Make(eupless)ing a Change | Teen Ink

Make(eupless)ing a Change

December 23, 2015
By maurtian GOLD, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
maurtian GOLD, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
13 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams"

-We Are the Music Makers, Arthur William Edgar O’Shaugnessy

Two-year-olds love to ask questions. At seventeen, I still have not outgrown this phase. Now, however, I set out to find answers.

At the beginning of my junior year I wondered why society places so much emphasis on makeup and beauty. That led me to wonder what it would be like to spend a year entirely makeup-free. After all, in 2015, the era of selfies, plastic surgery, and red-carpet-ready celebrities, a high-school girl not wearing makeup defies the norm. In an attempt to prove my doubtful friends wrong and show the world that makeup isn’t necessary to be beautiful, I started an Instagram page called “makeuplessmaura” to document my findings.

I began by posting general updates on my experience, remembering to point out when someone blatantly noticed that I wasn’t wearing makeup. I also posted encouragement that promoted body positivity and self-confidence. Most of the encouragement was directed to myself since, after all, it was sometimes hard to be one-hundred percent happy with myself when I couldn’t use concealer to cover up an annoying blemish. My followers seemed to appreciate this too, and it was exciting to interact with them to hear about their experiences with makeup. Most felt that it would be hard to not wear makeup because they either used makeup as a form of art, felt that their skin was too imperfect not to wear it, or were worried what boys would think of them without it.

To conquer the art concerns, I posted alternative art forms that promoted ideals I discussed on “makeuplessmaura”.  A craft enthusiast, my mirror is decorated with body-positive stickers and collages of real-beauty quotes and pictures hang in my room today as constant reminders to love myself. For those concerned with skin, I provided many updates on how my skin dramatically improved as the time passed from my former makeup-wearing lifestyle, despite the fact that makeup is usually used to hide imperfections. I discussed the importance of staying hydrated and sleeping enough for skin health in addition to providing facial recipes and tutorials as an alternative “makeup”.  As for the boys, I chose to tackle this concern head on. After much deliberation, I decided to interview random males of all ages on their personal perspectives on makeup, the beauty industry, and body image. These men had no knowledge of the blog or that I was not wearing makeup, yet the ones my friend and I talked to gave genuine answers that countered these concerns.  Shockingly, their unanimous census revealed that real beauty and confidence matter most and makeup is unnecessary. By the end of the project, I feel that I provided the answers.

As for myself, the experience was life changing. I learned that rarely anyone noticed if I wasn’t wearing makeup. No one criticized my decision or based their opinion on what I looked like. I learned that Vaseline makes an awesome "lip gloss" and facials are more fun than foundation. I learned that the beauty and media industry is full of unrealistic and unobtainable expectations that no one, not even models, can achieve. I learned that, to me, a natural face seems prettier than one caked in makeup. I learned that it's hard to love your body and skin all the time, but we should work on creating a culture that encourages all kinds of body and skin types rather than everyone aspiring to be identical. I learned that individuality is intriguing and can be presented in not only what you look like and what you wear, but through your actions and beliefs. I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to. If I have a goal, there is nothing stopping from me. If I want to question and speak out about an issue, I will. Most importantly, I learned to never stop asking questions and looking for answers.

What’s next? I’ll start looking for an answer.

The author's comments:

This is a memoir on my experience choosing not to wear makeup for a year and Instagram documentation of the project. Hope you enjoy!

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