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My life without make-up

My three oldest daughters were growing up fast, and two of them had entered their teen years. They were so beautiful to me: fresh-faced and makeup-free, just as God had made them. Wow, to be young again and not have to think about make-up, I thought to myself. Hmmm.

I started noticing my daughters’ basketball teammates wearing makeup to practice. I wondered, Why are 14 year olds wearing make-up? Maybe it’s because – light bulb! – all the women that little girls look up to, myself included, are wearing make-up. I thought, My daughters will surely do the same. Am I okay with teaching them they will look better with make-up? Hmmm.

I wore a full face of make-up. Could I go without it? What will people think? Will I look older, less attractive? How will I cover up my “imperfections” and highlight my “best” facial features? Hmmm.

One day, I asked my husband: “Would you care if I quit wearing make-up?”

“Of course not,” he replied, “You know I’m not really in to all of that anyway.”

“Shoot!” I thought to myself. I had almost hoped he had minded; it would have given me an out to not quit. But maybe, I should be glad he didn’t care: that meant he thought I was beautiful without makeup! And after all, my husband is the only one I need to impress, right? Hmmm.

I began to wonder if make-up, even the expensive kind, was actually good for my skin/face. Hmmm. But I didn’t change anything. I still wore makeup. Still, the question of whether to give it up stayed in my thoughts. I wondered if, and why, God had placed this conviction on my heart?

These “Hmmm”s lasted for two years.

And then I did it! Just quit cold turkey. The first time I went out in public sans-makeup, a friend concernedly asked me, “Are you tired today?”

I assured her that I was fine: I just didn’t have any makeup on. My friends did not know what I looked like without it! This makeup-free thing was off to a rough start, but I was determined not to let that stop me.

Two weeks later, my husband and I were asked to attend the Anthony Muñoz Foundation Silent Auction. I felt like this was my first “big” test. Would I feel “dressed” without makeup? I silently coached myself, You made it this far, don’t go back! My husband found out we’d be seated with Muñoz and his family, and while I realized it was an honor, inwardly my heart sank. How could I get dressed up and sit at the main table without wearing makeup? Would I look unfinished? Tired? I reminded myself of all the reasons I had decided to give up makeup, and I chose to go without it for the evening. And I had a fabulous evening. I didn’t lose any friends or make any enemies.

Still, it took a whole year before I fully adjusted to being comfortable with what I looked like without makeup. It’s now been eight years since I’ve worn it and I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s freeing!

The benefits have been more numerous than I expected. I learned how to feel beautiful from the inside out, and truly love who I am as I am. I’ve saved so much money. I no longer have to worry about staining my clothes with makeup when I’m getting undressed (especially those white shirts!). Tears of joy or sorrow can flow uninhibited, without worrying about my mascara smudging. And perhaps my biggest reason of all is my girls can see you don’t need to wear makeup to enjoy life to the fullest. They are – we all are – just as beautiful without it.

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