As 2015 was approaching, I decided that this year was going to be different. I didn’t want to make resolutions because my history with those hasn’t been too grand! But I created a system that I thought would work for me: I would set smaller, more realistic goals for myself at the beginning of each month. And so, as January comes to an end, I am extremely proud of reaching most of my goals. The one I thought would be most unrealistic, actually turned out to be a surprisingly awesome learning experience! This goal is what I’ll be writing about in this wee little blog post (which probably won’t be so little by the time I’m done with it). So here was my goal: go an entire month without a single ounce of makeup. Today was my last day and surprisingly enough I achieved my goal! I was absolutely amazed by how much I learned about myself, God, and beauty in general, so I wanted to share it with you!
The first thing I noticed: not wearing makeup is a heck of a lot easier than I thought! I honestly never thought I’d get through it (which is one of way I knew just how badly I needed to do it). I thought after several days I’d be trying to sneak a little concealer or just cave entirely. And of course, less than a week into this whole adventure, my skin dove into one of the worst breakouts I have ever experienced. And it lasted forever!!! It’s definitely possible that it felt worse than it actually was because I couldn’t cover it up, so I could be exaggerating a little! But somehow, I was determined enough to make it through! I soldiered on and here I am, an entire month behind me and it’s so cool how much my outlook has changed! Tomorrow is my first day of being “allowed” to wear makeup and I honestly don’t think I’m going to wear any!
Prior to this month, I always viewed applying makeup as a necessity of getting ready. Leaving the house without at least a little foundation was about as optional as leaving the house without shoes. And most days that smidgen of foundation was far from enough to make me feel ready to face the world. (that pun was actually completely unintentional, but I’m proud nonetheless!!) As many of you know, I’m a last minute kind of gal. If something can be done in 30 minutes, I don’t even consider giving myself 35. So, every morning, without fail, getting ready turns into an Olympic-timed sprint to the finish line (and by sprint I mean awkwardly shuffling as quickly as I can without breaking another elbow). Believe me, I had my morning makeup routine down to a perfect 7 minute speed drill, but once I cut it out, I saw my entire morning change. I eliminated those last minute heart attacks because my contour came out too dark, or my eyeliner wing on the left eye didn’t look ANYTHING like the wing on the right. But most importantly I cut out those last minute thoughts of inadequacy. Those last minute lies like “you can’t go out looking like that” and “oh my goodness everyone’s going to think I’m ill!” These thoughts used to drive me to put makeup on. But once I took control of those thoughts instead of giving in to them, I began to be able to walk out the door with confidence and energy that came from within me instead of from my makeup.
I also learned to directly address a problem instead of covering it up. This actually ended up extending far beyond the realm of makeup, but I’m writing a blog post and not a novel, so we’ll stick to the whole makeup theme. So once I took out makeup, the weirdest thing happened: I learned is that I actually love my skin! Not only did I begin to see the redness and blemishes as much less significant, I learned how to listen to my skin, treat it right, and actually improve it. I’d spent years trying to hide it! The imperfections that covered my face were some of the main reasons I started wearing makeup in the first place! But I didn’t realize that this was actually making my skin worse. Not even just the fact that I was constantly putting a gallon of concealer on top of my acne (which yes, obviously makes it worse), but I had no clue what worked for my skin. If I had a breakout, I’d just cover it up and wait for it to go away on its own. I didn’t know what my skin was like, how it reacted to certain conditions or foods. After I stopped caking makeup on every day, I noticed I actually kinda like what I’ve been hiding for so long. Without makeup, I could spend a little extra time taking care of my skin and finding a cleanser that genuinely worked for me. So instead of covering the problem, I was able to directly address the source. I know that my skin will never ever be perfect, but it doesn’t really have to be all that bad either! Another thing is; when I was wearing makeup daily, I had become so used to my face with makeup that my bare face just looked sort of…not me. But now that I’m used to seeing my bare face and I actually feel a little more like myself! And this is the thing that genuinely surprised me: I can even feel pretty without makeup! The fact that I was surprised by this hopefully shows just how badly I needed to do this.
One of the greatest things I took away from this month is the ability to be confident without makeup. Prior to this month, I thought makeup was the key to my confidence. Before I started wearing makeup, I was extremely self-conscious. Makeup definitely didn’t cure that at all, but I definitely felt a little less uncomfortable when I had my “mask” on. I started to believe that makeup was the key to my confidence, the reason I felt more awake and alert during the day. Without makeup, I didn’t feel professional or put together. I didn’t feel strong or capable. I didn’t feel energetic or awake. Now, I know a lot of you are wondering: how on earth such a little thing could have so much power?! It’s because I gave it that power. I don’t need makeup to be happy or energetic or confident. I realize that now! Makeup brought those things out of me, it did not create them. And so this month honestly made me realize this and challenged me to learn how to find these parts of myself on my own. You can give yourself power over your life. You can choose your attitudes and your perspectives. The more power you have to make those choices the better. For myself, this month was a challenge to find where that power lied. It definitely wasn’t all in the makeup! I found so many other areas of my life that held unnecessary power. And as I took control of my perspective of both myself and the people around me, everything changed. A mask is no longer necessary to look people in the eye and speak with confidence. Instead of caring about what others think of me, my energy is going into caring about them! One of the most unexpected things about this month: no one noticed! I was anticipating people to make comments about my lack of eyeliner, or saying I looked tired or rundown. I was expecting them to realize some sort of difference, but (as far as I know) no one did! Even the few people that I told, forgot I was doing it! My makeup is a much smaller part of me than I had originally thought! I’m so incredibly blessed with people around me who genuinely want to see me become more beautiful inwardly and could seriously care less about what I look like. That is such an incredible blessing and unfortunately, I hadn’t fully realized that until this month.
Finally, the absolute most important thing that I learned this month is that God is seriously the best artist ever! He makes such beautiful things and strangely enough I’m one of ‘em. So instead of comparing myself to all of His other creations, I need to be content with everything that He’s given me, both inside and out! A verse that really encouraged me through this month was 1 Peter 3:3-4:
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Instead of spending time obsessing over how I looked on the outside while my heart remained neglected, I focused on becoming more like Christ. As my heart became more like His and “became more beautiful” if you will, I noticed my face just kind of reflected that. Instead of chasing after physical beauty, I needed to strive for the unfading beauty that would please the One who thought my soul was so beautiful that He sent His Son to die for me! I’m cringing as I write this, but seriously, as cliché as it sounds…beauty really does come from within. And people have told me that over and over and over again, and I can’t even tell you how many times I rolled my eyes while I was listening to these overused words. But honestly, it’s one of those things you just need to learn for yourself. So I’m actually challenging you to do what I did. If not for a month, maybe just a week. If not makeup, take out something else that has power over your life. It’s seriously such an awesome adventure, and I promise you will learn a ton! I really wanted to share this with you so that you could be inspired to see beauty even just a little differently!
Now, just to clarify, I’m still going to wear makeup. I’m not swearing off it for life or anything! I won’t wear it every day, but I still enjoy wearing it!! I love art and colors, and makeup is a fun way to express my creativity. And it’s okay to put a little extra time into my appearance! It’s fun to get all fancied up! However, if I ever start to feel obligated to wear it again, if I start to give it power again, I’ll probably go another month, or maybe just a week without, just to remember how unimportant it is in the grand scheme of everything. I always need to remember: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30.
With lots of love,