I grew up in rural Michigan with two older brothers in a house that backed up to a tree farm we’d play in almost every day. I was not exactly set up to be a “girly-girl.” My mom didn’t wear much makeup or make a big deal about it, so I didn’t even really encounter makeup until years later when my oldest brother got a serious girlfriend. Even then, I didn’t ever wear more than a little mascara. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Was I missing out on something by wearing very little makeup?”
It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles that I began to understand just how little makeup I used and how narrowly I used it. At that point in my life, makeup was an entirely utilitarian thing – I did it so my blonde eyelashes didn’t disappear from my face. But when I saw woman after woman on the streets of LA with flawless skin, stunning lipstick, and luscious, smoky eyeshadow, I got really self-conscious about how little makeup I was using. Was it enough? Should I be using more?
I think the thing that finally broke my insecurity that I just wasn’t wearing enough makeup was seeing a friend who normally wore a lot of makeup with a clean face for the first time. I remember what a shock it was to see how different she looked. I realized that I didn’t want that – to be unrecognizable without my makeup. I wanted people to see my face, just maybe my face a little…better. Here and there, at least. I didn’t want to completely change my face.
Here’s the other thing I realized thanks to my friend and to so many other girls who wore more makeup than me: Makeup can be fun!
I could play with different colors and styles, find out my own preferences and discover how different types of makeup worked with my skin tone. I could try playful shades of lipstick without it changing my face. A little BB cream and foundation could even out my skin tone. Eyeliner and mascara could make my eyes bigger and set them off against my light complexion.
I discovered I could enjoy using makeup even if I didn’t use it to drastically alter my appearance.
I have found the natural makeup look that works for me, and makes me feel like the best version of myself. The key is that, with everything I do, I am sure not to actually hide away my own face. That’s my choice, to pursue a natural, if slightly more flawless, version of myself.
Finding the best makeup for you.
Subscribing to a monthly makeup service like Ipsy is a great way to learn what kinds of makeup you favor, as well as a good way to get introduced to new ones each month. Typically, you fill out a brief questionnaire when you subscribe that helps you think through your beauty style, thinks like whether you prefer lighter or darker makeup and what types of products (i.e. mascara, lipstick, eyeliner, nail polish) are your favorites. These questions can help you realize makeup habits and preferences of yours that you may not have noticed before.
If you find a product you like, explore more products from that brand.
If you enjoyed their eyeshadow, look into their lipsticks. Be careful not to get stuck with the same few products because you could be missing out on great (and fun) new items! The beauty industry is always evolving.