Since I was about eleven/twelve, most of the girls I knew were wearing make-up. Most were only wearing eyeliner/mascara and lipstick, but some were already starting to use foundation/concealer etc. When I was about thirteeen, I wore an interesting attempt at eyeliner pencil on the eyelid and under the waterline and honestly it was tragic, but it was to fit in. It worked because through year eight until halfway through year ten, I had quite a large group of friends (shocker, only two were real friends) but then I was left behind again when everyone else started to wear false eyelashes and some were even contouring at the age of about fifteen. So, after not much thought at all, I bought a load of make-up, watched a load of online tutorials and piled it on. Surprisingly, my attempts were pretty pathetic (I’m way too pale for high street foundations and I can’t afford the expensive ones, so I remained orange for a while).
From year ten, I wore that much, gradually developing my skills, but not dramatically…I can at least flick eyeliner now and I got more experimental, using a cream blush to tint my eyebrows pink to match my hair. After I left high school, I told myself I’d stop wearing it, but I didn’t have the courage and at college, everyone wore it there too, so I didn’t stop. Five years after first putting on that dodgy eyeliner, I completely stopped wearing it at the start of August 2016.
The first reason was because my skin was an absolute mess…before make-up, I didn’t even get spots and if I did, it went away very quickly. I was lucky but I ruined it with make-up. I had spots regularly and because of that, there is now a scar from a spot on my face that wasn’t there until I stopped my skin breathing by plastering it in foundation daily.
The second reason was the expenses of wearing make-up every single day. A standard, high street bottle of foundation costs around £8. For me, they lasted about two-three weeks. Add to that the setting powder (about £4) which lasted about two weeks, and anything that I ran out of (mascara, eyeliner, blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, bronzer, highlighter, lip balm etc.) then it becomes very expensive for someone without a job. There is also always the chance that I’d drop a setting powder and smash it, or ruin a lipstick in the rare British heat. I quit my job at the end of August, so even though it was only a small part-time job, I would have less money.
Another reason was the time and effort it took to wear make-up. It took me twenty-thirty minutes to do my make-up in the morning, more if I wanted to do something fancy! That’s fine but I’d have to carry a small make-up bag around with me in case I smudged my eyeliner, or wiped a patch of foundation off, or if a dog licked my face and smudged lipstick across my nose. And yes, all those happened, multiple times. It took up so much space in my room and in my bags, as well as all the time it took.
I’m quite a practical person; I do animal management and I spend a surprising amount of time with dogs, so it’s not comfortable to spend the day avoiding touching my face, and maintaining the look of neat foundation and mascara. One day I decided that make-up was no longer fun and it was becoming a chore because I thought I had to wear it to fit in properly.
I haven’t worn ‘face’ make-up in just over four months now, and I’ve never felt better! My skin has the chance to breathe, I can touch my face freely and I have more space in my room. I do sometimes miss it, and I do miss the fun things I could do with it, like cat eyes, ombre lips and exciting eyeshadow colours, but I don’t feel as insecure as I thought I would. I have freckles and now people can actually see them, but that’s okay because they’re part of me and I don’t need to look a certain way to please people because that’s not who I am. I still sometimes wear mascara and fill in my eyebrows slightly, and sometimes wear a thin line of eyeliner, but I don’t wear anymore than that.
Obviously, I fully respect and understand why people wear make-up, but if you feel like it would help you, you should try giving your skin a break because it feels amazing. It took me a while to have the confidence, but now I do, my skin is recovering and I feel a lot more comfortable now I don’t have to worry about smudging make-up. If the insecurity is too scary, you could learn nail art or dye/cut your hair because having something like that might be a new source of confidence.
You don’t have to look a certain way just because other people do.