By: Julie Oberman, Regular Contributor
Years ago, I could go out without wearing makeup, but I didn’t feel more beautiful. In fact, I noticed that I was less outgoing and less confident without it. But more recently, I began to notice that I actually enjoy taking my makeup off at night. There are some mornings where I even choose not to put makeup on, not because I’m running late, but because I feel beautiful enough without it.
So, when brainstorming ideas for my first I AM THAT GIRL article, I knew I wanted to write about how to genuinely feel more beautiful without makeup. But the more I racked my brain, the less I could come up with “how” I did it. In the process, I wrote a timeline of important makeup events in my life (ie, having a makeup artist as a roommate.)
I didn’t realize that writing this timeline would help me figure out where I began to realize I enjoy being barefaced more so than wearing makeup. But it is obviously when my boyfriend said I didn’t look like myself. And he was right; I agreed with him. I went out with dramatic makeup on, as you do in Vegas, but when we got back to the hotel, I felt wonderful taking my makeup off and putting my sweatpants on.
I have always enjoyed dressing up for Halloween, or any occasion for that matter. And I will continue to do so. But coming to the realization that I would rather look like myself, and not conform to the conventional standards of beauty is incredibly empowering. I am happy with what I look like -- imperfections and all. Altering my face dramatically with makeup for everyday purposes (and not Halloween) makes me slightly uncomfortable now.
And now that I’ve been wearing less and less makeup, I get comments like, “You don’t wear makeup? That’s good, because you don’t need it.” And that is something I have caught even myself saying to people who don’t wear makeup often. And that is a compliment I enjoy hearing (although I enjoy hearing them all.) But when I was young, I strove for natural beauty. I wanted to work out more often to get a small waist and I wanted to spend more time in the sun for a nice tan. But what I now realize is that everyone has natural beauty. We hear it time and time again: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” but the beholder is rarely one’s own self. In the words of Wreck-It Ralph: “I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”
And, although I appreciate what makeup is as an art, a form of self-expression, or as a confidence boost, I can live without it. It is no longer a mask for me. I still have my insecurities and wear some makeup if I am going to an event or know pictures are going to be taken, but I have come a long way since high school.
So, I apologize that this isn’t a three step process in which the first is denial, the second is acceptance, and the third is recovery, but not everyone is like me and uses makeup to perfect one’s self. Not everyone will identify with me, but even seemingly minor accomplishments such as this are still accomplishments, especially to the experience of being a young, modern woman, of being an individual.
There are so many ways to own your beauty, to express your inner fantastic. The important thing is finding what is right and healthy for you!
- Give Julie's makeup free routine a try for one day and see how you feel. Keep a journal and write down your experiences, share your story with us here!
Julie Oberman received her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Sustainability. She is an introverted thinker who brings herself to explore the beauty of the world because she could easily spend all day reading about it instead. You can usually find her traveling to the scenic spots of California. But if you’re not nearby, just visit Julie à la Mode to follow the adventures there.