I'm Finally OK With My Makeup-Free Face

It's an event nearly 15 years in the making.
Publish date:
August 3, 2016
no makeup, Self-esteem

I did something crazy last month. It was so out of the ordinary for me that I was a little taken aback by it, if we’re being honest — and since this is xoVain, honesty’s the name of the game.

I left my house, willingly, without any makeup on at all.

Like, no makeup. No concealer. No eyebrow powder. No red lipstick. Nothing. (Perfume doesn’t count as makeup.) Just me, my skin, and some moisturizer with SPF, because I’m a big girl who wants to protect her face from UV rays.

This is a fairly big deal for me, a girl who loves makeup, loves the ritual of doing up her face, loves playing with products to hide imperfections and spotlight my best features. I wouldn’t be writing for a beauty site if I didn’t love makeup. I've been wearing makeup on the reg since I was about 13.

But the thing is, I was borderline terrified of showing the world my face without makeup. I used to wait until the very last second before falling asleep to jump out of boyfriends’ beds and wash my face quickly, because I was freaked out that they’d see my acne scars and my patchy eyebrows and not love me anymore. I know that’s ridiculous! I’d buy mineral makeup because you could sleep in it. I was bonkers, and I knew it.

I’ve tried everything, beauty-wise. I’ve had hair extensions, lip injections, long-ass acrylic nails, eyelash extensions, and nearly every hair color under the sun. I have so much fun experimenting with beauty that I sometimes forget that I can easily get lost in all its facets. I talk about wanting a nose job so I can look like that one Snapchat filter, email my doctor about lasers and resurfacing, bleach my roots every eight weeks. I do these things because I’m interested in the powers of transformation, but sometimes I forget that you gotta scrub it all off and just go natural every once in a while.

People always ask if I use makeup as a mask, and I always say no. I don’t think I’m hiding behind foundation and lipstick at all; it’s more like a security blanket I want to tote along everywhere, not like a disguise. I’m me whether I have a full face of makeup on or not, and I can’t run from that. I learned a long time ago that changing your hair color won’t make a boy want you back, and that a $25 lipstick isn’t going to fix your bad day.

So I started trying “No Makeup Mondays” whenever I could. I’m cheating a little because I do still have eyelash extensions, but I’m pretty pleased with the way I look sans those, too.

I’m finally, finally OK with my face as it is.

What changed? Well, for one, age. I’m almost 29, and that whole mantra of, “You give fewer f*cks when you get older” is true. When I was younger, I was fixated on the idea that everyone I passed on the street was staring at me and looking for flaws. Now, I know that’s not true. Everyone’s staring at their phones, and if they are looking at me, they’re probably looking at my loud red lipstick and not the wrinkles in my forehead.

Finally committing to a skincare routine helped, too, as did finally ponying up for a dermatologist visit and a spironolactone prescription. I figured out what worked for my skin, what triggered breakouts (um, weekends of pasta salad and wine only?) and just how many times I could do a gentle chemical peel before all hell broke loose on my complexion.

On the whole, I’ve been focusing on being a more chill person. Sometimes I think my preferred state of being is “worried,” and that’s not cool. It’s not good for my blood pressure, for my sleep schedule, or for my general outlook.

Being a beauty writer is an awesome job, and I’m so glad I write for a place like xoVain, which isn’t focused on absolute perfection all the time. Honestly, writing for this site as long as I have has really influenced the way I see the beauty industry — but that's another essay in itself.

I’ve been spending more time with cool, accomplished women of all ages, and getting their perspective on beauty (as well as staring at their selfies) has changed mine. I’m not rushing to throw on a layer of foundation or two in the morning now. I can stay over at a dude’s house and not care if my actual face is showing, or if my brows rubbed off in the night.

OK, there *might* be a tiny bit of eyeliner under one eye, but you get the picture.

My face isn't perfect, as you can see in these photos. I still have more than my fair share of redness and scarring. My lips are back to their smaller size, and my nose is still my least-favorite feature. I'm always a little puffy because it's summer and I live on Bud Light. But I'm OK with it. I'm starting to see the women in my family in my own face, and I'd rather see them shining through on my features than cover them up.

  • How do you feel about going makeup-free?
  • Do you wear makeup on a daily basis?
  • Has xoVain changed the way you think about beauty?