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I don’t wear makeup, and I don’t have a makeup kit.
The second and last makeup kit I bought was at an airport in Japan in 2009. I got it for about $100.
It included an eyeliner, some lipstick, and other basic cosmetic items any girl would need.
Back then, I thought I needed to get good makeup that wouldn’t leave any side effects. I used it three times and let it expire.
By the time I realized I’d had it for more than three years, I knew I just couldn’t keep it anymore.
Fast forward to the present, I now use only facial moisturizer twice every day: one in the morning after I wash my face and one in the evening after I shower.
The closest thing to makeup that I currently have is a tinted lip balm which I use when I go out on the weekends. It gives some rosy color to my lips, so I really like it.
Sometimes people ask me why I don’t wear makeup.
I have thought about it and tried putting on makeup a couple of times.
In the end, I decided not to for the following reasons.
When I was living with my parents, my mom forbid me to wear makeup to school or on any occasion. She herself didn’t wear makeup.
It wasn’t until much later in her life that my mom bought some foundation and a lipstick for special occasions (i.e. weddings, important meetings). Other than that, she just went barefaced every day.
My mom always told me about the toxic chemicals in makeup that can ruin my skin in the future. She believed in nurturing the skin from inside out: eating lots of fruit and veggies. And that idea is still stuck with me until today.
I think she didn’t want to spend money on cosmetics also because it wasn’t a necessity for her. We were struggling financially, and she wanted to save money for the family.
2. Lack of makeup skills
When I got into college and was away from home, I tried experimenting with lipstick, foundation, and eyeliner. I wanted to look beautiful, especially on special occasions.
I tried putting on makeup a couple of times and even had my friends do that for me. But when I looked in the mirror, I just didn’t like what I saw. I looked older and even worse than being barefaced.
There was a phase in my life when I was obsessed with makeup tutorials on YouTube. It was mesmerizing to watch all the beauty gurus transform their looks with the help of a few basic cosmetic items. It was like a work of art.
But those videos didn’t help me one bit because I never put those tips to practice. I was too cheap to invest in a proper makeup kit since I was afraid it’d go to waste again.
One time I asked my sister to put on some makeup for me. She wore makeup often and wanted to teach me some skills. After she was done, both of us just couldn’t stop laughing.
She said I looked like I was going to a Halloween party. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I had to agree with her. What was worse was that it took me a while to wash off all the eyeliner. It was just painful trying to wash the substance off of my eyelashes.
After a couple of trials, I gave up.
3. Fear of side effects
Reading about the harm of makeup in the media, I know what my mom said it’s not something she made up to scare me.
The EU has banned more than 1,300 chemicals from personal care products since they’re linked to cancer, birth defects and reproductive harm. The FDA, however, only bans 11.
The average woman puts 515 synthetic chemicals on herself, 60% of which is absorbed into their body.
When I think about what toxic chemicals might be in those beautiful lipsticks or eye shadows, it makes me not want to learn how to put on makeup properly. I don’t want to look beautiful at the expense of my skin and my health.
4. Save money
I once was so worried about the dark circles under my eyes that I went to Sephora and bought a concealer for $32 six years ago. It ended up not blending in with my skin tone and didn’t look good on me at all, so I returned it.
From that point on, I have never bought any other beauty products. Sometimes I just can’t believe I was willing to spend that much money on a concealer.
I know I can buy inexpensive products (i.e. Elf sells a lot of cosmetics for $1-3). But it brings me back to point #3 above: cosmetics contain a lot of harmful chemicals.
An average woman in the US spends $300,000 on beauty products during her life time (or $8/day), according to a survey conducted by SkinStore. The survey included 3,000 women aged 16 to 75.
With $300,000 one can buy a house or max out their retirement account to be financially secure when they retire. $8/day also equates an average of $240/month, a moderate food budget for a female aged 12 and above, according to the USDA.
I know that we shouldn’t convert everything into money, and that looking good and confident is sometimes priceless.
I just wanted to include the numbers to put into perspective how much makeup can cost us over our life time. I do a lot of things that I enjoy but might cost me an early retirement as well (i.e. eating out).
5. The nature of my job
I work at a nonprofit where the majority of my co-workers either go barefaced or wear minimal makeup to work every day. Anyone who wears excessive makeup will get some stares from others.
One time my employer hired a professional photographer to take photos of each of the staff. The photographer was very puzzled as to why most women at my job didn’t wear any makeup and felt uncomfortable even with some eyeliner on.
I know many professions (implicitly) require their female employees to put on makeup. Those occupations often involve frequent interaction with clients or customers. For those working at big magazines or fashion companies, I think makeup might be a must.
A 2011 study finds that women who wear makeup appear more likable, competent, and trustworthy. The research was sponsored by Procter & Gamble, a company sells CoverGirl and Dolce & Gabbana makeup, and the sample size was small (25 female subjects). That casts some doubt on the validity of the findings.
However, if I were working at a job where I need to look more presentable and professional, I might come under pressure to put on makeup at work every day.
I think it’s great that cosmetics can help many women look more beautiful and feel more confident. I also know that it is important for women to wear makeup every day in certain industries.
At my job, most of my female workers don’t put on makeup. I’ve gotten so comfortable with being barefaced, even to work, that it’s become part of me and my lifestyle.
And I’m glad this lifestyle has also helped me save a lot of money and time.
How about you? What are your thoughts on makeup?
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