I first want to apologize for my lack of contributions to the site as of late. Anyone else notice their lives becoming more hectic and feeling less motivated around the holiday season? That’s exactly where I’ve been the past few weeks. Buuuuuut…I’m back and I have an amazing story to share! Recently a dear friend (and sorority sister) reached out to me and shared details about her decision to go makeup free, due to some concerns about her skin. Today I want to celebrate Heather’s journey toward self-love. Her story below…
I stopped wearing makeup full time back in April, around the same time that I quit my job as a Beauty Advisor for a major cosmetics brand. This is no coincidence; being forced to wear a full face of makeup every day really made me start to hate makeup. I thought I was just going to take a week off from my normal routine to let my skin feel fresh air for the first time in months and perhaps recover some of its vitality. I’ve always believed that fresh air is the best medicine for anything that ails you. During those first few days, I felt extremely vulnerable. I have adult acne, blotchy red skin, and very light eyelashes, and man, did I really start to notice. I did not feel pretty and I had a hard time looking people in the eye. To be fair, this wasn’t far off from how I acted before I forwent makeup. I’ve always been very self conscious.
I assumed that makeup was the cause of my acne and that it would clear up if I continued to refrain from wearing any. It also didn’t hurt that I got to sleep in a few extra minutes every day, and I saved tons of money . So I decided to go bare-face for the foreseeable future. I figured, everyone always says that things have to get worse before they can get better. And, if I just push through for a few weeks, I’ll come out on the other side in a plush, green field with a smooth complexion. I’ll be happy. Maybe my eyelashes will grow too.
I became obsessed with my skin, watching the ebb and flow of my acne cycle, incessantly picking at my face, and researching every “fix it” solution I could find. Eventually, this stressful routine exhausted me enough that I gave up and just stared at myself every morning. Quickly, I noticed that when I stopped using makeup to cover up my problems, I could identify exactly what those problems were. I actually paid attention to cause and effect. I realized that my skin looked bad when I felt bad- when I was sad, my skin looked gray, when I ate terribly, my skin felt oily, and when I felt stressed, my skin literally hurt. On the flipside, when I felt happy, my skin glowed, when I was relaxed it felt fresh, and when I ate right, my skin just felt like skin. Let me tell you, hydration, sleep, and leafy greens are definitely miracle workers. Sometimes you just can’t fight the sad though- in those times, I drink a glass of O.J. and move on!
After a while, I stopped fretting over how people would judge my bare face. You could say it was a concerted effort, but I’m pretty sure I just grew tired of my own self-obsessed shit. This is my face, it’s a representation of me, it’s mine. I am a person who runs the gamut of human emotions and sometimes I just want a piece of cake! And my face is going to let you know it!
After I got used to my reflection sans makeup, I started to feel pretty again, pointing out features I’ve hidden since I was about thirteen. Did you know that my eyes are actually mostly green with a brown ring in the middle that dominates from far away? Did you know that I have the cutest freckle on the tip of my nose? Have you ever seen the slight pink rise in my cheeks when I’m flushed with excitement? I didn’t either. Turns out, I was accidentally masking some of my best features, pieces of who I am, for fear that people would, I don’t know, notice me?
Also, I felt damn beautiful when a breeze would blow by and caress my bare cheeks. It didn’t matter if I had cystic pimples peppering the hollow of my cheeks, or tiny blackheads dotting my t-zone. *Ahem*, I definitely noticed that they were there, I just didn’t give a fuck anymore. Once I stopped fearing how people were going to respond to my face, I felt like I could actually face them. Once I stopped caring what my face looked like to other people, I stopped caring what the rest of me looked like too. I bought a bikini this summer AND wore it out in public! Say what!!
And once I stopped caring what people thought about my appearance, the more room there was in my brain to share my actual thoughts… out loud. Turns out, I’m pretty funny when I let my guard down. Now I feel most pretty when I’m laughing, usually at myself, with other people around, which really has nothing to do with appearance at all- thank God. Even my Instagram has started to reflect more of my personality. I like to share things that other people might find relatable- like a video of me screaming in my car in frustration at the election, or a picture of the ridiculous looking outfit I wore last Sunday. I knew I was hiding my imperfections when I wore makeup but I didn’t realize just how deeply I was hiding who I was. To be fair, I still wear makeup sometimes. I love makeup, I’m just not using it as a shield to hide from the world anymore, “and,” in the words of Robert Frost, “that has made all the difference.”
Oh, and P.S, my eyelashes, to my knowledge, did not get any longer or fuller. But who cares, amiright?
This woman inspires me constantly. She’s incredibly intelligent, self-aware, compassionate and hilarious. And I mean come on….look at this babe!
I hope Heather’s story has inspired you to ensure your health is a priority, and it encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone. It’s there that the largest surprises await us.
Wishing you all a week filled with bold confidence and spirit. Remember to be true to yourself, and as always, be good and do good.
Thanks for reading loves!!