By Taylor Driscoll
I can clearly remember when my obsession with makeup began. I was a sophomore in high school and a musical theater nerd—that year, I had a duet of a cover to West Side Story, which was a big role for me.
During one of the rehearsals, some girls asked the costume director questions about makeup: Should we wear foundation? What color lipstick do you think is appropriate? Probably shouldn’t go overboard with the eyeliner, right?
It was like they were speaking a foreign language.
Up until this point, I hardly acknowledged the beauty industry at all. I hadn’t snuck into my mom’s makeup bag to smear on lipstick or poke myself with eyeshadow applicators when I was younger. But after hearing the girls talk about makeup during theatre rehearsal, I was intrigued. All I knew is from what I Googled—foundation is something that goes on your face, lipstick is something to put on your lips and mascara is something that simply terrified me.
That same week, I headed to my local drugstore, venturing into the makeup aisle. This aisle was bright, colorful and overwhelming. There were shades of colors that looked almost identical but had different names; I was amazed by the shade range of pinks and reds.
That was the day was the start of my obsession with makeup and all of its trends. Fast forward five years (to present day) and my drawers are full of makeup.
My everyday beauty routine consisted of caked-on foundation and powder, and a neutral eye look with lips to match. My eyebrows were etched in with a dark brown pomade and I bronzed like no one’s business, adding some “subtle” highlight to complete the look. It was heavy, not only by the look but by the way it felt on my skin.
Eventually, my mask of makeup impacted my skin, and it was a time-consuming task to remove it all after a long day. Thankfully, I never caused breakouts with my excessive use of makeup, but I developed dry patches on my cheek and forehead that were embarrassing to look at.
I love makeup, and always will, but I didn’t want to weigh my skin down. With this realization, I made a decision: I would wear minimal makeup on weekdays for work, mostly just to hide the dark circles that were under my eyes, but once the weekend hit I would give my skin a breather. I had an awakening in the first few weeks of this semester when I finally put my plan into action.
The first thing I noticed was how much spare time I had in the mornings. Before, I would spend anywhere from 30 minutes to almost an hour and a half plastering my face with makeup—just to get a coffee with my best friend or to go to work. I could spend my time doing other things, like sleeping in or making myself breakfast before rushing out the door for work. I could do more work on the weekends, whether it be cleaning or doing laundry earlier in the day, rather than waiting.
I also noticed that I was starting to love my skin more without makeup. My mom always used to nag at me about wearing makeup, “You don't need all the junk on your face. You have pretty skin.” I had always told myself she was just saying that because I was her daughter.
Slowly, but surely I started to understand what she meant; I started to learn more about my skin and became comfortable with the unevenness and redness that came along with it. I have an angel’s kiss—a slightly red patch between the eyebrows that usually develops after birth—and I had been embarrassed about for years, always covering it with makeup. When I decided to stop wearing makeup on the weekends, I started to embrace it.
In the long term, I realized I was also spending less money on makeup. Since I used minimal makeup for work, I was no longer hitting the pan of my favorite palette, or scraping what foundation I had left from the bottle quite as frequently. I spent this money on skincare products that aided in keeping my natural skin balanced and healthy.
I found that overall, my skin started feeling more refreshed after the occasional break.
Don’t get me wrong, makeup is amazing, but taking a break for a day, a week or even a whole month is great too! Not only can you give your skin the rest it deserves, but you can also learn a lot about your skin and what it needs from you to stay as flawless without makeup as it does with it on.