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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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