Visiting France Helped Me Finally Go Makeup-Free in Public

Going out in public without makeup used to instill a paralyzing fear inside of me. It sounds hyperbolic, but it's true.

I'd felt that way ever since middle school when my skin began to betray me. The pre-teen hormones surging through my body brought with them unsightly blemishes that I picked with abandon in hopes that they'd disappear, but of course, they only grew deeper and increased in number. So began my foray into thick, full-coverage foundation, powder, and blush—anything to distract a bullying middle schooler from poking fun.

Though my skin eventually cleared dramatically, I still felt ugly without makeup; the acne wasn't there, but to me, it was a phantom condition. Any errand I'd run without makeup on was done with my head hung, afraid to make eye contact with anyone. It felt as though a stamp were on my forehead telling everyone to stare at me. Thus, I'd wear makeup to the gym, to the beach—anywhere that seemed irrational to wear a full face of makeup, there I'd be, fully made up. Makeup was my security blanket.

Next up, read what happened when our senior editor lived like a French girl for seven days.

This press trip was paid for by L'Occitane. Editors’ opinions are their own.

Opening image: @____roxanne