About a year ago, I stopped wearing makeup.
It wasn’t so much a declaration, or even a conscious decision – it just sort of…happened.
For years prior to me giving up my mascara and eyebrow filler, my husband always told me that his favorite version of me was “Festival Chelsea.”
This meant the Chelsea who camped in the heat of summer for 4+ days, with no shower, head wraps and absolutely no makeup (unless face paint counts). The Chelsea who was dressed in a maxi skirt and bathing suit top, and snuck in deodorant refreshers between shows.
I could never, ever understand this. First of all, I’ve always had a complex about my hair looking greasy. And as a woman, I didn’t feel complete without “putting my face on.”
In fact, I would typically spend over an hour a day showering, finding an outfit, doing my hair and putting makeup on before we left the house for even the most casual of Sunday brunches.
The process was exhausting, and I’m sure my dude wasn’t too excited about waiting around for me when he was ready to eat some tacos.
It wasn’t until I started feeling better about myself that I gradually started to leave the house with less and less makeup on. Let me explain:
Last year, I decided to make a decision that eventually changed my life for good, and for the better. I started losing weight, wearing clothes that actually represented me as a person – I was even treating myself to sporadic spray tans, and maybe even a pedicure sprinkled in every now and then.
In short, I was taking care of myself.
Eventually, I realized that when I started to feel better about myself, I started to be less and less worried about incorporating a beauty routine that took me further and further from my natural self.
And when I stopped caking the makeup on, some AMAZING things happened:
People started to notice
And not in a bad way. When I went bare faced, I heard comments like, “you’re glowing!” and “your skin is amazing!” and “your eyelashes are so long!” The last one was a particular surprise, because I was SO WORRIED that without my mascara, no one would be able to notice my long, voluptuous eyelashes. Man, was I wrong. I felt like people were actually complimenting me, not the painted on version of me. And it felt damn good.
My face stopped breaking out
While I’ve never been one to break out horribly or have to deal with things like cystic acne, I noticed small pimples pop up on the daily. That was, in part, because I always fell victim to falling asleep with my makeup on and never really properly washed it off. But I also knew I wasn’t doing my skin any favors by clogging up my pores with foundation and blush, and never giving it room to breathe. Of course a pimple would pop out here and there if I ate some greasy food, but for as quickly as it showed up, it vanished. Hooray for the bare face remedy!
I felt comfortable in my own skin
Strangely, when I put so much work into covering up, I always felt like I couldn’t cover up ENOUGH. I was constantly worried that I didn’t mix my foundation into my skin well enough, or my eyelashes had clumped together, or my face was a different color than my neck. When I stopped wearing makeup, I didn’t have to worry that something was wrong with my face because, well….it was just my face.
I saved money
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but makeup is EXPENSIVE; especially if you want to buy cruelty-free makeup. The makeup industry is huge, and I never realized how much of my hard-earned money went to making myself look like a different person.
I took care of my skin, instead of covering it up
My skin care routine improved drastically when I decided to put down the blush brush! I made it a point to wash my face in the morning and at night. I started using cucumber slices on my eyes to get rid of dark circles instead of under-eye cream. I moisturized daily and even treated myself to a facial once in a while. I felt more connected with taking care of the face I was given, instead of covering up its blemishes.
Actually wearing makeup became a special occasion
Now, when I have a wedding to go to or a very special occasion to dress up for, I put on some mascara and eyebrow filler…and feel like a freaking runway model. Don’t get me wrong – I can definitely understand why people love makeup so much. It makes people look and feel beautiful, gives people a reason to be artistic every single day, and can actually create a fascinating transformation when you know what you’re doing. Personally, though, I’d rather save the (very) little bit of makeup I wear in a given year for a special occasion to make me feel really, well, special.
My husband loved it
My Festival Chelsea-loving husband 100% approves of my free face, and still tells me how beautiful I look quite regularly. Plus, my daily routine no longer holds him up when he’s ready to eat tacos or go on an adventure, so why wouldn’t he love it?! Honestly though, my hubby never makes me feel anything less than beautiful (which is a stellar trait to find in a partner), with or without makeup on.
I felt more feminine
I know, weird – right? You’d think MORE makeup would make me feel MORE feminine and lady-like because, well…lip gloss. But I’ve strangely found the opposite to be true since going bare-faced. The eyelashes I was so scared would be unnoticeable without mascara are now perfect frames for my eyes. The blush that I used to need to give my skin color is now totally unnecessary because of the healthy foods I eat that give me color naturally. It’s like I wake up (most) every morning and think, “I am woman, hear me roar!” because I was able to show the world my true self.
I felt healthier
I know that some brands are making the switch to cruelty-free and more “natural” products, but the truth is, unless you make your makeup yourself…you have no idea what icky chemicals are lurking around. The same goes for brushes – those puppies hold loads of bacteria. And have you ever experienced what happens when you wear mascara that’s too old? YIKES. Now, this isn’t meant to scare people away from cosmetics for good – like I said, there are plenty of more “natural” products out there that you can switch to, there are ways to clean your makeup brushes properly, and you can always go buy new mascara on the regular. But, next time your mascara is about to expire, maybe consider not buying that new tube and letting those lashes go free!
I have personally loved flaunting my makeup-free face for the world to see. It’s a very empowering feeling to wake up and be unapologetically YOU – not afraid of what the world thinks.
Are there days that I feel like I would look WAY better with some under eye concealer and bronzer? Heck yeah! I wouldn’t be human if bits of insecurity about my bare face didn’t creep in. But like just about anything else – the more you DO it, the more you LOVE it!
Will I ever get into contouring and microblading? Probably not. (But MAN, the people who can do it are impressive!)
Finding what makes you happiest is most important – and for me, that’s my bare, beautiful, untouched and uncovered face! Give it a try; you may be surprised by how much you love it.
Light, love and free faces,