In 2018, at the age of 29, I made the resolution to do something that I hadn’t done since I was a child. I decided to permanently quit wearing makeup.
I’ve never been a huge makeup person, which is why this decision might not seem like a big deal to the people who know me. However, the few products I would use were like a second skin to me. In my early twenties, I was very self-conscious, and I had the deep belief that if I left my house without any eyeliner or foundation, I looked like a haggard monster (you know, as opposed to a gorgeous monster).
Even when eyeliner and lipstick weren’t hard to give up, I still held onto foundation many months after.
As much as I clung to eyeliner and lipstick, I loved wearing foundation. It had been part of my life since the fifth grade — that’s when my acne first started popping up. Knowing there was something I could use to conceal my polka-dot face was enough to make me obsessed. Even now, I still suffer from acne. It’s not as bad as it was during my teens, but the practice of using foundation to cover up those pink and red dots never faded.
Two months ago, I finally stopped wearing foundation.
I ended my relationship with all makeup, including foundation. The first week or so was hard. I found myself becoming self-conscious and reverting back to 12-year-old Alison. For me, thinking like that made it even worse. I had two options: go back to using foundation or stop giving a fuck. I went with the latter, and have yet to look back.
Learning to not give a fuck
It’s not an easy thing to do for people do to — to not give a fuck. We live in a society that profits off of our low self-esteem. We live in a patriarchal world that values our looks more than anything. Basically, there are a lot of powerful forces that want us to stay insecure and image-obsessed.
In a society like ours, not giving a fuck is radical. It’s a choice we have to make, knowing full well there will be consequences. Take it from someone who is regularly fat-shamed, slut-shamed, and bullied by internet strangers (mostly males). They hate me for making the decision to be confident, regardless of my apparent “flaws.” It took me a long time to not give a fuck about them, but I powered through. Even on the days, I was feeling lower than low, I forced myself to stick to my principles. As time went on, not giving a fuck became less and less difficult. I realized most of the anger and trolling directed at me was really coming from a place of fear and self-hatred on their part.
I realized no one cares about you. We are our worst critics.
Another thing that helped me on my makeup-free journey was realizing that no one cares about you. I mean this in the nicest way possible. The little things you think are noticeable and disgusting about yourself are most likely not being noticed or thought of by other people. We have a tendency to feel that the wandering eyes of strangers are judging us as opposed to admiring us.
We think that the person we’re with can’t stop staring at the giant zit on our forehead, or that stray chin whisker we forgot to pluck. They’re not. Even if they happen to notice it, chances are (if they’re a decent person) they don’t care. You’re the only one that does. Stop that.
I shouldn’t have to take part in something I don’t feel is right.
Now I fully understand that the beauty industry is multi-faceted and there is a lot of good happening in the world of cosmetics. There are instances where makeup itself has been radical and progressive. People are working to transform the beauty industry in unprecedented ways, embracing the ideology that anyone can wear makeup and feel beautiful, regardless of gender, age, or race.
At the end of the day, I don’t see cosmetics as a boost to me and my life. I can’t get over the high cost of most products and the fact that most men aren’t held to the same standards. It doesn’t feel fair to me, and I shouldn’t have to take part in something I don’t feel is right.
I realized that I was never wearing make up for me. I hated the process of it — the clean-up and having it on. It was never fun or creative for me. I felt it was a necessary burden that I had to take part in to feel presentable to the world. That’s why I quit. If you don’t feel this way, keep doing what you’re doing. There is no right or wrong way to not give a fuck.