In March of 2015, I challenged myself to go a week without makeup. At that time, I was wearing makeup every day, sometimes even while exercising. I was no longer comfortable leaving the house without it. Going without was tough at first, but by the end of the week, my makeup habit was broken. For the next year or so, I went without makeup more often than I wore it.
Then a backslide of sorts started. I gained some weight, had surgery, transferred to a new store where I had contact with more people overall - and suddenly one day, I realized I didn't want to go to work without putting on makeup.
Although it sounds easy to just stop, and technically it is, there can be a transition period, like I had the first time I stopped, where all the people I know had to adjust to my new look. As my friend Paula pointed out in "A Makeup Artist on Makeup," what's expected has to do with what you've been doing. I don't have to wear makeup to work, but when I did and then I stopped, it makes sense people would notice. And some did.
But this time around, no one noticed or, if they did, they didn't say anything. I can think of a number of things that might explain this.
- Since I'm no longer a manager, fewer people are looking at me. I find I'm actually talking more, having conversations while I work, but there are fewer times when I'm doing nothing but talking to someone. As a manager, I had to drop what I was doing and listen to many customer and employee concerns. As an employee, now I am expected to work while I talk, which is fine.
- Since I'm no longer a manager, I'm a lot happier at work, and happiness looks good on everyone.
- It's almost summer, the pool is up, and I've been going running outside, so I've got a bit of a tan.
- Everyone is still paying a lot of attention (and compliments) to my glasses. I've worn makeup only twice since I got them, once to go out to dinner and once to work. When I wore it to work, there was no reason other than I just felt like it.
And that's how I'd like it to be - I wear makeup when I feel like it. I will continue to wear makeup on occasions when I want to look my best, such as going out, or for occasions when I think it might benefit me, such as doctor's appointments. And I'm sure I'll wear it to work sometimes, to the store, wherever, but only when I feel like it. (Hopefully I'll never again wear it to exercise.)
As a side note, by wearing less makeup, I've saved some money, since most of it lasts at least a year. I find myself replacing my mascara before it runs out, but otherwise, things seem to be lasting just fine (here's a calendar for how long makeup should last, in case you're curious). On the other hand, I do less experimenting with makeup, so I find what I wear gets more and more routine. I tossed around the idea of trying to do some sort of capsule makeup thing, like the capsule wardrobe, but I don't think it will work since makeup doesn't last as long as clothing. I do have two shades of foundation, for pale months and tan months, and I buy waterproof mascara in the summer and regular for the winter, but that's about it.
I feel like I'm back where I want to be with how I feel with and without makeup, but it hasn't been easy to stay there over the last two years. I guess if I've learned nothing else from all the challenges I undertook, it's that few things are a smooth progression from start to "end," and there really isn't an end, because life goes on and changes over time. What seems important to me now is figuring out how I want to feel (which in this case is "not like I have to wear makeup every day") and noticing when I'm somewhere else.