blush, oil-absorbing powder all over, and C.O. Bigelow lip balm. If I’m feeling really fancy, I might use eyeshadow. I don’t even own eyeliner or lipstick.

    Regardless of my current make-up routine, I feel absolutely drop-dead stunning/sexy/gorgeous/irresistable when I’m completely bare-faced but for bug spray, drenched in sweat, wearing work-out clothes covered in dirt and grime, hiking with my dog through the woods.

  • I have experimented a little with make-up over the years. I’ve had various different influences, particularly my mother, who never wears make-up except for very fancy events, and a treasured aunt, who wears make-up every day. My mother never really talked about make-up to me, either positively or negatively. I asked her why she didn’t wear make-up when most other people did, and she said that she didn’t think it was worth the time and hassle. My aunt, on the other hand, encouraged me to wear make-up–not a lot, but a little. She’s a fan of the “using make-up to enhance your natural beauty” idea. She took me to CVS and guided me through some make-up purchases.

    During my senior year of high school, I experimented with different types and amounts of make-up, particularly eye make-up, as my eyes are the best thing about my face. There was a period of time where I wore mascara every day and eye liner a few days a week. However, I always felt like my family and friends noticed that I had started wearing make-up and silently judged me whenever I did. (I should note that this was purely my imagination. I suspect few of them noticed and fewer of them cared.) I decided that once I was in college, fewer people would notice that I was wearing make-up, so I would wear more of it more regularly.

    To my surprise, once I got to college I dropped the make-up almost instantly and almost entirely. Just a few weeks into the semester, I regularly went bare-faced again. In fact, many of my friends did the same. My boyfriend (who I got in college) says one of the things that attracted him to me was the fact that I didn’t wear make-up. The last time I wore make-up was to a formal ball my college held in January–I figured I would honor the occasion by putting on some eye liner and mascara, and a little bit of lip stick.

    I have nothing against other people wearing make-up, but it’s not for me. I do love the way I can bring out my eyes with judiciously placed eyeliner, but it takes more time than it’s worth to me. They’re fine on their own. I also resent the idea that I’m not “good enough” to society unless I cover up and color myself. Of course, a drawback to having a young face and not wearing make-up is that people regularly assume I’m younger than I am–I get mistaken for a fourteen or fifteen year old constantly!

  • Emily

    Ever tried using baby shampoo/ wash as an eye scrub? You could use a dedicated eye scrub but my optometrist told me that the baby shampoo is cheaper. I had complained to her that my eyes were getting bloodshot every day even after doing a meticulous job of removing my makeup. The baby shampoo cleared up my eyes and I no longer wondered if my boss suspected me of unwholesome post-work activities.

    If I don’t wear makeup, I’m aware that I look tired. I have blue/ purple undereye circles because my skin is pretty pale. I’ve looked this way all my life but people assume I haven’t gotten enough sleep.

    I look at your blog almost every day. You are awesome, Sal! You made me less scared to move to Chicago from southern California because I learned about layering and silk long underwear from your blog. I couldn’t get specifics from my sisters-in-law (“Wear a coat! Wear boots! Dress WARM!”) but you answered my questions.

  • Dee

    Interesting topic! I have worn some makeup since 7th grade! Not sure why I started except perhaps because I was always a girlie-girl and my mother never goes out without some makeup. (however, my older sister rarely wears it.) Mine is pretty natural looking – I hope anyway, and it only takes 5 minutes ot put on. I dont have to “get up early”, as a matter of fact, I usually put mine on in the car while hubby is driving us to the train station πŸ™‚ I too had, and still have, break outs, which seems to be a theme here. I rarely go out withuot at least blush and lip gloss, usually its the full face with eyeliner and mascara. I feel it highlights my bone structure and good features. I look pretty bad without it and dont really feel pretty or pulled together without it. I also wear nail polish ALL the time — thats just me.!

  • Elizabeth Louros

    I am 49 and still don’t “get” makeup. I think the makeup gene skipped me. I usually put a little bit of tinted moisturizer over the red skin on the bridge of my nose and some days I put on mascara. Anything more makes me look like someone else. I am very intimidated by the ladies working the makeup counters at department stores. They scare me !

  • I started wearing/experimenting with makeup around 12. I LOVED playing with it and the results were…interesting. At least I didn’t go out of the house in some of those looks LOL! I always have had good clear skin, with the exception of a few years in college. I do occassionally break out now, but not too often. It’s manageable. I rather like makeup, but don’t do everything. I just use face powder, sometimes blush, but generally really do my eyes. They are starting to not like that, though, so I am going to have to start cutting back on the days I do a lot. On the weekends I try not to wear any makeup, if I can help it, just to give my skin a break. I do have a good skincare regimen, too. That is a must!

  • Becky

    For me, whether I use makeup has a lot to do with where I am. I grew up in a large Southern city, in a cultural environment that equated wearing FULL and very noticeable makeup (concealer, foundation, powder, blush, eyliner, shadow, mascara, lipstick) with basic self-respect. We made allowances for non-makeup-wearing Yankee women, and lightened it up for excercise in hot weather (eye stuff and lip stuff only, no foundation which would run if you sweated) but otherwise – full face, every day, as regularly as taking a shower.

    Having an extremely breakout-prone face, I found that if I wore foundation and powder every day, my skin adapted, and if I went barefaced every day, my skin adapted. But switching back and forth was murder; so I had to commit to wearing foundation even on lazy Saturdays and camping trips, or suffer the consequences. That was OK, though, because I respected myself, so of course I wore makeup!

    I am grateful for that early education in having a makeup routine. Even though I wear it rarely now, when I do, I know what to buy, it goes on fast, and I feel confident.

    But I moved to a liberal college town where my group of friends went mosly bare-faced, or with just a bit of lip stuff or mascara. Revelation! I ditched nearly all the cosmetics and have rarely looked back. I married a guy who gets physical heebie-jeebies from touching cosmetic-covered skin. (What can I say, he can’t stand touching wool or microfiber clothing either.) I think the last time I wore foundation was to our wedding 15 years ago! We compromise on lipstick – when I wear it, he won’t kiss me because it creeps him out. But we don’t do a lot of kissing going out to special occasions anyway.

    On trips “home,” and when I go into the office (I usually work at home), I always do my eyes and wear tinted lip balm. I like the way it looks, but not enough to do it every day, then be careful not to rub my eyes, or cry, and be sure to wash it off before bedtime. Here in rural New England, lots of women (including most of my friends) never wear makeup at all.

    So my relationship with makeup primarily boils down to fitting in! I appreciate both that I feel confident using it, and that I feel it’s completely optional.

  • I’ve been wearing makeup since I was about 12, as well, and playing with Mom’s and experimenting long before that. I used to be horrified at the thought of going out in public (ah, teenage vanity) without makeup, but now it’s not a big deal. I like to give my face the weekend off, unless I am going out socially. I don’t go to work without makeup – I wouldn’t feel completely dressed.

  • Mia

    I’ve never bothered. I wasn’t the kind of child who was really interested in makeup, and never felt I needed it in high school, and I guess things have just sort of stayed that way. I use it for costuming and sometimes special occasions (for which I have to borrow other people’s makeup since I don’t even own any), but I can’t really imagine working it into my routine every day. I’m pretty clumsy and have unsteady hands, so I can only imagine how much practice I would have to have to get good at making myself up, and I’d rather spend that time watching old TV shows like a slug. πŸ™‚ I think it can look very nice, but at this point in my life, it’s just not for me.

  • I got hooked on makeup probably in junior high, to cover my bad acne. (My parents wouldn’t take me to a dermatologist to actually solve the problem, because it was “cosmetic” and “I’d grow out of it” and it wasn’t actually a threat to my health. Sigh.) Plus I’d started doing theater and found that playing with makeup was lots of fun!

    Do I “need” makeup? Apparently, I do. I try to stay away from spackling my face with foundation unless I’m going out somewhere nice, but if I don’t put on at least minimal eyeliner/mascara/undereye concealer, I get one of the following reactions: “Are you OK? What’s the matter? You look so tired! You look sick, are you coming down with something? Why have you been crying?” And I mean, EVERY single time. Even from strangers! Gee, what a confidence booster. πŸ™ I would sometimes like to go without but this has been happening to me for as long as I can remember and usually I don’t have thick enough skin (no pun intended) to deal with the comments.

  • Andrea

    I started wearing makeup around 12 or 13, I think. And yes, I’m one of those people who won’t leave home without it (save for going for a run or to the gym). My husband thinks I look equally great with or without makeup (bless him!), but I just can’t leave the house without it.

    I fully admit it’s due to some insecurities that likely stem from my struggle with acne as a teenager (and some occasional hormonal acne now – ugh!). But beyond that, I just think I look objectively better when I can enhance my features with makeup. So I feel like, why wouldn’t I wear it when it takes five minutes and makes me feel that much more confident? Makeup, to me, is just another way to style myself. I style my outfits with belts, necklaces, pretty shoes, etc., and I like to add makeup to that list as well!

    My mother is always perfectly made-up. Always. Even in the photographs immediately following my birth she’s wearing makeup and has a lovely, bright pink (it was 1982, after all) manicure. I’m pretty certain it’s due to her influence that my attitudes toward makeup are what they are.

  • Jen

    “Then my face got mad at me.”

    At first that made me laugh. I mean, no offense Sal, but that’s a giggle-worthy statement. ;o)

    But then I really thought about it and it makes perfect sense to me. I think maybe your facial issues were a physical manifestation of your inner emotional turmoil regarding makeup and suddenly becoming uncomfortable with your own, bare face (that you’d been perfectly comfortable with until wearing makeup daily!). Maybe turmoil is too strong a word, but you get what I mean, right?

    It sounds a little “out there,” but I firmly believe that inner discomfort manifests as physical discomfort… kind of like our bodies’ alarm system? OK, yeah, that sounds out there all right. But it’s true for me. When the sciatica acts up in my right hip, or that peculiar, oh-so-painful mid-back muscle spasm starts up again, I take a look inside. What am I stressed, upset, worried, obsessing, conflicted about? When I figure it out and start taking positive steps towards the solution, the pain always backs down. Every time.

    It’s a theory, anyway! And yeah… I’ve been in lots of therapy. ;o)

    P.S. Oh! Makeup! Almost forgot… usually I just swipe on some mascara & call it good. I’ve been mixing a dab of liquid concealer in my daily morning moisturizer for years (stretches both out & saves money, plus it’s one less step, yay). Today I got adventurous and put on some liquid eyeliner for a kind of cat’s eye effect. Why? No idea, just felt like it. It’s Friday. ;o)

    • Sal

      Actually, that’s exactly what I thought, too!

  • D

    In general, I don’t wear makeup. When I wake up early for work, I’ll put some lotion on my face, and that is about the extent of it. When I was in high school, however, I definitely thought of makeup as an expression of my creativity. I loooved playing with eye makeup in bright colors. Lime green eyeliner? Bring it! Now when I go to roller derby bouts I’ll bust out the bright eyeshadow and glitter, and if I’m going somewhere fancy I’ll actually put on some nice looking, subtle coloring, but I don’t care AT ALL if people know what my real face looks like.

  • I feel a little naked without lipstick. With my black hair & black cateye glasses, I think my face looks washed out & unbalanced w/out dark lipstick. Besides, I look less goth! It used to be that I wouldn’t leave the house w/out lipstick, but I’ve gotten lazy in my old age, & now I’ll run errands like going to the grocery store or doctor’s office w/out lipstick.

    But I absolutely wear lipstick to work, events, any time I’m fully dressed. I also like to add a touch of black eyeliner. But behind my glasses that’s not quite as noticeable, so really, lipstick is what’s required. Full face makeup only happens on special occasions or days when the bags under my eyes are really bad πŸ˜‰

  • Since my grandmother raised me, I grew up with her makeup standards (which hadn’t been updated since 1945)- she felt that to look presentable, you needed red lipstick, eyebrow pencil, and “rouge” (dabbing your lipstick on your cheeks and blending it in). Now that I make my own makeup decisions, I opt for mineral powder to even out red spots, a hint of blush if I remember, sometimes lipgloss, usually eyeliner and a bit of light brown eye shadow, and always mascara. I don’t hesitate to go to the grocery store without makeup on but, if I know we’re going to dinner or a movie, I like to fancy it up a bit. I don’t think I look that differently with or without makeup so it’s not a huge deal.

    Something I think is interesting- my grandmother now has Alzheimer’s and is at a point where she can’t cook, do laundry, or wash her hair on her own but whenever I take her out on an errand, the first thing she does is root around in her purse for her eyebrow pencil and lipstick! I bought her a new tube (of what I thought was a more appropriate, less loud shade) to replace her ancient red lipstick and she actually complained that the taupe-pink I picked wasn’t the right color! Amazing that with so many memories and functions gone, she still feels the need to touch up her (nonexistent) eyebrows.

  • What a fascinating discussion! I guess I’m kind of middle-of-the-road, in how much I wear it (more than powder and lip gloss, but not elaborate), how I feel about it (I like it, but I wouldn’t die without it), and how I even notice it on other people (very rarely). And FWIW, I’m from a large Southern city.

    My mother usually work makeup every day herself, but not caked on. Pretty much all the basics, from foundation to mascara, but with a light hand. I never wore any myself except for dance recitals until I was probably a senior in high school, when my mother pretty much asked to me to start. She didn’t mean it as a criticism of my appearance, and I didn’t take it as such. On the contrary, I already preferred how I looked with makeup on. I was just lazy and didn’t want to start the routine!

    In college, I discovered vintage hair and makeup styling. I started experimenting with early 1940s styles, not the highly-stylized “bombshell” look, but the “girl next door.” That’s been my routine ever since. Light powder, light rouge, eyeliner and mascara on the upper lid only, and lip color, usually darker red or medium rose. Plus concealer under my eyes. It’s a fairly natural look and really minimal effort, but I like it.

    I have figured out that my most essential element, the one thing I wouldn’t go without if I did want to look nice, is eyeliner. My face is long and my eyes and mouth rather small. Eyeliner brings out my sad little “Precious Moments” eyes far better than mascara does. Without eyeliner, my whole face looks washed out, a bit bland.

    I’ve always had nice skin. When I was 19 I developed adult onset acne; I still have it, but it only gives me trouble when I drastically change my cleansing routine. I still don’t wear any foundation at all; that’s the one vintage makeup element I have no desire to try. And frankly, I don’t think I need it. Although my natural skin isn’t perfectly even in color, and the apples of my cheeks are little rosier than the rest, I’d still be fine without powder at all. I’ll do it on the weekends, for example, or when I know I’ll be sweating a lot. Most days I still use it, though, because I like it. I use Coty Airspun powder – actual vintage brand and formula – in the “extra coverage” variety. Pressed on with a powder brush, instead of just dusted on, it gives the effect of a light, smooth foundation. Then rouge goes on my cheekbones to keep from being pasty. Long face looks better with a little color. πŸ™‚

    I do living history, so I’m still used to how I appear without modern eye makeup. (Powder, rouge, and lip color are still appropriate for many periods.) In fact, a few months ago I dressed in costume for an informal evening event, and didn’t bother to remove my eyeliner. Unexpectedly I *disliked* how I looked in the mirror and pictures. The eyeliner was WRONG for the costume and my eyes knew it! The perception works the other way, though, and that’s why I prefer makeup for everyday.

  • I hardly wear makeup because my skin hates it. Even lip stuff. I’ll occasionally add some lipcolor and eyeliner for special days, but the only day I did full face was on my wedding. Looking back at those pictures, I don’t feel like I looked like me.

  • Kris

    I like wearing a very light foundation to work for two reasons: post-40 I’ve developed some brown splotches, and it contains SPF 15! Blepheritis makes mascara a luxury, not a necessity. Too much anything (powder, foundation, blusher) makes my skin itch so I go with comfort level. I tend to forego makeup on the weekends just to give my skin some breathing days; also, if I’m doing outside things I will be wearing heavier sunscreen and that doesn’t really go with foundation. I have noticed that on days I have an important meeting or I feel less than confident, I will wear more makeup. If I have on eyeliner AND mascara you will know that I’m geared for battle!

  • Anna

    I have been wearing mascara daily on week days since 8th grade, do not really feel dressed without it. Now that I am 50 years old my daily make up routine for work consists of concealer under my eyes ( look too tired without it ), a little mineral foundation, mascara, a bit of blush and uncolored chap stick for my lips. Some days I add eyeliner or a bit of lip stick. To me this basic make up routine is the equivalent of getting dressed for work, I do not feel “finished”, “dressed” or “professional” without it. My naked face is my “private face”, the one I wear on weekends with jeans and T-shirts.

  • Anat

    I am 35 and don’t wear makeup. Never did. I flirted with it a bit a few months ago, got the makeup, base, blush, mascara and lip gloss. The change was not that dramatic, and I didn’t like the way my skin looked underneath the foundation.My SO doesn’t like it either. So the only thing that I kept from this adventure was the mascara, which I usually put on in the car on the way to work.

    I think it would be a real bummer for me to feel that my own natural face is naked. Even if I had the skills and neccessary cosmetics to transform me into a complete knockout, I think it would depress me to need to rely on makeup to look that way.

    So for as long as I can get away with it, I am naked face, pale lipped, and only slightly more black-lashed πŸ˜‰

  • I had acne as a kid (still do, although it’s heavily tied to food intolerances) and started wearing foundation at 12. My mom wore makeup day in and day out as a professional woman, and hardly aged at all until she hit her 50s. At that point, she became a rancher and stopped with the makeup — doesn’t even do sunscreen. I do think her skin has aged more since then. I’ve always worn foundation as much for sun protection as anything else (I don’t really like the smell or feel of sunscreen alone on my face). I do chapstick with the face cover, but not much else. It probably makes me look odd, but I just don’t care enough. I did skip makeup a few times in my twenties, but I have VERY dark under eye circles plus sallow skin and everybody thought I was sick, which was annoying.

    When I do a full face, I know it looks good but I wear contacts and really don’t like to do eye makeup for everyday.

  • Sarah

    When I was in middle school, my mom let me wear makeup – until I completely went overboard with it, and looked like a clown. I think I was just too young. But, I didn’t want to give it up, so she gave me the Bobby Brown Beauty Book, which was all about enhancing your beautiful features rather than trying to make up features or hide features with cosmetics. That was really a turning point for me. I look at cosmetics as the “icing on the cake” or just something to add that polished look (most of what I use is concealer and foundation to give an even skin tone, and then just spots of tactful color).

    Usually my makeup routine is pretty minimal, until I discovered ELF cosmetics, just about a month ago. Most of their products are $1, $3 or $5 from their site at eyeslipsface.com, and they’re amazingly high quality. I started investing in some products I wouldn’t have otherwise, like their mineral line that’s very similar to bare escentuals, undereye concealers, tinted moisturizer, and lipstick. I love that they have so many options, and it’s really made my skin feel so much better (I’m usually prone to breakouts), making it so I can wear LESS makeup and feel confident. πŸ™‚

    • I’ve had Bobbi Brown’s Teenage Beauty Book since I was 14, and I still think it’s great. (Maybe one day I should graduate to the grown-up version…)

  • I am similar to you Sal. I grew up in Western Australia where girls don’t wear a lot of makeup. There is more of a natural look in Oz. I’ve always worn makeup to special functions or a night out on the town. If I wear it every day my skin breaks out. In the past if I’ve worn mascara/eyeliner every day I’ve gotten eye infections. So I just wear makeup 2-3 days a week. I’m careful to remove it all at night. The nights I don’t I have red skin the next day and have broken out! Besides. I’m young and I don’t feel like I need a whole lot of makeup. My parents always told me I didn’t need a lot, so I’ve always gone with that. I know I look better with makeup on – but I like to have clear skin some days.

  • basement cat

    What kind of human being β€œneeds” makeup?

    The kind of human beings that have really terrible skin conditions, like me. I don’t particularly enjoy it, and I sometimes feel guilty about it, but I had to start wearing full makeup daily a few years ago after my skin condition worsened to the point that random strangers would come up to me on the street and ask me what’s wrong with my face, tell me that I had a sunburn, assume that I didn’t know how to wash my face or apply sunscreen and start lecturing me on how to do so properly. At the same time I started seeing my face in photos and realize that no makeup, or the very light makeup that was my normal routine just wasn’t working for me as my condition worsened.

    Now I wear makeup every day. Multiple products, multiple layers. I don’t really like it but it allows me to fit in and feel like people listen to what I am saying instead of staring at my face or asking me how it got that way. I do try to at least have fun with the eye and lip product since the facial stuff is more of a chore. It is a really rare day that I don’t put on some type of makeup — I even applied a lighter makeup/SPF combo every day on a 2 week camping trip, when I wasn’t even bathing every day! I do feel like it’s not in keeping with my personality to be so “fussy” about makeup, I do feel like in some sense I’m selling out to the cosmetics industry, I do feel like I spend more time and money on it than I’d like. But at this point I don’t feel like I have much of a choice. I can’t magically wake up tomorrow in a world where people aren’t jerks to each other, so I use makeup.

  • Cyn

    I am probably the opposite of most people… My mom was always one of those who didn’t even go out in the front yard without full makeup — foundation and everything. When I was a young teen, she sold makeup (a Mary Kay-like deal, but not MK), and often used me for her demos, etc. so I was quite versed in applying makeup. I wore it to school almost every day in high school — foundation and all… Then I went to college. I reduced it to mascara and blush and occasionally eye shadow. Then I graduated and started my first “real” job. I went back to full makeup for work. At first, I spent 10 minutes carefully applying at home. After a few months, it was 5 minutes, then in the car, then I started leaving it at the office and applying when I arrived, then I slowly stopped. Now (over 25 years later), I don’t even own any makeup except one powder compact that I use to even out facial tone when those pesky hot flashes come on! BTW, I do moisturize daily and wear sunscreen — and have done that consistently. Oh, and my mom has also stopped wearing makeup except when dressing up. She looks gorgeous and much younger than her 78 years!

  • I work in academia, and notice that the majority of women professors here don’t wear much, if any, makeup. I never used to wear any, but as I get older I feel that my skin tone has gotten less fresh and glowy. I take very good care of my skin, so I still don’t need much, but I wear a little tinted moisturizer, some mascara, and some tinted lip balm most work days. I’ve tried eyeliner, as I’d like to enhance my eyes, but can’t seem to get it to work for me. On weekends and during the summer, when I’m not teaching, I don’t usually wear makeup at all, and I don’t miss it.

    Does anyone else find it difficult to get salespeople to listen to you? Whenever I’ve asked for help at a store counter and said, “No, really, I mean a really natural look,” I’ve gone away looking like Julia Roberts at the beginning of Pretty Woman. Except, you know, not so pretty.

  • Natalie

    Thanks for this post, Sal. I grew up in the South, raised by a southern belle mother (in a good way!), who never set foot outside without a full face of makeup. So I began using foundation, cover-up, and powder daily to hide blemishes, and mascara and eye shadow for special occasions. For 15 years I’ve been wearing makeup almost every day, except when I’m camping and hiking. I don’t really like that I feel naked without makeup, but without it I feel that the only thing people notice about my face is my adult acne.

    Recently, things have been shifting for me. My boyfriend of 7 months hates makeup (he has feminist ideological as well as health and environmental reasons for his dislike, and they’re all very reasonable, persuasive arguments). So I’ve started wearing less around him, and not bothering with it most mornings that we’re together. He compliments my looks more when I’m not wearing makeup – a first! As a result, I’ve begun to believe that I really am pretty without it, and that people don’t stare at my blemishes, horrified, when I’m not wearing makeup. It’s a nice feeling.

  • Anna D.

    I like makeup, but I also have oily skin and everything tends to melt off me by the end of the day, so I end up going fairly minimal (also, I’m like someone else said above – I don’t like looking like I tried hard!). I didn’t used to ever wear foundation – and I still hate liquid foundation, because it comes off on everything – but in the last decade my adult acne has become more troublesome, so I have some Dermablend stuff to spot-cover zits, and I use a light mineral foundation (not Bare Minerals, but the equivalent) to kind of blend everything together.

    I also tend to pinkness so I didn’t used to wear blush, until last summer a co-worked commented on how refreshed I looked one day, and I realized it was the day I put on blush for a whim – so now I use it (I was always super leery of blush because I think badly done it’s some of the least flattering makeup you can wear!).

    Otherwise I wear a neutral eyeliner (usually brown or gray gel) tightlined against my lashes, upper lid only (I have hooded eyes so lining under the eye just seems to make my eyes look smaller), mascara, and usually some tinted lip gloss or light lipstick.

    I wear nail polish ALL the time, so I read a lot of nail polish blogs, and some of them also do makeup. It’s fun to see people put together these amazing, dramatic, colorful looks, and I love the way it’s such an expressive activity for them. I can’t go there myself, though – first, I’m in a conservative profession, so dramatic bright-colored eye looks wouldn’t really fly. Even more, though, having hooded eyes means you don’t see much of my eyelids when my eyes are open, and my lids rub up against my browbone, which, combined with the oily skin thing, means that any eyeshadow I put on in the morning is a disaster by noon. But it is fun to see some of the other looks people do.

    It is disconcerting to realize that one’s made-up face has become one’s “natural” face to everyone around you. I skipped eyeliner one day this summer and a friend of mine commented that I looked tired. Now, I may have just looked tired, and my eyes have been a bit puffy lately due to allergies, but I couldn’t help but think it was a reaction to the lack of eyeliner! (This friend rarely wears makeup and my eyeliner is subtle enough I don’t think she would have realized that was the difference.) That said, I like my eyeliner, so I’ll keep wearing it.

    And I’m lucky, too, that while I’m allergic to everything under the sun, I’ve never had a bad reaction to makeup. If it made my face mad, I’d definitely ditch it!

  • Leah

    I’m an all or nothing person when it comes to makeup – wearing it day to day is totally optional for me. I don’t think one needs makeup to look polished and I certainly don’t think it’s a requirement. I actually quite love the look of a bare face, particularly with a fashiony outfit (The Man Repeller anyone?) With that said, when I bust out the makeup, it’s for effect, not to cover imperfections per se. I do love a winged eyeliner or bright lipstick or a strong pencilled eyebrow.

    I dislike the notion that women must wear makeup to be accepted as professional or even feminine. If your face is clean, why should it matter? Also, not wearing makeup gives you a lot of time in the morning to do other things, like sleep, meditate or exercise, which naturally makes you look happier and prettier anyway!

  • Colleen

    Makeup fixes the things I don’t love about my face the same way the proper clothes fix the things I don’t love about my figure. It also provides me an outlet for my inner drag queen (my clubbing makeup is very Vegas showgirl meets RuPaul and I love every bit of it).

    Mattifying powder helps my skin not become an oil slick by 5 PM.

    I have very light natural lip pigment, and tinted balms gives my lips a healthier looking flush.

    Liquid eyeliner and mascara defines and widens my eyes, which are on the small side. I have very tiny eyelids – eyeshadow makes my eyes look deeper set.

    Blush makes me look porcelain with a flush of health instead of just pale.

    And concealer, well, conceals – dark areas under my eyes and pesky blemishes.

    I like the way I look without makeup, but makeup just tweaks it all so that I feel pretty instead of just cute. Just as the right wrap dress makes me feel curvy instead of plump.

    I go out to events where there tend to be photographers and

  • I usually go without (I feel like my skin is better off that way), and when I do use makeup, it’s minimal. When I was 14 I owned Bobbi Brown’s Teen Beauty Book, and she recommended skipping all-over foundation and using a stick foundation as concealer, plus a separate under-eye concealer in a lighter shade. That’s essentially my formula for makeup – it’s simple, doesn’t involve too many products, and doesn’t make me feel like I’m wearing a mask.

    I experimented with eye makeup as a teen, but anything dark around my eyes looks startlingly wrong on me so I’ve never owned standard black eyeliner or mascara in my life. I sometimes use a little bit of pale eyeshadow (cream, ivory) because I think that works much better against my dark eyes. As for lip colour, the furthest I’ll go is a light tint or stain, because the feel of lipstick/gloss just annoys me.

  • I’m a chapstick only girl. Mostly because I feel that my current “beauty routine” of blow drying my hair, brushing my teeth, and applying deodorant and lotion takes too long as is!

    I bought makeup after I graduated from college and played around with it some. It was fun and concealer and I really should be bffs given the natural dark circles under my eyes. However, when I started working, I made the conscious decision not to wear makeup because I felt it would box me in so I would have to do it every day.

    I’ve given some thought to experimenting more lately, but makeup is expensive and I hate to buy it only to wear it once in a blue moon.

    I guess it just boils down to being lazy more than anything else. Maybe once I get my fashion nailed down, I’ll play some with makeup.

  • When I worked in high-toned offices (mid to late 20s) I wore the whole shebang: foundation, loose powder, coverup, blush, eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, lip pencil, lipstick… with contacts. My skin was (and still is but not as much) breaking out and I used the foundation etc to hide behind.

    When I became a mother and then a working mother (early to late 30s) things got much more simplified. I went with foundation, blush, eyeliner and lipstick. I stopped wearing contacts, and since my mascara left streaks on my glasses I stopped wearing mascara regularly , too.

    Now I’m in my early 50s and a teacher. I wear facial sunblock (OH, DID I MENTION I STUPIDLY DIDN’T USE SUNBLOCK UNTIL MY MID-30S?) which seems to turn any foundation on my skin into a lovely shade of pumpkin. I wear eyeliner, a creme blush and lip gloss. My face is done in two minutes. For special I add compact powder, mascara &/or eye-color enhancing shadow.

    I proudly bear my face to the public these days, freckles, splotches, spots & all. Oddly it’s much better skin now than it was 25 years ago. And I feel prettier now, too. Win/Win!

  • widdershins

    I’m a bit disappointed to find that I have bought into the ‘I don’t look healthy w/out my mascara’ sentiment. I’d love to say that isn’t so, that I’m above it, but you know what, I really do feel naked without mascara unless I’m hiking/at the beach/obviously doing an outdoorsy thing.

    My mom never left the house w/out full make-up, and I hated both how it looked and how long it took her to get ready when we were going somewhere together, so I was never a fan of a lot of make-up. I don’t wear foundation, lipstick or eye shadow, and I’m fortunate to not have any skin conditions or any other ‘necessary’ reasons to use make-up. But my mascara? I just feel like I look so ‘blah’ without it, like I blend in with the woodwork. I certainly don’t hate my face without it but I really do vastly prefer my face with defined lashes.

    Like a commenter upthread said, it’s just like knowing dressing stylishly/for your bodytype – sure, you can dress your body and face however you want, but man, do you (I) feel better when you purposefully accentuate your best body/face features.

  • I’ve fallen pretty far down the makeup rabbit hole. Most days I wear SPF moisturizer with some sort of tint that evens out my skin tone, concealer, mascara and blush. I’m tired almost all the time, and I feel more awake and put together when I wear a bit of makeup and look refreshed. Aside from those basics, my makeup collection tends to skew towards lip stuff (including bright lipsticks and glosses) and nail polish. I used to have a lot of eyeshadow, but I’ve come to realize in recent years that I don’t wear eyeshadow that often and I don’t really like how I look with lots of eyeshadow on.

  • Caroline

    I don’t wear much make up – just mascara, powder, and lip gloss. I wear mascara because I think they make my eyes look even better (and I love my eyes even without makeup) and I want the attention focused on them. I wear powder because my face gets really shiny very easily. Lip gloss (well, balm, I should say) I just like to wear. I have never worn much makeup, even though I live in Houston. I think it’s partly because my mom doesn’t wear much makeup in her daily life, so I never had her “teach” me how to wear a full face. She is from Chicago, though, and it seems like Yankees don’t wear too much makeup judging from the other comments. Plus, I’m also just lazy. I don’t want to spend a couple of minutes putting on makeup.

    I also just don’t understand how to apply makeup at all! I would love to wear teal eyeliner like my friend does, but I feel like eye makeup of any kind looks weird on me. I should start wearing a little bit of sunscreen, though. I want my skin to look as good as possible forever!

  • Lydia

    My favorite makeup to wear is lipstick, usually red or berry. I don’t have to wear much other makeup, but I always have several lipsticks in my purse, and reapply throughout the day. I have been wearing makeup since univesity, though not every day, and some days more than others. I enjoy applying makeup in the mornings – I think I like the act of ‘painting’ my face; I have that quiet moment to ponder what colours and effects I want, and feel like an actor about to go onstage when my makeup is done.

    I also beleive that makeup makes women look more defined and colourful (less washed out). There is nothing wrong with not wearing makeup, and women are beautiful with or without it, in my opinion, but I like the way makeup makes the eyes and lips sparkle so to speak. For me, makeup highlights the aspects of what I notice when I talk to or interact with people — their eyes and lips. Sure, if someone doesn’t wear it, they still look good, but I like the way makeup (combined with lighting) makes me notice the greeness of an eye one day, and the brown another day. For me, makeup is simply another form of adornment — just like clothes, jewelery, or hair.

  • Started wearing makeup in my teens and through my 20’s probably wore makeup most of the time if I was leaving the house. Somewhere in my 30’s I became less adamant about it and now I’ve settled on foundation or tinted moisturizer with powder for every day. Evenings & weekends if I’m going out I enjoy doing a more thorough job.

    I do like the look of makeup. I am pale and my eyelashes are light. So makeup does add some color and wake up my face a bit. But on a day to day basis, I just can’t be bothered.

    That BadGal Lash mascara is my favorite though. πŸ™‚

  • rb

    I wear makeup. I generally have something on if I’m leaving the house, but that’s beacuse my facial sunscreen is my makeup- I use a tinted moisturizer and mineral powder both containing sunblock, and these are the only products I’ve found that don’t exacerbate my acne. leaving the house without sunscreen is non-negotiable, even on a dark day in the dead of winter.

    I also prefer to have some mascara on and something on my lips, but I don’t feel absolutely desperate without the mascara. The lipstick I do really need – I have that common addiction to having something emollient on my lips at all times.

    My fully made-up face is only a couple of additional steps – skin toned eyeshadow and liquid eyeliner on the top lid only, and then a bit of blush on my cheeks. I do the fully made-up face every work day. I consider it part of my polished, groomed look.

  • Melissa

    I grew up in a church that didn’t allow women to wear makeup, so it was always this glittering, beautiful, glamorous thing I couldn’t have. Once I got away from those restrictions as a teenager, I started having fun experimenting with it. For me it’s never been a burden to wear makeup, but more a fun, formerly forbidden thing that I wouldn’t want to do without. I enjoy experimenting with new products and reading beauty blogs. Makeup artist Lisa Eldridge’s videos on YouTube are my current favorite thing.

    Most days I wear full makeup — foundation, concealer, eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, blush, lipstick — but I don’t always. I do almost always wear a little something when I leave the house, though, if only a dab of concealer, mascara on curled lashes, and some sheer lipstick. Makeup makes me feel happy and girly, much like perfume, which I also wear even if I’m not doing anything special. I like being able to enhance what nature gave me. To me, it’s one of the perks of being a woman, not one of the problems.

  • What an important topic! I didn’t have time to read all the comments but will come back to them later.

    I started to wear make up in my late teens, and for some time I wore it (heavy, too much) every day. You are right – it takes such a short time to get used to what you look like with make-up on, and it becomes a necessity very quickly. Once I started modeling, I stopped – models are supposed to go to castings and go-sees bare-faced and natural, no matter what Tyra Banks might be telling her girls on American Next Top Model. i still wore make up to clubs and bars, or other special occasions, but my day-to-day life was very much make up free. I just got used to it. There have been phases when I’ve been sucked back into wearing some, but usually those phases don’t take more than a week or two. Then I feel like my skin needs a break, and indeed, the spell is broken. It is funny how you timed this post – just yesterday I considered wearing mascara for the first time this year, but didn’t, for whatever reason. And after having said all this: I do get excited about new lipsticks every once in a while.

  • Bubu

    Holy cow, people definitely have opinions and stories on this one! I feel like i’m bringing coals to newcastle adding mine, but what the hell. I came from a northern, intellectual family. If fashion and style were frowned upon, then make-up was actively scorned. I always felt inhibited and ashamed and shallow and vain if I even took an interest…. but the fact is, I was interested, all along. So I have worn it off and on for years, but never really knew what I was doing, so it was never working too well. A few years ago, my in-laws gave me a hefty check for my birthday and I decided to go to a MAC counter and see if I could finally learn to do it right. I was relieved the store was empty and the manager very nice, or I probably would have gotten self-conscious and walked right out (as I so often do in Sephora)…. and I learned it and it looked nice, and now I’m a pretty regular daily wearer, with a reliable 5-minute routine. It makes me happy – the days I catch a glimpse of myself with it on it makes me smile, whereas the days I don’t, I think “wow, I look pretty tired/old/blotchy.” My husband doesn’t care, my family can’t tell (HA! because i learned to make it look natural), and it makes me happy. Like style and fashion – if it makes me feel good and flatters, I’m for it. And it took me a LONG time to get to this place, but happy I’m here.
    On a p.s. I also for years was very self-conscious about my very full lips, and felt like Bozo the clown if I tried to wear lipstick. But in a post-Angelina Joile world I decided to embrace them, discovered some subtle shades that work, and now am something of a lipstick junkie, have about 8 in my purse because i can’t decide which one or two I want to keep on hand. And now, instead of trying to somehow avoid or play down my lips (impossible) they are, i think, a beautiful focal point of my face. So, face hasn’t changed, but my attitude has, and for the better I think.

  • liz

    in college i discovered super dark [nearly goth] under-eyeliner finally made me look older than 12. daily i wear eyeliner and a very light layer of powder to keep the greasies at bay. occasionally i’ll spice it up with some mascara and one of my 30+ eyeshadows, but usually i’m just too lazy.

    a few mornings i have woken up to find i rubbed off all my eyeliner, and i hardly recognize myself in the mirror. it’s a rather disconcerting feeling, but i usually get over it and schmear on a new layer.

  • Jak

    I hope I’m not jinxing it, but it seems as if my horrible acne is finally clearing up for the first time in a decade, so I’ve felt like I can start dabbling in face makeup. The problem is, I feel like I’m just trying to repaint my face back on anymore, and I’m not a particularly good at painting. It might not help that I’m so pale I find it difficult to track down face makeup in my color.

    I do like to play with eye makeup, though. I’ll curl my eyelashes and throw on some mascara for daily wear, but I’ll play with eyeliners and eye shadows for a bit of glamor.

  • Kris

    I’ve been wearing makeup on and off for years. Lately, the facial sunscreen I’ve been favouring has a tint that evens out my complexion. So I wear that, sometimes mascara, and always some lip product with sunscreen.

  • I started “needing” eye makeup when I was 16. I thought I was hideously ugly and I used heavy dark eyeshadow and liner to hide my face. I was NOT good at applying the stuff and I knew it looked bad but I thought it was still better than my naked face. I was always so fearful of anyone seeing me without makeup that I practically slept in it. Halfway through my senior year of high school I stopped wearing anything, cold turkey, and nobody cared.

    Nowadays I wear blush and mascara most days, but I’m not so insecure about my naked face. However, I did just have 2 days off from work, and I wore liquid eyeliner just for fun. Today at work when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I thought I looked different, in a bad way, and I realized it was because I had no eyeliner on. This was after just 2 DAYS of wearing a little something extra. How crazy is that?

  • Rose

    I’ve loved makeup as long as I can remember. And after the high school years (where I’m sure there were more makeup no-nos than I’d like to really remember) I began to truly grasp the whole concept of wearing lots of makeup in a way that looks effortless and natural. I like to express myself with it. I like to coordinate with outfits, just the way we do with shoes, jewelry, scarves, belts, etc. I switch out my eyeshadow colors to match what I’m wearing that day! I certainly feel self-conscious without it, and don’t like to go out in public if I’m not painted. My skin is incredibly oily, so I wear an oil-absorbing foundation – that helps me feel more confident, knowing that my skin looks more evenly toned and less shiny. My eyes are beautiful, but very small and hidden behind necessary glasses. Adding shadow, liner, and mascara draws attention to them and highlights them as my favorite feature! My lips are full, so I don’t do much color unless I’m gettin’ fancy, but knowing that I can is exciting to me. I am naturally rosey-cheeked, so I don’t usually do much with blush, but again, the knowledge that I can gives me a sense of confidence that I can control how elegant I want to (or not to) look.

    But even though I don’t like to be seen in public without my paint, I want to be sure that I control it – it doesn’t control me. So I have learned to wear 7 eye products, simultaneously, along with the rest of the face, in a simple, effortless look, that takes under 5 minutes to apply. And it adds to my poise, confidence, and accessorizing. And I just love it. πŸ™‚

  • Vildy

    First, I’m lazy. Second, I’m anti-polished looks. I wanted to wear makeup when I was in grade school. I bought some and sometimes I did. Too many movie magazines, I guess. I only played at it. But I desperately wanted to be grownup because I wanted to make all my own decisions and not be interfered with.
    Now that I am quite grownup I am, of course, indecisive! I didn’t see makeup
    as something I needed to be pretty – I didn’t feel pretty and probably doubted anything would make me so. I just saw it as propelling me toward being grown up.

    I started wearing it every day in junior high school. Before that, there were a few tall, buxom girls in 6th grade who dated sailors and wore full makeup to school. Even though I wanted to be grownup, I felt a little nervous about girls who had a grown woman’s life in part and being 11. But we moved and the girls in my junior high wore makeup. It had less to do with sailors than it did older sisters. I was an only child. So I wore Max Factor UltraLucent cream foundation, mascara, blusher, lipstick, eyeliner. I was very decisive then and had no trouble picking out the exact shades I wanted. I wore the same shades continuously.

    I also lived in the semi-desert and nobody had heard of sunscreen. When I was 34 I had some minor breakouts and feeling “old” I got an appointment with nearby world-famous Dr. Kligman at the anti-aging clinic. The receptionist said, “He’ll throw you out.” We had a great time chatting, though he objected to my oatmeal soap as clogging the pores and wanted me to use Dove, which I had gone off of. I told him I didn’t drink lots of water or anything and he roared that he’d rather have bourbon., Me, too, then. I asked how my skin was and he said, “Pretty damn amazing.” Soooo, that juvenile makeup use actually functioned as sunblock!

    When I was pregnant at 38, my family doctor commented on the “glow of pregnancy.” I wanted to tell him that he, too, could have it if he paid a few bucks for the UltraLucent. Without it, I am a pale green.

    They discontinued it. You know I was using it long past the expiration date.
    I found some Max Factor recently that isn’t so bad but read that their U.S. products are being discontinued. I don’t wear foundation much anymore and haven’t for years exactly because I can’t have the one I want.

    I do wear lipstick, undereye concealer, mascara every single day. Sometimes I line my top lash line. I absolutely cannot find a blusher I like –
    powder, gel, stick, cream. The look I like in makeup, for me, is flushed
    and sensual. I don’t look all that different with or without makeup but we’re not talking anything like a salon makeover production. Partly I wear makeup so that I can see my face better and I’m slightly near-sighted. I’m honey blond, fair skin, light eyes. I like to wear bold colors and bold mixed prints and I want to have a little color and definition above the clothing so I don’t
    have my head fade away. πŸ™‚ So I feel that the whole deal is enhanced with a little makeup but I don’t put it on and think, Oh man, now you’re pretty.
    I think that, anyway! Why the title of your blog is so brilliant.

  • Vildy

    I can’t find a blusher because every shade I try makes me look greener!

  • june

    now that i’m not in my 20’s and i have a couple of kids under my belt (ergo, less sleep) i feel much better stepping out with at least a base coverage to even out my skintone. but i usually take it up a notch from there. it goes on as an accessory like my jewelry. and in the same way i enjoy using my accessories to add interest to an outfit, i apply my makeup in the same style i’m going for: edgy, gypsy, classic…whatever my mood dictates for the day!

  • I come from a family of minimal-makeup women. I was never taught that makeup was bad or anything like that, but my mother and grandmothers all went out of the house without makeup on a regular if not daily basis. I am an Actor, so I wear makeup onstage, of course, and I wear makeup for special occasions, but in my day to day life, I wear little to no makeup. The most I will do is put on under-eye concealer and use an eyelash curler, and that’s about it. My skin is pretty well behaved, and for that I’m extremely grateful. I have nothing against makeup, it’s just not something I’m interested in wearing every day, so I don’t.

  • Marie

    I started trying makeup around 16. Except for special occasions, I prefer a natural look – a little concealer and powder foundation, eyeliner and mascara, and chapstick. I never leave the house without foundation, because my nose is naturally red, and it looks like I have a cold. A little makeup on it takes care of that easily so I don’t need to feel self conscious about it.

  • Jennifer

    I do feel naked without makeup. I wish that I didn’t, but I do.

    Ever since I can remember, I have had acne. Pretty severe acne in my teenage years, and adult acne now. It started as early as 6th or 7th grade and never stopped. I’ve tried a million products… everything on drugstore shelves to Proactiv to prescriptions. Nothing worked. I’ve had many days where I didn’t even want my parents to see me without makeup on, let alone anyone else.

    As a young teen, I was not allowed to wear makeup. Not any, at all. This combined with my bad skin made me extremely self conscious. My mother used to harp at me constantly about if I had washed my face that day (because apparently the fact that I had acne meant that I was some kind of dirty schlub who never washed properly). She used to stand in the bathroom with me to watch me wash my face, to make sure I was “doing it right”. But the acne persisted, and I wasn’t allowed to do anything to cover it up.

    I was finally allowed to wear makeup after I turned 16. I was pretty generic about it for a long time, my makeup was just a necessity in my eyes to make me less horrifying for the public to look at. But somewhat recently (within the last 5 years) I discovered that it didn’t have to be a chore, that I could have fun with it too. I love trying out new products and experimenting with different formulas and colors. I am a very creative person by nature (graduated with my bachelor’s in Fine Arts in ’07), and I find makeup (and wardrobe!) to be an extension of that.

    My skin is better now than it has been in years, but I still have acne and I have some scarring from the teenage years. I try harder to use less foundation and concealer now, though. I use it sparingly, I dot it on spots and my dark circles instead of covering my whole face. I have reached a time in my life where I am capable, if absolutely necessary, to go out in public makeupless. And that is a huge step for me, I hope it grows beyond that.

    I don’t see anything wrong with wearing makeup for the right reasons (because you enjoy it). I plan to keep doing that, no matter what my skin looks like. But I long for a day to eventually come where I feel comfortable enough with myself to not feel it NECESSARY to wear it.

  • Anonymous T (this time)

    Age, baby. The amount of makeup I wear has slowly increased along with my years: to conceal, to out-and-out hide, and to redirect attention to where I want it. I am blessed (cursed?) that people think I am 5-10 years younger than I actually am, and over time that fact has made it mandatory, in my mind, that I keep it up – especially in my professional life. And I freaking HATE the fact that I will not leave the house without at least a 3/4 done face. HATE. IT.

  • I remember experimenting with eyeliner and eyeshadow in middle school but soon discovered that I was allergic. I wore some lipstick and blush for dance and drama performances but always felt uncomfortable and wanted to wash it off as soon as possible. My skin is fairly clear now (minor acne in high school, natch), aside from a couple spots that I use concealer on daily. If I’m feeling extra fancy I might wear red lipstick but it always comes off way too easily and on everything and everyone, ha! I admire women who use makeup artfully and skillfully but I also think a bare face looks gorgeous. As an artist, I’d love to be able to experiment with colors on my face but seeing (no pun intended) as I’m allergic to eye makeups, I’ll just have to play with colors on paper instead. =)

  • Christine

    I’m so glad you posted about this! I also think makeup is a very personal thing, that is unique to each person, but here’s my take:

    Makeup to me is much like what I understand clothing is to you on my journey to self-love. I became interested in it about a year ago, and since then have spent a good bit of time researching it, choosily purchasing it occasionally, and applying it. I love makeup for three reasons:

    1. It brings out my creative side! I was never one for art, but blending colors on my face, choosing which blush, which eye shadow and liner, which lipstick or gloss goes together to enhance my face for the day – It’s just fun :D!
    2. It’s something I do for me, and just me. By taking the time in the morning to creatively apply makeup and enhance my face, it makes me feel as though I care for myself by taking care of myself, in the same way I feel good after a workout.
    3. It makes me happy, plain and simple. Researching it, applying it, and of course, occasionally purchasing it.

    Of course while I hate on my skin for it’s oiliness, large pores, etc… I have been blessed that it is hard as nails and I’m fairly certain isn’t sensitive or allergic to any chemical on earth, so it’s easy for me. Oh & as for a naked face? Every Sunday I go “naked,” and honestly after a week of makeup I love that face just as much as my made up face. I feel that since I spend a good bit of the time during the week applying makeup, I’m more aware of my facial features and what I like about them so I love to see them unobstructed and unenhanced occasionally :D. Sorry for the novel of a comment, this is just an important topic to me :P.

  • I have always loved make-up. I started wearing the whole sheebang in the 7th grade and have worn it daily since then (while in public) for 30 years! While I am home on the weekends I do no wear any, and don’t feel the need to. But, if I go out I ALWAYS put some on. For work my morning regime is; moisturizer, foundation, blush, eye shadow (mixed shades and tones), always liner underneath my bottom lashes, a curl with the eyelash wand and then mascara and lipstick! I know! Crazy! I do love it though. Without I look totally washed out, my eyes are lost and my sister-in-law asks me if I’m sick! Sad but true!

  • Carol N.

    Being older than it appears most of your readers are (53) I have slowly changed from full makeup every day to just tinted moisturizer, a little mascara on the outside of the upper lashes and some moisturizing lip color for my work day and going out. Otherwise I am bare skinned and loving it. After many yeaers of feeling like I had to tan my pale, fair skin, I gave up on that as well many, many years ago and now embrace the lighter pale skin. I stopped wearing the full makeup because here in the deep South it was just melting off my face anyway by mid day and I felt like it was a waste of money. I am fortunate that I don’t really have wrinkles yet and the tinted moisturizer gives me just enough coverage to even out the skin tones.

  • Hmm, although I occasionally go without makeup, I do have a routine that I perform almost daily. I’m especially careful about applying makeup before going to work or other important places. I think the way it evens out my skin tone (I’m prone to acne and dark circles) makes me appear more put together and professional. I admit that I am dissatisfied with aspects of my face, mainly the dark inner eye “circles” and blemishes. I like that makeup boosts my natural features while hiding the “flaws” that come as a result of sleeping too little and being stressed–a whole ‘nother issue.
    I started wearing makeup in 6th grade, coincidentally the same year I got my first pimple. There have been times when I’ve felt like I’ve “needed” it, but now I like to think that I “like” it, rather than “need” it.

  • I wear makeup daily: foundation, blush, a bit of eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. I don’t particularly like it, but I don’t care for the way I look without it either. I have fair skin and an uneven skin tone, so foundation helps. I used liquid foundations in the past, but they don’t seem to blend very well so I switched to mineral powder foundation which blends better. But without a doubt, always always always (even in the dead of winter) beneath it all is a a UVA/UVB sunblock because the sun peeks at me for a moment and I’m burnt to a crisp.

    Sometimes I wish I was someone who felt comfortable without makeup, but this is a pretty minor insecurity. There are so many other things in the world to worry about or work on that are more important – I prefer spending my energy on those.

  • Sometimes I kind of wish I could wear makeup, but I haven’t found a way to make it work for me.

    I have a facial birth defect, so I have trickiness to work with. As part of this, my right cheek secretes…a sticky film (ew, I know–long story) throughout the day, which I’m guessing is why I am very acne prone on that side. So slapping on even a light foundation a) makes me break out and b) always creates a slick makeup mess on that side. And there’s no point in putting on makeup if I’m going to skip foundation, because my skin tone is so uneven–that’s the primary reason I’d want to wear makeup in the first place. Then my right eye waters constantly throughout the day, so then I have to worry about the fact that a) it waters *more* when powder particles and other makeup junk get in there and b) there goes any makeup on my eye within the first 30 minutes of applying it, because I have to dab/rub the eye all day long.

    I just think it looks kind of fun to do special things like wear a ridiculously fun shade of eye shadow or wear the right shade of lipstick, but I don’t think I’d want to wear makeup every day. It would feel ridiculous to me to wear a bright shade of lipstick on an otherwise bare face, so I muddle through with lip gloss.

    And then there’s the thought in the back of my mind that, honestly, if makeup is a tool most people see as something that masks imperfections, why should someone like me bother? Basically, if I still look kinda weird after applying makeup, what’s the point?

    The only time I wear makeup these days is if I’m interviewing for a job. I deal with the paranoia of not being able to touch my face or my eye for a few hours, because having an even skin tone due to the magic of makeup makes me look older than a 12-year-old.

  • Nadine

    I have straight blonde eyelashes, so I curl them every single day without even thinking about it. I hate mascara (yuk), but I wear eyeliner 99% of the time.

  • Aris Merquoni

    I grew up with intermittent interest in makeup, but with no information on how to apply it. When I was in high school I’d occasionally put on eyeshadow, but it was no big thing, just some brown brushed over my lids. And I think I had some lipstick. My mom would buy me cosmetics but I’d get bored of not knowing how to apply them and give up.

    Then one day my mom got a Lauren Hutton face disc – http://www.laurenhutton.com/ – and wow! It had color-coded instructions! And color-coded brushes! She gave me hers when she ordered a replacement and I loved it. I still have it somewhere. When I got out into the world, in college and when I had a job and more money, that’s when I started getting better at applying.

    But I work at a job where makeup is completely against the dress code. It’s a job in an integrated circuit manufacturing plant, so in the cleanroom you can’t wear anything on your face. So makeup has turned into something special for the weekends (weekends I’m not on call, anyway) or very rarely after work.

    I’ve put together a makeup kit that I can put on entirely with my fingers. (Well, plus lipstick.) For some reason fingerpainting just makes everything better.

    And I just want to thank everyone who’s dropped links so far in comments. Yay for tutorials!

  • emi s.

    hey sal, i can really relate to this post.

    I recently-ish started wearing makeup, after not wearing any. and it’s so fun! and i like how it makes me look! and yes, i started feeling a little naked without it. so, the compromise i’ve reached is that i wear makeup 5-6 days a week, and go 100% bare faced 1-2 days a week (including an occasional work day, not just a weekend day). this helps me keep the perspective that makeup is for FUN, not something i need to look okay. it’s just so important to me to feel good about how i look without makeup, and making sure i regularly go without makeup keeps me feeling comfortable without any.

  • I haven’t yet had time to read through all the comments, but I’m looking forward to reading what others have to say.

    My opinion on makeup is that no one “needs” it and no one should feel obligated to wear it; but I do think there are some faces that “want” makeup– meaning that makeup really plays up their features and brings out elements of beauty that could not be seen otherwise.

    But by the same token, I’ve seen people whose faces look better without makeup– even if it’s lightly and/or tastefully applied. These folks just look better with natural, clean faces.

    My face is one that looks better with a bit of makeup, especially eye makeup. Interestingly, though, I realized that I look better without obvious lipstick. My natural lips look best with just a bit of balm on them. This has been an adjustment for me, because I’ve always worn bright lipsticks. It just goes to show that you really have to experiment on yourself to find the best balance of makeup vs. natural beauty for your face.

    Throughout most of my life, I used makeup as a cover-up for troubled skin. Nowadays, I focus on skin care and use makeup as an enhancement.

  • Cait

    I’ve had acne for as long as I can remember (starting probably at the age of 11) and was in and out of dermatologist offices for the entirety of my teens to try and sort it out (nothing worked). When my acne was at it’s worst, in grade 8 or so, I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup and really, the acne was so bad it wouldn’t have been an effective coverup anyways. (lingering self-esteem issues FTW!)

    Anyways, birth control, Proactive and age (now 23) have since sorted my skin out and recently people have been complementing me on how nice my skin is! It just makes my day when someone says “oh, you have such nice skin”, because for so many years I didn’t πŸ˜€ Yes, it’s still oily and yes, I get dark circles (oh the dark circles) because I’m so pale I’m almost transparent and have terrible allergies. BUT….I most days don’t wear foundation now! It feels weird on my skin and I find it melts off by the end of the day, so not wearing it is a relief. And I’m inherently lazy.

    My current makeup routine is basically tinted moisturizer with SPF and mascara (I do fall into the camp of women who feel naked without mascara). I also swear by Benefit’s “That Gal” face primer, which I will often wear on it’s own, and their “Boi-ing” concealer for those raccoon-like dark circles.

  • This subject!! At a certain time in my life, I went in to Sephora with $300 and told them to hook me up with makeup that looked “natural but better” and that I could wear every day. I was really good-looking that year. Before and after, I’ve been a bit of a dabbler, but only go full on several times a year. Most days I wear nothing, other days I do concealer, blush, mascara and a tinted gloss. I have to say that wearing makeup, makes me feel more confident, more approachable, like I came to class with all my pencils, notebooks and my homework done. Not wearing any makeup is what I normally do, but I feel pretty self-conscious about my appearance when I don’t, because my skin-tone is pretty uneven. In fact, I loathe when people get too close to me! Weird, right? Why don’t I just put on makeup every day then? Maybe for me, NOT wearing makeup is my protective wall…?

  • I’m generally lazy about makeup. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don’t. When I do decide to wear makeup, how I wear it depends on my mood (maybe crazy bright colors, maybe a little understated).

    A couple years ago, I had put on my full “face” of makeup before leaving the house. As I was leaving, my Mom said to me “You know, I used to think you were the plain one of my daughters because I was comparing you to [my sisters]. However, they do their makeup every single day and I can see now that you’re just as beautiful as your sisters.” She meant this as a compliment, I know; but it was very interesting attitude for me to see. It shocked me that because I had been lazy and hadn’t bothered with makeup I was considered plain. Whereas the standard for beautiful was set with makeup on.

    I don’t feel a need to wear makeup. I just think of it as fun–kind of like style. I like wearing different things based on my mood, and it’s the same exactly way with makeup. And, I don’t think I need makeup to be beautiful either. πŸ™‚

  • Veronica

    I go through phases of ‘needing’ makeup and not giving a crap. lol First and foremost is skincare to me because since having kids my face goes haywire whenever I get pregnant and for a while after. We’re done having kids now so I just need to wait it out and take good care of my skin and hopefully it’ll fix itself.(fingers crossed) I’ve been using MK for years but recently started proactiv and it seems to be doing a little better of a job on my acne. I actually kinda hated wearing makeup when I was a teenager. I hated the ‘mask’ effect that it had and that it felt like I was wearing one too. I would wear some once in a while but it wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I’d wear it regularly. I became a MK consultant, and getting it 50% off isn’t half bad either, and now I have a ton of makeup and it’s fun. There are still days when I just look at it and walk away because I don’t have the time or just really don’t want to. On some of those days my skin looks great bare, others not at all but I don’t care. My face tends to look muddled a lot which is why I ‘need’ makeup, especially in the winter. I also have kinda bad dark circles which need tending to. lol I like to dab concealer on the outer corner of my eyes to open them up a bit more. I carry a ton of lipglosses around with me in the summer and add lipstick in the fall/winter. lol So if ya ever need one just ask. lol

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  • Katrina

    I started wearing makeup at age 12, both because I developed acne and because I have blond eyelashes (I only wore mascara on my top eyelashes for years, I shudder to remember now.) My skin has mostly cleared up now, as I’m 20, and I hope – now that I’ve found a cleanser that seems to work well – to have to wear less concealer as I break out less.

    I currently apply the following:
    -yellow/green stick concealer (for undereye circles and blemishes)
    -liquid makeup/concealer (to blend the yellow/green in)
    -Clinique Pore Refining Instant Corrector (a godsend for the giant pores on my constantly oily nose)
    -translucent mineral powder (to take care of shine/set everything)
    -lip/cheek stain (the only blush that will stay on my oily skin – also makes a great pink lip color)
    -white eyeliner (on the waterline and inner corners of my eyes to take care of redness from lack of sleep and wearing contacts)
    -liquid eyeliner (to accent my eyes – I love doing the dramatic cat’s-eye look)
    -mascara

    Some days I add eye shadow, but it’s usually brown or grey, nothing fancy; sometimes I use the brown to fill in my eyebrows as well.

    For years I wouldn’t leave the house without concealer and mascara, bare minimum, but I’ve become more comfortable not wearing makeup, especially to gym classes in college or hiking, canoeing, etc. A lot of my makeup is simply to cover up acne blemishes – I love days where I can just use the instant pore corrector and powder on my skin. I realized once I got to college that I look pretty darn good anyway, so I don’t “need” makeup anymore…well, maybe just the mascara πŸ˜‰

  • kathy

    Fascinating subject! I don’t have time to read all of the comments (will definitely come back to them later) but wanted to throw in my 2 cents. I started wearing makeup to cover acne. Also, like many of the other commenters, my mom was a makeup maven and made me feel like I had to wear it or I was not attractive (another story for another time). When my skin finally cleared (after using Retin A in the very early days), it was still splotchy so I continued wearing foundation. On weekends, I wear foundation, concealer, powder, and mascara. On weekdays, I add eye shadow, blush, and lipstick. Been doing this for about 35 years, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. Foundation helps to keep my skin from getting too oily and also has a sunscreen. I feel naked without mascara. I generally don’t care if people wear makeup or not, but there’s not one woman out there who I believe wouldn’t look better with just a little makeup. Sorry.

    Another interesting thing I’ve noticed is how my sisters-in-law (as well as many other brides) had someone do their makeup on the day of their wedding yet never wear a stitch of makeup any other day. They practically are unrecognizable in their wedding photos. Isn’t that a bit hypocritical?

  • Missey

    I actually enjoy wearing makeup…and I have a degree in Women Studies (gasp!) I say that you should do what makes you feel good. Some days I don’t wear makeup and I feel fine about myself, and other days I wear it, and I feel just as fine. I will say I do love a long eyelash (NOT thick, just longish) because I have small, beautifully green eyes and I think it makes them more noticeable. I like a bit of blush and a little gloss, however, I don’t feel naked without them.

    I do not like being told by mass marketing that I look better with makeup; I equally don’t like being told that makeup is a social constraint used to shackle me as a woman. My life, my face, I’ll do what I want when I want to. Thank you and kiss my butt world.

  • Camilla

    Do I feel naked without makeup? Yes, I do feel naked, very naked. I have used makeup since I was 15, and now I am 41. I started using makeup because I thought it was a smart way to hide how insecure I felt I was, so I used it as a mask. There was and is a huge difference between how I look with makeup and without. And I agree that women with makeup underline their natural look and change their whole look from looking ordinary to someone taken out of a movie. Whatever people choose to do is entirely up to them, and I do understand women who “need” makeup because I have needed it myself for the “wrong” reasons. This year I tried to change my whole approach to makeup. Before I used mascara, black eyeliner, and lipstick on a daily basis, even when I was just in my home, because it made me feel good, BUT I actually learned that I needed to learn to feel good about myself even when I was not wearing any makeup and was/am feeling naked. This naked feeling is terrible, but if you need a product to feel good about yourself, you may want to ask yourself the deeper questions why you don’t feel good about yourself. Beauty is on the inside. It is not how you look, but who you are.

    As I said I started changing how I looked on the use of makeup in the early months of this year, and I felt I needed to do this for myself out of love for myself. I needed to see my real face after so many years of hiding it. I did see it in the morning before of course, but quickly turned myself into someone else or so it felt. I felt I needed to see myself, so I gradually started to use less makeup, and people who knew me often said that I looked very sad or tired. I think that was true. Makeup does give you a lift, but if you can’t show your face to people closest to you, and they don’t recognize you or think you look tired, who was it then they saw before.

    It is the same with the hair. I destroyed my hair with hair colours and home perm. I am one of those natural blonds whose hair got even darker with age. So growing older I wanted what I had when I was younger so dyed my hair myself from dark to ligth (which is quite a process by the way – you need to use several hair colours in order for that to happen). Then I also wanted my hair permed, and destroyed my hair that broke off,, SO in November last year I decided never to dye my hair or perm it again but allow it to grow out. At that time I had lost so much hair.. And a great deal of my identity as well or so it felt. I know this is probably another story that could be interesting to write about… How much emphasis do women put on their hair, and to what degree is it part of their identity, of who they believe themselves to be. There are so many fairytales of women with long hair. This has been quite a growth process for me, because as I said, yes, I do think women look more special or perhaps beautiful with makeup. I also like the natural look, but it is very very hard to go from wearing lots of makeup to not using any. For me it has been important not to think or feel that all my self esteem has to do with how I look or how my hair is, but with who I am.

  • “Suddenly, my naked face seemed pale, wan, undefined, less-than. I tried to tell myself that I just liked how the cosmetics enhanced my natural features, but it wasn’t the makeup wearing that affected me. It was the not-wearing.”

    Ah, this is what really hurts. I feel you. I wonder how many women feel this way about their breasts without bras, legs without heels, and so on.

    Even when I wear a LOT of makeup, I still look sort of pale and feature-less in my blog photos. This makes me wish I could get face-to-face with an actress on the red carpet— how much makeup are THEY wearing?

  • I don’t wear makeup that often, I like to wear lipstick and lipgloss but thats about it. I do have an eyeliner and eyeshadows which I rarely use, but for going out. I would rather wear concealer under my eyes and some lipgloss than full on makeup and I wear glasses so eyemakeup is limited but I am fine with it. I usually go out without makeup and its not a problem. I’ve accepted that I am plain looking and lots of makeup won’t help. I’d rather look my age than look scary with lots of makeup I don’t need

  • Amy

    I’ve never had a need to wear makeup. I enjoy the thought of wearing it, I buy plenty of it as I love the containers and the prospect of being “prettier”. But I’ve just never had a great relationship with it. I’ve always worn it here and there but rarely do I put makeup on before leaving the house. I’m a shower, get dressed, and roll out the house lucky to not be in my pajamas kind of a girl. I do occasionally put makeup on mid-day or before leaving work if I know I’m going out after. I mainly do spot cover up for any pimples I might have, a little bit of brown or black mascara w/ the occasional shimmery aqua just underneath the outer corners, mascara, and lip gloss or lip stain.

    Part of the issue is I don’t know how to put most makeup on and I feel like a clown and end up rubbing most of it off half of the time. I love mascara but I also have allergies and tend to rub my eyes often- those two things just don’t mix. I dislike makeup only because I feel unfeminine for not wearing it- as though I missed out on some big girlie secret.

    But as much as I sometimes want to wear more makeup at the end of the day I just can’t be bothered, I’d much rather spend my time doing other things! I guess I’m more interested in clothes and hair. Plus in the summer, I prefer going with the natural sun-kissed look of a tan.

    • Jenna

      I agree!

  • Jenna

    I don’t wear makeup unless I am having an evening out. It’s a waste of time. That’s why my skin is so perfect, according to my Dr. I refuse to be tied down to makeup even though I love to wear it,

    • jennie

      i think skin condition is highly genetic and depends on what we eat and drink too. i know people using expensive products to take good care of their skin daily and still cant get rid of acne and/or have wrinkles and whatnot. i was always so lazy with my skin that i feel ashamed, i usually sleep with my make up on, which i know is a pretty bad habit… anyway, ive never had skin problems and i can go out without foundation cos my skin is looks ok as it is. also people assume im much younger than i am.

      so, despite almost daily make up usage since early teens, my skin is fine. i dont think cosmetics automatically affect skin negatively. its highly individual.

  • JusMe

    For a decade or so, I wouldn’t leave the house without makeup. About six months ago, I pared (sp?) down my routine to a primer and BareEscentials powder (sp? again!) and nothing more. My skin has a natural redness to it that I’ve always loathed, but I’ve never felt so liberated! Plus, I’m realizing that my youth is slipping away and I shall embrace my youthfulness while I still have the chance. I think the application and removal of eye makeup might be contributing to wrinkles, so I’ve opted out, for now. For me, I’m just trying to go with as little as possible while I can still get away with it. As teenager, I’ve always wanted to look older, hence, the makeup. Now, I want to look younger, hence, a fresher face. I’ve also gotten to the point of feeling comfortable in my own skin and not wanting to attract any negative male attention. It’s lovely growing older. Ladies, do whatever makes you happy. But do it for YOU. Not anyone else!

  • jennie

    i started wearing make up as a teenager. at times, i even wore way to much for what i now sthink is suitable for that age. i dont think there are rules but an 11 yr old with heavy eyeshadow? and i was the only one in my small school to do that so it wasnt peer pressure. anyway, approaching 20 i had a season (2 years or so) of very senitive eyes. i didnt know if it was mascara or eyeliner, but i couldnt live without either of them so i just tried buying Clinique and all the other supposedly good options for sensitive eyes. none helped. i had allergy tests done. but my eyes remained red, so i used eyedrops on daily basis.

    at some point, my eyes just got better. i hadnt changed anything, i just kept buying and using different brands and products (i was always using several brads, Chanel mascara one day, L’Oreal the other).

    around the same time i had a thing with my eyelids swelling. i tried to imagine i just needed cooling eyegel, a lot of women had ths problem after all, but usually not at age 19… it was clearly an allergy or similar but it too just disappeared ina month or 2. i kept using make up of course because my self image required it somehow.

    i still dodnt know what were those episodes about but im over 30 now and didnt have issues since that time. sometimes the body is a mystery.

    i do think i should have laid off the cosmetics when my face/eyes were telling me so. either way im glad i survived. these days i go out without make occasionally, shopping or so, nearby the flat. i always wear something to work but depending on my mood very little or quite a lot. its always been a way for me to express my feelings, and of course if i feel like, it, i try match colors with my clothes. it makes me feel better.

  • I’m actually going a year without makeup — just chapstick, shaping my eyebrows, some baby powder to absorb the oil (I have skin that gets dry really really easily, and then starts mass-producing oil and causing break-outs), and then I’m good to go until July 30 of 2012. I just got sick of being in the hole.

  • Camilla

    Lauren, that is interesting! Why a year. And what do you think will happen after that year? I have actually experienced that once I stopped wearing the mask of make up that I wore that I feel I look like a clown if I put the amount on that I did before. For me it has been about 6 months almost make up free after more than 2 decades of wearing it.

  • Melinda

    I don’t “need” makeup but it is fun sometimes.

    I wore a lot of it in high school, especially lipstick. Now I’m mostly natural, but I do wear mascara and lip gloss sometimes.

    I don’t need blush because I have naturally pink cheeks. I would never wear foundation. I don’t need powder because my complexion is not shiny.

    The only item that I probably need besides mascara and lip gloss is concealer to help tone down the ruddiness in my skin and to soften the circles around my eyes. That’s about it.

    I’m not as wild about makeup anymore as I was at the age of 16. Now I view it as a way to enhance my beauty instead of as a tool to hide the real me.

    I bought a pink Dior lip gloss at Sephora the other day and I went to Ulta yesterday to check out what they had, too.

    I love makeup but I’m OK with my natural face as well. Despite the redness, my skin is smooth and clear. I have a cute little beauty spot near my mouth. My features aren’t perfect but they are nice.

    Makeup is just fun to me…it’s part of being a woman but it doesn’t define me.

  • Angel

    I started to wear make since i was 15 years old. Before i discovered make-up i was unnoticed by anyone and no one ever told me i was pretty when i started doing make up i started to turn heads then it became a everyday routine and then i started to dye my hair and tatoo my body just to get attraction even more. Now i’ve cut down but i still can’t stop the make up because i became a little over wieght after having a child two years ago i lost self confidence. I have stretch marks on mg belly, arms, tighes, and i can not handle it… What can i do now ? i used think if i don’t wear make up i had the body ! Now its all been taken away i feel fat, doll in the face and stressed πŸ™

  • Melissa

    I am almost 33 years old and have had problematic skin since my teens. Over the years it has actually seemed to be getting worse, mostly breaking out on my chin or the areas near my mouth as well. I absolutely will not leave the house without makeup, in fact I don’t even like my husband or other family members to see me without makeup. Not only is my skin acne prone it is oily and dry, I basically have every combination skin there is. I have tried everything on the market and nothing works. I have tried not wearing makeup(foundation) and my skin seems to break out more, I think my skin is dependant on makeup now and the toxins in the enviroment cause even more harm to my skin. Your skin is perfect compared to mine but I do understand how even just one pimple can really affect you. I have a dermatologist appt in July so I will let all of you know if I find something that works well!!

  • Camilla

    I wrote comments here in July/ August last year and have since then stopped wearing makeup completely. I stopped in November after wearing it since I was 15 and then next 27 years. It took me most of 2011 to get out of what I see now was like a makeup or colour addiction. And it took some time or months since I stopped to get used to seeing my real face without feeling I lacked colour or was pale. I am a natural blonde. My whole view on what is beautiful has changed. I now think that everyone without makeup is already beautiful in showing their real face. Makeup in my opinion gets everyone to look the same, and everyone is already unique and pretty. Skin problems as far as I see have to do with the diet, exercise, and how you live. That is at least my experience.

  • Patty

    I started wearing Makeup When i was 13 i think.
    It was only black Eyeliner and some face powder.
    I started using because I was going to a Beauty school.
    Right now I am 16 years going for 17 and I can’t even leave my house without makeup. I feel sooo Naked with out makeup.
    I Use everything Except Eyeshadow. But right now i go sun burned and i am suffering cause I cannot wear any makeup.
    So because I can’t wear any makeup I am not going out.
    But now because i read this from yu i wil definitely not use alot of makeup anymore. Thank you for posting this. and i hope other people stop wearing alot of makeup. Cause I def. Will not wear alot anymore. =)

  • Elizabeth

    I started wearing makeup in middle school. I was overweight, ugly (or so it seemed because of the cruelty and comments from others toward me, and the influence from family, t.v. and magazines), my hair was puffy, curly and dark and because my father has very Hindu features, I got that light indian female mustache. I remember that the first thing I got was a cheap powder from a dollar store, and I used to pile that on. I slept with it. My room had mirror walls into which I stared in with very low spirits. I remembered the time when I first bought a face cleanser, and all the makeup off. It was amazing, I hadnt seen my completely bare face for a while. But it looked pale and uneven. So the routine remained though constantly evolving. Now a days I look back at family pictures, and I dont think I was ugly at all. Culture makes people have such awful perceptions of themselves.

    Right now Im considering transitioning to very minimal makeup. But my skin has taken a toll. I think that our traditional skincare and cosmetics make skin uglier over time. I think I look older than I am. But better late than never! Im trying to get used to my natural mess of a hair and covering skin just a little with concealer and a bit of shadow eye liner. If cosmetics are making my real skin look worst overtime, then why would I keep at this! hopefully someday I feel comfortable barefaced in public. Im comfortable with myself right now, but only by myself. If I loose my boyfriend because I dont fit the beauty standard so be it! I think I am a beautiful, natural organism and human being. I dont have to cover myself up!

  • Krystal

    Hi, I’m glad you shared your story. I guess I started wearing makeup when I was 13. Before that I had really bushy eyebrows, and got teased in school. But once I plucked them, got contacts, and started wearing makeup, I got a lot more attention. I would walk down the street with my friends and get whistled at. I certainly liked the attention, and still do ( I’m almost 27 now). But, mow my eyebrows ate overtweezed, and my skin looks pale and I look sock without makeup. I almost always have breakouts. I cannot stand to go out without makeup on- I never do. Until a couple days ago. And I must say it’s a vet liberating experience. Because I may not look as “hot” without makeup, but now I know if I get and smiles or attention, it’s because they see my true beauty. I am inspired to wear less makeup, perhaps spend more days without any!

  • Jacqui

    20 years old today, I’ve been slave to skin problems for a good 8 years. As a result of low self-esteem, extreme frustration and developing creativity and ‘style’, there was a point somewhere around the 5 year mark that I decided to try my first dab of foundation. Instant gratification, my inflamed pimple-ridden face disappeared. Admittedly, in hindsight a thick layer of foundation hardly looked much better, but at the time it was like I was a different person. Make up was technically not permitted at school (a private all-girls school.. the epitome of strict teaching..) but nevertheless, girls around me started showing up with a bit of orange colour to their face, or some dark lines around their eyes. Young, naive and desperate to feel some confidence in myself next to crowds of blemish-free teenage girls, I feel into the routine: Foundation every day, and at least some mascara or a streak of eyeliner.

    To this day, still dealing with the same skin problems, I’m dependent on my morning make up routine. Even when staying the night at my boyfriend’s place, I refuse to take off my foundation before bed. I’ve developed the idea that I -NEED- to uphold this image of myself, as though the make up is just another layer of skin, and no one can see me without it.

    I regret falling into this dependent relationship with make up, and hope that I’ll finally get the courage to go all natural all day, every day.

  • Harlequin

    I’m one of those girls that wouldn’t take a step into sunlight without makeup, even on the beach. I used to play “makeover” with friends in middle-school when we would pull out a box filled with an array of old eye-shadow, blush, lipstick, and nail-polish and apply it appropriately on the “customer.” Usually the cosmetics were washed away after playtime, but there were days we would go out for ice-cream or to the mall with peacock eyes and lips the shade of cherry lollipops. Oddly enough, many women and men would stop to look; not in disgust but in absolute adoration and awe. I remember sitting in a chair waiting for my mother to try on clothes and a store clerk that noticed me earlier admitted that she was staring because she thought I was gorgeous. Of course I accepted the compliment with a bashful smile, but back then, makeup wasn’t about beauty. It was about creativity and having fun. That image was rubbed out like mascara on a rainy day once acne decided to show its face. Maybe I should say its white head. I fell into a nasty cycle of covering blemishes with concealer and foundation to improve my appearance only to find a gradual increase of pimples and mild bumps across my forehead. Now in my twenties, the acne has improved with the use of hormones (birth control). My skin still looks rough and possibly scarred so I doubt I will ever give up foundation. As for eyeshadow, blush and lipstick, I don’t see these enhancers negatively as they’ve never caused rashes or blemishes. I just wish that’s all I had to use.

  • kim

    I started wearing makeup in the begining of 8th grade . The only makeup i wore at the time was mascara. I loved the way my eyelashes looked. There would be days where i would go to school without wearinh it but it never bostherd me. Wheb i was in 9th grade i started to wear eyeliner plus mascara. I would everyday. Whenever i wouldnt wear it i felt naked. Now im in 10 grade & i wear foundation, mascara, eyeliner, plus blush. I could never go to with out make up now. I just look pale & weird. Im afraid of what people would say. Im trying to wear less make up now & little by little im going to eliminate some of the products i wear.

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  • Christy

    I started wearing makeup when I was about 11 years old, and for me, that wasn’t soon enough. I have always wanted to be pretty. I wanted dark eyebrows and long lashes and beautiful skin. And I didn’t have any of that. I was never considered pretty as a child. I was pale and had blonde eyebrows and very akward frizzy hair. I was even called ugly by boys. So for me, makeup was a way for me to completely change my face from ugly to pretty. I went all out: foundation, powder, blush, eyebrow pencil, eye shadow, eyeliner, and mascara. The only thing I left bare was the lips. And you know what happened? I got compliments. And people said I was pretty. And it worked for me…

    Now I have a lot more self-esteem and realize that I had a less-than confidence-boosting childhood. I am trying to gradually cut down my makeup use, and it’s hard. I get compliments all the time at work about how I apply my makeup and how my eyeshadow always looks so good. But I want to get those kind of compliments without being so fake. It’s just so hard. No one sees me without makeup. Not my family. Not my boyfriend. Not my friends. I even sleep in my mascara because I feel so ugly without it. I think this is going to be a long hard road for me, and it’s going to take a lot of loving self-talk for me to be able to accept my face for what it really is, and not the illusion I have created. the step I’m working on now is wearing less foundation. I know this sounds like I’m not putting in the effort, but this week I’m going from only wearing foundation on my cheeks, and skipping it on my forehead, nose, chin. May be a small change, but even this is bringing on some stress…

    This makeup thing is a big deal. It goes so much deeper than most think. I’m wishing myself luck in all this. Oof.