The first time I put makeup on myself was when I was 12 and woke up to see my very first zit. It was an ungodly size right in the center of my nose and I instinctively wailed to my mother, in need of help. It was 7 in the morning before school, so taking a trip to the drugstore for concealer wasn’t quite an option. She handed me everything she had and, lacking a maturely developed brain, I placed eyeshadow directly on top of it. It was glittery. I convinced myself it looked good and made my way to the front door.

Somewhere along the line, I’ve developed a love for makeup. I became a wannabe Michelle Phan and started a beauty channel on YouTube. I went to IMATS. I reviewed Naked Palettes. The usual.

I like the freedom it gives and how much of a transformation it can make in a person. And I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, as it’s often thought to be, but rather an art form and skill. With the right pigments blending together, your face becomes a painted canvas that you have complete control over.

But on a random day in July of last year, I decided to go without eye makeup. I left my face makeup on because I hadn’t yet made peace with my uneven skin tone. But the eyeliner and mascara were MIA, and though it sounds trivial, it was a turn of events for me. Prior to this, I had happily worn makeup every day of my teenage life. So cutting it out of my daily routine was atypical.

I’m still a supporter of the art of makeup. But I haven’t worn it in months, and I’m happier with my appearance than I’ve ever been.

Here is what’s changed through my banishing of makeup:

  1. I feel clean. Under a layer of foundation, concealer, bronzer, and powder, I felt uncomfortable, but forced myself to get used to it. Anything to look good. Now, I can touch my face without thinking “did I just wipe that off?” or groaning over residue on my hand.
  2. I no longer have to experience the feeling of putting my glasses on top of my makeup-covered face. This is the biggest plus.
  3. When I’m tired and feel myself drifting off to sleep, I don’t have to go through an internal battle of whether I should take my makeup off first.
  4. No longer do I spend money on eyeliners and mascaras (that are essentially all the same anyway) on a weekly basis.
  5. I’ve begun to realize the shocking ratio of girls who wear makeup to those who don’t. Neither is a bad thing, but nevertheless it’s something I’ve noticed.
  6. Somehow, my skin has majorly improved. Apparently it was never a fan of my makeup because once I stopped wearing it, my skin cleared up quickly.
  7. Now that my eyes aren’t rimmed in black and topped off with a wing, I actually notice their natural shape and color (and I’ve grown to love them).
  8. Sleep is more of a thing now than it used to be. The time I used to spend working on my coats of mascara is now spent getting an extra ten minutes of warmth in bed.
  9. In terms of my appearance, I’ve started to genuinely appreciate the positive rather than dwell on the negative.
  10. I wake up and look in the mirror knowing that what I see is what it is. The image will not change in a half hour after I’ve busted out my collection of eyeshadows, and there’s something comforting in that feeling. There is no before and after. At no point in my day is my reflection ever a predecessor of something better.
  11. I don’t worry throughout the day if my makeup smudged or if I’m in need of a touch-up.
  12. I take selfies a lot more.
  13. I stopped getting the feeling that I look worse on some days than others. This was a typical feeling when I wore makeup daily, because of sloppy application on one particular day or because it was hot out and I was sweating it away, etc. Now, I literally look the same everyday. It’s no longer an issue.
  14. And most importantly, I love myself more than I did before.

Apply and design to your liking. Cover yourself in as many blues and blacks and pinks as desired. But do not forget to appreciate the clean, original canvas that the colors are clinging to.