Painted Lady

painted ladyI always wear makeup.

I can’t leave the house without tinted moisturizer, elaborate coverup under and around my eyes, powder, eyeliner, mascara, and my Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm.

I can barely leave my bedroom without under-eye concealer and mascara.

And it’s so embarrassing for me to admit this.

It seems so much more modern-mom to shun wearing lots of makeup. Women’s magazines promote simple, healthful living and scream at me to “just do the basics” when it comes to makeup, “be fresh-faced” and “less is more.” Apparently modern moms like me are supposed to accomplish these makeup basics in five minutes.

It sometimes takes me five minutes alone to cover up my deep, dark under-eye circles.

I have always, always, wanted to be one of those women who looks beautiful without makeup. Or even just okay. But I look in the mirror when I have no makeup on and see a tired-looking, unattractive woman with giant nose pores and sunken-looking eyes. Not a look I’d like to sport outside the house.

Even before the sleepless days of parenting, I didn’t dare leave the house without makeup. I started with under-eye coverup, mascara, and lip gloss in eighth grade and never looked back. My dark, hereditary purpleness under my eyes was gone. My eyes looked more open and bright. I felt prettier and more confident. And I liked it.

Actually, I did try to go makeupless in public once. I was a counselor at a summer camp where I felt accepted and loved and confident in myself. One morning I woke up and thought, why not? I went to breakfast with no makeup. And then the questions started. Was I sick? Did I not sleep the night before? I looked so pale and tired and had such deep under-eye circles – was I well?

I never went makeupless in front of people again.

So even when I lived in sundresses and Birkenstocks (actually, I still do in the summer), I wore makeup. I was an earthy crunchy makeup-wearing hippy girl.

When a boyfriend slept over, I’d wash my face and then apply under-eye concealer and waterproof mascara before bed. I even did this with my husband for the whole first year we were dating.

When I was discussing what to pack for the hospital when I was giantly pregnant with Anne, my mother-in-law said I’d just need toiletry basics, “no makeup or anything, of course.” I think I gasped aloud at the thought. She looked at me, confused, and said, “But you don’t wear much makeup now, why would you need it?”

And I was thrilled she thought that I didn’t wear much makeup. Because I try to wear makeup subtly so I have “that natural look.”

Ironic, huh? My makeup gives me a natural look.

I guess you could say I have a love/hate relationship with makeup. I love feeling prettier and more confident with it on. But I hate feeling like I need it. I love being able to cover up the under-eye darkness that I’ve naturally had since I was a kid. But I hate that society or life or something causes me to look at pictures of a young me and think that darkness under my eyes made me less attractive.

I wish I could toss it all away, forsake Sephora, and feel beautiful in my own skin. But I don’t feel like I can. And yes, it makes me a little sad.

Do you wear makeup? Do you also have a love/hate relationship with it? Do you think I (and others like me) am lacking self-confidence since I am not comfortable without it – and if so, is this tragic? Or just life in America?


photo credit: jerine via photopin cc