I threw it all away. I laid it all out, looked at it for a while, and scooped it up tossing it in the trash. All of my makeup – even my once beloved lip gloss – trash, never to be worn again.
It was 2020 September 26th. It wasn’t an easy thing to do when the conviction became undeniable. Two years later, I have no regrets. I actually love not wearing makeup. It’s freeing to not be expected to paint my face and cover up what I really look like so society can approve of my beauty.
Ironically, when I think of when I quit wearing makeup my mind goes back to when I started feeling like I always needed makeup to be seen outside my house. I distinctly remember a middle school friend telling me I would actually be pretty if it weren’t for my acne. At that point, I didn’t wear makeup very often. After that, I wore it always. I was afraid of what people would say if they saw my imperfect skin.
Growing up, makeup was an expected part of womanhood. All the women in my family wear makeup. I remember being in 4th or 5th grade when the expectation started for me to wear makeup like the girls at school had started to. I wanted to do and wear what the popular girls were. (Thankfully, that phase didn’t last long because I couldn’t care less now what the popular people are role modeling.) And I remember those middle school trips to the local stores so we could buy cosmetics, standing in the aisle trying to figure out what shade my skin was for foundation and wondering if that made me too pale to be beautiful in an era of tanning salons. I had no idea there were some women who didn’t wear it at all or even some religious groups that were against it. I thought all women covered up this way. It’s beauty. It’s protection from what people might say or think. So, I caked foundation in attempts to appease the world. I colored my eyes and lips. I adorned myself in coloring not natural to me so others would say I look pretty. Secretly, I always hated it. Though I liked the purple eyeshadows and anything that glittered, I hated feeling like I couldn’t let my natural face be seen.
Some women love makeup – not me. I wore it daily in middle school and high school. This was many moons ago. In my twenties, I didn’t wear it very often. It was a dress up kind of thing, not an ordinary day sort of attire. Our culture is so determined to make women look a certain way. It wasn’t uncommon for people to tell me to wear makeup. I had some people in my life that absolutely insisted I put makeup on or let them do it with hurtful mention to my facial redness. I always hated that. Makeup made me feel ugly. Anytime a ‘friend’ wanted to have fun doing my makeup I always felt so ugly. They’re covering me up because they don’t like the way I look. Some even feel you won’t get a man if you don’t wear makeup. I hated it.
Something changed in 2011. A seed was planted that didn’t come to bloom until 2020. I started going to an Apostolic Pentecostal church. The church teaches against makeup, though not much is spoken of it. I had never been in a room full of women with bare faces before. It was normal there to not wear makeup. I remember thinking there was a beauty to their simplicity. It was natural beauty. Yet my face was red and I often covered it up fearing what others might think.
As the time passed, I wore makeup less and less only giving in to a full face of makeup when friends wanted to play and do my face paint. At the same time, I am independent and rebellious. I don’t like being told what to do. I held on to some things the church teaches against because I didn’t see anything in the bible against these things and hanging on to them was a way to assert my dominance over my life. When I backslid in 2014, I started wearing makeup more. Lip gloss was my favorite. For me, it was also freedom. I liked it. It was actually the only makeup I liked wearing.
Fast-forward to fall of 2019 and I had left church claiming I would never go back. God strongly tugged me to a new church. I walked in that night wearing extra makeup and extra jewelry with two shades of purple lipstick on to make it darker. I am independent. I am not a woman to be controlled. I will never submit to rules I don’t agree with and don’t see in the bible. Don’t try to control me. I have my own beliefs and my own walk. I’m not here to follow the crowd.
Some things changed after I got back in church in November of 2019. Other things took time to grow. One thing I never understood before was the no makeup thing. It didn’t make any sense to me. Makeup made me feel ugly, but I’d wear it because I was self-conscious about my flawed and imperfect complexion. Someone might see how red I am. Someone might not like it. Someone might point it out. I typically wouldn’t even take selfies without makeup. I was afraid to be seen. At the root, I didn’t love myself enough to love raw me. But the more you see natural skin, the less you feel self-conscious about your own. The more you see other women with imperfect skin and acne and rosacea, the more you feel comfortable being yourself.
I got more comfortable with me and the way I naturally look. And I started losing desire for makeup. More and more, it became something I didn’t want. Somewhere along the way I learned to find the beauty in my imperfect face. I stopped being bothered by my flaws. I stopped wanting to look flawless like the magazines and the models and the YouTube influencers with their makeup videos. I reached a point where I could just be me. No longer did I worry about leaving the house and someone noticing my facial redness. I even lost interest in the lip gloss I used to love.
And then conviction came. I had gone several months without wearing makeup. I knew I was getting to a point that I didn’t want it anymore. The Lord had been dealing with me on it for months. I started seeing makeup differently. When I would see it on other people, it wasn’t beauty anymore. It was a covering – a mask almost – and it felt off. Spiritually, it started to feel like this was a worldly practice and I was being led away from that. I knew in the bible cosmetics were mentioned with whores, but there was nothing that specifically said not to wear cosmetics. I suppose being in my 30s I didn’t realize that for many generations it was considered inappropriate by many Christians for women to wear makeup. The customs of the people have changed. The church now looks just like the secular world in most cases. What was once separate is now blended. And we’re free, right? But something just didn’t feel right about it anymore. I knew this was conviction. It was hard to obey that at the time. I knew I needed to let it go, and I knew it wouldn’t be right to keep what I had in case I changed my mind. I gathered it all. I laid it out thinking long and hard about what I was letting go of. What would people say? What about my redness? Would I look too plain? I threw it all away.
It's funny to remember how hard it was to obey the conviction because after some time away from it my perspective changed. Not only do I have no desire for makeup, but it’s actually repulsive to me. The idea of painting my face with cosmetics makes me cringe. I have learned to fully accept my flawed face. I love the person in the mirror. To be completely honest, when I see makeup at the store I often turn my head in disgust. I have absolutely no interest in makeup at all. I won’t even wear it on my wedding day.
What’s the whole point in writing this blog? If you’re reading this, you may be searching the internet for this topic. This may be something weighing on your mind. Let me remind you of a few things. You don’t have to cover up who you are. Get comfortable with how you naturally look. Surround yourself with people who accept you without makeup. You don’t have to wear it if you don’t want to. On the religious note, seek the Lord on the matter. I don’t think it’s sinful to wear makeup. Worldly? Yes. It’s one of the top ways women of the secular world adorn their bodies to be more attractive. Sinful? I have no scripture to clearly speak against it. All we can look at is the example set in the bible that painting our faces, especially in a seductive way or for sexual attention, was a practice done by whores. For some, they may find that irrelevant now as our culture has changed and makeup is the norm for all women including believers. For others, they may feel that we need to be separate from the ways of the world and not adorn ourselves with cosmetics and jewelry and such like the secular world does. If you do find yourself feeling conviction on the matter, be open to the direction the Lord is pulling you in and be obedient to his lead. You may struggle to lay it down, but after you have some time away from it the thought of putting makeup on will feel so weird. Natural is beautiful too. Natural skin, natural nails, natural hair… some consider it plain in this dolled-up society, but others of us find beauty in the simplicity.
Where do you fall on this topic? Yes to all makeup or yes to modest makeup in moderation or perhaps yes just to natural-looking makeup? Or no to all makeup? Comment down below and tell me where you’re at with this topic.
Apostolic Pentecostal Christian
maternal-infant wellness educator