Bare Faced Beauty: Flaunting my Makeup-Free Face and Thoughts on Cosmetics

Today, Franca of Oranges & Apples is hosting the Friend Friday Roundup on the theme of no makeup. See her post and links for all the other contributors here.

Never shy to sport a statement lip or dramatic eye, this blog has served in part to archive and share my makeup adventures. However, the look that makes me most hesitant is actually the most natural one. No, not the 'it took me 15 products to look natural' kind, but a clean, makeup-free face. So here it is, my boldest look yet in all of it's naked glory:

As beauty bloggers, many of us appreciate cosmetics in ways that the average person would find ludicrous. We lust over limited edition items, build museum worthy collections, race across town on the quest for a particular lipstick, swoon over unique packaging, and research a particular shade for hours. But for how many of us does this appreciation transform into a feeling of need? Especially in a culture that often values women for their beauty as much as (if not more than) her brains, it is pretty easy to feel this way. Wearing makeup makes me feel confident about myself, sure- but it would be just plain idiotic to think that this didn't have anything to do with these cultural values and how people respond to me. Knowing this, I have been trying to be consciously aware of my relationship to cosmetics. 

My relationship with cosmetics has been a bit of a pendulum swing. When I was in middle school, I had absolutely no idea what shades worked for me or how to apply products. Thinking that more was better, I was chided by my parents for trying to look more mature than I was with my crappy blue eyeshadow (oh yes, I was that girl!). By high school and through college, my makeup routine had simplified to a handful of neutral shadows, a brown liner, a mascara, and pressed powder. I was a busy, self-confident bookworm who had little interest in changing up my daily routine.

 It wasn't actually until two years ago or so that my interest in beauty culture really kick started, and it was like middle school all over again. Loving the transformation cosmetics enabled, I frequently spent more than half an hour doing my makeup each morning and gravitated towards bold shades. I figured if I was going to wear makeup, I might as well look like I am wearing it, right? Somewhere during that time, I went from liking makeup to feeling like I needed it to look not just beautiful but just plain average. 

Thankfully, I have started to mature out of that phase. Though I still appreciate a sexy red lip or an artfully blended eye, I am discovering that I actually look better the less makeup I wear. Realizing that my skin is actually quite nice, I have recently swapped my full coverage foundations out for more medium coverage ones and tinted moisturizers. While it is rare that I forgo cosmetics all together, some days a little concealer, mascara, and lip balm is all I have time or effort for.  And I certainly don't wear makeup while just relaxing at home, and I can bare running to the grocery store with my face naked. I feel less depend on cosmetics and though I prefer to wear makeup, I know I don't need it all of the time to look like a normal, presentable human being. 

That being said, I am still excited by makeup (what a boring blog this would be if I didn't, right?). Most of all, I love how I can transform my look with makeup in a way that allows me to consciously construct, channel, and exude different expressions of femininity. My inner drag queen revels in this sort of gender play. What kind of woman am I today? An Old Hollywood starlet with matte red lips? Or how about a bad ass 90's biker chick with kohl rimmed eyes? Or maybe I am a powerful Grecian goddess with ethereal, glowing skin? Or maybe I am just lazy me, chillin' on the couch, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns with my friends, with not a stitch of makeup on at all.

Do you ever bare it all or do you wear makeup everyday? 
Do you ever feel like you need makeup? 
Do you use makeup to consciously present and play with your gender expression?

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