On Makeup

One of the bloggers I recently began following, Beauty on a Budget, shared this post about her makeup story.  I’ve always thought about doing one like that, so here we are!

I had just started my freshman year of high school when I first started wearing makeup.  I had never really thought about it before then, but I started to notice other girls wearing makeup around the time my acne started to get bad.  I had bad self-confidence throughout middle school and high school, and felt that a covering of foundation might help me feel prettier.

I was afraid my parents wouldn’t want to let me wear it.  I hadn’t been allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 13, even though I had been asking since I was 8.  Plus, my mom had discouraged me from shaving my legs in middle school, wanting me to hold onto childhood as long as possible.  Clothes were also a battle — what I thought was cute was often deemed too immodest.  Now, I realize that they were simply trying to keep me innocent, and focused more on education and skills than appearance.  But back then it sometimes just felt like they were trying to ruin my life and keep me as frumpy as possible.

That’s why I was completely shocked when my mom responded well to my makeup request.  I knew she got her makeup from a Mary Kay lady from our church, and I knew nothing about makeup, so I resolved to ask my mom if she could give me a makeover.  I brought it up one morning as she was driving my siblings and I to co-op.  I had braced myself for a persuasive conversation at best, but she immediately came back with a peppy, “Okay.”

So a couple weeks later I got my Mary Kay makeover.  My mom and sister went with me, and the woman did a good job of keeping it minimal but grown-up.  I really enjoyed having my makeup done for the first time ever, and I ended up with some basics — mineral foundation, eye shadow, mascara, and lip gloss.  The woman coached me through the application of all of it, and when I got home I took several selfies, enjoying how grown-up and polished I looked.

I wore that same look every day for a long time.  It took me awhile to learn that blending is important, but other than that, it was an easy look for me.  It worked.  I added a few more eye shadow colors to my collection and used an eyeliner pencil on occasion.  I switched from powder foundation to a liquid — my flute has a solid silver head, and the silver would react with the minerals in my makeup, giving me a black line under my bottom lip after every lesson, practice session, and band rehearsal.  What didn’t change was that I wore makeup every time I left the house.  Going without makeup made me feel exposed.

Once I got to college, though, it was impossible to wear it all the time.  I lived in the dorms, so I was hanging out with people at all hours, especially after I had taken off my makeup at night.  The first semester of college was amazing for me, mostly because I finally found out what it meant to have real friends that I got to see every day, through the good and the bad.  But also because I realized that my friends treated me the same whether or not I was wearing makeup, and that was huge.  I became much more comfortable with myself because of that.

Also, on the day I met the man I’m now dating, I thought I looked like crap.  I had on a ratty t-shirt and yoga pants, and more importantly, no makeup.  I was hanging out with some friends in the study room in my dorm, and was sent downstairs to let in a guy who was going to join us.  That night, four of us stayed up till 3 am goofing off and going to Waffle House and watching movies, and that was when my now-boyfriend decided he liked me, even though I looked like crap.  That did wonders for my self-esteem.

Since then, I’ve become much more lax about makeup.  I still wear it most days, because I feel more confident with it on.  But if I run out of time in the morning (or just forget), I don’t worry about it anymore.  I don’t bother to pack foundation and apply it in the bathroom, because it doesn’t matter.  Makeup won’t ever hide the fact that my skin is not perfect, and that’s not really what people care about, anyway.

Now, I have a mild interest in learning how to apply it better.  One of my friends is great at makeup, and I’ve considered asking her to show me some things, like how to really use my makeup brushes.  But learning how to do makeup is expensive and time consuming.  Also, I am a bit afraid that if I learn to do makeup well, I’ll fall back into the high school mentality of hating my face without it.  So I’m not sure if it’s worth it.  As much as I’d love looking like a makeup model, it’s entwined in a lot of self-love issues for me.  But that’s definitely something I’m working on overcoming, so who knows what my makeup future holds!

Everyday look – minimal and subtle


  1. Fantastic post, really underlines the reality of wearing makeup – we all start off without a clue and once we get into it, we forget to wear it!

  2. This was a great read! And I’ve also found that the more I wear makeup, the harder it is to go out without it. But I force myself to take breaks and don’t usually wear any if I’m just running errands. And it helps that my boyfriend and friends love me with or without it!

  3. What’s interesting is I think we feel most vulnerable in our teen years, so we try to cover ourselves physically. I was the same way in high school and going into college. But in college is when I learned who I was beyond the superficial and felt more comfortable in my own skin without any makeup.

  4. I love it! I really enjoyed reading your journey and so glad you decided to post it. I love putting on makeup but I also enjoy makeup free days too!

    • Thank you for being the inspiration! Also, I’m wearing the bright pink maybelline lipstick you posted about the other day and I’ve gotten several compliments on it. I never would’ve tried it if it weren’t for your post so thanks!

  5. I really enjoyed reading this! I can relate, at times I’ve felt like makeup is part of my identity. Now I’m at a point where I feel good going out without makeup. It’s a very free feeling!

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