The Highs and Lows of Going Makeup-Free for a Week

In all its unfiltered, complete honesty.

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A beauty blogger wearing makeup on half of her face and no makeup on the other half

Makeup has been consistently present in my life.

There were yearly dance shows from ages 4-13, the experimental “I’m learning makeup and hardcore trying to fit in” makeup phase during middle school, and the “natural makeup” and “no makeup makeup” phases in high school and college.

While my makeup style has evolved dramatically since my younger years, one thing remains the same. Makeup consistently functions like a crutch for boosting my self-confidence. Granted, it’s less of a crutch now, but it still impacts how I feel about my physical appearance, and this, in turn, affects my confidence level.

A college girl's favorite makeup products laid flat on a table

As I was thinking about my relationship to makeup, I decided on a whim to try going makeup-free for a full week.

Overall, it proved to be an informative time that really helped me evaluate/understand my perception of makeup and the role it now plays in my life.

Here are some key highs and lows of this week-long journey:

Low: Feeling Uncomfortable with a Makeup-Free Face

This was the hardest part of the week: feeling bold enough to rock bare skin. I don’t have tons of skin issues, but my acne and scarring is pretty noticeable when I’m not wearing makeup.

Honestly, it felt scary to have my most hated skin flaws on full display for everyone to see. The first days were the worst, but it steadily improved through the week.

High: More Free Time in the Morning

My mornings no longer involved a 25 minute makeup routine, leaving me with more time to ease into the day. I’m that weird person who doesn’t like sleeping in, so I used that time to wake up and get an extra energy boost to start the day off on the right mental foot. Gotta say, my mood was noticeably happier for the week.

Low: Skin Surprises Remain Front and Center

There are random days where your skin just kinda goes nuts out of nowhere. My main problem is surprise acne, which is just as fun as it sounds.

Normally, I can cover spots with my trusty concealer stashed away in my bag, but that wasn’t possible this week. Boo.

High: Redirecting My Spending Habits

Oddly enough, my spending habits started to change. Makeup was the last thing on my radar. Skincare took center stage and I became more conscious of investing in good quality products. My skin never felt better.

It’s interesting that the lack of a daily makeup filter redirected my focus towards my actual skin. Future me is definitely planning to make this habit stick.

Low: Feeling Sub-Par Compared to Others

Comparison is the root of all heartache, and I learned this firsthand when I started looking at other people’s skin. Naturally bare or not, many people had better skin than myself. Seeing their great skin made me feel bad about my own.

I consider myself pretty average with respect to physical appearance, but I felt incredibly below average compared to everyone else now that makeup wasn’t in play. This was hard to deal with.

High: Realizing That People Don’t Care About Your Makeup As Much As You Think

The best part of the week was gradually realizing that most people truly don’t judge you or think less of you for wearing or not wearing makeup. Most people don’t even notice. Heck, some of my friends didn’t even realize that I didn’t wear makeup for the week!

The big lesson is this: when you wear/don’t wear makeup, people take far less notice than you think. The flaws that stand out to us like giant neon signs barely leave an impression on most people we encounter.

In the end, this week-long journey was ultimately about understanding confidence and self-love. This was my biggest takeaway from the week:

Makeup can be that extra touch for boosting your self-confidence, but it shouldn’t be the only factor that makes you feel like you’re worth something. That kind of deep, unwavering confidence grows from a difficult place: from within ourselves. Building self-confidence by relying solely on your inner strength will take longer, but it’s far better in the long run.

Share Your Thoughts

Have you ever gone makeup free for an extended period of time? What were your highs and lows? Let us know below!

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