For as long as I can remember during my adult life, I’ve worn make-up every day. To work, to the gym, going out.
My make-up bag was the first thing I’d go to after the shower each morning, reached for after work and again before dinner or an event.
I’ve never felt quite dressed without it. But recently, spending more time running, at the gym and at yoga, I’ve begun to skip putting it on more and more, which led me to thinking: What if I stopped wearing it altogether?
It came at quite a good time, actually, because a few weeks ago I went to the docs with some redness on my face, which turned out to be rosacea. I have to put antibiotics on this for the next few weeks, twice a day, so make-up would just be in the way anyway.
So I decided to kick the make-up habit and confine the bag to the back of a drawer for a few weeks. I’m still going – and here’s what I’ve learned so far:
It’s not as scary as it seems
Going out without make-up for the first time, after wearing it for such a long time, is a little daunting. It’s like taking a mask off and wandering around a bit naked, sans eyebrows and pretty white-cheeked. It doesn’t feel natural at all, except the ironic part is, it is.
Although by the end of 14 days of wandering around like this, I’ve slowly but surely become comfortable with it.
People don’t treat me any differently or make funny comments as I somewhat irrationally thought they would. I have had an “are you ill?” moment, but to be fair to the person asking, I was pretty pale-looking and sneezy at the time.
Your skin improves massively
My skin now, compared to how it looked without make-up two weeks ago, is less dry, less spotty and my rosacea is so much more reduced as the antibiotics have started to work.
But I’m pretty sure that a large part of the improvements are down to not wearing make-up for so long, having to put it on or take it off every evening and just generally not putting pore-clogging chemicals on my skin.
The people who matter don’t mind
My family and my boyfriend have both been really amazing and supportive, telling me they much prefer my natural-looking face as opposed to the panda-eyed Rachael.
While this is personally hard to believe at times (I like my panda eyes rather a lot), it’s been really lovely to hear such kind compliments about myself – and they mean so much more when directed toward a clear-skinned, fresh-faced me rather than when I’m all done up and ready to go out.
You’ll save so much time… and money
Getting ready for anything is so much quicker now and I’m not as worried as to what my face looks like when I’m nipping out the door for some milk, or even going to work.
Popping the make-up away for a break means I’m also saving some cash on replacing the products I’m normally constantly using up, so my wallet as well as my skin is getting a well-deserved break.
Work and nights out are the most difficult
Both are places that I would traditionally want to look good and put a fresh face of make-up on for. Since I was 16, I’ve worn make-up to school, then Uni, during my part-time weekend job and in every job since.
But going without make-up for the first time ever to work was a bit nerve wracking for me. So far I’ve managed two weeks without make-up, but it hasn’t always been easy; when my rosacea is flaring up the last thing I want to do is to wander around in a professional setting looking splotchy-faced, but I’ve quickly gotten used to it.
This Reddit thread, in which lots of women say they don’t wear make-up to work, was a big help and made me realise that made up or not, it doesn’t affect the quality of your work one jot.
Nights out are difficult for different reasons; everyone else is done up to the nines and you look a little bit like you’ve just stepped out of secondary school. But my wonderful boyfriend James helped make me feel really comfortable on my first venture out without it to Oktoberfest in Limerick.
It makes you realise how much you rely on it
I’ve not given a thought to how much I wore make up in the decade that I’ve worn it. But giving it up completely for the first time in so long, I felt a bit freer; questioning my reasons for wanting to wear it every day, all the time.
I’m definitely going to start wearing it again at some point, but for now I’m really enjoying the new self confidence I’ve found from going without it. It certainly won’t be everyday in the future, either.
James has been incredible at making me feel super comfortable being make-up free, and most of the time I completely forget I don’t have any on when I’m with him which is really ace.
So if you’re on the fence about it, then definitely, definitely go for it. You’ll save money, time and your skin will improve millions and trust me, people will be really nice about it. It’s something women shouldn’t feel like it’s difficult to do, at any rate, so challenge yourself if you’re a bit of a make-up addict like me and bare your natural face!