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Why Can't We Be Comfortable In Our Makeup-Free Skin?

01/15/2016 05:12 EST | Updated 01/15/2017 05:12 EST
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part of attractive woman's face ...

The other day I was trying to trace back to the exact first time I ever applied make up on myself. I really couldn't remember but I have a feeling it was at an age before I even knew the difference between a crayon and a lipstick. I remember staring in awe with wide eyes and excitement at my mother's vanity table. The shiny row of gold cased lipstick would call out to me but they were just out of reach. Every now and then I would sneakily climb up on the countertop and smear them across my face and then crank the lipstick all the way open. Before leaving the crime scene I thought I was putting everything back just as I found it and for some reason I would place the lid back on top, smashing the entire stick and leaving it ruined.

My mother would chide me and tell me not to do that. But time and time again I was just drawn to all that shiny makeup and loved the way it made me feel when I put it on. Before I knew it I was hooked on making up my face and caking it all on. Every. Single. Day. I would apply layers and layers of foundation to cover up my acne prone skin as early as middle school. I used to hide in my basement bathroom and get up extra early just so I could get away with loading it on without anyone seeing. It boosted my self-confidence and I loved being able to change the way I looked in such a simple way.

I think a solid decade went by with which a single day did not pass without me having tons of makeup on. It was a part of my daily routine (as it is many of yours I am sure). Then came a time (about a year into marriage) where I just didn't care anymore. I didn't care if people asked me if I was unwell when I didn't have a thick line of liner under my eyes and deep colours staining my lips. I was fine with how I looked just as me. I actually started leaving the house bare faced more days of the week than not.

Recently, I feel there has been a huge increase in girls, particularly young impressionable girls, obsessing over makeup. I mean sure there have been different trends that have peaked through the ages (white eyeliner and glitter eye shadows were all the rage during my teen years). But now it has actually become engrained in our very daily life.

There are countless tutorials of how to contour your face to appear slimmer and more attractive. There's now an actual celebrity status for certain makeup artists. People have made quite lucrative careers out of painting peoples faces for all kinds of events, and sometimes just for the heck of it. Not to mention how there seem to be more makeup artists than clients out there these days -- but the tendency for girls to be drawn to this profession is a whole other topic.

So what is it about about being able to change our entire appearance within about 15 minutes that isn't the healthiest of things for us? When does it become detrimental to our mental well-being and self-esteem to be too reliant on constantly making ourselves over? Well, for starters, the fact that women are so easily shelling out hundreds of dollars for people to apply this stuff on our faces in a seemingly professional manor is kind of crazy on its own. The cost of the makeup versus the price of the application of it has quite a profit margin in between. Great for the artists, not so great for people who have frequent events to attend.

But financial reasons for finding this a little unnerving is not as serious as the message it is sending young girls. Has anyone ever compared their 13-year-old self to that of a young teen today? They actually look about the same age as someone well into their 20s. It's even hard to tell how old a girl is sometimes due to their practiced ability to imitate a YouTube video of highlighting and eyebrow defining.

The more we load on, the less power we are giving to ourselves to just be us.

The moment it dawned upon me that this might be an actual social issue is when I watched the mesmerized manner my three-year-old niece looked at herself in the mirror when my sister applied a little bit of lipstick and eyeshadow on her. She just kept repeating how "pretty she looked now." I thought about what message it sent her to have been watching us load on something to cover up and change the way we really look ever since she was born. Just as I was as a child, she was just itching to get to do the same to herself.

So we are pre-programming our young to not look and feel great about themselves just the way they are. Instead we teach them how to be reliant on external pigments and particles to look better and thus feel better about themselves.

It's a rather uncomfortable feeling when this realization hits.I think everyone should have more courage to go bare faced. Could you imagine attending a lavish wedding in which it's now hard to differentiate the bride from attendees with a makeup-free face? I am pretty sure people would think you're completely nuts!

The more we load on, the less power we are giving to ourselves to just be us.

So peel away those layers and pack away those brushes and try being plain and simple every now and then. Because when your mood and ability to socialize depends on how you look -- it's time to re-evaluate what you place value on and why.

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