How I Got Better Skin And Stopped Wearing Makeup

LVL Your Lashes…

And you won’t look back. LVL (length, volume and lift) gives your eyes the mascara-effect, without the actual mascara. It involves perming and tinting the lashes in a treatment that takes around 45 minutes and results last up to eight weeks. With the straightest, fairest lashes ever, I couldn’t believe how much untapped potential my natural lashes had. It means you can skip mascara. Go to treatwell.co.uk for qualified LVL lash clinics.

Go Double Duty Before Bed

A little effort before bed can go a long way to making sure you look fresh and glowing first thing. 1) A two-minute facial massage at night will stop you looking puffy in the morning. I do it when wearing a mask such as Eisenberg Melt in Repairing Mask, £110, or Clarins SOS Comfort Face Mask, £30. 2) I swear by a glycolic-based cleanser three times a week. Try Zo Skin Health Offects Cleanser, £35, or Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser, £25, to kick-start the skin’s regeneration process (skip the daily peel on these days). 3) The right faux glow will infuse your skin with radiance. Apply a tanning oil or gel overnight and you’ll have the confidence to wear less make-up the next day. St Tropez Self Tan Dry Luxury Tanning Oil, £23, is the most natural I’ve tried.

Believe The Microblading Hype

When a rather scary-sounding beauty treatment seemingly goes viral you can be forgiven for feeling sceptical. Fact is, when done right, microblading is one of the most transformational things you can do for your face. With fair brows, I was averaging a shape and tint per month but now it’s every six months for a tidy-up and I love waking up to a set of naturally defined arches. ‘It’s not about making your eyebrows look permanently pencilled,’ explains microblading queen Suman Jalef (sumanbrows.com). ‘Rather filling in and defining them to look naturally groomed 24/7 so you needn’t wear make-up.

The No Make-Up Make-Up Bag

Glossier Boy Brow, £14, allows you to ‘bushy up’ with no pigment or colour. I’m obsessed.

Kjaer Weis Radiance Highlighter, £41, for naked highlighting at its best.

Dior Addict Lip Glow, £25, reacts with your lips and infuses them with a hint of natural colour.

I have naturally dark under eyes but Bareminerals Bareskin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer, £23, is my go-to for invisible perfecting.

Swipe Charlotte Tilbury Rock ’N’ Kohl in Eye Cheat, £19, along your waterline to instantly brighten eyes.

La Mer Sheer Pressed Powder, £65, takes the edge off any unwanted shine.

Three years ago I stopped wearing makeup. Yep, you read that right. Being makeup-free is a part of my life that I rarely think about these days, but there was a time when I would have called you crazy if you’d told me that someday I would ditch makeup entirely. I used to wear makeup every single time I left the house, because I honestly felt like I needed it to look presentable. I believed that any blemish was unattractive and unacceptable, like I was less of a human being without covering my face with products. So today I’m here to tell you that when you stop wearing makeup it is a crash course in self love (and that is beautiful).

I won’t lie- I fell into a makeup free life accidentally, and it was all thanks to a month when I found myself broke and living in a cheap apartment with a TINY bathroom. I had just spent all of my meager savings moving to a new city and securing an apartment that had just one tiny, cloudy mirror over the bathroom sink. I had no furniture so I could not afford to spend money on something as trivial as a mirror. Plus the bathroom was tiny, ugly, and dark, so I didn’t enjoy spending any extra time in there.

While this may sound pretty depressing it was such a blessing in disguise. The first week or so in the new apartment I managed to apply basic makeup using the compact mirror that housed my face powder, but I quickly found this to be a huge pain in the ass. So, in a fit of frustration, I basically said “f**k it”, and decided I would stop wearing makeup until I bought a decent mirror for my bedroom.

I actually made this decision because I was completely overwhelmed with my life at that moment, and definitely not with any intention to change my habits permanently. The first few days without makeup felt…weird, scary, I felt exposed. I also quickly realized that people did not seem to notice that I wasn’t wearing makeup. Strangers didn’t stare at my naked face, I went to a job interview sans makeup (and got the job), and before long I actually stopped thinking about the fact that I had no makeup on.

This lack of makeup was paired with the fact that I was no longer looking at myself in the mirror, because I no longer had a decent mirror. I never realized how much of my time was spent staring at my own reflection until there was no mirror around for me to look in!

After a few weeks I realized that I could afford a mirror! But did I want one… This was the real turning point.

Before rushing out to purchase a big, full-length mirror I stopped to reflect on the previous month, and what I realized blew my mind. After a month without wearing makeup, and without looking in the mirror, I genuinely liked myself more than I had in a very, very long time.

When I had mirrors all over my house I obsessively stared at myself, critiqued myself, and I spent an enormous amount of my time trying to improve my physical appearance. In that month without mirrors everywhere, and without wearing makeup, I paid so much more attention to my non-physical traits. I was excelling in my new job, I had quickly made several new friends, and I was in the beginning of a wonderful romantic relationship.

My life was the best it had ever been, and it all happened without the aid of makeup. This was such a huge, eye-opening moment for me- wearing makeup every day was not necessary, it didn’t change the way people saw me, and it may have actually been masking my true self all along.

I decided not to buy a mirror. I decided that I was going to continue the experiment, now that I was aware of the huge benefits, and see what happened.

A super cool change that occurred over the first few months of this experiment was the fact that when I did occasionally see my reflection in a mirror, I loved what I saw….it was like taking a break from mirrors and makeup allowed me to see how beautiful I actually was. Once again- my mind was blown.

So I continued my life, sans makeup, for the next year. I checked in with myself occasionally: Was this still what I wanted? Did I still feel good? And the answer was a resounding yes! I was learning to love myself in a very honest, deep way- a way that I’m not sure would have been possible if I had never ditched my daily makeup routine.

Now I want to be clear- this post is not a criticism of women who wear makeup. Everyone is different, and just because I used makeup in a really unhealthy way, doesn’t mean that everyone does! There are plenty of women for whom makeup is an art, and a form of self-expression.

I also know that there are plenty of women out there who are wearing makeup on a daily basis because they feel they have to. If you can relate to that feeling then this post is for you because, as it turns out, you really, truly don’t have to wear makeup. Makeup will not get people to accept you, love you, or appreciate you, and the flip side of that is that you do not have to wear makeup in order to be accepted, loved, or appreciated.

The truth is, I found that I had an easier time meeting new people when I stopped wearing makeup. I’m still not sure what caused this change. Was I feeling more confident so I was quicker to chat with strangers? Did my lack of makeup make me more approachable to new people? Again, I can’t say for sure what did it, but I definitely noticed that I met more people more easily when I ditched makeup, AND I’ve found that the people I meet seem to warm up to me pretty quickly. The incredible side effect here is that I find myself making new friends far more easily than I ever did back in my makeup wearing days!

How to Stop Wearing Makeup

Okay, so if you’re convinced and want to give this no-makeup thing a try here are some basic steps to get you started:

If it’s easier, reduce the makeup you wear first

(if you just want to go cold turkey right away you can skip to the next step!)

Ditching makeup can feel really scary when you’re used to wearing it all the time. Trust me, I remember that feeling. It may be easier to start by eliminating most of your makeup first. Maybe you only where mascara, powder, and blush for a week. This will be a nice stepping stone to completely eliminating makeup.

Cover your mirrors

I really believe that the inability to stare in the mirror made it MUCH easier for me to ditch my daily makeup. To replicate this, cover your mirrors with sheets, towels, tapestries for at least your first week without makeup. This will help to keep you from evaluating and critiquing your bare face.

Don’t mention the change to a lot of people

I remember Face-timing with a friend when I first ditched makeup. I immediately told her that I wasn’t wearing makeup- and went into a long-winded explanation of why. Her response? “Okay, cool.”

In other words, no one but you cares if you wear makeup, so there’s no need to explain to everyone around you why you’ve stopped wearing makeup. You may feel the urge to explain, because you may feel that everyone is wondering why you look different. The truth is, most people won’t even notice. Seriously. I know it’s hard to believe, but most people are way too caught up in their own lives and minds to notice small changes in a coworker’s appearance.

Most importantly, by not mentioning the change, you will get the chance to see how people naturally react (or, in most cases, don’t react) to your lack of makeup!

Go without makeup for at least one full month

The first month of quitting any habit is the most difficult, and if you don’t give the makeup-free life at least a month, you probably won’t get a chance to fully experience the benefits of ditching daily makeup. If it’s easier, you may want to keep your mirrors covered for the full month. I suspect by the end of the month you will see yourself very differently (in a good way)!

You can do this! Courage comes in many forms, so be brave, stop wearing makeup, and get an incredible crash course in self love.

There are lots of ways to be brave and change your life. Read about our leap into full time travel, or check out my post about the time I went to Burning Man all by myself!

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When I got my first post-college job, I went all out with my makeup to help me feel more confident in my adulthood. I used primer, foundation, concealer, blush, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara six or seven days a week. (I’ve never been much of a lip color girl, though that hasn’t ever stopped me from buying it and then failing to use it more than a handful of times before throwing it away.) In my late twenties, I settled into a simpler routine: makeup for workdays, and only primer, foundation, concealer, and blush. Crossing into my thirties got me researching skincare and actually building a routine that I usually (but don’t always) follow.

This summer, I stopped wearing makeup. It wasn’t because I’d suddenly decided to make some kind of statement or radically change my life; it was because it was just too damned hot. I take the local commuter train to work, and there were days that the AC simply could not handle the number of people on the train and the weeks of upper-90s weather. Sweating off my makeup for half an hour on the way to work was a nightmare, and I didn’t want to spend the time (or money) trying to figure out if some kind of setting spray would keep that from happening — I just wanted it to stop.

For a few days, I tossed my makeup into my purse and put it on once I got to work. This let me feel like I looked “professional” at work, but it didn’t solve my melting problem on the way home in the evenings. Putting makeup on at work also just felt awkward, especially if someone else (like my manager) happened to step inside the bathroom while I was there taking up counter space. And then one morning when I was running late, I forgot to put my makeup in my purse and didn’t realize it until after I had missed my train and gotten into work late. I complained to work friends about how you could tell I’d had a really bad morning since I missed my normal train and had a bare face.

It’s weird, that little compulsion to point out when you’re not wearing makeup — it’s like halfway between a source of amusement and an apology for not measuring up to your normal beauty standards. No one in my office brought it up first. No one approached me, concerned, and asked if I was sick or tired. But I still felt like I had to acknowledge my lack of cosmetics to many of my peers, anyway. (It was really nice to have a commute home without makeup melting off me, even though I had felt self-conscious at work.)

That wasn’t my only hectic summer morning. It turns out that a failing AC can make it very difficult to get a good night’s rest and get up in the morning. The number of times I forgot to grab my makeup before I rushed out the door meant that my attempt to establish that habit ultimately went nowhere — and it meant that I got used to being at work without makeup instead. Even once my AC unit was fixed and I could sleep through the night, I’d functionally dropped makeup from my morning routine and wound up with room for something else: breakfast. I usually ate breakfast standing in the kitchen while packing lunch. But with my makeup timeslot free, I suddenly could sit down at my table to eat. I could enjoy my food and my social media feeds for a few minutes before I had to walk out the door, and that change in my morning routine made me feel more put together going into work than I had before, even with the makeup.

Some other small perks from dropping makeup from my workday routine: I haven’t had to buy any replacements, I don’t have to clean my makeup brushes weekly (a chore I disliked but did religiously because I liked breakouts even less), and I don’t have to do the “should I give a cheaper makeup brand a chance or stick with the expensive stuff I know won’t make my eyelids peel” debate whenever I step into Sephora. In the grand scheme of things, none of these were particularly onerous, but it’s nice to drop them altogether.

It’s November now, and no one at work has said a word about my lack of makeup. (None of my friends have, either.) If my bare face impacted my credibility or professional reputation, it wasn’t enough to prevent my recent promotion to a newly created team lead position. Then again, my job doesn’t require me to meet face-to-face with clients or people outside the office; there are professions and offices where I probably couldn’t get away with a makeup-free face sans commentary.

So have I sworn off makeup? No. I wore it for special occasions (weddings, family pictures) this summer when I wanted to look nicer than usual — it’s just that makeup went from one small-but-expected part of my work ensemble to something I realized wasn’t required. Wearing or not wearing makeup isn’t a decision I have to make and stick to for the rest of my life, either. Since the vast majority of women in management positions at my company wear makeup, I’ll likely come back to this question when my career takes me closer to getting an office of my own. Maybe a few months down the line, I’ll decide I want to change up my look and turn to makeup instead of putting new highlights in my hair.

It was good to just be reminded that makeup is a choice, and it’s one that I can reevaluate periodically. Regardless of what future me decides to do, present me is enjoying the lack of a regular makeup routine, even though I never purposefully set out to stop wearing it.

This post was originally published on November 2, 2018.

Audrey is an editor and writer who spends her free time on young adult books and video games. You can reach her on Twitter or through her website.

Image via Unsplash

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Baring it all for the greater good!

Photography: therulesrevisited.com

Ever feel like going out the house without wearing a single drop of makeup on the face? We know sometimes it can get pretty tiring to put them on everyday, especially if you use a lot of products. Even worse when you start breaking out! While we’re not telling you to chuck them away for good, it’s best to take a break for the purpose of helping your skin to breathe and recover. So what happens when you don’t wear makeup for a long period of time? Read on to find out…

1. Your skin can breathe

Makeup contains a lot of chemicals that could easily build up on your face and clog your pores. This leads to the formation of those pesky breakouts. Take time off and let your skin recover without piling on concealers or foundations. You’ll feel much cleaner without them!

2. Poreless skin

Bronzers and blushers may look pretty on our faces but when not washed properly, will result in chemical build-up, accumulating dirt in your pores. On top of that, outdoor air pollutants also contribute to the enlargement of pores. With routine facial cleansing and going makeup-free, you’ll see a reduction of saggy skin and wrinkles along with tighter pores. Try double cleansing for that extra clean effect!

3. Your skin will clear up

While we all may be aware that makeup is one of the causes of breakouts, we wear them nonetheless to conceal our spots – which only makes it worse. Imagine using your irregularly-washed makeup brushes, which contains leftover products, on your face. Yucks! The germs don’t just contribute to your clogged pores but also causes inflammation that leads to even more breakouts. So stop the cycle and let your skin do its magic.

4. Less eye infections

Did you know your eye makeup can cause your peepers to itch and swell? It’s true, especially when you use old makeup. You might think you’re saving yourself some cash by reusing that mascara you’ve had for two years but you’re risking exposing your eyes to germs and viruses. And don’t think sharing your eye makeup with your sister or BFF is a good idea too – it can spread bacteria.

5. Bye-bye dry skin

When it’s time for our skin’s renewal process to start, we tend to mess it up with unwanted chemicals from our makeup. When this happens, skin will go through a ‘natural skin sloughing’ process. It’s when the process of dry skin replacing new cells is hindered, resulting in dry and dull skin. Take this time to focus and perfect your skincare regime, so you won’t need as much makeup as you used to.

6. Less allergic reactions

A lot of products out there contain ingredients like parabens, sulphates, and metals, which can trigger an allergic reaction for many users. According to Webmd, there are two types of reaction; one’s called irritant contact dermatitis, which causes itch, redness and burn, and the other is allergic contact dermatitis, where it effects the immune system. Hence, you should apply makeup sparingly and make sure to use newly-produced products.

7. Natural beauty

Although at first you might feel insecure about going naked on the face, you can use this time to appreciate your natural beauty. Instead of hiding under all that makeup, your freckles and rosy cheeks actually make you look more youthful. We can bet that when you have healthier skin, you’ll feel even more happier!

Check out these celebs with zero makeup on for some inspo!

DEMI LOVATO | Photography: pinterest.com

ALICIA KEYS | Photography: beyondclassicallybeautiful.com

LADY GAGA | Photography: cosmopolitan.com

ZOE SALDANA | Photography: @zoesaldana/instagram

ZENDAYA | Photography: stylesatlife.com

KYLIE JENNER | Photography: enterghana.com

GINA RODRIGUEZ | Photography: celebuzz.com

BELLA THORNE | Photography: makeup.autoecobul.com

MARTHA HUNT | Photography: radioone.fm

JENNIFER LOPEZ | Photography: hollywoodlife.com

GIGI HADID | Photography: seventeen.com

Source: thelist.com, purewow.com

By most standards, I don’t wear a lot of makeup. If you asked my boyfriend, he’d probably tell you I don’t wear makeup at all (I definitely do, but I’ve mastered the art of the no-makeup makeup look). Like most girls I know, I have a few “flaws” that I choose to cover up and other features that I like to enhance.

On average, it takes me 10 minutes to put on my makeup for work. I wear tinted moisturizer and concealer to even my splotchy skin, fill in my brows because bold brows are still a thing, and curl and coat my lashes with mascara because I was blessed with the teeny tiny Shunatona eyes. (All I ever heard growing up was that I have squinty eyes.) This was my daily routine until one morning, when I was running a little behind schedule and showed up to work bare-faced.

I was planning to touch up in the bathroom before any of my coworkers could see me and my under-eye circles, dark spots, blemishes, and melasma in all their glory. I discovered the melasma, a skin discoloration triggered by hormones and sun exposure, a few months back when my boyfriend thought I had dirt on my face and tried to rub it off. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty self-conscious of my skin since then.

Up until that point, I had never been to work without makeup on. Unfortunately, that morning, a coworker of mine caught a glimpse. To my surprise, he said, “You look so fresh-faced.” I scrambled for excuses: I recently started using a new face cream for my melasma, I told him, and wanted to give it ample time to soak in before I slathered my face with makeup.

“You should just stop wearing makeup then,” he suggested. Sure. Easy for a guy to say, but I’ve always felt like if I’m going to work, an event, or any occasion other than bumming around watching Netflix, I need to look presentable. For me, wearing concealer and mascara makes me presentable.

Still, I took his challenge and pledged to stop wearing makeup for one week. Celebrities proudly post makeup-free selfies all the time and they feel way more pressure to look good than I do. I hardly wear anything on the weekends and all my friends and loved ones have seen me without makeup anyway, so I thought this would be easy and not too life-changing. #FamousLastWords.

Day 1:

The start of my first day at work without makeup was like that dream where you find yourself naked in front of a crowd and everyone’s laughing at you — except no one laughed or stared at my bare face. I was reassured. My colleagues respect me for the work I do and don’t care that much about how I look.

Later that day, I went to an event to preview a new makeup foundation launch. The first thing the representative of the brand, whom I had not met before, said to me was, “You have really uneven skin. Have you been in the sun? You have spots on your face.” Here I was thinking no one could even see it and that I was overreacting! I’m sure she had good intentions, but she was tapping into my deepest insecurity. I played it off and told the brand rep that I didn’t have any makeup on and usually it didn’t look that bad, but the truth was that what she said did bother me and my skin did always look like that.

Brooke Shunatona

Day 2:

I broke down. When I had made this no-makeup agreement, I’d forgotten that I had plans to go to the Belmont Stakes (witnessed Triple Crown history, BTW). On the day of the race, I didn’t really feel like being in a big group of people without makeup on — especially not after what had gone down the night before.

I kept the makeup simple, mostly made sure my skin was even with foundation and concealer. One girl actually approached me and said my skin looked nice (I felt like an impostor since it was the makeup that made my skin look good, but I was happy to take the compliment anyway). I also made sure to wear a hat, not only because it was part of my outfit but because I can’t be in the sun anymore without a hat or SPF 50 if I want my sun-induced melasma to clear up. Pro tip: Hats are also a great way to hide your face from the world. Even though I had a little makeup on, it was honestly nice to have that giant hat as a crutch.

Brooke Shunatona

Day 3:

On the weekends, I am normally makeup-free anyway, so I had no issues. This is me in my element, on my couch watching Game of Thrones.

Brooke Shunatona

Day 4:

The nice front desk guy at the office told me he thought I was 18. (Actually, I was 24 and turning 25 in three days.) I’m often confused for a teenager when I’m not wearing makeup — probably because people are thinking to themselves, How does this girl have such oily, broken-out skin? She must still be in those awkward teenage years. Bless her! I started breaking out when I was 14 and a decade later, I still feel the struggle. Front desk guy’s comment didn’t really bother me though. There are worse things in life than looking like a cool teen. I didn’t even notice my makeup-free state the rest of the day either. Maybe I was starting to get used to it?

Brooke Shunatona

Day 5:

I had a photo shoot for an article I was working on, and I was going to have to be in front of the camera. Even though I was having a particularly nice skin day (apparently my complexion was loving this makeup diet), I went ahead and put on makeup for the photos anyway. I told myself I’d take it off as soon as the shoot was finished so I could properly document my makeup-free day, but when I went to get a glass of water in the kitchen, a coworker of mine said, “Wow! You look so nice today, Brooke.” I felt all giddy for a second before realizing that no one had said anything like that earlier in the day when I didn’t have makeup on. Then, a few minutes later, another coworker said, “Your eye makeup looks so pretty!” I thanked her too and decided I was having too good of an eyeliner day to take it off (if you’ve ever tried a cat-eye before and nailed it, you know what I mean). I left the full face of makeup on all day, and by the time I headed home, seven (seven!) coworkers had complimented me on how nice I looked. Normally, this would be the best day ever, but instead, I just felt like I had received the praise because my face was made up, which made me feel like I hadn’t deserved it.

Kathleen Kamphausen

Day 6:

I know it probably takes zits longer than overnight to form, but after wearing foundation all day the day before, I woke up so broken out. Coincidence? Probably not. Today felt like a setback, and I was starting to think everyone at work was convinced that my life was in shambles and I couldn’t get it together enough to put on makeup and look presentable anymore. No one actually said this to me, but not wearing makeup in the office really messed with my psyche. I work in beauty and fashion, an environment where you need to look respectable and polished. Without makeup on, I was feeling disheveled and unorganized, and spending more time fixing my hair to compensate for my lazy, I-woke-up-like-this face.

Brooke Shunatona

Day 7:

For the most part, my breakouts subsided. Other than applying treatment with salicylic acid to my blemishes, I left my face alone and that seemed to help. My pores probably appreciated that I didn’t try to cover them up and suffocate them the day before. Nothing that terrible happened in my life since I decided to stop covering my skin with makeup. Come to think of it, my complexion actually looked better than it had in a while. Maybe a makeup detox was all I needed this whole time?

Brooke Shunatona

Day 8:

My 25th birthday. I decided to do the no-makeup thing an extra day since I had had two slip-ups over the last week. I took the day off from work and spent it outside with my boyfriend. I carried sunscreen in my purse and reapplied all day because I am now a responsible, 25-year-old adult woman who knows that taking care of my skin is more important than having a nice tan — happy birthday to me. For the first time all week, I was feeling completely confident in my quarter-century-old skin.

Brooke Shunatona

I did, however, decide to put on makeup at night for dinner because, well, it was my birthday and I was going to put makeup on if I wanted to. That’s the thing I realized about makeup through this experiment: If you choose to wear makeup, wear it for yourself and wear it because you want to, not because you’re trying to meet other people’s expectations. The only reason I wore makeup most days was because I thought I had to — that my spotted face would otherwise offend someone. But I don’t really care how my coworkers feel about my skin anymore. I think it bothered me a thousand times more to have them see my skin than it bothered them to look at me. Throughout the week, I started feeling better about my skin and it just so happened to start looking better when it wasn’t covered up anymore.

Kathleen Kamphausen

It’s been a few days since I finished the experiment, and I haven’t worn makeup to work since. Despite the fact that I received way more compliments when I wore makeup and had to deal with someone blatantly call out my uneven skin tone when I didn’t, I became aware of how much time, money, and energy I was wasting trying to hide something so insignificant. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to occasionally get dolled up. But I’ve learned to love the way I look without makeup as much as I do with it.

Get non-boring fashion and beauty news directly in your feed. Follow Facebook.com/CosmoBeauty.

Follow Brooke on Twitter.

Brooke Shunatona Brooke Shunatona is a contributing writer for Cosmopolitan.com.

I Stopped Wearing Makeup For A Week & Here’s What Happened — PHOTOS

Goodbyes have always been hard for me. Tears are often shed — and there goes my mascara. This time around, I bid farewell to my beauty cabinet and pledged to go makeup free for one week. Everything from my holy grail eyeliner to foundation was strictly off-limits. Here I was, about to embark on a mission to go all natural, blemishes and imperfections permitted. Was I nervous? Absolutely.

In this day and age, bare faces are not entirely a foreign concept. On Instagram, there is the influx of #NoMakeup selfies from celebrities and regular folks alike. Tutorials for the “no makeup” makeup flood every corner of the web. Brands such as Glossier are picking up cult followings thanks to its no-frills mantra and refreshingly real products (having recently tried their new Milky Jelly Cleanser, I can attest that this saved my skin throughout a makeup-less week).

For me, makeup is an added security blanket. An extra coat of mascara may not mean much to a girl genetically blessed with falsies, but it does mean the world in my book. Like everyone else, I too suffer from the inevitable combo of breakouts and skin discoloration, and foundation and concealer have always been there to save the day. But all of my precious beauty weapons had to go on the chopping block — for seven days, anyway. I would need to do what I normally do — show up to class, brunch with friends, take the metro, grocery shop — all with a completely naked face.

And what did I learn? The no-makeup journey is much more complex than I would have ever expected.

1. My Skin (Miraculously) Cleared Up

This should come at no surprise: the moment you summon the courage to abandon your trusty makeup routine, the universe rewards with you new and improved skin. Skipping out on the complete package — primer, foundation, concealer, just to name a few — means that your skin will get some much needed R&R. As a player on team full-face makeup, this meant that my skin was absorbing more chemicals every time I picked up that bronzer and beyond.

Enter seven days of bare, unpainted skin. My pores could take a breather, my breakouts could heal, and my general complexion could simply cruise on autopilot mode. At first, I didn’t notice much of a change with my skin — the discoloration was, tragically, still apparent, and even more pronounced thanks to no cover-up. On about day four, the magic (somewhat) kicked in. I suddenly didn’t mind stepping outside foundation-less because my skin appeared clearer than before. Also bonuses: less breakouts and one natural glow.

2. Mornings Had A New Meaning

You haven’t experienced separation anxiety until you and your eyebrow powder have been apart for seven days.

Yes, I am that kind of girl who will wake up a good two hours before class just to do makeup (even for an 8 AM lecture because I am actually insane). The routine is forever ingrained: pop on a podcast, adjust mirror, wet Beauty Blender, get to work. But when you decide to go au naturel, something beautiful happens: you discover the wonders of sleeping in. During my week sans makeup, I was able to catch a few extra zzz’s in the morning — a truly blissful feeling that cannot compare to any eyeshadow palette or perfectly curled lashes. Strangely enough, I also no longer had to race against the clock to ace my winged eyeliner.

My new AM ritual? Cleanse, moisturize, sunscreen, caffeine, and voilà. So straightforward that it almost seems wrong.

3. My Stress Just… Disappeared?

Giphy

I didn’t realize it at first, but as much as I treasure my Sephora VIB status and my trove of carefully researched mascaras (S/O to Makeup Alley), maintaining a beauty routine is rather stressful. Eyeshadows too muddy? Uneven eyeliner? A serious case of raccoon eyes? Overdosing on the blush? I’ve been plagued by all of these problems, and it is certainly no walk in the park to fix.

Once I surrendered my skin over to the natural forces, the obstacles vanished. I accepted my face for what it was every morning — redness or no redness. It felt oddly liberating to forget about my flaws and instead focus my worry on other important matters, like Googling images of Oscar Isaac (but that doesn’t mean I’ll be giving up that VIB status anytime soon).

4. I Devoted More Attention To My Hair

Not pictured: unusual amounts of hairspray, one minor burn

The moment you stop wearing makeup is the moment your curling wand begins fearing for its life. A naked face meant I could devote more time to taming my tresses. Usually I attempt to multi-task both scenarios — heating up my hair tools in the bathroom, whipping out the palettes and powders in the bedroom. But when you all you need to apply is moisturizer and sunscreen, that leaves ample room for experimenting with your hair. Mermaid-approved beach waves? Yes please!

5. What To Wear Became A Challenge

Who knew beauty and fashion would be so co-dependent? If you’re anything like me, you will begin to grow aware of how abnormal it feels to pair an over-the-top ensemble with a makeup-less face. One day, I’ll want to break out tights and a dress, only to discover how it feels incomplete without mascara, filled-in brows, and all the works. I’ve forever associated the “no make-up” style with certain getups, like sweats and tees for lounging at home or bikinis at the beach.

But hey, I managed to make it work in the end. I kept my outfits casual for the most part — think denim jackets stolen from your mother’s closet, relaxed knits, street-cool sneakers. Of course, a bare face meant I could also rock my yoga uniform a lot more (and because no one wants to be sweating off their foundation mid chair-pose).

6. People Didn’t Treat Me Any Differently

I’m a firm believer that feeling good about your physical appearances translates to a certain level of confidence. Perhaps you’re having an off-day when it comes that cat eye flick, and in turn, that may affect how you present yourself to the outside world. In reverse, think about the moment when you’ve finally nailed the ultimate lip combo and crafted the lashes of your dreams — your makeup has never looked better and you feel like a million bucks.

In the beginning, I was terribly self-conscious of how I would appear to other people when I left the house without an ounce of makeup on. What would my barista think of my sudden zombie aesthetic? My friends who always saw me fully dressed in contoured cheekbones? Would I appear less put-together to the general public? The answer: in NYC anyway, no one seemed to care. Not one lash was batted at my lack of concealer and extreme dark circles — or, if there were any offenders, I didn’t notice.

7. I Discovered That I Could Never Do This Challenge Again

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The whole “I Went For A Week Without Wearing Makeup” ordeal has been tackled countless times on the web. It is a challenge that many brave individuals undergo, but what differs is everyone’s end result. While some discover the enlightenment of natural beauty, others — namely me — realize that while it was fun to give it a go, no makeup cannot be a permanent situation.

I learned and I endured, but I still love my Shu Uemura and my Stila too dearly to ever discard it in the trash bin. It was entertaining while it lasted, but the next time you’ll find me sans makeup? Most likely either a) en route to the airport or b) at home, in pajamas, binge-watching the latest hyped Netflix series.

Want more beauty tips? Check out the video below, and be sure to subscribe to Bustle’s YouTube page for more hacks and tricks!

Bustle on YouTube

Images: Kelsey Nguyen/Bustle (6), Giphy (2)

I Went Bare-Faced For Six Months: Here’s What I Learned

Jane HarknessFollow Jan 10, 2018 · 6 min read

I’m about to pass on a secret life hack that will allow you to save money, give you at 15 extra minutes of free time (or more) every morning, improve your skin, and fight back against society’s standards for women.

After going completely make-up free for six months, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to my old beauty rituals.

I’ve already written about some of my feelings on makeup and feminism (you can check that out here if you’re interested), so if you’ve been following me for a while, you may know that I struggled with chronic acne and the many insecurities that come along with it for a solid decade. I was one of those “I’ve tried everything” people — you know, the ones who show up as a before picture on a Proactiv commercial.

Now that I’ve gone without makeup for a full six months, I’d like to provide a little update, share how I’m feeling, and discuss what I’ve learned from this experience.

I began wearing makeup some time before starting middle school, and the idea of eschewing it never crossed my mind.

But years later, a few different factors came together that pushed me to give up makeup altogether.

I drastically changed my diet (goodbye, dairy!) and switched to a new birth control, which improved my skin — my acne woes weren’t totally cured, but it was a major step in the right direction. Summertime rolled around, and I couldn’t be bothered to wear makeup to go to the beach or go hiking. I also decided I no longer wanted to use beauty products that had been tested on animals, which meant putting a lot more effort into buying makeup.

One night at the end of June, I realized that my old insecurities were starting to fade, but if I wanted to get totally comfortable with my natural self, I knew I had to shove my makeup collection in a drawer and forget about it completely — at least, for a little while.

The next morning was the beginning of my bare-faced experiment. The rules were simple: no makeup, ever.

Not for special occasions, not to cover up a zit or dark circles or acne scarring, not if I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw. I couldn’t use makeup as a crutch to avoid dealing my moments of low self-esteem. It was time to face it all head on.

By the time December rolled around, I was proud of myself for sticking to my one rule, and I felt totally comfortable with my face and body. Going out to a bar or a party without makeup was no longer a nerve-wracking experience, and I was even getting compliments on my skin — while I knew the point of this whole experiment was to find value in aspects of my life other than my appearance, it was still flattering after ten years of constant break outs.

I wore a little eye makeup for holiday get-togethers in December, and this confirmed to me that while throwing on some mascara eyeshadow for a New Year’s Eve party still has some appeal, I am definitely happier going bare-faced on a daily basis.

Over the course of the past six months, I’ve learned six important lessons:

  1. Most people didn’t treat me any differently.

I thought that going bare-faced would mean being overlooked at the very least — or maybe even being mocked by some people. For context, at the time I lived in an area of my city where it was very normal for women to wear thick, heavy makeup on a daily basis, so I definitely stood out. The only difference I noticed in treatment was less attention from random men on the street or in bars — which was a welcome change.

2. Yes, it’s easier with clear skin.

As my skin got better and better with each passing month and my acne scarring faded, going without makeup felt even easier. When I did have a “bad skin day,” I still went bare-faced, but I know it’s definitely easier for a woman with clear skin to forego foundation without feeling self conscious. This shows me that I still do have some issues feeling totally comfortable with my skin, but I hope this will improve with time.

And since men with acne are not expected to cover it up, so why should women? While we face pressure to cover up our break outs, all that makeup can often make acne worse for many women — therefore, giving it up and dealing with that discomfort for a while may actually help fix the problem altogether.

3. I saved money.

Not spending any money on makeup, and eventually, not having to spend any money on skin care products, definitely made my bank account happy. I don’t even want to think of how much money I have spent on makeup and skincare over the years — it was probably over $1,000.

That might sound ridiculous, but this was over the course of 10+ years, so that’s probably a low estimate. Just think of everything I could have done with that money that would have made a more positive impact on my life: booking flights, buying books, treating my friends, student loan payments, donating to charity…

4. I saved time.

I love sleeping in for an extra half hour or so every morning, and I love just falling into bed after I get home from a night out without having to take off my makeup (don’t worry, I still brush my teeth).

5. I eliminated a source of stress.

This might seem a little dramatic, but when I did wear makeup, I often felt like I needed to check on it throughout the day — was my mascara smudging? Was my foundation sweating off my face? Was my blush making me look like a clown in certain lighting? Crap, do I have to throw out these contacts because I got eyeliner on them and now I’m tearing up?

I’m a fairly anxious person already, so giving up makeup meant one less thing to worry about.

6. I feel like I’m finally allowing myself to just…be myself.

No more participating in an activity that I don’t enjoy on a daily basis. No more seeing my natural face right when I wake up and right before I go to bed and covering it up for the majority of the day. No more spending money on products tested on animals, no more feeling insecure about my physical features just because some company or magazine told me I should, and no more damaging my skin and my self-esteem just to fit some arbitrary beauty standard.

Even if you genuinely enjoy wearing makeup, I would encourage every woman to go bare-faced for a period of time, just to see how you feel. I think we can all benefit from getting more comfortable with our natural selves.

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As a teenager, I suffered from horrible acne and learned to use makeup as my armor. It became a shield to buffer what I was sure was disgust from other people.

When that type of thinking becomes a habit, it’s very difficult to un-learn. However, after stepping away from popular television shows, celebrity gossip, and “self-help” magazines for a few months, I began to appreciate the true me I never noticed because I so was busy covering her up. The even greater change, however, came when I decided to take a break from makeup. I stopped using the skin cream and eyeliner I’d so faithfully applied for years.

And what I found was an individual who, much like everyone else, had her own unique beauty, quirks, and yes, imperfections. Instead of disdaining my crooked nose (broken during soccer), a few red spots, or frizzy hair, I began to see what I had that no one else did. I even felt gratitude for my dark, piercing eyes, a beauty mark under my eye, and the shape of my eyebrows. I realized that everybody has his or her own unique qualities, which make them perfect in their own way.

Here are five great benefits of taking a break from using makeup:

1. Your skin gets cleaner and healthier.

Makeup is toxic, and anything you put on your skin is absorbed by your body! Mainstream makeup companies use chemicals that are thought to cause cancer and are treated as toxins by the body. After ditching the goo, it was much easier to maintain a glowing, clean-feeling complexion.

2. You have more time.

If you’re living a predominately plant-based diet, I’m sure you’ve noticed how much easier it is to grow long, healthy hair, strong nails, and a healthy complexion. When you stop adding toxins in the form of makeup, this means less time in front of the mirror, and more time enjoying your favorite activities. Think about it: most women spend at least 20 minutes preparing for the day. If you’re going au naturel, you can use that time to read a book, practice yoga, run, or sleep.

3. You have a greater sense of peace.

Learning to love ourself is a challenge for everyone. Taking a break from makeup is just another small step in making peace with your body image and your true soul. Don’t give up! It may be difficult to feel vulnerable, but most likely, you’ll realize that any judgment you perceived was actually coming from you.

4. You save animals.

Most companies have no qualms about testing on animals in order to improve their products. This can lead to permanent disfigurement, pain, and a lifetime of torture for creatures in animal testing facilities. If you choose to use beauty products, always check the labeling to ensure it’s vegan. There are many wonderful, compassionate companies coming into the beauty industry. (Then again, going makeup-free can ensure you have fewer companies to consider.)

5. You will appreciate life on a deeper level.

Embracing your natural beauty is the foundation of a life rooted in simplicity and in harmony with nature. Consumerism, debt, and obesity, are all fueled in part by an unconscious desire to get more and more and more… Ditching the mindset that having more makes you successful will help you to realize that you have enough. In this sense, you may start to enjoy a simple, vibrant life that is in harmony because it works with nature.

Whatever you choose when it comes to how you face the world, it can only help to first and foremost keep the goal of accepting the beauty and perfection within you and who you are already at this moment in mind; ditching the makeup can help.

For most women, makeup is a part of our daily routine. Research has shown that 44% of women never leave their house without makeup on – yes, even just to go to the supermarket across the street. Makeup has become so normalized in our culture that we marvel when we see someone not wearing it. But what makes cosmetics so tantalizing to wear?

Recent psychological research has shown several psychological reasons why women choose to wear makeup. The main reason is that they feel it underlines their naturally beautiful parts – like their eyes, their lips, or the contours of their face. Additionally, cosmetics can also be easily used as camouflage, to help us hide the features of our bodies we don’t like – such as scars or acne. Finally, makeup can be used because women believe men find it attractive. However, some women make the decision to never wear cosmetics in their lives. The question is, does that mean they’re healthier?

You may be surprised to learn that not wearing cosmetics does actually have noticeable effects on your body. If you’re curious, here are the most common things that women experience once they stop wearing the makeup that has become their second skin.

Here Are 10 Things That Happen When You Stop Wearing Makeup

“As cheesy as it sounds, nothing beats a smile and a bit of confidence! As long as you feel good on the inside, you can still look beautiful without any makeup at all.” – Zoe Sugg

1. Your eyes don’t infect as easily.

This is particularly important for people wearing contacts. Pink eye or conjunctivitis is most commonly spread by using and reusing other people’s eye makeup, so think twice before sharing your mascara with a friend! Additionally, eye infections are very common with people who apply their contacts with the same hands they’ve used to put cosmetics on their face. Once you stop wearing makeup altogether, you’ll notice your eyes are much more resilient to infections.

2. You don’t break out as much.

While we love cosmetics for hiding our breakouts, it might actually be partially causing the problem. Makeup has a lot of toxins that can block up your pores and cause dirt to accumulate inside of them, especially if you don’t remember to wash your face every night. Furthermore, makeup brushes are one of the main culprits for breakouts. So, deal with one last breakout and resist putting any cover-up on it – and you’ll notice your face clear significantly.

3. You have smaller pores.

Again, this may be surprising considering that makeup helps your pores looks smaller. However, it’s all about what’s going on underneath. If you use a lot of makeup, it’s very easy for your pores to get clogged and then infected and filled, making them look large. When you stop wearing cosmetics, you’ll see your pores reducing in size because they’re no longer be filled with the ingredients of your foundation or bronzer.

4. Your face slows its aging.

Dermatologists are unanimous in the fact that using more makeup in your day-to-day life actually accelerates aging. In fact, the more you use cosmetics to try and cover imperfections, the more light you shine on them because, no matter how much you clean it, it always settles in your wrinkles and makes them look even more on show. Stop using these products and you’ll definitely see the difference!

5. You have more hydrated skin.

One of the aftereffects of makeup is that its residue stops new skin from forming while you sleep, which means your old skin tends to peel and scab, leading to dry patches and dry skin. The toxins in cosmetics hinder the skin renewal process. When you stop using it, you will feel your skin being naturally more vibrant and hydrated!

6. You get more sleep.

Have you noticed just how much time of your day your beauty routine can take – usually between 20 to 30 minutes? Well, imagine having those minutes to get more sleep! Extra sleep makes your skin look healthier. Additionally, it keeps you energized and happy during the day. That’s one benefit you might not have foreseen from stopping your makeup routine!

7. You improve your skincare routine.

Without makeup to cover up your blemishes, you will realize just how important healthy and clean skin is to your life. You will most likely invest in a nice toner, cleanser, and moisturizer or start doing more natural masks. Gradually, your skin will gain a natural shine – and you’ll find you never needed cosmetics in the first place!

8. You gain confidence and self-love.

This is a very personal thing and it’s not guaranteed for everyone. But it might help to know that even beauty writers whose life revolved around makeup found that they gained confidence once they started going makeup free. They could look in the mirror and see their natural beauty for what it is, not covered by layers of foundation. Of course, others find confidence in wearing cosmetics and that’s completely okay. Do what keeps you thinking positive and happy.

9. You have less allergic reactions.

Sulfates, parabens, and metals are very often found in makeup, skincare products, and hair products. They cause many problems, the most common of which is infections. Many people who get rashes or other unpleasant reactions from using cosmetics often have to eliminate products one by one. If you can’t find the culprit, going makeup free might be the solution you’re looking for. It will definitely help your skin breathe better in the long run.

10. You’re less protected in the sun.

Keeping it real here, one of the uncommon benefits of makeup, especially some foundations, is that they have an SPF factor. This means they protect you from the harmful UV lights of the sun. Therefore, dermatologists agree that going makeup-free may increase the likelihood of sun damage. They also stress the importance of always wearing an appropriate SPF factor to save yourself from nasty sunburns. In other words, don’t just rely on foundation.

Final thoughts

Many women who have tried going makeup free have found it an extremely positive and rewarding experience. Why not try it and see if it works for you? You will see the benefits to your skin, confidence, and general health straight away.

How to stop wearing makeup

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