I stopped wearing makeup for four months last fall. I just quit cold turkey one night after reading a blog post about the slave labor used to mine the sparkly stuff in my eye shadow. I couldn’t justify the price tag of ethical makeup, so I just quit wearing it.
It was freeing. It freed up time in the morning that I usually spent applying eye shadow and mascara. And I felt like I was sticking it to the man, in a way, by refusing to wear makeup. I went bare-faced to work every day. I didn’t wear makeup to my friend’s bachelorette party or another friend’s wedding. I didn’t wear it for Thanksgiving or Christmas family get-togethers.
At the same time, I was conscious of my barren face every single day. Every day I would look at myself in the mirror and say, “You’re beautiful. You don’t need makeup. You look just like God made you to be.” But every day, a sneaking insecurity would break in and whisper, “You look like a child. No one could possibly take you seriously at work without a little makeup.” or “How can you go out like that? This isn’t summer vacation.” And on and on.
Eventually, those voices came less and less and I felt more confident, even proud, to display my makeup free face.
I did research on ethical makeup options, but my frugal ways won out and I didn’t buy any.
But then Christmas happened, and my sister-in-law gifted me some makeup from the Body Shop. She prefaced the gift by saying, “Please don’t take this the wrong way. I just thought you might enjoy having this as an option.” She reads my blog too (bless her heart) and saw that I had recommended the Body Shop in a post that fall.
I didn’t take it the wrong way at all. I was thrilled! I could now wear makeup guilt free. But I had also learned a powerful lesson: makeup or no makeup, I could go about my business and social life with my head held high. I went four months without wearing makeup, and nobody said anything. Nobody asked me if I was tired or sick. Nobody asked me if something was wrong. Probably the only person who noticed, was me. (Or at least they were too polite to say anything)
I also realized that I liked wearing makeup and there was a reason I wished I had it on. It was part of my morning routine. As one of the youngest people at the office, it gives me confidence. And having a little sparkle on my eyes makes me happy. There’s nothing wrong with that. I could stop judging myself and others for choosing to wear makeup. It feels good to know that there are ethical makeup options that don’t rely on slave labor to mine the sparklies and do their best to use other ethically sourced materials.
So I decided to start wearing makeup again, in moderation, and only if it was purchased from a company striving for ethical business practices. So far, I love what the Body Shop has to offer and I highly recommend it. I’m still on the lookout for a company that’s NOT connected to a parent company (L’Oreal) that is NOT committed to ethical practices overall. So if you have any favorite ethical makeup companies, please let me know! And now I know, if I run out of this makeup and don’t want to buy more, I am free to go bare-faced and feel good about that, too.