My makeup knowledge extends to wearing a red lip, a little mascara and concealer during photo shoot days. It could be because I lack an hour everyday to get “beat to the gods”, my freelance budget does not cover makeup excursions to Sephora, or I simply prefer to have fresh-faced skin and a decent skincare regimen.
This is not to shame women who can strobe, contour and beat a face to the Gods. You have a talent and you should make some money from it! Work that brush girl and dust that setting powder for a coin. Makeup has always been a powerful tool. It can be used to enhance, mask and uplift. It can be a confidence booster for some. Or an afterthought for others. Include me in the latter category.
Growing up in a religious household, wearing makeup wasn’t really on my “coming of age” list. My earliest memory of wearing makeup was during Halloween, where I dressed up as a witch. I was about 8 or 9. Telling huh? Up until that point, I wore lip glosses and tinted chapsticks. Oh what a time of innocence.
I never really thought or had the urge to wear makeup. I thought I was fine the way I looked.
My skin was tight, clear, smooth and soft. Nevertheless, beginning college, I still didn’t have the urge to try makeup.
I didn’t really get into makeup until my junior year of college. I had a girlfriend who was a beauty junky. This was before the rise of beauty vloggers and YouTube stars and endorsement deals. She had a huge caboodle kit of makeup, with eyeliners, lipsticks, lipliners, foundation, concealer, and brushes. Lots of brushes. Unlike me, she started wearing makeup in her early teen years. She introduced me to wearing eyeshadows and bright lipstick.
After college, I accumulated a mini makeup kit of sorts: foundation, lipsticks, eyeshadows and concealer came next, once the eye puffiness crept up (welcome to the real world!). Even though I had a small arsenal to whip a look together, I started to become less concerned with how “beat” my face looked and more concerned with my skin care regimen. In fact, I was always concerned with my skincare routine. For me, I’d spend more money on Clinique skincare products before I purchased a concealer. After a terrible bout of acne in college, I wanted to preserve and protect my skin. To me, makeup made matters worse, not better. “Why would I want to clog my pores and cover pimples with loads of products?” Instead of hiding the problem, I wanted to attack the acne.
The biggest compliment for me over the years was how fabulous my skin looked without makeup. There have been countless times my grandmother has asked me what I’m wearing to only astonish her when I said nothing. On days when I’m suffering from the flu? Flawless. On days where I only had five hours of sleep? Flawless. On days where I just don’t care? Flawless. I can thank genetics and melanin. Praise melanin! But more importantly, I’ve invested a lot into taking care of my skin. That includes drinking lots of water, changing my diet to include nutrient rich foods and finding an energy that radiates from within. Cliché I know.
Over the years, my makeup kit has been downgraded to just a few lipsticks and concealer that can conveniently fit in an accessory box from The Container Store. Choosing not to wear makeup wasn’t a dramatic thing. As uneventful as it was, I just didn’t care. I didn’t care about the freckles on my cheeks being visible. Or the wrinkles forming on the corners of my eyes. A few nights ago I went out with a close friend of mine. The only thing I wore was red lipstick and mascara. I still had a bomb ass night. No one noticed the lack of concealer or eye shadow. And we had an amazing time. Because duh.
Maybe it’s because I’m creeping up on 30 in a few weeks or maybe it’s because I’m becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I know that wearing makeup doesn’t define my beauty. It doesn’t shape my existence or the amount of likes I get on social media. I’ll always love a red lip, because let’s be honest a red lip changes the world.
But I’ll be fine with just tinted lip balm any day.