It’s been about two years since I felt that feeling that you might also feel when you look in the mirror. We all had or still have insecurities at one point or another, yet we tend to shrug it off and thing, oh well, nothing I can do to change it. For me and many others, that insecurity was my skin.
I wore makeup every day of my life since about the fourth or fifth grade. Leaving home without it was impossible. Sometimes I wouldn’t even leave my room without putting on a light layer. I always thought my skin looked too oily, too blemished, and too tired. The first time I went to school without makeup on was in the tenth grade after I woke up late one morning. Too terrified to even lift my head from the protection of my folded arms, my friends kept walking by asking, “Are you okay? You look sick!” and it most certainly did not help me feel more confident.
My mother is the kind of woman that would always tell me to keep my shoulders back, wear at least a little makeup, and make myself look presentable at all times. As I got older, though, piling on layers of foundation to hide my skin became less appealing to me. I was growing tired of feeling insecure and wanted to do something about it. So, I put the makeup brushes away and never picked them up again.
Ditching makeup and hair products saved me money.
Yes, I was absolutely the type of girl that had an Ulta and a Sephora loyalty card. Remaining a Platinum member at Ulta throughout high school, I always found a way to come up with at least $400 dollars to blow on makeup every year. Where I was getting that kind of money in high school, I don’t know. However, I save so much every year by not wasting money on beauty and hair products. In fact, I don’t think I’ve even been to an Ulta or Sephora once this year. In a lot of ways, this has helped me contribute money towards traveling instead of material non-necessities, like I spoke about in my last story.
I found much more time in my day.
I remember waking up at 5:30 AM to do my makeup for school when I lived 5 minutes from the campus and didn’t have to be there until 8 AM. I would spend more than hour doing my hair and makeup every morning. Nowadays, I can wake up and spend my time writing, cleaning, running errands, and just getting things done. My routine takes about 7 minutes at most and involves 0 makeup products.
My skin and hair got healthier.
Prior to ditching beauty products, I had heavy bags under my eyes from sleep I wasn’t getting, an abundance of blemish scars, and an overall dull fade to my skin tone. My hair was always very dry from hot tools and products. I could get it cut one day and within a month it went back to looking dead at the ends. I swapped the hot tools and hair products for a Moroccan oil hair mask that I used every week and a Keratin conditioner every few days. After handing down about 80% of my makeup to my friends, I started only wearing makeup to special events, leaving my daily routine to a face wash and a moisturizer. After a year of this, I’m proud to say my skin and hair has never looked so good. I went from blemished, dull skin and dry hair to having a healthy glow all over.
My insecurities disappeared — literally.
The mirror stopped showing me things I didn’t like about my appearance when I stopped giving it the opportunity. Attacking the route of my problems, the main issue causing most of my insecurity, it seemed to dissolve the other problems I had with my image. Nothing seemed to be as serious once I conquered the worst of my insecurities. Of course, putting a halt on my makeup routine didn’t solve all of my problems. But taking away the thing that allowed me to mask my problems made me a more vulnerable person. That vulnerability helped me become more comfortable with the way that I looked and allowed me to stop caring so much about covering up the things I don’t like.
If you find yourself battling insecurities with your appearance, I would absolutely tell you to embrace those things by removing the items you use to constantly cover them up. Even if you’re only able to pack those items up and set them in a closet untouched for a few weeks, you’ll see a noticeable difference in the way you feel about yourself.
Loving yourself in your own skin can have such a positive influence on your day-to-day life. By cutting out the things that merely mask your insecurities, you have no choice but to fall in love with the way that you look, and though it takes time, the end results are worth more than any temporary fix.
Marnie is a queer writer from South Carolina that focuses her work on poetry, minimalism, and positive living. Marnie’s poetry book “a black and white rainbow” about love, loss, and coming out can be purchased here.