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The Makeup Breakup: A Guide

Updated on January 21, 2019
R Swafford profile image

I used to wear makeup daily, and felt embarrassed to go without it. 8 years ago, I changed my habit and I will help you do the same!

Let's Be Real...

Have you ever stopped to think about how much time and money you would have if you didn't have to wear makeup every day? A recent SkinStore survey reveals that women spend about $8 per day on beauty products, which amounts to almost $250 per month! I'm sure you could think of a million other things you might spend that on (personally, I would buy snacks).

Makeup can be really satisfying to wear, but it can also be a huge hassle. Maybe it makes you feel confident when you wear it, or maybe you feel like you need it to make a good impression. Perhaps you have a skin condition that draws attention to you and you want to hide it. Maybe you're addicted to it simply because it's fun to try new products and new looks, or maybe there's someone in your life that pressures you to look "perfect" all the time (Is that person you?). Whatever the reasoning, you are missing out on the opportunity to do whatever you want, regardless of those feelings saying you "should" or "have to" wear makeup every day.

From the cost, the time it takes to apply, and everything in between, wouldn't life be better if we could stop feeling obligated to wear makeup everywhere we go, and instead be confident in our own skin? Well, guess what? This is totally possible for you. If you're saying "Yeah right" at this point in time, I completely understand since I've been in your shoes.

What I'm proposing is a radical idea: It's The Makeup Breakup. This is not a guide that will tell you that you should stop wearing makeup completely, but rather it is meant to help you take control of your products and find new habits that will better serve you. You deserve better than to let your looks own you! And if you stick with me through this guide I will show you how you can accomplish the impossible and make a goal that puts you back in control of your looks and aesthetic life. I will encourage you, ask you questions that help you figure out what you want, and walk you step-by-step through some makeup ideas that will inspire you to take control of your looks in a way that serves you. Let's do this!

"You deserve better than to let your looks own you."

We don't have to hide our imperfections as the media portrays.
We don't have to hide our imperfections as the media portrays. | Source

What Do I Really Want?

Pause and think about this: The culture surrounding American society pushes advertisements and unrealistic models into our brains from a very young age. If you look at ads such as the one above, you will see that lines, wrinkles, and imperfections are completely acceptable and normal for men, as if those things are somehow inherently "manly". However for women, their faces look like fantasy characters and are so far from what women actually look like in reality. Why?

The truth is that the media can make us think we want something that doesn't serve us. Unfortunately, those ads are meant to make money off of us, not to help us improve our lives. We often self-sabotage by convincing ourselves that those ads are realistic and should be taken seriously, when we should be ignoring them if they don't serve us. We also see other people with a thing or a style, and think that we should have it, too. Comparisons are toxic, and the people around us can have a huge influence on our behaviors and patterns.

We are tricked by society to "want" and even feel a need for makeup. In turn, men are tricked into thinking that a face caked with makeup is the pique of beauty. But does makeup really add anything to our lives? What if people thought we were stunning and beautiful without having to cover our faces? Change isn't easy, but I am here to help you set the new norm for yourself and for those around you. The first step of The Makeup Breakup is being aware of the influences around you, and asking yourself, "What do I truly want and deserve?" You can be the trendsetter; you don't have to accept the ridiculous and unrealistic ideas of beauty that the media sets for our gender.

I Am Not Alone.

At some point in her life, every single woman you have met has struggled with a body image dilemma that originates from the media. This high-pressure advertising culture constantly bombards us with unrealistic ideas of beauty, and it is exhausting.

For me, I once felt like I had to wear makeup daily. I think this insecurity came from my mother, who would never go out without making her face and wearing earrings. As a result, I thought I had an obligation to wear it, too. When I didn't, I felt vulnerable, and ugly, and under-confident, and incompetent. I felt like everyone was staring at me and judging me for who I really was and what I really looked like.

Nowadays, I still wear makeup occasionally, but only for special occasions like weddings and holiday celebrations. My focus has shifted; I used to wear it for self confidence, and now I only wear it as a symbol that something special is happening. It took a lot of work and changing my thinking patterns, and now when I am makeup-less I feel just as confident and beautiful as when I have it on. The bottom line? You are not alone. Keep reading, and I promise I will help empower you to start this process for yourself and for your own unique situation.

Do you feel confident without makeup on in public?

See results
Your confidence doesn't come out of a product bottle.
Your confidence doesn't come out of a product bottle.

What Are The Benefits of My Makeup Breakup?

Let's consider all the benefits of cutting back on makeup (or completely cutting it out, if you so choose):

  • You will get more time back for yourself.
  • You will save a ton of money!
  • The initial vulnerability will help you be more honest about your needs and feelings, which can translate into your relationships.
  • You will find that over time, it will be easier to know what is beautiful to you rather than listening to the current trends.
  • You will start to feel more confident about yourself.
  • Your skin will age more gracefully (yes, a lot of makeup contains chemicals that damage the skin), and will probably look younger as a result.

    Watch the video below for more information:

"This Is What Happens When You Stop Wearing Makeup" by The Talko

What Could Be Holding Me Back?

  • Fear and anxiety are two big factors in starting this journey. You may feel fearful that people won't respect you or look at you in the same way without makeup, or maybe going without it makes you feel anxious. This is completely normal when facing a new challenge. In order to move forward, it is important to remember that no one is judging you, and that you can own the way you look without makeup. You are strong, you are confident, you are beautiful, you are unstoppable! There is no easy fix to these feelings, but they will change if you accept how you feel and move forward.
  • Social pressure can be a huge factor, especially if the ones closest to you are very judgmental, or expect everyone to conform to their way of doing things. Maybe all your friends wear lots of makeup. Maybe you're afraid of what they will think. But you know what? True friends will support and respect you, even when they don't have the same values. Be your own person! One way to overcome this social pressure is to tell friends and family about your Makeup Breakup before you actually start. This way, they won't be shocked and ask you a million questions when you are going through the process. And who knows, maybe one of them will be inspired to try it with you.
  • Your significant other might have the expectation that you wear it all the time or every time you go out. If you let your S.O. know your plans and they try to pressure you out of it in any way, stand your ground. No one should be able to tell you what you can wear, whether that be clothing, makeup, or anything else. If anyone makes you feel guilty about your Makeup Breakup, remind yourself that you are the sole owner of your body, and you deserve to make your own choices about it.
  • Self-confidence might also be something holding you back. Do you feel like you can't be yourself without makeup? Do you feel like not wearing it would be irresponsible or lazy? The irony is that your self-confidence will actually be boosted once you realize that you can be the same person with or without it.

There are countless other issues that may be holding you back, but this is your chance to overcome them. This is your body, and it is time to take control and ownership of it!

Where Do I Start?

First, you should consider what you want the end result to look like. Do you only want to be makeup-free on Mondays? Do you want to have some around for special occasions only? Do you just want to slowly cut back on the amount of products you use? Do you want to wear absolutely zero makeup and completely rid yourself of the hassle? Write down your specific goals on your phone or in a notebook. Here are some prompts to help you get started:

  • Do I still want to wear makeup? (Yes/No)
  • If yes, do I want to wear it daily, weekly, monthly, or only for special occasions?
  • If no, will I still keep makeup in the house? Why or why not?
  • Why do I want to do the Makeup Breakup?

Note: Keep in mind that if you plan on going completely makeup-free, there is no reason to quit cold turkey. Changing habits is a process, and our minds need time to adjust gradually to change.

What Now?

Here are specific steps on how to craft the perfect Makeup Breakup. Feel free to change this one to fit your needs, or create your own plan from scratch.

  1. Make one change each week. For example, you may choose to stop wearing a product and throw it out, or you might just want to cut back (for example, wearing less eyeliner).
  2. Make a table like the one pictured below, and fill it out. You can make a digital one or draw one; I recommend printing out a physical copy and posting it somewhere you look frequently, like the bathroom mirror or the fridge.
  3. Put the names of your makeup in your calendar on the exact dates you will make the change so you are committed to doing it.
  4. Be as specific as possible when making your plan! Write down exactly what action you will take, and where you will put the product if you are choosing to move it.
  5. You might choose to wear less blush on week one. On week two, you will wear less blush and also stop wearing fake eyelashes. You are adding one small change each week, and it continues on until you are to your goal.
  6. If you have decided to completely cut out certain products, then give them away to a friend or throw them out (never share eye makeup - it can give you or your friend an eye infection!). Keeping them around will only encourage you to pick up your old habits.
  7. If you don't want to throw them out entirely, then put away the makeup you are no longer using in a hard to reach places (like that weird cabinet above the fridge that no one uses). This will help you stay on track with your Makeup Breakup plan.
  8. Eventually you will notice that you are spending less time on makeup. Replace this time with something small and positive you enjoy doing. It could be reading, sleeping in, talking with a loved one, eating breakfast, or going on a short walk. You choose!
  9. If you don't follow your plan exactly, don't worry! Take some time to write down how you felt, why you decided not to follow the plan, and how you could prevent it from happening in the future. Alternatively, you might decide that you want to pause and edit your plan, and that's fine too.

The Makeup Breakup Table

Week 1: January 21
NYX Highlighter
Stop wearing/Put in garage
Week 2: January 28
MAC Lipstick
Don't reapply at lunch/Leave at home
Week 3: February 4
Urban Decay Eyeliner
Apply lighter/Put under sink
Week 4: February 11
MAC Eyeshadow
Take away 1 shade/Put away extra
Week 5: February 18
Stop wearing/Put in garage
Week 6: February 25
Allure spot concealer
Use only for major breakout/Put in garage

You can make your own table to serve as a guide to keep you on track.

Goodbye, old friends.
Goodbye, old friends.

What Can I Expect During the Process?

Expect Challenges:

  • You might feel insecure when you look in the mirror. I challenge you to look in the mirror less!
  • You may be overly aware of yourself and the way you look when you're in social situations. This is going to take a lot of effort for you to have positive self talk when you feel that vulnerability. You may walk past someone and think, "They probably noticed I'm not wearing makeup and think I look terrible. Now I'm embarrassed!" The thought that should come after this is, "No, that isn't true. They can't possibly be paying that much attention to me. I am proud to be me, and I will be confident in myself."

Expect Rewards:

  • You will discover who your true self is, and who you really want to be.
  • You will realize over time that no one is judging you harshly; that is only your own inner critic.
  • You will find more time for things you enjoy doing, rather than worrying about how you look. You might discover a new hobby that gives your life more meaning and enjoyment, or find more time to talk to loved ones.
  • Your confidence will start to rise, and you will feel proud of yourself for overcoming the difficult emotions of doing something new.

Find your natural beauty and inner confidence!
Find your natural beauty and inner confidence!

My Dear Reader,

If you have gotten this far and started the process, great job! You are on your way to claiming your own natural beauty and building your inner confidence. If you have any questions, advice, updates, or comments about your Makeup Breakup, please post below!

Stay Strong and Keep At It!

- Rebecca

© 2019 Rebecca Swafford


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