Featured image by Anna Schultz
I could give you various reasons why I usually don’t wear much or any makeup, and not one of them would be “because I don’t take care of myself.”
People seem to have a lot of opinions about women’s makeup choices. If a woman doesn’t wear makeup, she doesn’t care enough about her appearance. If a woman does wear makeup, guys say they *gasp* don’t even know what she really looks like!
How do women keep up with all of these expectations and please everyone with their makeup choices?! The short answer: They can’t. Impossible. Not happening.
Personally, I wear bold lipstick because it’s fun. It’s like another accessory to go with my outfit. I don’t wear it every day and feel just as confident without it, but I love fashion and think lipstick helps enhance my overall look.
I also have bad acne despite my many efforts to control it. I’ll often wear concealer because I just feel more confident in myself when my acne isn’t extremely obvious. Societal expectations have impacted me. There, I said it.
But for the most part, I don’t wear makeup and that’s largely because I don’t have an interest in it. I also don’t like how makeup feels on my face, and I’ll be honest — I don’t feel like putting in the time and money. I wear what I feel comfortable in, and that happens to be a bit of concealer and bold lipstick.
Because I think there are a lot of misconceptions and ridiculous expectations surrounding women’s beauty routines, I asked other women to share why they choose to wear or not wear makeup.
I wear makeup…
To practice self-care and self-expression
“Wearing makeup gives me a way to express myself. I can change it up depending on the occasion, with different colors and levels of sparkles. It’s easier than changing nail polish. It also makes me feel more confident. I get acne, which is not fun. By wearing makeup, I feel like when people stare at my face it’s because I look good, not because I have a zit. Most importantly: it’s fun. I love putting my makeup on in the morning. It’s a time in my hectic morning where I sit down, listen to a podcast, and focus on me. It feels like a little daily luxury.” – Anna, 22
To feel comfortable and presentable
“I do wear makeup, probably six days of the week. Outside of my immediate family, I could count the people who have seen me without makeup on one hand since middle school. I started wearing it due to insecurities and continue to do so to this day. Whether it’s a pimple or bags under my eyes, I always have my face done. Maybe not eyes or lips, but face. What I like most about it is the flexibility. I can do something dramatic or something incredibly natural, but either way it allows me to be artistic and creative in my normal daily life. I love playing with my eyes and finding different ways to really make them pop, and I love a bold lip, even though they never last past a sip of water. My greatest complaint is how unaffordable it can be. You get what you pay for, so for the higher quality, longer lasting, and more natural ingredients, it’ll cost an arm and a leg, but even then it probably isn’t quite what you were hoping for. I’m sure a lot of people think women do the “full face” for attention, but I do it for me. Not only to ease my discomfort in my own skin, but to simply feel presentable.” – Grace, 21
I don’t wear makeup…
Because I don’t want to feel obligated to wear it all the time
“I rarely wear makeup. I never wore it for the longest time because I didn’t know how to really. When I was in high school, I tried to learn because I did theater. I’ve been wearing eyeliner every time I’ve gone on a trip or any kind of event I knew I would be taking pictures at frequently, the reason being 1) my eyes look super squinty without the eyeliner, but more importantly 2) because in the pictures I would take I’d be with other girls who obviously had makeup on and I felt it put me at a disadvantage in the photos and I always looked worse than they did because I had no makeup on. Since I’ve learned how to do makeup well for work I’ve actually come to love putting it on, but I don’t like to wear makeup regularly because I don’t want to feel obligated to wear a full face every day. I’m always scrambling to get somewhere and I don’t want to worry about not having enough time to put on makeup. And the thing is that if you wear makeup every day, people see that as you. So when you don’t wear it, people think you’re sick or that you look horrible. For me, it’s less that I want to save it to look special (even though I will admit it’s a nice perk). I choose not to wear makeup because I don’t want to feel that obligation of if I don’t wear my makeup today, I’ll look ugly.” – Jennifer, 21
Because I don’t like the expectations that come with it
“Cost is a big reason. I did theater so I would buy makeup for shows. I couldn’t believe how much I spent. I figured I could put that money towards something else I liked better —traveling, dinner with friends, or in my savings account for later. The second biggest reason is the way it affected my skin. I felt like I would get more acne after just doing a show and wearing makeup all week. I like makeup for dressing up. Some people are so talented and creative and are doing really fun, impressive things with makeup. I dislike some of the expectations that come with it. I have some friends who wear it every day, but if they decide not to wear it once people say they look sick or tired, which must make them feel awful. You shouldn’t have to either not wear makeup or commit to wearing it every day and be called sloppy when you don’t. You should be able to wear it sometimes and not have any comments made about why or why not. The other thing I hate is how makeup is shown in media. In movies they show a woman as very frumpy and then all of a sudden she gets a makeover and now she’s gorgeous and somehow also better at school/her job/life/attracting men. Or in movies people are dying at the hospital or surviving in the jungle and they have perfect makeup. Very unrealistic, and those women look amazing with and without makeup.” – Nicole, 20