I didn’t wear makeup for eight years. Yep, you read that right. It’s not because I didn’t love makeup. I do! I was really into beauty and fashion in high school and even dabbled in the modeling industry. The reason why I didn’t touch a mascara brush for nearly a decade is because I felt God calling me to discern consecrated life and I lived in a religious community for 8 years. All of that meant no money, no fashionable clothes and - you guessed it - no makeup.
It was a freeing experience for me. Have you ever looked at a group of young religious sisters and thought, “Wow, they are glowing!” There is an intangible “something” that makes these women glow.
When I lived in a religious community, each morning I woke up, got ready in twenty minutes, and was in the chapel with the rest of my community. We prayed for an hour, had Mass together, and started the day. I didn’t worry about the latest fashions or beauty trends, and this freed up my heart for a deep friendship with Jesus and a conviction of His love for me. In letting my hands fall open, He filled them with deep interior freedom, a habit of prayer, and mission experiences all over the world.
Fast forward to 2020, yoga pants, and five-day-old hair. I wasn’t wearing makeup for other (less-freeing) reasons, and you know them. I don’t need to rehash our pandemic experiences here.
Trying to find an outlet during the pandemic, I took up the idea of exploring the creative side of makeup. I also learned more about how to properly use makeup and find a skin care routine that made me feel amazing in my own skin. Whatever 2020 threw at me, I had a five-minute makeup routine in the morning and a five-minute skin care ritual at night. These routines reminded me to be attentive to treating myself with dignity during a stressful season and to focus on what I could control.
So, here we are in 2021. In some parts of the country, masks are coming off and the world is seeing your face for the first time in 18 months. If revitalizing your skincare and makeup routine is something that will be rejuvenating for you in this season, here are some tips for where to begin:
1. Start with a good canvas.
Your makeup game cannot be a 10 if your skin care is a 2. Period. I’ve learned a lot from French women in this way. Their makeup is natural and looks effortless. The reason they can pull off French minimalism is because they focus on the body’s largest organ and prioritize skincare. Take time to work with someone who can help you find a good regimen and your makeup will be more about accentuating your natural beauty, less about caking on product to cover blemishes and scarring.
2. Commit to a “Core 4.”
Makeup is all about layering. I recommend that women find four core products that they can apply in minutes. For example, I usually start with a tinted moisturizer with skin care benefits, a well-matched concealer to hide discoloration, a brow product, and a creamy blusher that also serves as a lip and shadow color. This creates a beautiful monochromatic look that can easily become a daily habit. Take some time to find your quick “signature look.” You may find yourself more confident and productive after you start applying this every day.
3. Add your “extras” to glam up when you want it.
For me, these are a lengthening mascara, a little eyeliner applied to the top of my lid line and hugging the inner low lid, and a bold lipstick that makes me feel like I can conquer the world. Each woman can find what works for her and makes her feel her best.
There are certain days where I still choose to not wear makeup, and I love that I can feel confident in my own skin. This is my goal for you, as well. I love hearing friends say that they feel confident and peaceful without having to wear makeup because they focus on these beauty basics.