Why I Came Clean and Gave Up Makeup

For most of my adult life, I’ve had this habit of rarely leaving the house without makeup or at least tinted moisturizer on. The only real exception was the gym — and that was actually uncomfortable but I did it anyway.

Showing my actual face to the world has always felt vulnerable to me. I really never wore a lot of makeup — just enough to smooth out the imperfections. Because, you know, imperfection is uncomfortable and putting it out there is scary.

Perhaps, on some level, I believed that if I could control the visual of what others saw when they looked at me, I could control what they thought about me. As a result, I’ve always had a very close and complicated relationship with cover-up.

The funny thing is that I don’t really remember there being much pomp and circumstance around ending it though. I just remember standing in front of the mirror one day and deciding that I was done.

I’d grown tired of the effort it took to project perfection. I got tired of trying to control other peoples’ perceptions of me. I got tired of feeling like I was a fake. I got tired of feeling like the real me wasn’t good enough. I just wanted to be me without cover-up or embellishment. I got to a point where I’d rather be authentic than pretty. So I did what I had to do … I washed my face.

At first, leaving the house with completely bare and exposed skin was incredibly uncomfortable. But as I began to have faith in my own natural beauty, it was absolutely liberating. I no longer looked at my face in the morning and tried to figure out how to fix it or hide it.

My face is my face. Some days it’s clear and bright and some days it’s dull and cranky. But at the end of the day, it’s my face. I realized that if I wanted to be seen for exactly who I am and be accepted that way, I had to start with myself and believe that what I had was worthy of being seen. I needed to declare my enoughness.

What began as a small act of defiance, ended up being so much more. Obviously, I saved a small fortune in Sephora orders, I’m out the door a lot faster in the morning and I can be ready to go out at a moment’s notice (which my husband loves).

But I really didn’t expect that it would cause me to take better care of my face. I also didn’t expect to pay more attention to how insufficient hydration, stress and different foods affect my skin. And I really could not have anticipated that I would get carded MORE.

Months have passed now and I no longer have any desire to pick the stuff up. I’m learning to trust that my own inner vibrance and beauty will shine through no matter how “flawed” I may feel. And it didn’t stop there — I’m slowly letting go of the illusion of perfection in many other areas of my life.

That’s the thing about mindfulness. When we’re really paying attention, we begin to see all the little ways that we undermine yourself. Without even know it and certainly without intending to, I was diminishing my own natural beauty.

Is the decision to come clean for everybody? Nope. Many women love makeup and use it as a form of creative self-expression and love how it looks. If that’s you, rock on with yo bad self! But if you use makeup as a way to hide the real you, maybe consider it.

Ask yourself this: Is makeup empowering you or does it take your power away? It’s all about doing what makes you comfortable in the skin you were born with. And that looks different on different women. Either way, I support you.

To be beautiful, we don’t have to do anything. We don’t need a little concealer here, a little bronzer there. And if the dialogue (consciously or unconsciously) inside your head is telling you otherwise, I challenge you to take a closer look at that.

In the end, I realized that it had less to do with what others thought of me than what I thought of myself. Trying to control how others saw me was only a symptom of an underlying problem — I didn’t think I was good enough.

As long as you don’t feel good enough, you’ll always feel judged — no matter what crutch or concealer you try to use.

How have you declared your own enoughness? —Alison 

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