Saturday, July 15, 2017

Barefaced and Fancy-Free

This is my face.

You probably already knew that, if you've ever read this blog before. What you might not realize is this: my face, along with a birthmark on my leg, is the final frontier in my body-acceptance journey. I just don't really like it, you see. Now that I've typed that, I'm honestly a bit shocked that it hasn't come up here already.

When I look at my face, all I see are flaws: bad skin, an oddly-shaped nose, eyes that have always seemed too small, a mouth that also seems too small for all the noise I'm able to make. I can't ever really remember feeling differently.

As you've probably guessed, makeup is an everyday thing for me. Winged eyeliner, fully done-up eyebrows, and a bit of eyeshadow at the bare minimum, foundation on sunny days (gotta have that SPF!) or when I'm going to see anyone on whom I'd like to make a good impression. I get up at least ten minutes earlier than I'd otherwise have to in order to put on makeup, which (for someone who really, really loves to sleep in) says everything you need to know.

I feel conflicted about using makeup as a security blanket. On the one hand, I believe in learning to accept your body and appearance as it is. I genuinely think that true beauty comes from within: vitality and kindness speak to me so much more than pure appearance. I sometimes wonder why I've been able to come to terms with everything else about my body besides my face. In my darker moments, it makes me feel like I've failed in my self-acceptance quest. (Then I remind myself that a quest is, by definition, a journey, and with this particular quest, a lifelong journey.)

On the other hand, there's something soothing about the act of putting on makeup each day. It's a routine, and as a lifelong creature of habit, routines make me happy. I really like the look of a perfectly done eyebrow, and if I'm able to totally embrace aesthetic self-presentation when it's through clothing, what's wrong with using makeup to create a look?

As it happens, though, a couple of weeks ago I did not leave enough time to shower, comb out my hair, get dressed, and put on makeup before Jeff and I had to leave for the day. Seeing as I'd worked out that morning, showering was a non-negotiable, and as I can't very well tool around Chicago naked or leave my hair in a wet tangled heap all day, makeup was just not gonna happen that day.

So I went out with nothing at all but the face I was born with. And nothing happened. I put on regular old drugstore sunscreen on the way, and spent an excellent day at Lincoln Park Zoo. I made Jeff take a zillion photos and put them on the blog. I saw lots of animals and ate delicious Polish food. Nobody looked at me any differently. Jeff didn't even really notice.

As much as I enjoy those days when my makeup is on point, my day without makeup felt so freeing! When we got home, I didn't have to immediately rush to wash off the eye makeup that had spent all day migrating into my eyes, because I wasn't wearing any. I didn't get the dregs of my mascara on my towel, because I wasn't wearing any.

I could've cried all day without having to worry about ruining my makeup (which, in all honesty, is the main reason I can usually stop myself from crying at work or in public.)

And when I look at the photos from that day, I feel alright. My hair is up (another thing I don't much like on me, as it doesn't leave me anything to hide behind) and my eyebrows are unruly, but I look happy. Those photos remind me of a wonderful day with Jeff, rather than a day spent feeling exposed and insecure. It feels like a big step forward.

And thinking about it in more general terms, I realize that no one else really cares what my face looks like. People who like me will like my face, because it's a part of me. My godchildren and cousins and the rest of my family love me, not my appearance. More importantly, I have to keep reminding myself that my worth is completely separate from my appearance, until it finally sinks all the way in. And in the meantime, I'll wear makeup when I feel like putting it on, but on those days when I just don't feel like it, or can't, I'll focus on what I'm doing rather than how I look while I'm doing it.

How do you feel about going makeup free?

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  1. You still look beautiful with and without makeup I honestly don't mind going makeup free since I don't feel it's the end of the world as long I have good hair day and dressed up well.

  2. I loved this post so much!!!! You are beautiful inside and out!! I especially loved the part where you said your family loves you and not your appearance. That is so true, and as someone who barely ever wears makeup you hit a home run with this post. But I have also had my struggles with my appearance too.

    In middle school I had a unruly eyebrows (talking unibrow) where the other kids would make fun of me. Can't hide that with makeup unfortunately, but luckily my mom let me get my eyebrows done. That was really the only thing that ever really bothered me about my face. I'm just glad I never thinned out my eye brows and kept them thick.

    But going back to makeup, I never really saw my mom wear any. She was always so comfortable in her skin that I truly believe that made a lasting impression on me and made me comfortable with mine. Like 99.9% of the time I don't wear makeup, other reasons being I love to sleep, I don't want to spend money on makeup, and I touch my face too much. When I do wear makeup I just put some eye liner on, super basic for me.

    Body positivity is so important, especially in this day and age! Again I truly loved this post and your body acceptance journey is inspiring! Emily you are so amazing, and I'm so glad there are people like you in this world!!!

    <3 Monica (simplyretroann)

  3. First off - you are beautiful - makeup or no.
    Second - I heart you so hard
    Lastly - I love going makeup free. I'm laaaazy, so when I can cut corners I do. :)

  4. You're beautiful without makeup I promise. I think sometimes we are all way harder on ourselves than other people are when they see us (except for internet trolls but they could have the most beautiful person in the world in front of them and they'd still pick fault) but I used to always wear makeup, wouldn't leave the house without it and in the last 3 years or so I've started to not bother putting a face on before I go out and it's been liberating!
    I like to play with makeup, it's a fun process picking all your products and deciding how you want to look but it's definitely not as exciting if you feel you have to have it on. I'll say it again, you're beautiful without and with makeup :)

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog
    My Instagram | Instagram

  5. I have never worn makeup (besides lipstick every so often now or stage makeup for shows in my past) so this is easy for me! I think I am lucky in that way - because I never started, it isn't hard for me to go out bare faced! I just never felt the need or desire. I am fortunate in that I am comfortable in my skin and like my face (most days) as is. I wish every woman would feel the same as we are all so lovely au naturale! Makeup is fun and some girls KILLLLLL the makeup game but we are beautiful without it too!

  6. You are absolutely gorgeous! I fully agree with this post though and I used to use make up as a blanket to hide my insecurities and try to be like the other girls I knew but I've learned to love myself without it! Xx


  7. You are stunning without make up. I actually don't wear much make up, only my eyebrows as mine are pretty much gone but I wouldn't wear make up unless it's an occasion and I love it

    Jessica & James | /

  8. I think we all have issues with some part of our bodies. I think you look great. You should not hide who you are xx corinne

  9. You look gorgeous with or without makeup! Obviously as I run a beauty blog I have a serious obsession with makeup but over the past year I've been making a really effort to have makeup free days! I'm trying my best to get more confident in my own skin!
    I love the 'routine' of putting makeup on like you do!
    PaleGirlRambling xo

  10. You still look fab, with or without make up! I use my cosmetics only for special occassions now; the most I wear is Dr Paw Paw, just to keep my skin in line! (It works well for other things as well-such as to prevent sunburn or blisters.)

    P.s thank you for your lovely comment; you made my day a lot better 💜

  11. I love this post, Emily! I have a lot of fun with cosmetics but I am also very comfortable going barefaced and hair in its natural state. Growing up I had a lot of insecurities about my body but covering my face with makeup was not high on that list. I credit my mom for that--she is beautiful and has wonderful skin--her idea of makeup was merely a swipe of a natural pink shade of lipstick and a tiny bit of cream blush but that was only for special occasions. She did not wear makeup most days so I always felt like it is an acceptable look.

  12. I love this post!! It definitely takes some time to get to a point where you feel comfortable not wearing makeup (If you are someone that wears it alot), I'm the same! I have been wearing no makeup recently, but when I put it on the other day - I felt happy just applying it. So I definitely agree with what you say about the routine and creating a look

    hayley //