When I contemplate my life without makeup, I often ask myself this question:
Did I miss “girl school” or something?
There are ways for me to educate myself on the subject; the web abounds with different ways to integrate makeup into my routine. But when I look at my friends, it seems innate, like they always knew how to apply foundation or how to choose the right mascara. Did their mom or sister teach them? Because my mom sure didn’t.
However, that question pretty much sums up my reflexions on makeup and its lack of presence in my life. Wearing makeup everyday is a mystical concept to me, one I’ve never seemed to grasp, and I consciously choose not to seek it out. For me, eye makeup and lipstick are my go-to staples when there’s a special occasion; a dancing night out on the town, Christmas, New Year’s Eve… That’s its role in my life: I wear it when I want to look a little more fancy.
For me, there are many advantages to skipping the beautification process every morning. I get to sleep in. Nobody ever tells me that I “look tired” if I skipped mascara that day. I get to spend money on food instead of beauty products. I get to smoosh my boyfriend’s face with my own without fear of smudging. But I want to stress the first part: for me. Because in no way am I suggesting that everyone should forgo the products that bring them joy and comfort; I don’t judge people that decide to wear makeup on a daily basis. I just decide not to join them.
And I guess that’s one of the disadvantages of being in my situation; I oftentimes feel left out when, hanging out with a group of girls, the conversation turns to makeup, aesthetic products, even hairstyles. I kind of just smile and nod and try and fail to look interested. It’s not any different than if I’d hang out with construction workers; I appreciate their interest in cement, but I just don’t “get it”. Also, some girls jump to the conclusion that I’m a hippy, or that I’m super confident about my outward appearance. They might say “you’re probably a vegetarian, too” (I’m not) or “you wouldn’t get it because you don’t care what you look like” (I do). They also associate my lack of makeup with my feminist worldview, choosing to see it as my rejection of the patriarchy and superficial values.
But it’s not that deep, really. I don’t see someone wearing makeup as their subscription to the “male ideal”. That’s not to say that it doesn’t exist, but some girls like to wear glitter on their faces, and they should do whatever the hell they want. What it comes down to is that I like to sleep in, and that, since I’ve never done it before, I don’t see the point in starting now.
When it somehow comes out in conversation that I don’t wear makeup, some people turn around and say: “You don’t wear makeup?”. That’s what’s intriguing to me; that for some, wearing makeup is the norm. I guess I’m here to say that, yes, I go out every morning with nothing on my face but some residual water from my face cloth. And, other than when it strikes my fancy to write about it, I honestly don’t really think about my makeup-free life. And I shouldn’t have to.
Art by Esme