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Intentional Routines: Why Do Women Wear Makeup?

Intentional Routines: Why Do Women Wear Makeup?

Hello, 6th grade. The year was 2000 and I turned 12 years old. As most women know, middle school brought a whole new level of self-awareness. The act of comparing myself to other women commenced. Girls in my grade returned from summer break wearing bras, lip gloss, and eye shadow.

I had no need for a bra, but when I asked my mom if she could buy me one- she did. In the 7th grade, she even let me wear one with a little padding. 16 years later, I’m 5’7″ and a 32A (in all likelihood the same size I wore in 6th grade). I never achieved that B cup I wanted at 12.

I wanted to look like the other girls.

Step 1: I had my bra now (even though I forgot to wear it sometimes)- Check.

Now I needed the eye shadow. I NEEDED BLUE EYE SHADOW.

My mom said no to the blue.

“But everyone is wearing blue!” (and that statement was true- it was 2000 after all). Instead, she bought me a light brown eyeshadow. “If you wear blue eyeshadow you are going to look back at photos of yourself and wonder why you ever thought that looked good.”

Before the end of the school year, I had convinced her to buy the blue eye shadow. And now I look back at pictures and wonder why I ever thought it looked good.

My Relationship with Makeup Begins

Why did my mother buy me makeup in the 6th grade? Now that I’m a mother myself, I can imagine it was because I came to her. I asked her permission instead of sneaking eye shadow in my backpack and putting it on at school.

I don’t know her reasons, but I know mine.

My reason for wearing makeup was to fit in.



By the 8th grade, I had developed acne. I have very light skin that scars very easily. My reason for wearing makeup shifted from wanting to fit in, to wanting to cover my acne and scars. I needed makeup to feel confident and to cover up my imperfections and that hasn’t changed much since the 8th grade.

Makeup is not a tool to mask insecurities, but a tool to promote self-love. Click To Tweet

A New Relationship Why do Women Wear Makeup

To be clear, I am not anti-makeup. I know lots of women (and men) who treat makeup as art. They watch YouTube videos, and walking into Sephora is like a trip to Disney World. Makeup brings them joy.

These friends wear makeup for the RIGHT reasons. I wore make up for the wrong reasons.

Makeup does not bring me joy.

I wrote about how physical possessions can influence our emotions. Like the coffee table in that article, makeup easily controlled my feelings of self-worth and confidence. I was ready to take back that control. Other women have decided to not wear makeup for other intentional reasons.

The 4 Reasons I Stopped Wearing Makeup

  1. Foundation was a band-aid to bad skin instead of taking care of myself.
  2. Makeup did not bring me joy.
  3. I spent a lot of money on makeup- yet the “feel good” of a new product would only last a couple of weeks.
  4. The lack of self-confidence I felt without makeup on- I did not want makeup to have that control over me.




An Intentional Makeup Routine

I’ve arrived at the destination now. I’m where I want to be with self-esteem and self-confidence. I am taking care of my skin instead of covering up the problems, and it has never looked better. Today, I wear moisturizer, sunscreen, and a little mascara. I’m ready to start a new relationship with makeup- an intentional relationship built on self-love.

The 4 Reasons I’m Starting A New Makeup Routine

  1. I love my blue eyes and how using a brown eyeliner makes them pop.
  2. I love my smile and how a subtle plum lip color makes it even brighter.
  3. I love my skin- the acne scars have almost vanished, and mineral foundation adds a little more glow to skin that is already well cared for.
  4. When my daughter asks to start wearing makeup, we can talk how makeup is not a tool to mask insecurities, but a tool to promote self-love.

5 Women Share Their Favorite Attribute

  • Terryn || writer at Just a Simple Home– “My favorite part of my face is my eyes because my family always says my eyes tell them what I’m thinking. My girls like to help me pick out what color eye makeup to wear too!”
  • Samantha|| writer at Carter’s Cozy Nest– “I love my green eyes and fair Irish complexion, and playing up both of them – light on the foundation so a few freckles peek through, and playing with shades of plum on my eyes – is a ton of fun! My absolute favorite part of my face, though, comes from my Cherokee blood. I have the Irish skin and eyes, even my nose is distinctly Irish, but my cheekbones are Cherokee through and through! I love to play with contouring to really make them stand out, and I always feel uniquely beautiful because of how this cool combination feature sets me apart.”
  • Kristen || writer at Shifting Roots– “I love my hair and nails. They are the two things that I do almost nothing with because they’re perfect just the way they are. My hair is naturally just-spent-a-day-at-the-ocean wavy and my nails look like I got a french manicure. I’ve been asked by strangers if both are real.”
  • Hilary || writer at Writings and Worship– “I love my eyes, especially my lashes. My eye color is unique and my lashes are fairly long and thick. It’s definitely my favorite part of my face. Sometimes I love adding mascara because it just accentuates what I already have!”
  • Casey || writer at Casey the College Celiac– “I love my cleft chin. Compared to my dad’s and sister’s, my cleft is more gentle and not as obvious. However, I love knowing that I’ll always carry a part of my dad with me – and perhaps pass it down to my children.”

 

What feature do you love the most about your face? How do you use makeup as a tool to develop self-love versus insecurities? Share your story in the comments!



69 thoughts on “Intentional Routines: Why Do Women Wear Makeup?”

  • I rarely wear makeup, but sometimes I wish I were better at it and wore it more! I’m okay with it though. I love having a natural and low maintenance look, too. I DO want to get back into the mascara habit though. Love the intention behind this post!

    • Thank you! I’m not very good at makeup either, which is probably why I questioned why I was even wearing it. I too feel more comfortable with a low maintenance look.

  • I actually stopped wearing makeup when I was in beauty school because it made me so sad how many of my classmates were so afraid to be seen without their full ‘face’ on–even by their boyfriends or parents or siblings. They would sleep in their makeup and proudly declare that no one was allowed to see them without it. Because of that, they wouldn’t even take advantage of the free facials we were allowed to give each other sometimes.
    I’ve recently started wearing makeup a bit more often, though not everyday. I do like a winged eyeliner once in a while and slightly darker eyebrows than I have by nature. I think makeup has its place, and it can be a lot of fun, but too often it threatens to take over and steal one’s freedom and joy to simply be a natural beauty.

    • Wow, I love this story. I love the decision you made by observation instead of falling into the same mindset as your classmates. I feel more comfortable with a natural look, but I think women who really know how to use makeup look beautiful (like your classmates). I just hope that never comes at the expense of feeling less without it.

  • I loved this! I think it’s so important to make sure we’re wearing make-up for the right reason, and especially to pass that down to our daughters! I love to use makeup to accent my blue eyes that my husband loves!

    • I have a weird thing where I HAVE to wash my face before bed- whether I’ve worn makeup or not. I recently started using almond oil to clean my face. Sounds weird, but it really does clean my face and moisturize so 2 steps in 1!

  • Hey Davi,

    LOVED this post. It’s such an interesting question, that I don’t think I’ve really seen very many bloggers tackle. Like why do we feel the need? I know for myself it was always from a place of insecurity. Last year I went like 6+ months without makeup and it was glorious, I just stopped caring about trying to appear perfect. How can I not love and own my natural face and skin? “Imperfections” and all? And added bonus, it gave my skin space to heal and me as well.

    Thanks for the insight,

    Nadalie, It’s All You Boo
    NEW POST: When You Just Don’t Feel Like It

    • I feel/see such a huge difference in my skin now that I have not worn makeup= Its amazing! The reasons I wore makeup (acne scars/breakouts, uneven skin tone) are gone. It’s no longer a band-aid!

  • Our minds are crazy things. I never wear make up because I have medical conditions that means… putting on make up exhausts me. But I hate meeting new people without make up on. It makes me feel like a person. Which is a sad state of affairs.

    • I’m sorry! That is a tough situation to be in. I checked out your blog (great blogging resources by the way!) and you have absolutely beautiful skin! (I love Pooper’s cameo too! I have 2 cats).

  • Oh blue eyeshadow. I remember those days. I still wear it from time to time but thankfully I know how to blend and wear it correctly now, ha. I’m one of those people that loves makeup. Though I also have been one of those people that wouldn’t leave the house without it. I’ve gotten better about that and force myself to go without when going to the gym or other places where it doesn’t make sense. Generally though I love it and have way too much of it, ha.

    • I got ready with some of my sister’s friends for her wedding. I was impressed by how much makeup they had and the fact that they knew how to use it all! Several of them opted to do their own makeup instead of using the makeup artist. Makeup is something that brings so much joy to some women (and they know how to use it really well!).

  • So now that summer is here, I’ve been wearing very little makeup and I wonder why I spend time doing it every morning! My husband can’t tell the difference, I might join you! You go girl!

    • Summer is a great time to wear less! I do wear sunscreen every day, but the sun does help with clearing up skin blemishes. And besides, its so hot in the summer, my makeup would be gone in a few hours!

  • I feel like i should send this to many of my friends. They don’t understand when I don;t have makeup on and I say I’m letting my skin breathe!

  • Thank you SO MUCH for this. I can relate a TON to your story, including to starting to wear makeup because of acne. My acne has never been severe, but I definitely am far too hard on myself. In the past year, though, I just – all of a sudden – stopped. It was my last semester in my senior year of college and I only had 1-2 classes 4 days a week…and it seemed like so much work to put on makeup just for that one class. And I had to ask myself – do I really care that much about people seeing a breakout or two? Or would I rather just be able to feel comfortable and spend my extra time with friends? I will go back to wearing makeup when I start grad school this July, mainly because I’ll be teaching my first college class (!!!) and I need to look professional. However, I haven’t worn makeup for 8 months now…and I’ve realized that the world isn’t ending because of a bad skin day or two!

    • Love this! Glad you’ve gained some self-confidence in taking a break, and even happier that you are looking forward to starting a routine again!

  • I remember the blue eyeshadow pictures prove it all unfortunately! After those teenage years I stopped wearing make up for all the same reasons. I don’t use any aside from special events. Glad to see so much self love!

  • thank you so much for writing about this, I was just talking to a friend about this the other day and it is SO true, why do we wear makeup??
    i mean is it for us or is it because you wanna impress others. i stopped wearing makeup a long time ago and its funny how some people are like wow, how awesome. and others are like oh you need it and honestly it has helped me so much with my confidence.

    • Thank you! I’ve found this approach helpful- sort of start from scratch. It has helped me realize what is important and what’s not.

  • When I went through a period of hot flashes making up was hard. Now things have cooled off I realized that less is more. Eyebrows, eyelashes, and lips. I discovered Revlon 24 in a color that is perfect and lasts all day. Suddenly the whole process is a no brainer.

    • That’s great! It sounds like you’ve found a routine that works for you and isn’t a burden. I’m slowly adding makeup back in to my morning routine.

    • Wearing makeup is great for the right reasons! Building your confidence sounds like a great reason to continue to wear makeup. Confident women are beautiful!

  • That´s an amazing post! And soooo true! I also made my expierience with blue eyeshadow (outch…) Most of the time I´m not wearing any make up, I´m just too lazy. But I also love to style myself up for special occasions

  • This is such a cute blog post 🙂 I can’t exactly relate because I’ve never seen makeup that way, but I can definitely relate it to other aspects of life where I’ve done something for all the wrong reasons.

    • Absolutely! My sister LOVES makeup- my belief is “if it brings you joy”. That’s a question I’ve asked myself about different parts of my life. PS I checked out your blog and I love your images/branding!

  • I loved this post, especially the comment about blue eye shadow! I recall having a similar conversation with my mum when I was younger, and I too l wince at how dreadful it looked! For myself now, I wear makeup when I go to events and at work, but not the rest of the time. Makeup makes me feel a lot more confident and comfortable, even if it’s not a lot. I generally have three levels, no makeup when I’m at home or popping out, minimal makeup for casual events and work, and more makeup effort made for a special occasion!

    • I was just in my sister’s wedding and a makeup artist did my makeup. I told her I don’t normally wear much so I’d be more comfortable with a “natural” look. I did look great and the makeup made me feel beautiful, especially being 35 weeks pregnant and standing next to my sister during the ceremony! I’m slowly adding makeup back in to my morning routine.

  • What a beautiful blog post. I really really enjoyed reading it. My mother allowed me to wear clear mascara but always gave me confidence not to wear makeup and told me how she wishes she didn’t wear it so much. I still today only wear it for ‘going out to dinner’ etc but during the day I don’t wear it at all, just natural face creams and still my bit of mascara. It is so important to teach the younger generation about self love. I have so many friends addicted to make-up.

    • I’ve always admired women who took care of their skin and didn’t “need” makeup (especially since my skin was so bad). It sounds like you are someone I would admire if I saw you in a store. After taking care of my skin, I started having random women compliment me on my skin and it felt so good!

  • Great post ! I honestly dont remember when I was starting my adventure with make up, probably very early as I had older sister and I remember I tried to copy her! And yeah I also have photos with blue or pink eye shadows wondering why I ever did it to myself 😀 Now I am wearing makeup occasionally, but I am trying not even put foundation on, just some brown eyeshadows and eyeliner… Even when you buy good make up like MAC your face still feels heavy after few hours..

    • I’m just happy that teenage girls today don’t have to go through the blue eyeshadow phase lol. I see so many young girls who rock their makeup and I wish I was that cool in high school! I agree with your face feeling “heavy”. Certain foundations make me feel gross at the end of the day.

    • Would love to hear their thoughts on makeup! I’m assuming they are teenagers so it would be interesting to see the “new generation’s” perspective!

  • This really resonated with me because I was just the same when I was a teen. Firstly I wanted to fit in, but being 5ft 11 and overweight at the time I just never did, then I started getting really bad acne and wanted to cover it up (I also have really fair skin which scars easily). When I met my now fiancé almost 7 years ago, I had this moment of realization where I was like “I don’t need make up” – now I’ve somehow managed to change my relationship with it completely and now I go most days without, but when I do go out and want to wear make up I really enjoy the process of picking out what I want to wear and putting it on. I think it has to do with feeling more comfortable in my own skin too. I lost all the weight, met the man I want to spend my life with, so I didn’t feel like I needed to cover up anymore.

    • Annie, I love your story and journey to self-love. Your fiance sounds like my husband- very uplifting and encouraging. Sometimes we need to see ourselves through someone else’s eyes to realize our attributes. Congratulations on finding self-love and spreading encouragement!

  • Loved the quote about makeup being about self love. I, too, started wearing makeup at a young age, struggled with acne scarring, and to this day wear makeup as a kind of armor. Fortunately, the feeling of needing to wear makeup has subsided. Thanks for the great article.

    • You’re welcome! I think self-love comes with age as well. I know that at 28 I have more self-love and feel more secure than I did in my early 20’s.

  • I am getting better about wearing less makeup and focusing more on my skincare. I deifnitely think growing up you are programmed to think you are “ugly” without it but I think loving yourself is the most important part

  • This is such an excellent post! I rarely wear makeup, but have just recently started using lipstick when I do and I really love the way it looks! I totally agree that there are right and wrong reasons to wear it and it sound like you have really identified those well. it’s also good that you point out that some people really do get joy from wearing makeup and sometimes lots of it. It can truly be art – and something that one can study and be really talented with.

  • I love this! Thank you for asking me to share! That is such an important point- I have 5, soon to be 6, daughters and they ask me all the time why I need to wear makeup. I tell them it’s just because I enjoy it and it’s fun. I love what you said about not masking imperfections, I’ll have to remember that!

    • I think about things totally different now that I have a daughter. It’s crazy how children can be the catalyst for living more intentionally. I love your explanation to your daughters!

  • I really enjoyed this post and identified with your reasons for wanting to take some time off from wearing make up. I was just thinking the other day how strange our society is for expecting that women wear make up, and it just seems normal to everyone.

  • I’m not good at wearing make up, my skin always reacts badly to it but I do feel self conscious without it on when I’m meeting new people. The best thing about my face is my eyes!

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