Bow Dress: H&M.
Mustard Cardigan: Forever21.
Cream Circle Scarf, Mustard Beret: Target.
Black & White Ballet Flats: Charlotte Russe.
Black Sweater Tights: JcPenny's.
I recently just finished the book I'm doing my senior paper on called Beauty Bound. It's a feminist psychology book about how society influences and pushes women to be the fair sex, be inferior to men, and how nature and the effect of media influence women to be bound by beauty itself. It was a terribly interesting book, and something that really got me thinking about my own struggles with beauty and how beauty had been controlling me for so long- without me even realizing it. That's why today for the first time in my three and a half years of high school I did not wear makeup.
Reading Beauty Bound made me realize how dependent I have become on makeup. I've gotten to the point where I am embarrassed and ashamed of my natural face without it, and refuse to show my naked face in front of all of my classmates. I've known this addiction I've had to wearing makeup for quite sometime, but finishing the book and realizing the deleterious effects this addiction to beauty has had on me is eye opening and something I realized I wanted to challenge. So this morning when getting ready for school I did not put any eye makeup on- the product that I usually put on the most. I'm rather (okay really) insecure about my tiny, narrow set eyes. When I look in the mirror, all I can see is their beadiness, and it frustrates me that I don't have wide, large, fully lashed, blue eyes. To combat this fault I find in myself, I do everything I can to make my eyes appear bigger. Black liquid eyeliner, dark eye shadows, five coats of mascara; literally. For so long I've buried my eyes in all of this gunk, that I've come to forget the natural beauty of my eyes.
Along with no eye makeup, I did not put any blush on my face, something that is also very hard to me to go without because I do not have a very defined and structured face. I view my face as a blob, and putting on blush helps me pretend that I have sculpted, high cheek bones. The only makeup product I put on my face this morning was a thin layer of foundation.
Walking into school was definitely nerve wracking. I felt the need to put my head down, to hide from my classmates my hideous, makeup less face from them. As the day went on, things got easier but the morning was rough to say the least. I was surprised by how inferior I felt to the other girls without makeup on. I didn't want to look at anyone in the face for fear of them judging me and thinking I was ugly. Every time I would pass a girl in the hallway, I would be ashamed of the way I looked and thought to myself, "she's so much prettier to me."
But I can truthfully and honestly say that as the day went on I began to feel better about myself. My face felt so clean and fresh, and it was so empowering to be all that I was without hiding behind layers of paint. Not wearing makeup was also much more convenient. I was no longer checking my face in the mirror every five seconds to see if my mascara was smeared or if my eye liner had smudged. I was just Lauren for once, and didn't have to obsessed over the way I looked.
One person even noticed I wasn't wearing makeup today and commented on how beautiful I looked. It filled my heart with so much happiness because for once, someone was praising me for the way I naturally look instead of the look I fabricate for myself. Receiving a compliment on your natural beauty is so much more gratifying that receiving one on your superficial beauty.
So what have I learned after a day with no makeup? That makeup doesn't have to define who you are as a person. I don't need my cat eye and my layers of mascara to be Lauren. I can be her without all that. Don't think, however, that this experience is going to convert me to never wearing makeup- oh no, no, no! I see makeup as a fun way to express one's creativity and artistic expression; the same way fashion is. When using makeup though becomes less of an artistic expression, but a tool that an individual uses to improve his or her self esteem, then there is a problem. Just like me, you all don't need all of that stuff and gunk to make you beautiful. Society and the media tell you that you need to have big, wide eyes, that you need to have full, luscious lips, that you need to have a chiseled, painted cheeks. Well you know what I think? Screw society and its rules! I'm challenging all of you to prove society wrong and go one day without makeup. It doesn't have to be completely naked, but just for one day don't adore the part of your face that you're most insecure about. Of course like me, it's going to feel highly uncomfortable at first and definitely is going to make you insecure. I can say honestly that if I were to do this same thing tomorrow, I would still probably be as insecure as I first was this morning. But just by trying and taking a step forward, we all can see and appreciate for once our unique beauty just as we are ❤
With much love, Lauren.