I Gave up Makeup for a Month…Here’s What I Found.

I was seventeen years old when I first cracked open a bottle of mascara.  Granted, if it had been completely up to me, I would have been a makeup aisle regular long before the tender age of seventeen.  I had been eyeing makeup tutorials since freshman year of high school, and the countdown til the age of initiation into the makeup-wearers club seemed to tick away subconsciously until that blessed day.

Then the birthday rolled around, along with a select amount of makeup items and I integrated makeup into my morning routine almost immediately.  Granted, yes, it did add time to my already busy morning schedule (that mostly consisted of sleeping in twice past my alarm and drinking numerous cups of coffee) but it I thought it was worth it.  I felt polished, pretty, noticeable.

You were born to be real, not to be perfect | 22 Quotes About Self-Confidence That Will Brighten Up Your Life: Yet, for a variety of reasons, I decided to give up makeup for a month.  When preparing, I thought that as the amount of makeup on my face diminished, so would my self-confidence, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

During all my time on Pinterest or YouTube, trying to find the perfect make-up routine, I had forgotten that I wasn’t supposed to be perfect (in the physical sense of the word).  Instead, I was meant to be real – myself – and confident in who I was created to be.

Then I turned to my Bible for reassurance before the whole experiment started, and I couldn’t have found more assurance and love than in the words that the God who created me wrote for me.

In Jeremiah 31:3, I was told by a Divine Lover that He had loved me long before I had put makeup on.  In 2 Corinthians 3:18, He spoke and said that I was being transformed to be more like Him everyday.  In Psalm 46:5, He told me that as I find my confidence, faith and trust in Him, I would have His help at the break of every day.

Thus, the month began.  Benefits abounded – there was something freeing about being able to take off my glasses and rub my eyes when I was tired without having to worry about black eyeliner streaking on my face.  There was a confidence felt in the assurance that people interacting with me were getting to see me for me – my personality, my quirks and Chloe-isms, and not just for what I looked like.  Slowly but surely, I was taking off a mask.

And no one said anything.

Not one thing.  Not at work, school, or social nights with friends.  Not at the coffee house, the drive-through or the line at the grocery store.

“I struggle with my skin, but who doesn’t? There will always be something about ourselves that we find troubling, but in the end, we have love and that is worth more than all the accolades we could have ever received for being beautiful” – Christopher Poindexter 

As my normal interactions with those who came in and out of my life continued throughout the month, my confidence didn’t diminish…it grew.  I was delighting in being seen for myself, and realizing that the weight that I put on my shoulders, this pressure to look perfect, was not a shared burden with those in my life who were close to my heart.  I was not being told by my closest friends that things had changed, or that they noticed I didn’t look right.

I discovered that if I viewed makeup as a mixture of colors and pallets used to make ugly things beautiful, than I was doing makeup {and life} wrong.  Makeup is a way in which to magnify a beauty that already exists.  It’s a morning routine that shouldn’t cover up or distract from the beauty that comes from within – confidence, self-esteem and an awareness of the fact that God doesn’t make mistakes.

Then, finally on the day I had designated as the end of my makeup fast, I pulled out my makeup bag from the cabinet it had sat in, untouched for almost thirty days.  And it felt different, putting on lipstick and making sure everything was in place for stepping outside the door.  I’m not saying that women shouldn’t put effort into how they look, but it was strange to have to map out time for my morning routine again, instead of just waking up and delving into the day.

I learned that I want to be beautiful – a desire that had been in my heart while I had been anxiously waiting to be allowed to wear makeup just as much as it was a desire when I had my own little case full of colors sitting on the bathroom counter.

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis 

Double exposure portraits: a simple tutorial for making surrealist images: My desire is still to be beautiful – but not like the pictures of the super models and Miss Universes or the photo-shopped falsity that is plastered across the grocery store check out lanes and billboards on the highway.  I want to be beautiful for the way that I think, the crazy thoughts that run through my head that with hard work and a lot of prayer from my friends upstairs, can be turned into a reality.

I want to be beautiful for the way I can make people smile and laugh and forget their worries, even if it’s just for a little while.  I don’t want to be labeled as beautiful for something that will fade – whether that be my lipstick color or even my physical appearance in a more general sense.  I want to be beautiful at a soul level – and that is something that cannot be attained by an eye shadow shade.

“That’s the thing about inner beauty: unlike physical beauty, which grabs the spotlight for itself, inner beauty shines on everyone, catching them, holding them in its embrace and making them more beautiful too.” 

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