I first started wearing makeup in secondary school. It must have been in my final year when I began to rummage through my mother’s collection. My first holy grail item? A Sleek foundation to powder compact, which would have cost no more than £5. Lashes anointed with Rimmel Volume Flash in Extra Black. Lips glossy with Vaseline.
I’m not quite sure when my makeup wearing days really took off but for as long as I can remember, it’s become a natural part of my everyday routine. Until recently.
I’d never really understood why I was so set on wearing makeup. I had the awareness that ultimately I didn’t need it, yet it had become so embedded in my routine, that going without was far and in-between.
It started last Friday. I woke up to travel for the weekend. Washed, dressed and took a good look at myself. Makeup-less. As I stared back at my reflection, who I saw wasn’t flawless, but she was enough – with or without the makeup. I was enough and quite frankly I felt no need to edit the canvas before me. That feeling alone was freeing.
For the next five days I would continue to enjoy being makeup-free. I enjoyed my skin. I enjoyed the two freckles under my left eye, the imperfections in my tone, the softness as the shea butter massaged my skin daily. I enjoyed me. I’ve never been one to wear heavy makeup. But that wasn’t the problem. I’d just got so carried away with subtle enhancements that I failed to enjoy myself at my purest state.
I’ll never write an article telling women not to wear make-up. I’ll never say that you can’t be yourself with it. Those thoughts are reductionist and every single one of us are different. But I will challenge you to strip away some layers, once in a while. Be it foundation, extensions, excuses, or selling yourself short. I challenge you to experience the most authentic version of you and allow yourself to fall in love with her.
One of the most wonderful things that has occurred since I started going makeup-free more often, is not the change on the outside (I’ll still beat a face silly), but the way it feels on the inside. The knowledge that I can walk into a room full of strangers and present just as confidently in my own skin, imperfections and all. Knowing that I may so choose to enhance what God gave me but that if all is stripped away, I am fine just as I am because I am enough. And no amount of Sleek, Lancôme or L’Oréal can buy that.