Before kids, my self-esteem was very low, and I felt like makeup was a tool that made me feel better about myself. It had such an effect on me that I ended up making it part of my career. In college, I started working at the makeup counter then interning for a cosmetic company. That led me to be their VP of Operations. You would never catch me without a full face of makeup on.
When I got pregnant, I remember thinking to myself that I wouldn’t ‘let myself go’ after having a baby.
I’d always wear makeup, it was my identity, I couldn’t imagine myself without it when I looked in the mirror. However, that started to change when I didn’t return to work and became a stay-at-home mom. Slowly over time I wore less and less and found that I preferred to not wear it at all. But my confidence was still low when I didn’t wear it.
Being a stay-at-home mom, you kind of feel silly wearing makeup because you’re with your kids all day and the main outing is parks and soccer practice. Some of the mom friends I’ve met also ditched the makeup, so being bare-faced is a normal look for most moms.
Even though I enjoyed not wearing it, I will often add my favorite “beauty looks” to my Pinterest board. It’s interesting how my taste has changed when I look at my board. I now prefer more natural makeup looks and laid-back clothing. I still admire the occasional dressy attire as well and always love red lipstick.
I wanted to feel beautiful in my own skin, or at least start to recognize and like the woman I see in the mirror without makeup on.
This led me to wonder, what is makeup? Is it an outfit, an identity, artistic inspiration or is it marketing from the beauty industry that just attracts us to it? I wanted to feel beautiful in my own skin, or at least start to recognize and like the woman I see in the mirror without makeup on. It took some time for me to accept my looks and not care so much about wearing makeup anymore.
When my third child was born we decided we were done having kids and that kind of started a new chapter for me where I can finally focus on myself. Knowing my body wouldn’t be changing again, I could eat for myself and not think about if being vegetarian would affect my pregnancy. I could work out again and not worry about losing my figure or changing clothing sizes. And lastly, my looks; who was I? Was I going to ditch makeup for good? Or could I come up with a happy medium?
I have two daughters so it’s important to show them and explain what makeup means to me.
I chose to go with a body-positive approach. I’d hope that when they’re older they would embrace themselves and only use makeup to feel good, but know they’re beautiful without it as well. I could never say that I felt beautiful without makeup, but it’s important for my girls to hear me say it. I know now if I don’t feel beautiful without it, they will feel like they need it to be beautiful, too.
Beauty can mean many things and what we feel on the inside can and does reflect on the outside. I’m on the journey to find myself again with and without makeup. Not the self that can’t go without it, but the woman who embraces herself and is ok with wearing it out sometimes. I can wear a little to feel like myself and I can not wear any at all and still be myself. On the days I’m going out, I can add it on and days I’m home I can leave it off. But I don’t have to commit to it and best of all I’m still me without it. It may have taken me a long time to acknowledge this but I’m happy I’m finally ready to embrace it.