A Work Day Without Makeup

I went to work bare-faced today.

No one freaked out.

The world did not end.

I did not break any mirrors.

I thought I would spend the day worrying about redness, blemishes, and looking unprofessional. I promised myself I could leave early if the insecurity started to overwhelm me. Instead, I was too tired to care. I had way more important things to focus on, and what I looked like didn’t affect them in the least.

I feel like I’ve packed a month into the last four days. I had to work over the weekend, on top of obligations for rehearsals, events, dinners, and a neglected puppy who just wanted to play ball. I fell asleep at 11 last night, and when my alarm went off at 4:50, I wasn’t having it.

I rolled over, hit snooze, and woke up at 6, determined to get to work by 7 as usual. The easiest way to speed up my morning routine? Cut out makeup.

Plagued with terrible skin through my entire college career (and graduate school, and my early professional life – thanks, universe), I used to spend hours watching makeup tutorials on YouTube to figure out how to hide my blemishes. Guess what? You can cover up redness and smooth over giant pores, but you’re pretty much screwed when it comes to bumps. The most ironic part for me was knowing that my makeup was a major contributing factor in my acne. If I could just go without it for a while, my skin would clear up.

But who can go without? Not this girl.

I tried a few times. I swore I wouldn’t wear makeup over the weekend, once. The only place outside of my apartment that I needed to go was the grocery store. At 7am on a Saturday, it seemed safe enough. It was a cool fall morning, I felt good, I tried not to think about the fact that I was out in public, baring my face to the world. I reminded myself that it was a relief not to have to think about smudged mascara, fading lipstick, or foundation caking in my pores. I was in the checkout lane, finally comfortable with myself, when this little boy looked up at me with wide eyes and said “what happened to your face?” His mother apologized, eyes averted.

I wish I’d been faster. It was almost Halloween, I could’ve told him it was my monster mask. I could have told him he was rude, and asked what happened to HIS face. Instead, I smiled at him and his mother, paid for my groceries and left.

Why should I have to put on foundation to feed myself?

Why do I need to painstakingly apply just the right amount of eyeliner, shadow and mascara to enhance my face in order to do my job?

Why is it acceptable for someone to ask me if I’m tired, or having a rough day, because I decided to wear my natural curls and just a dusting of powder on my nose?

It took me four more years from that day in the grocery store but I finally, finally, realized that I don’t care. I have more important things to worry about in life. How I look doesn’t affect my job, or how well I function in it. The evenness of my skin tone has no bearing on the creativity I’m feeling today. Winged eyeliner doesn’t make me move any faster.

In fact, making up my face and doing my hair steals about an hour of my day, every day, between application and removal. That’s time I could be using to learn, read, write, sleep, clean, run, cook….

I’m not saying I’ll never wear makeup again (in fact, as I’m hitting “publish” I’m back to my everyday work look, and I’m still madly in love with my natural looking blush and whimsy lipstick) but it feels empowering, relieving, to be comfortable in my skin as it is. The newfound confidence from letting go of the “safety mask” that was my carefully made up face actually helps me to feel more beautiful with AND without make up on.

What do you think? Ditch the make up once and a while or can’t live without it?

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