Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm Giving Up Makeup (Well, Mostly)

I started wearing makeup for the first time when I was in high school, right around when I met my first boyfriend. At that time, I only wore makeup on the weekends because I went to an all-girls high school, but when I got to college, I started wearing it everyday.

Since then, I've been a daily user of foundation, blush, powder, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and lip gloss, and have also occasionally used lipstick, mascara, and eyebrow pencil.

Times are a'changin because of my plastic-free goals, though, and I've been seriously rationing my makeup. Instead of wearing my full "face" everyday, I've been picking and choosing what to wear. On days I really want to look nice, like when I'm going to a big meeting or a nice restaurant, I go back to my old cosmetics routine. On days when it matters less, I only wear a little eyeliner and eyeshadow.

But I don't like it because makeup makes me feel pretty--as if all my imperfections have vanished away. In the winter, when my face gets all red and blotchy, it makes my skin look even and clear, and if I'm not wearing it, no matter what the time of year it is, I always feel like I look tired and not quite "put together."

Yep, as you can imagine, I've been feeling pretty ugly lately because of the rationing, and now I'm almost out of foundation and I'm freaking out. The reality is really starting to hit me that sometime this year, I'm probably going to run out of all the makeup I have and that I'm going to feel absolutely hideous. My self-esteem is going to take a beating.

Eventually, though, I'll get used to seeing myself without makeup and I'll recover.

Or should I say I'll get used to seeing myself with less makeup. I'm still hoping to find at least a few plastic-free alternatives. I already know of a few lip glosses in metal tins, but my dream is a plastic-free eyeliner.

I have this sinking suspicion, however, that my hopes and wishes aren't quite going in the right direction. What I should really be wishing for is that one day women won't wear makeup at all. Men don't wear makeup. Why should we?

Note: It's probably for the best that I'm giving up most makeup because, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, makeup often contains dangerous chemicals.

26 comments:

LifeLessPlastic said...

I have to make two comments about the pictures I included:

1. I included them partly to make my sister laugh (did it work?)

2. Blogger preview stinks when you use a lot of pictures. Ahhhh!

Robj98168 said...

No men don't wear make up- men wear deodorant, wash with body gel, shave with shaving cream, splash on Aqua Velva, some use hair mousse (Thank god I don't - look at picture for why). Being pretty is sheer hell! Love your post!

Laura said...

I think the photos are awesome! :)

I've never been one for a full face of makeup everyday. I go for a little gloss, some blush, an eyebrow comb. Add to that a bit of eye shimmer on fancy dress days. That's it.
I am a fan of Burt's Bees (lip shimmers and blush)and I may continue to buy them even though they were bought by Clorox and have gone bonkers with all the crazy packaging crap they put out during the holidays. (Talk about plastic!)

Have you tried an eyelash curler instead of mascara? Also, do eyeliner pencils have plastic in them? If you find a good plastic-free eye shadow in a dark color you could get a good brush and do a line of that at the base of your lashes instead of eyeliner. :) Just some thoughts!

Laura said...

P.S. You are gorgeous! Let that shine through no matter what makeup you wear. :)

N. & J. said...

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I wore full makeup in my younger days and now I wear none at all with the exception of sheer lipgloss occasionally. I decided to cut out makeup when I simplified my life. If I wanted to be ready to go in 5 to 10 minutes something had to give. My husband seemed to need very little time to get ready so I cut out the makeup, the fancy hairdos, and now I can be ready to go anywhere in 5 minutes! The freedom to go just as I am feels better than any makeup ever did...and my husband loves my natural look, he says I never looked better (I'm sure he's biased, though)....Really enjoy your blog!

Shannon said...

I never wear makeup either. Besides reducing plastic, what do you get? More time and more money. Makeup is a scam to make women spend money on stuff they don't need, imo. Give it a chance--I think you'll like going without.

Enjoying your blog.

Blue Collar Crunch said...

Aw, you're so cute with or without makeup! But going without is better for your skin aside from helping the planet and your wallet.

I'm too lazy and too feminist to wear makeup every day; the last time I wore more than Chapstick was as a bridesmaid in my best friend's wedding in 2005. But I can certainly understand how you feel...it's so ingrained in us, isn't it? Don't let gendered expectations of beauty get you down! :)

Reenie Beanie said...

Which sister? You know we both read your blog! I still like the ramen picture the best. Lol!

So in her comment Laura suggested using eyeshadow instead of eyeliner, and I agree with her...if you can find something plastic free, that is. I only use moistened eyeshadow instead of eyeliner. I am so pale that eyeliner feels like overkill for me. The shadow stays put all day and adds just enough definition.

LifeLessPlastic said...

That's true, although our middle sister didn't quite express a love for the ramen picture the way you did. :)

LifeLessPlastic said...

Laura, excellent suggestion on the eyeliner! I'm glad to know I might be able to at least find a little plastic-free eye makeup :)

Shannon Hodgins said...

I go makeup free on a very regular basis, but I also wear it on a regular basis. Kind of a middle of the roadie?

I don't know much about this yet- - -but what about the refillable options? Buy one compact and then refill? I think these are the more expensive kinds, but would involve less waste.

What about the simple pencil sharpening eyeliner?

I have to admit that it's one thing I feel like I do "need" once in a while, but I'm willing to look for better earth-friendly options. I am cojoined to my eyeliner, mascara and base so this might be an issue!

It's funny that I pick colors that mostly just blend in as opposed to the "made up" look. Mostly I'm just kind of smoothing my rough edges. It might be easier then I think.

willowluna said...

I loved your comment about men not wearing make-up. So true!! Growing up I was so frustrated that my parents didn't let me wear make-up, but now I'm glad. It's one less thing to get ready, less money, and one less thing to make me "feel bad" about myself. I hope you soon like the make-up-less person smiling at you in the mirror.

arduous said...

A long time ago I bought one of those refillable eye-liner pens from Estee Lauder. It even comes with a little refill cartridge.

Those eyeliners last FOREVER. Like probably a year of wearing them everyday. And then when you're done you can just refill.

So unless the eyeliner pencil comes without plastic packaging, that might be a better answer. Also I hate those eyeliner pencils. They're pretty rough on the soft skin around your eyes.

Heather said...

I had a friend who had her eyelashes dyed at the salon. She never had to use mascara!

RLM said...

Good post! I used to wash my face with all-natural face-wash religiously every morning and night, and then smear it with Eucerin face-cream. I thought it was an absolute necessity to prevent dry skin, red blotches, etc etc etc, and I packed this paraphernalia with me even for quick overnight trips. When we moved to The Netherlands, I couldn't find my old brands anymore, and I couldn't read the Dutch list of ingredients on the bottles of possible alternatives! I have to watch the ingredients because I get skin problems from all those sodium-laurel-sulphate products, so I was forced to start washing my face with nothing but water! Plain water!! I thought it would be a disaster, but in fact my skin has never been better! I won't go back to face-wash even when I can get my usual brands again. As you mention it saves HUGE amounts of plastic bottles, as well as money and time.

LifeLessPlastic said...

RLM, I know _exactly_ what you mean. Completely unrelated to plastic, I stopped washing my face with soap completely about 6 months ago, and I've seen amazing results. I have never experienced a winter (as an adult) where my skin was so nice. Yes, it was red and blotchy as usual, but I didn't experience nearly the dryness that I usually do. It's been great.

RLM said...

Yup, same here. Forgot to mention that I stopped the Eucerin as well. I wonder how many other products we are fooled into thinking we need when at best they aren't necessary and at worst we're better off without them...

Fake Plastic Fish said...

I'm late weighing in on this because, as you know, I'm totally behind on my blog and email reading. But just wanted to echo the no face-washing crowd. I never wash my face. I think it gets clean in the shower, but I don't put soap on it or even rub it with a cloth. When I was in elementary school, one of the office ladies told me I had peaches and cream skin. And then just yesterday, someone I work with said the same exact thing. I'm always getting compliments on my skin and I think it's because I rarely use makeup which also means that I rarely need to wash my face.

The only reason you feel less put together without makeup is because you're used to seeing yourself in it. Try going without for an extended period of time, and maybe you'll just get used to it. Nowadays, when I put on makeup, I feel like a drag queen.

And I'm totally not dissing drag queens!

shadowedreamer said...

My mother never feels like she's really ready to "go out" unless she's wearing her makeup, but I can't even tell the difference. It's a shame that she thinks she looks bad without it; hopefully you'll get over it soon.

Jess said...

I have two - scratch that - three suggestions:

1) Quit looking in the mirror. Seriously - you'll never know the makeup is not there if you can't see it. I backpacked for a year without even showering or brushing my hair regularly, and never really noticed until I got back to North America, where there are mirrors everywhere. I had felt fine about it up until that point, and the only comments I ever got while backpacking were about how 'natural' and 'beautiful' I looked.

2) No 'girl' mags. Cosmo and the like are killer on the ego. On some level I am sure we all know we can't possibly ever look like the airbrushed models on the ad pages, but I know I still feel somehow 'less' for not measuring up to that standard...

3) get rid of the TV (for reasons outlined above).

Drastic solutions, and quite possibly not the ones for you, but being a non-TV watching, Mother Earth News buying non-makeup wearer, I feel more than beautiful enough...

Fix said...

Yeah, the whole makeup thing is one big scam. And I hate how it gets lumped in with health, as in "health & beauty," like it's somehow unsafe, dirty, or wrong to go without all of these products. More ways to feel bad about yourself!

Your colleagues/friends might have unopened stuff that they got in gift bags or some other way -- I've gotten a ton of makeup for free this way. They might also have undesirable eyeliner pencils that you can sharpen the bacteria off of, provided they're not too old. I'd say going forward the lowest-impact thing to do is to get the items you'll have to replace the least, even if they involve plastic. I'm sure you already know that the bigger problem is the upstream waste - apparently 70 times the downstream amount!

Megan

PS. I'm with Beth on the drag queen. And you are very pretty in your photos, if you need a boost from a stranger now that your face is feeling naked.

LifeLessPlastic said...

Ms. Fix, Oh, that's very sweet of you! I'm still feeling pretty haggard lately since I'm wearing so little makeup so it makes me feel a little better. There's still hope! :)

As for getting makeup from other people, I suppose I would consider taking unwanted makeup from good friends, but most of my friends don't wear much makeup. C'est la vie!

Anonymous said...

I think you look great. I've never worn makeup and I'm 22. My sisters have never worn makeup. I've only seen my mother wear makeup at weddings. We don't need makeup. My boyfriends have always told me they like makeup-less girls. Imagine what guys would do if they wore make up... outline their eyebrows, shade under their cheekbones to make their faces look more "masculine". We don't need makeup!

Carrick said...

omg that series of pictures is so cute!! :)

Stacey said...

Girl, I feel your pain. I live in NYC, and I have always been into fashion (and beauty by association), but now I am really getting into the green lifestyle for both the health of humanity and the health of all creatures and the environment! I was raised by feminists, and I knew at 13, before any of my friends, that there was something wrong with the ubiquitous objectification of women and something wrong with the fact that we are required to paint ourselves just to look normal! I made the move to give up makeup, except for a little mascara now and then, about 2 years later. For years thereafter, my natural beauty got me by, but as I approached 30, things started to fall apart. Now, I look light years prettier with makeup. It seems that all the color has prematurely gone out of my cheeks, and I sorta look dead without makeup. Could my lackluster face be a result of the toxins we all bathe in every day outdoors and in our homes? Who knows? Could just be genetic aging. Perhaps you could convince this great company I found on EWG's Cosmetics Safety Database to switch to some glass packaging: http://www.coastalclassiccreations.com/
It is an extremely conscientious company that uses completely toxin-free cosmetic ingredients and only BPA- and pthalate-free plastics, as well as biodegradable shipping materials. Perhaps you could go to them for eyeliner, if nothing else. I got a trial kit from them, and the makeup felt so clean. Of course, confidence glows like no other cosmetic fix!