My Unhealthy Relationship with Makeup (And How I Fixed It)

by Naomi Kayn 2 years ago in makeup

The Overlooked Problem So Many of Us Have

My Unhealthy Relationship with Makeup (And How I Fixed It)

Let me start by asking, what is makeup? Makeup is a form of art, a way for us to express ourselves. It makes you feel something. It's symbolic in many ways. It symbolizes freedom of expression, no matter what your gender, race, sexuality, age, or religion is. It can be a passion, it can be a hobby and it can be a career. It makes people happy. Sadly, I forgot all that for a while.

In September last year, I started my first year in high school. That's when the problems started. It's very common for teenagers to have low self-esteem, and unfortunately, puberty makes it even harder. In my case, I was (and still am) dealing with facial acne and pretty bad skin. On my worst days, a little dab of concealer or something would restore my confidence a bit. And I'm OK with that, restoring confidence is one of the miraculous things makeup does. Until you start abusing it.

This was a point in my life when I started feeling so bad about the way I looked and felt so ugly that "a little dab" of concealer soon turned into an hour and a half in the bathroom every morning because there was no way I was leaving my house without looking "OK."

And the sad part is, I did look "OK." And every other teen out there that feels so terrible about themselves, I can tell you that you do look OK. And not just OK. You look beautiful. And you don't need any amount of makeup to "fix" that.

With every morning that I filled in my eyebrows a little more and tinted my lips to look a little pinker, I slowly drained the purpose out of using makeup.

It wasn't something fun that made me feel awesome anymore. It became a way to hide the things I hated about myself.

Every trip to Sephora became finding new ways to achieve the perfection I wanted so badly for the world to see on my face.

And under my makeup mask, I started to get sadder. On the days I felt like I achieved this "perfection," I still wasn't satisfied. I started to wonder whether this was actually going to make me happy. I realized that it wouldn't. I didn't know how to be happy again, but I couldn't give up my makeup rituals like some sort of addiction.

Until winter break.

It was around the holidays last year when finally, I had the idea. I decided to set some rules that I would follow over the course of the next two weeks. These rules included:
  1. Take care of my skin
  2. Take care of what I ate
  3. And the hardest one;NO MAKEUP

Don't worry, I'm definitely not anti-makeup or anything now, I just really needed some time off to think these things over. It was like a two-week long spa treatment. I was eating healthy, putting on different face masks every day, and successfully gave up makeup (until I figured out how to use it in a way that would make me happy)! And yes, I went to holiday parties without makeup! It was a little hard, but it was an amazing experience and I really recommend everyone do it at least once.

Those two weeks I learned how to feel confident about myself again, and to love myself with every little flaw. And I got a bit of control on the acne situation too! But I accepted my face as a part of myself that I should be proud of.

I'm happy to say that now, whenever I wear eyeliner or a beautiful, bold lipstick, I wear it because I want to. Not because I feel a false need to be perfect.

And to anyone out there that is struggling with what I did, I'll be the one to tell you. You are beautiful, and as soon as you realize that, you will be happy. I promise you.

Even though I'm just 15 and probably have no idea about any of the struggles yet to come in life, I hope that this journey might help somebody out there. Because makeup really is a beautiful thing. It's just how you use it that can really change the whole picture.

Read next: Marc Jacobs Velvet Primer & Velvet Noir Mascara Review
Naomi Kayn

Professional Procrastinator.

See all posts by Naomi Kayn