This past Friday I went for a whole day without wearing makeup. Now, I know that doesn't seem like much of a claim; you'd have to know my makeup history.
It all started when I was in my late teens/early twenties. Prior to those years I never wore makeup and my parents never encouraged it. My dad is not a fan of the "cake face" aka this:
The most makeup my Mom would wear was Chapstick and that was fine with her. To be clear, my dad NEVER oppressed my mom into NOT wearing makeup: she never cared for it herself, and she has such beautiful skin, she doesn't need it.
I, on the other hand, went through a bad bout of acne and blotchiness, so when I discovered FOUNDATION, the doors of heaven swung open.
From there I spiraled into a VERY complicated and intense makeup regime that went something like this:
I would never leave my place without having all of the above on my face, especially for work. I was very self-conscious about my acne and I didn't understand that using large amounts of makeup can exacerbate already sensitive skin into a state of constant breakout. I also used brands such as Cover Girl which isn't high quality.
(Yes there is a huge difference between high and low quality makeup.)
My dad didn't say anything when I started showing up for church and family outings all decked out with my dark eye-liner despite the time of day. But I was never quite as bad as Taylor Momsen, a repeat offender.
Believe it or not, it was my wonderful boyfriend who slowly helped break the chains of makeup from me. During the first few months we were dating I was still so self-conscious, always spending lots of time putting on my face before going out. I'll never forget the first time he casually remarked off hand to me, "You don't need makeup, babe. You look great the way you are".
For the record, I never wore makeup for my boyfriend, even though he repeatedly said to me "You don't have to wear makeup for me" and "You know I think you're beautiful just the way you are".
Slowly over time though, being around someone who input these healthy thoughts into my mind, I started realizing that it wasn't about caring less for myself. You know how there's this small truth that as you become more comfortable dating someone, you kinda...let yourself go? Well, I was determined to keep up my regime, giving my best face to the world, but Matt challenged that.
I have learned a few important lessons about this topic over the past years...
1. Less is more. You don't have to cake the makeup on. A nice fresh light look goes a lot further than heavy unnatural looking eye-liner.
2. Be self confident. I was relying on cover up my imperfections to make it through the day. I was unable to be confident enough to present my "naked" face to the world. Makeup took away my strength and I felt I would be less of a woman if I didn't properly do myself up. The fact is: there's nothing wrong with makeup, but it shouldn't be a crutch, something you NEED to have on before leaving the house.
3. Buy high quality. I cannot stress this enough, especially in regards to foundation. As I mentioned before, I was irritating my skin with low quality brands. I now use "HD Makeup" aka "Make Up Forever" and a tiny squirt of foundation covers my whole face. I've never had a break out using this makeup. It is far more expensive than Shopper's Drug Mart makeup, but it is SO WORTH IT.
My favourite eye shadow makeup is by Urban Decay and I just got this basic palette that everyone should own
4. Invest in a good brush set. Prior to having a brush set, I used my fingers to apply my make up, which basically moves around the oils from your hands to your skin. I bought this brush set from Sephora and it is well worth the extra costs. (Also, keep your brushes clean!)
So I had scaled back drastically on my makeup use, only wearing eye-liner, eye shadow and mascara to work. Foundation is saved for events or evenings out with friends. But what precipitated an entire day without ANY MAKEUP at all???
***WARNING: SERIOUSNESS APPROACHING***
On Friday morning at 6 am I was waking up to drive my boyfriend to work when my phone rang. It was my mom. My dad had been on and off sick for a week and she was calling to let me know that he had been admitted into the nearby ER with severe pain among other scary symptoms. No one seemed sure of anything because the doctors hadn't been around yet with any news.
But seriously...I was FREAKED out. My dad is never sick. The fact that he had been down-and-out for the entire week prior had me a little worried, but no one in our family has ever been EXTREMELY sick, so we didn't think much of it.
I jumped out of bed, ran in bare feet to my sister's conveniently placed next door apartment and banged on the door. She rushed out of bed, I picked up my mom and we went straight to the hospital to see my dad.
Friends, there is nothing worse than seeing a parent helpless. From childhood I have seen my father as a strong man, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Nothing shatters that view faster than seeing your parent laying on a hospital stretcher crying in pain. I felt anger at the ER for not attending to his needs faster and I felt helpless. All of a sudden I was on the OTHER side of the system (I work in the hospital) and I didn't know what to do.
I put on a cheery face and said, "Don't worry Dad, I'm gonna go get the nurse to bring you some more pain meds". Then I went and found the nurse and rudely demanded said meds. Then I went and found my sister outside of Tim Hortons and broke down Jack-style:
(I'm crying but I'm trying to be manly and suck it up.)
I can add in all these funny GIFs to make this story more amusing, but the reality is, it wasn't. It was so hard for me to see my Dad like that; it was hard for ALL my siblings who came rushing in to see him. My mom was very cool and collected and great under the pressure, but it is very sobering to see someone you love suffering.
I posted on Facebook a request for prayer for my Dad and the response has been so overwhelming. People have stood behind us and prayed, helping out the best way that they can. We found out that my Dad's condition (meningitis) is the better strain to have (viral) and that he will not be in the hospital longer than 10 days. As the doctors seek to discover the reason for the virus, I think I can safely say that we are all content just knowing he is slowly getting better.
In running to the hospital, staying there for hours, rushing out to grab some things from the stores in the afternoon, I stood in front of the mirror that night and realized there was no make up to remove. I had spent the day without a trace of makeup on and I hadn't hidden away in the house...
Sickness and emergencies make you realize that there are things in life that are so much more important. Perhaps my dad (and my boyfriend) have had a better grasp of that this entire time...or maybe they're just guys who live simply. At any rate, wear whatever you want on your face, but be confident in your naked beauty. Hug your dad tonight.
P.S. My dad is doing much better although his medications are making him feel worse. Hopefully he will be home in the next couple days, although perhaps he is enjoying the relative quiet of the hospital compared to home...