Let’s talk about beauty.
I recently took a weeklong break from wearing makeup or nail polish and it taught me SO much about what my relationship is with perfection.
I am a lady that lovesss me some makeup. I never really wore any in high school, but since then I have been making up for lost time (any Valencia mall Sephora employee could tell you that, or the fact that I’ve perfected the use of notoriously tricky liquid eyeliners. #HumbleBrag). So why would I torture myself unnecessarily with a “makeup cleanse”? Glad you asked, fellow LifeLover…
Last week I ended up going to a class while I wasn’t wearing any nail polish, and I totally FREAKED out. It was hard for me to focus on the lecture because I was so distracted by my fingers looking like actual fingers instead of bright colored fruit candies. I didn’t feel like myself without shiny lacquer on my digits. Later that day I discouraged myself from practicing guitar because I had decided that looking at my “basic” nails on the strings would bum me out. This was clearly a super weird and inappropriate level of discomfort for something so vain and silly. So the next day I made up a cleanse for my soul: the “Beauty7: Weeklong No Makeup Challenge,” after two days I was irritably calling it my “noBeauty7″.
I learned a lot in the past week by not wearing makeup, and I would encourage all the makeup-wearers that are reading this to consider trying it sometime this year. Here are some of the thoughts I had during my grueling, unrelenting, grumpy, uneven skin-tone, no good, very bad week (ok not so bad).
- “I am very pale,” and my dark brown hair comparatively makes me look even more pale than I actually am. So pale that people ask if I’m sick even when I’m not.
- “I’ve got a big, red pimple on my forehead even though normally my skin is relatively clear.” Greatttt :/
- “The pimple cleared up pretty fast.” Hmmm, maybe our skin (the BIGGEST organ in our bodies!) likes to breathe instead of being suffocated by silly flesh-colored goop.
- “Nobody’s really noticing.” Turns out people don’t actually care about the quality of my cat-eye nearly as much as I thought they did. Luckily they would sympathize eventually if I spoke loudly and often about how tortuous is was to look and feel like a natural human woman is.
- “THIS IS THE WORST” I definitely hated this challenge about two days in, because a lost online order finally came in the mail that day with a spectacularly fancy/outrageously priced liquid bronzer that I had been wanting to try for months. For the people that don’t know: bronzer is a brown (usually powder) type of face makeup that makes me look less pale. Usually a little more orange, but definitely also less pale.
- “Guitar is much easier to play with short nails.” Weird. Maybe that’s why every guitar player I’ve ever talked to has told me that exact same thing. Typing is also much faster and I never accidentally stabbed myself in the head with the jagged edge of a nail while shampooing because shorter kept nails don’t break as easily. After a few days I got used to not having polish on, and it definitely wasn’t as big of a deal as I was making it.
- “I should eat healthier.” That one was unrelated to beauty products, but telling myself I was doing a cleanse while also eating Flamin Hot Cheetos in my bed felt a little convicting.
- “This isn’t that hard.” It really wasn’t. The main reason why it bothered me was just because it made me feel like my options were taken away. If I hadn’t told myself I was on a diet from turning my face into an art project then I probably wouldn’t have even worn makeup more than a couple days that week.
Although I couldn’t walk around this week with the confidence of having fancy pressed powders on my eyelids or extensions on my lashes I COULD walk in confidence knowing that:
- People were looking into my eyes because they were engaged in what I had to say, not because they were dazzled and slightly confused by the swirling bright colors painted on my face. (Dazzle and confuse is a life hack I picked up from a Nature Channel documentary about peacocks.)
- Every compliment I received was genuinely about me because I had no mask to hide behind.
- I don’t NEED makeup. Nobody does. Ever. The whole idea that we look better by manipulating the colors and textures of our own faces is pretty wacky if you actually think about it. Do you really think that Adam ever looked at a healthy Eve and thought, “She really should go hungry to change her body.” Or ” I wish her hair had a different amount of springiness to it.” Or “She’s beautiful and everything, but she would look prettier if the end part of her nails were painted white. Because then it would look exactly like the nails she already has. Except somehow BETTER.” Seems like a funny comic strip idea, but it probably didn’t go down that way. Even if there really are certain facial features that are better than others, which there ARE NOT, but if there were then that sort of tiered physical beauty still wouldn’t even come close to the beauty of a man or woman who truly loves themselves. A beautiful heart shines through much brighter than a beautiful face.
The pursuit of beauty/perfection/control/insecurity/self-hatred can ruin somebody’s entire self worth. We’ve all seen or heard stories about people that have even lost their lives because of unhealthy choices they made to strive for their unobtainable idea of personal perfection (so encourage real beauty and stop talkin smack). So, as I close out this blog post I would like you all to remember back to the last time you looked at another person and thought something along the lines of, “I can’t believe they’re insecure about _______, they’re perfect.
Because I’m saying that about you right now. You’re my friend. I can’t believe you’re insecure about anything. You’re beautiful and special and should love life as much as I know life loves you. You’ were created PERFECT.
I didn’t really realize how ashamed I should be about using the word “basic” to describe attributes and features until after my Beauty7 week was over. What a horrible thing to say about myself or anybody else, nobody deserves to be word-cursed by being told that they’re not unique or special in any way. I am not basic. You are not basic. You’re perfect and you can’t tell yourself that you’ll believe it after you’ve lost weight, gotten plastic surgery, etc… Believe it now because after you’ve contoured your nose or lost that weight you’ll find something else to hate about yourself. If you love yourself today it will be much easier to love yourself tomorrow.
I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences with fasting makeup. Tag a No Makeup Selfie with #Beauty7 and your thoughts on the challenge!
i.e. The tragically recently deceased hilarious inventor of the aforementioned #HumbleBrag. Harris Wittels struggled with self hatred and fear of failure even though he was a beloved and successful comedian. He spoke about his battle with addiction and low self esteem in a podcast interview on “You Made It Weird With Pete Holmes” shortly before his death.