By Maddy Hill
It’s no secret that the media and advertising agencies have been promoting natural beauty. Dove created the “Real Beauty” campaign in 2004 and Aerie launched an initiative soon thereafter to boost positive body image and self-confidence through their advertisements. Now, even magazines, like LA-based, women-focused Darling, have created entire issues without retouching photos. This journey away from processed faces and Photo-shopped bodies have inspired many women to pursue their natural beauty. ORANGE spoke to some Longhorns who have chosen to go bare. Read their reasons here:
Sophomore, Journalism and RTF
Jin Kim grew up feeling pressure from a culture that places a high value on looks. Raised by two Korean parents, Kim was always expected to look her best, even when taking out the trash or running errands. In a world plagued with people covering up their flaws, she wonders why makeup has become the norm for our society. “It became a required thing,” says Jin. “I feel like it should be an option.”
Not convinced that looks were the most important determinant of a person’s personality, she made the decision in high school that makeup was not for her. Jin could tell that people were curious as to why she didn’t wear makeup like every other girl at school, but judging looks didn’t stop her from going with a clean face to her high school prom. She asked her date if he minded that she wasn’t wearing makeup, and he responded that if she felt confident, that was all that mattered. “You need to like your natural look in order to go out into society and feel confident,” Jin says. “If you’re not confident in your own natural look, how can you face other people? You need to learn how to appreciate yourself before you can appreciate other people.”
Freshman, Communication Studies
Independent, fun-loving, and overflowing with self-confidence, Sydney O’Connell chooses not to wear makeup. She was the girl who had to be bribed to even apply lipgloss at formals in high school. When she absolutely cannot go without makeup somewhere, she applies as little as possible to keep herself looking natural. “I think it’s a hassle to take time out of your day to cover up your face,” says O’Connell.
Sensitive skin and extra time in her morning routine are two reasons O’Connell chooses not to wear makeup, but she also dislikes the feeling of constantly having to check her makeup throughout the day to make sure it is staying on properly. O’Connell considers her choice not to wear makeup as a form of self-empowerment.
“It gives me a bigger confidence than having to hide behind something on my face,” says O’Connell.
Sophomore, English and Education
Looking at Karina Gonzalez’s fresh face, you would never be able to guess she used to cover up her natural beauty with a full face of makeup daily. Karina says she used to hide behind makeup to make herself feel more confident around men — a dark lip stain was her signature look. “It stemmed from this insecurity of the need of approval from men,” recalls Gonzalez. “Freshman year I started wearing really dark lipstick, and that’s when my insecurity reached its peak.”
Later that year, however, Gonzalez realized the bold personality that came out when she was wearing a full face of makeup was coming from somewhere deeper in her soul. “Using the word ‘beautiful’ has a visual connotation to it,” says Gonzalez. “Women should consider themselves beautiful, but not in a pretty way. They should develop their minds and appreciate their natural beauty.”
Sophomore, Psychology and Anthropology
Like many young girls, Chanel Dahl started playing with her mom’s makeup as soon as she could get her hands on it. She would go into her mom’s room and put on a full face of makeup, trying to make herself look like a doll. Dahl realized that she looked older with makeup caked on, and it quickly became something that she thought she couldn’t live without.
Dahl says she felt pressure from her mom and from society to wear makeup in order to feel accepted. She realized after her freshman year of college that it wasn’t worth the time and effort to put on a face that she doesn’t consider hers. Sitting in her apartment with a messy ponytail and not a trace of makeup on her face, she talks about the struggle of going a day without makeup and how it feels to leave the apartment. “I feel more alive, to be honest,” Dahl admits. “I’m not going to lie, it doesn’t always feel great. I feel puffy and gross sometimes, but it also feels raw and fresh.”
Like Gonzalez, Dahl also says she realized that her overuse of makeup came from an underlying insecurity that she was trying to fix. She came to the conclusion that she wasn’t even trying to look good for other people, but was in fact trying to correct flaws that she saw in herself. “Putting on makeup isn’t even really for other people sometimes,” says Chanel. “It’s more for yourself. Who are you to look in the mirror and think that you really need makeup?”
Both Gonzalez and Dahl decided to get matching lipstick tattoos on their collar bones to remind themselves of their past and remember who they are without the makeup.
Junior, Art History
Sitting on the floor in her all-black server’s outfit just after work, Lynne Addison unknowingly shows off her dynamic personality. Quick-witted and full of spunk, Addison grew up with a talented cosmetologist for a mother but didn’t wear makeup unless her mom put it on for her.
Today, as a junior in college, she can confidently tell people that she doesn’t describe herself as a girly-girl, but she says she notices a hypocrisy that saturates today’s makeup culture. She explains that she thinks people tell girls to look natural, but then expect them to look like Kim Kardashian when they go out at night. “We need to like ourselves as we are, and not as society wants us to be,” says Addison. “I think we are going to continue to be degraded and put down if we don’t love who we are, and instead love what society wants us to be.”
While not everyone makes the choice to stay makeup free their entire life, several young women challenge themselves to go without makeup every once in a while. Whether girls wear makeup or go makeup-free (for whatever reason), it’s important that women appreciate their bodies and embrace the flaws they see in themselves.
At ORANGE Style, we find this to be true: When the makeup comes off, what remains is definitely something to be proud of.