As someone who has problematic skin, makeup feels like some sort of double-edged sword: it makes me feel more confident but at my skin’s expense.
Growing up with strict parents, I was never allowed to experiment with products (I couldn’t even paint my nails until I was in seventh grade in middle school). I would always watch my mom in awe as she applied lipstick or some dust thing on her face (I later learned that it was powder foundation). Sometimes I’d sneak around and play with my mom’s makeup and smear eyeshadow onto places where eyeshadow didn’t belong. I was always fascinated at how these simple products could transform women into such beautiful people but I knew that I wouldn’t have that luxury.
It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school when I started wearing makeup. Disastrous is one word to describe it. The only makeup I wore was eyeliner and I had no clue what I was doing. I had a mental image of how my friends did their makeup and tried to replicate it. “It looks like it’s all over her eyelid” was what I thought so that’s what I did: I took my kohl eyeliner and colored in the entirety of my eyelid. I thought I looked decent until one of my guy friends (who was cute, I might note) commented: “You look like a cheap girl worth ten cents.” That was it. I wouldn’t wear eyeliner for another six months.
My confidence in makeup was diminished for a while until I found YouTube tutorials and experimented at home. I started using a pencil liner and worked my way up to a felt tip liner. I remember the exact moment when makeup made me feel pretty: It was halfway through my sophomore year when a junior boy told me I had really nice wings and looked cute. Since that moment, I’ve been wearing makeup almost every day.
It’s been over five years and my makeup collection has expanded. I wanted to buy so many products to help build my confidence, as well as mask the acne that formed alongside: color correcting sticks to neutralize the dark and red spots; foundations containing salicylic acid to help my skin; concealers to hide the bumps that were just a bit tougher to get rid of. I began to use makeup as a way to mask my appearance rather than enhance it. But I’m fed up with it.
I want to detoxify my skin from all the chemicals I pound onto it every day; I want to feel the confidence I used to feel without eyeliner and concealers. That’s why I decided to do a 30 Day No Make Up Challenge. It’s already been a few days and I have to admit that it’s scary and intimidating to go outside where everyone can see your bare face, acne and all. But I know that it will all be worth it in the end.