Why I Love Makeup—and Choose Not to Wear It

My relationship with makeup isn't a particularly complicated one. I recognize that we've been raised to believe covering our "flaws" is not only preferred but a necessity each time we cross the front door. It's been deeply ingrained in our minds and souls that things like blemishes, discoloration, and shine are to be banished from our faces—that showing our natural skin is something to fear. However, I'm not against wearing it because it shackles me to long-established beauty ideals or enhances features in preparation for the male gaze. The feminist intention behind such lines of thinking are important to me. But in regard to makeup, I don't feel specifically connected to them—not anymore at least. Makeup is art. It's creative output emblazoned across your face. But it doesn't have to be your identity.

Instead, my rapport with makeup is a love affair of a different kind. One where I admire its shimmery, face-altering magic—but only on special occasions. I opt for a makeup-free me every day during the week and all weekend. That is, save for nights out when I want to feel especially bold, polished, or put-together. That way, my relationship with makeup remains fresh and fun, rather than stale and mandatory. I don't judge anyone who wants to wear makeup each time they leave the house—I used to be one of them—but I've come to a place where I never want to feel like I need it to look like me. It's important to know my real face and understand each curve and edge without the need to flatten, perfect, and erase to recognize myself.