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What I’ve learned from not wearing makeup for two years


Have you ever bumped into a woman who’s done up from H2T and wondered how long it must take to maintain her beauty routine? I can tell you: a long effing time. I used to be one of them, and while on the outside I looked like I had my shit together, on the inside I was all wired and twitchy (like Sylvester when he thought he ate Tweety). When I actually took the time to think about it, I couldn’t figure out why I was being so strict with my appearance — and decided to go on a beauty hiatus.

It’s been two years since I last put on a lick of makeup, and here’s what I’ve learned from the experience:

1. There was a face under all the makeup

And it was a very tired one. I’d been focusing so much on my exterior look that my skin had been heavily neglected for at least a decade. Underneath my faux glow was a pale, pasty, droopy looking mug. Ever since, I’ve been working hard on maintaining a skin care routine and healthy eating habits so I can have a natural glow that doesn’t involve a makeup brush. You know what’s better than skin that looks healthy? Skin that actually is.

2. It’s really easy to complicate beauty

I used to practically foam at the mouth every time I saw a new mascara commercial. It’s super easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of it all, committing yourself to ridiculous, time-consuming beauty routines that you don’t really need. Having a grip on your personal style (which I finally have thanks to this hiatus) makes it easier not to get carried away.

What I’ve learned from not wearing makeup for two years

3. Makeup is supposed to be fun!

I’m not sure when I forgot this insanely important fact, but I think that was the beginning of the end for me. Makeup is supposed to be a form of self-expression, not a necessity. Somewhere along the way, many of us started to believe we weren’t whole women without our beauty routine in the morning… and at lunch… and during every bathroom break at work… then of course, there’s the whole, day-to-night makeup transformation that just has to take place.

Sigh. You probably want to have a nap just thinking about it, but then you’d have to wash off your makeup and put it back on post-nap. Sigh squared.

4. I have so much more time on my hands

When I took makeup out of the equation, this also led to looking in the mirror less. I focus more on what I want to accomplish and less on what I look like accomplishing it. Every day I feel more at ease, and I’m becoming a more natural me.

5. Makeup is effing expensive

My bank account finally came out of overdraft when I tossed my makeup bag. I could probably go on vacation with all the money I’ve saved by skipping the cosmetic aisle of the drug store.

6. I can cry without having to chisel mascara off my face afterward

Seriously, this is the best.

7. You don’t need as much makeup as you think

I used to use makeup to cover up under eye circles, puffiness and general exhaustion. Because I finally have my big girl pants on and am focusing on skin care and health, makeup will only be necessary if I want to enhance my features (or have a little fun — see below). Less is always more.

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