“I don’t know. Just because someone’s pretty doesn’t mean she’s decent. Or vice versa. I’m not into appearances. I like flaws, I think they make things interesting.”
– Sarah Dessen
I’ll be the first one to tell you that makeup should be an indulgence and that we shouldn’t feel any less beautiful without it.
As soon as we’re done talking, I will probably head to the bathroom to look at my face and see if I spy a new blemish appearing, if my skin looks super greasy, or if my eyebrows have rubbed off. The truth is, I feel much prettier with makeup.
I’ve had acne in varying degrees for as long as I can remember. It gets better for awhile and then it gets worse again. Remember, I’m 36. I never thought I’d still be struggling with acne at this age. There are places on my face where I rarely if ever break out, and then there are places where I break out all the time. I scar easily and because of the frequent breakouts, my volatile areas are always very blemish-y — dark marks, blotchiness, bumpiness.
But I’m not here today to talk about all the products I’ve tried or how I change my pillowcase almost every night or how I wash my makeup brushes several times a week, etc. I’m here to talk about feeling pretty without makeup. Feeling beautiful with your flaws.
Because that is what I want. To go go out on a hot summer day without a stitch of makeup on, basking in the natural light (that so unapologetically highlights every clogged pore and every blemish on my face) and still feel beautiful. To talk to someone up close without wondering if they are looking at my bumps.
I want to feel complete and presentable without makeup…but I don’t.
This is an example of a particularly painful flare up, probably due to what I was using on my hair at the time. Who knows.
Unless I’m at home laid up with my boos, or spending comfy time with my friends, I feel incomplete and unpolished without makeup. It doesn’t make it any easier when you get these comments:
“Are you feeling OK? You look tired.”
“Are your eyebrows falling out?”
“You’re breaking out! Are you pregnant again?”
“Maybe you need to drink more water.”
I’m like OK, enough. I’m putting my makeup back on. I don’t want to care, but I still do. I’m working on it.
I use my hair as a crutch.
So maybe I’m feeling self-conscious about my skin, but if my hair looks healthy and vibrant, I feel better about my appearance. I focus on what makes me feel confident. So maybe it’s not so much a crutch, but a choice to draw my dominant energy from what makes me feel good.
We walk around with our insecurities and our pride and this unreasonable pursuit of perfection. This need to be acknowledged. We compare ourselves to touched up images and the more we think we look like them, the more acceptable we feel.
You may look like the women you see in magazines, you may not. Either way, you’re probably too hard on yourself and notice your flaws more than your strengths. You probably don’t realize how much people admire you and how much they don’t notice your flaws.
Where you focus your own attention makes all the difference. For example, I’ve noticed that when I don’t have on makeup my body language is different. I don’t smile as much. I don’t make eye contact. I look down more. Overall, I just don’t feel as confident. So lately I’ve been trying to carry myself with the same energy and confidence that I do when I’m all airbrushed and glossy. And of course, I can tell the difference in how I’m received and how I feel about my no-makeup self.
Whatever your physical insecurities are, it’s time to feel pretty without comparisons and conditions.
You shine because of the sparkle in your eyes. You are pretty because you have been hurt and beaten down and you still choose joy. You are pretty because you embrace your flaws.
Define your own beauty. Don’t let the world decide for you. Feel beautiful because of your kindness, your spirit and how you live your life.
Everything else is temporary.