Lesson for My Future Daughter: Love Your Face… Without Makeup

January 20, 2012  |  


Source: Shutterstock

Thanks to good genes and parents who understood the value of self-confidence, I always held my physical beauty in high regard. As a child and even today, I can’t pass a mirror or any reflective surface without glancing in it.  Some would call this behavior vain. I’d say I simply have an appreciation for aesthetically pleasing things and my face happens to be one of them.

Naturally, I always knew that my face wasn’t the best thing about me as a person and eventually I learned that everyone wouldn’t share the same passion I had for my looks. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. But it was cool, I still dug me.

The love affair I had with my face only grew once I started experimenting with makeup. My eyes popped with mascara and eye liner, nobody could tell me that my lips didn’t look especially luscious once they were outlined with a pencil and the mirror and I solidified our bond once my mother started plucking my eyebrows.

I loved my new look! Although I could certainly appreciate the benefits of makeup, I didn’t dive in completely and recklessly. For one, I already loved my natural face but I also feared that I’d become one of those women who appears virtually unrecognizable without the presence of her beauty enhancements.

So while I didn’t wear a full face of makeup every day, it was rare that I went to school without a coat of mascara, some lip gloss and of course my beloved lip liner. (I’ll admit sometimes I went too far with that.)

By the time I got to college, I was too busy trying to get to class on time to be bothered with my mini make up routine. Mascara was reserved for special occasions.  But it was no thang, I still liked and loved my look.

It wasn’t until I graduated from college and started working my first little temp job that I started relying on makeup. Wanting to be taken seriously as an adult and constantly being mistaken for a high school student, it was important that I look the part. For the first time in my life, I was applying makeup religiously, every morning before I left for work and frequently on the weekends. I even started adding blush and bronzer to my once simplistic regimen.

I beat my face every morning but I really wasn’t a fan of the whole process. Fed up, I made a decision that I was going to go a day without it. I went to the bathroom, showered, washed my face, brushed my teeth, did my hair and looked in the mirror, underwhelmed at the sight.

For the first time in my life, the mirror, my friend wasn’t showing me what I expected to see. Suddenly, the beauty I’d always seen wasn’t so impressive. My face looked ordinary, washed out, drab even.

Realizing that this wouldn’t do, I applied some mascara, called it a morning and went back to makeup regimen. A few weeks later, sick again of the process, I attempted to try my original resolution again. No makeup.

Again the mirror wasn’t showing me the image we had agreed upon, but I vowed that I was going to go without, no matter how much the face in the mirror was disappointing me.

So I did. That day and the day after. For a week and then two.

Sometime in that two week stretch I saw my face again, the beautiful face I’d known my whole life.

Through that whole ordeal I learned a value lesson: never rely on makeup to create the beauty you, I, we naturally possess.

No, I haven’t sworn off makeup completely. I still like to enhance my face, like I did in high school. But when I don’t feel like applying makeup before I go to work, I don’t. Even if I wouldn’t necessarily mind putting on a little something extra in the morning, sometimes I go without,  just so I don’t lose sight of what’s been there all along.

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  • anon

    I pick my face. When I was 11, I began getting gigantic cystic acne after already being diagnosed with diabetes and losing somebody very close to me during the same year. So, at night I would lay in bed, usually crying and unable to sleep, and picking the cysts on my forehead would help me fall asleep. I knew it was wrong and disgusting, and I did EVERYTHING to try and stop it. I’m 21 now and my dermatologist has stopped 90% of my new acne. Still, another loss in my life made me return to the habit and although a very wonderful facialist told me that if I stopped touching my face for 7 years, the new skin would be so much more beautiful… I find it impossible to COMPLETELY stop.
    So, I wear makeup. If I am around people that I want to take me seriously in any sense of the word, I at least have foundation on.
    But I can now roll out of bed around family (extended I mean) and friends and joke around with them with out it on. I even went out for breakfast with out it on.
    I see glaring scars, redness and painful memories. They just see me looking a little ‘different’ but still the same person, and my cousin recently told me she genuinely prefers me with out eyeliner… so I try to just stick to repairing my skin naturally and with makeup.
    Bottom line: Don’t judge a girl for her makeup. OJ Simpson’s wife was a terrible chronic skin picker as well, and I hate to say it but look what kind of things she went through in her life. 🙁

    She also hid it extremely well (like I mostly do).

  • Pingback: Simplifying Your Beauty Routine « Slow Paced (Living) in the United States()



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  • LissaC

    I thought this piece was going to be about something else completely, I’m still not sure if I understand they way the author was meaning to write this piece.
    I think all women go thru stages of wearing and not wearing make up. I think when we do put make up it is to enhance something about our features or to cover something. However, I think the point was missed, we should love our face. Every mark, scar, or in my case mole but it is what god gave us.
    One good thing about the article is she said the mirror was her friend, we as women should look in everyday say our face “I love you” with or without make.
    I make sure to teach my niece everyday she is beautiful, so when she looks in the make mirror she will lover herself. It’s so much more then makeup!!!!

  • MissK

    Very well said – I can identify completely.  I feel like I’ve completed a makeup AA program by saying that I’ve been makeup-free for 7 months! lol I love those days when I feel so pretty I can’t believe I’ve got no makeup on 🙂

  • Gmarie

    I LOVE makeup-somewhat an addict, but this is a great article. With me makeup is all about having fun with reinventing your look. But I always stress  to other women the importance of taking care of and improving your natural skin via diet, or everyday regimen. a glowing fresh face can at times be just as mind blowing as professionally applied makeup. and god knows these california summer’s can be too much to bare with a face full of paint

  • Zim

    Again, there’s no need to justify to people why you or anyone else wear make-up. Trust me when I say you won’t change the minds of people who need to feel superior to you.
    All is vanity. (Yes, it is vanity to think you are superior to someone because you don’t wear make-up and they do!) We are all vain in some way about something. Now you go do you.

    • Zim

      Ch, my comment above was in response to your post. Sorry, I flipped the page and lost the connection.

  • ch

    Makeup is just a choice for most women and that’s okay.
    For others,it’s a necessary cover to face the world.When you have scars from hirsutism,acne and other problems, it makes you feel bad about yourself and how people look at you.Or their remarks even if they mean well.
    It’s not vanity.It’s about your self-esteem and confidence and all the skin care and specialist treatments don’t always work.Nor can everyone afford cosmetic surgery.
    So we can’t all wash and wear our natural faces. Even if we want to.

  • Smacks_hoes

    I only wear concealer on my acne scars and a little foundation sometimes but rarely! I’m more focused on improving my own skin so I Dnt have to wear foundation at all. You’ll nvr catch me with a caked on face

    • Love_Sexy

      I agree 100%.

  • Love_Sexy

    I only use a dab of concealer in few spots, little mascara and a lip gloss… Sometimes on special occassions I use eye shadow …I believe in focusing on your skin to keep it in good conditionn …..Something about makeup when used everyday its start to change a person’s skin and appearance in their face………..JMO!

  • i dont wear make up, the closest ive gotten was struggling to apply mascara a few months ago.

  • Miss_Understood

    I like my bare face, natural hair, etc. For me makeup is like art, I was always playing in my mother’s and sister’s makeup bags and a part of me dreams of being a celebrity makeup artist.

    Makeup isn’t for everyone, I just hate when people assume I wear makeup because I’m trying to hide something. No, I don’t have acne, scars, uneven skin tone or whatever either, I just love “girly” stuff:)

    • Zim

      ummm. Sometimes I wonder if black women have a problem with other black women wearing makeup! And the ones who comment negatively on it are the same ones who won’t go out with “nappy hair!” Figure that one out!

      Why do sisters feel they have to justify to other sisters their use of makeup?!?!?
      Why do we seem more judgmental about a made-up face, than relaxed hair?

      Talk about that, Madame Noire!

      • Kori

        U aint Never lied girl! LOL..

      • GUEST

        I have heard so many black women bragg about not wearing makeup. At the same time, they mostly had a plain style. I’m like this, If Halle Berry wears makeup to beautify herself, I know I could use a little something!

    • StarFruit

      Me too!

    • GUEST

      I totally agree that makeup is one of those things that make you feel girly. I have always loved makeup, but I find that a lot of black women don’t like it or wear it. I’m black, by the way.