Peeling Back Makeup Layers

by Bijan Ellesse 4 months ago in makeup

Meant Peeling Back the Layers of My Heart

Peeling Back Makeup Layers

Riddle me this: You wear makeup for the majority of your adult life, and one day, you decided to go natural. People start asking you questions like “are you okay?” And “were you running late this morning?” Or they make a comment like “you look so pretty when you wear makeup.” Am I right?

You’re the same person as yesterday, just without the cosmetics. Why the unnecessary commotion?

Let me tell you, it’s nothing compared to the comments you receive when you decide to ditch 90 percent of your makeup collection. And that’s what I did a couple of weeks ago. I ditched all my eye shadow palettes, bronzers, highlighters, fake lashes (I sucked at the application anyway), eyeliners, and setting sprays.

Yes, I am not afraid to go natural anymore. I mean NATURAL. Most days I’ll wear nothing on the face except moisturizer and lip balm. Other times I will wear minimal organic/natural concealer, mascara, and foundation. Cosmetics are just accessories. I don’t need them.

Before I made this decision, I uploaded a rant video on my YouTube channel Lively Culture with the intention of expressing the conundrum of my love and hate relationship with makeup. I talked about the difficulties of utilizing the cosmetic tools, the mistakes I kept making, and everything else that was on my mind to say about the makeup world. I was still in the state of "makeup be gettin' on my nerves, but I still use it..."

As I watched the video again and again, I wondered something. While I made plenty of jokes in my commentary, and left the audience with a "love yourself with and without makeup" moral, was I really believing everything I was saying? Or was I just faking the funk?

I think more than anything, I was wanted to believe it all, but I had some reservations. In the back of my mind, I knew that I needed to really go deeper, and evaluate why makeup was so important to me.

Turning the Page to a New Chapter

After I officially made up my mind, sticking with the decision got easier; it was the reactions from my close friends and loved ones that were hard to deal with. I try to tell them how much better I feel. That my skin has cleared up, and I no longer spend an hour in the mirror trying to blend and draw my winged eyeliner just right. I’m not a coloring book.

I’ve never felt more beautiful. I’ve never felt more free. But they still think I’m going crazy.

Before I left the church completely, I used to be a part of a religious organization that pushed for all women to never wear makeup. Like EVER! It was considered a sin and a slap in God's face. They had a long list of DON'Ts.

In the back of my mind, I wrestled with their views, because they conflicted with mine. I did not see an issue with wearing makeup. I had an issue with relying on them to make one feel beautiful. I also had a huge issue with the toxic ingredients that I found out were in conventional cosmetics.

This lightbulb moment didn’t happen during an altar call; it happened in my bathroom.

Am I trying to prove a point that natural beauty is just as amazing—if not better—than cake face? Maybe. And y'all know what cake face is. When one has so much makeup on her face that she is unrecognizable with makeup compared to without makeup.

But before beauty gurus start coming for my jugular, I must say that I don't have a problem with makeup. Cosmetics are not evil. They are great for enhancing beauty and expressing oneself. I just want every woman to reevaluate themselves. Know your why. It depends on the heart. Everything you do has a motive, whether it is a negative or positive one. What is best for your mental and spiritual well-being. Yes, it is THAT deep.

But for the record, I stopped wearing heavy makeup because of a heart issue, not legalistic issue. The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth left an impression on me one day. I was moved to peel back the layers. To stop relying on makeup for security. At that point of my life, I focused more on concealers and eye shadows instead of my virtue (Proverbs 31).

For years, I was a slave to seeking beauty. I didn’t think I had enough of it. What started off as a craft, and way of expression quickly turned into a mask. I wanted men to think I was glamorous. I wouldn’t go outside bare faced. I hid behind cosmetics. To me, a natural face meant nakedness. It meant that everyone could see every dark circle, blemish, patch of rosacea. Judgment.

I know some of you could take a look at me and have no idea what I was talking about. You might not see these imperfections as easily as I did, but I had a very skewed perception. And while they might not be a stumbling block for you, it was for me.

A couple of weeks ago in my bathroom mirror, I had an epiphany: I was beautiful whether I had makeup on or not. Bare-faced and all, I looked at myself and smiled. A real smile. I looked hard at my dark circles, my eye bags, and the rosacea on my right cheek. Then, I heard this:

“Why is it so hard for you to let go of this and grab on to your Creator? You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Let it go.”

The tears started flowing and it was all over from there. I was almost late for work! I really desired to reevaluate where I found my identity. My identity needed to be in the one who made me, not in material things. Not in makeup. I am a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). I am a handcrafted beauty and perfectly imperfect, and that’s OKAY. I don’t need cosmetics to validate the beauty that I already possess. I was already validated; I just needed to receive it and walk in it.

Since then, I have been on this minimal and no-makeup journey, and it has not been incredible. Initially walking past Sephora would be a like chubby kid walking past the ice cream isle. The temptation has been real, folks, but the Creator of all things good gives me the strength to stick to my personal convictions. He has been revealing Himself to me more and more as I seek Him. It might sound crazy, but peeling back the cosmetic layers has opened doors for Him to peel back layers of my heart.

And that’s where my heart is. ❤️

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Read next: Marc Jacobs Velvet Primer & Velvet Noir Mascara Review
Bijan Ellesse

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