7 Days of wearing makeup brought me back to life

Oct 6, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. ET
Image: Tetra Images/Getty Images

When I was a little girl, I used to sit at the end of my mother's bed, watching as she put the mascara wand to her eyes and I'd mimic her motions with my fingers. There was something magical in watching my mother's daily routine — a symbol of womanhood I couldn't wait to reach.

When I was 16 years old, before running to catch the school bus, I would apply a small coat of mascara and I continued this routine all through high school. As I entered college, I started to experiment with more makeup; foundations, powders, lipstick, blush, and I grew to really love the daily routine of applying makeup and trying new looks.

Then, I had my first child.

The routine change was drastic, as any new parent knows. I had swapped out office clothes for dirty yoga pants and my daily morning routine of putting makeup on went out the window.

Since then, eight years later and with four children, my morning routine hasn't changed much. I roll out of bed after another sleepless night trying to fight my 8-month-old to sleep, dirty yoga pants and a gray T-shirt are my new work-from-home uniform, and my face remains natural — makeup free.

My husband and children expect to see me this way, but lately, when I look in the mirror, I wonder what happened to that young woman from many years ago. Was that person who loved taking a few minutes to put on her favorite mascara still me?

At a time where the #NoMakeupSelfie has taken over social media with everyone from Kim Kardashian to Demi Lovato sharing their bare faces, my desire to paint my face seemed like the opposite of a positive movement. My #NoMakeupSelfie had become the norm in my life and I was growing tired of using my parenting as an excuse to stop doing something that legitimately used to make me happy.

As a mother to four children, I wasn't sure how I was going to find the time or if it was going to be more work than it was worth, but I went all in anyway.

What I learned when I wore makeup for a week 1

For one week, I woke up 30 minutes earlier, which wasn't easy when sleep was rare, and I dug through my neglected makeup bag. I still wore the same dirty yoga pants and gray T-shirt, but foundation, concealer, blush and mascara turned my tired face into one I remember seeing so many years ago.

I continued this new routine for seven days, expecting to give up after realizing the time loss on sleep wasn't worth the mascara, but, to my surprise, that's not what happened. As I woke each morning, I looked forward to getting up a little bit earlier and enjoyed the new routine of rifling through my makeup bag to try something a little different.

What I learned when I wore makeup for a week 2

I still wore the same tired yoga pants and stretched out gray shirt day after day, but my attitude was no longer the same. I didn't look as tired thanks to concealer and color-corrected foundation and by looking less tired, I felt more recharged. I was even able to take my coffee habit down to two cups a day from three.

I found myself in a much better mood, had a more positive outlook and handled the everyday stresses with more ease. I smiled more and in turn, received more smiles from strangers as I shopped with my kids at the grocery store. Happy breeds happiness.

It turns out, applying makeup was more than just conforming to the beauty standards of our society for me and it was more about showing myself some self-care and love.

What I learned when I wore makeup for a week 3

By taking just 30 minutes for myself in the morning, I was able to reconnect with me. It gave me a new perspective that showed me the beauty in the new lines on my face, and, most of all, I was able to rediscover the passion I had when makeup was an everyday, mundane part of my daily routine.

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