What Living Makeup-Free on a Remote Island for a Week Taught Me About Vanity

Do you ever feel completely sick of your own face? Not self-loathing, not all-out conflict with your image, just a general sense of exhaustion surrounding having to look at yourself all the time. I know I do. In our social media– and appearance-centric era, when everyone is a minor public figure in their own right, we seem to be putting more attention on what we look like—on performing our image for others and seeking their approval—than ever. "Selfie" was the Oxford English Dictionary's official word of the year in 2013, and since then, vanity seems to have become a bona fide lifestyle.

As someone who works in the beauty industry, who's not only seeking likes via selfies on her personal account but also has to talk about and publish photos of her face on the internet as a job requirement, the focus on appearance has gotten to me. After all, who I am is not what I look like, and my appearance is hardly the best I have to offer. Sometimes, though, it seems like that's all our culture wants to see, and over the past year, it's put a strain on my happiness.