Going Makeup-Free – For The First Time In 11 Years

Ever since I discovered the joys of mascara and eyeliner back in middle school, I’ve worn makeup every day. Every single day for the past 11 years — except for a small handful of times when I was sick or just wasn’t leaving the house. I love makeup. I think it’s so much fun getting all dolled up, or even just adding a touch of blush here and a little mascara there to draw some attention to some of my features.

What I don’t love, however, is the feeling that I need to wear makeup. I know that beauty comes from within and that I’m still me no matter what product is on my face, but somehow over the years I seem to have developed a dependency on it. There was a time, back in high school, where I wouldn’t even leave my bedroom to greet my family without wearing mascara. It sounds silly, but it’s the absolute truth.

Favorite makeup

I have incredibly light eyelashes and blemish-prone skin – two things that I strive to alter every day when I apply my makeup in the morning. It’s not that I’m embarrassed of these things, it’s just that I feel more confident when I look a certain way. But, why? Why do I care? Who cares? Do you care? I shouldn’t care. I’m me.

Monday morning I was running a little bit behind schedule, so I threw my makeup in my purse, deciding that I’d just apply it once I got to work. Somehow in the span of time between throwing the makeup in my purse and exiting my front door, I changed my mind. I glanced at myself in the mirror, and without much thought, I said to myself, “Actually, I kind of don’t want to wear makeup today.” And just like that, my mind was made up.

For the first time in 11 years, I spent an entire day in public sans makeup. I went about my day, walking around, talking to people, laughing, joking, and doing my work, and everything was the same. Everything was the same except for one thing – I felt a little bit freer. I love makeup and I have no plans to stop wearing it for good, but the feeling I have right now – the knowledge that I am not tied to makeup in any way – is something that I’m proud of, and something I’m so glad to have discovered.

A few years ago, if you told me that I would post a photo of myself without makeup for all Free People blog readers to see, I would have just laughed. But I need to seal this deal.

No makeup

If any of you are in the same boat – feeling tied to a beauty product or tech device or anything else you feel you can’t live without – I hope that the words in this post can offer you the confidence to go without it, just for a day. Whatever it may be, you certainly don’t need it. In my opinion, you’re stronger without it.

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  1. I love when people do not wear any makeup and their face is just so fresh…they look so carefree. I only wear make-up for special occasions…not a huge fan of eyeliner but I know when I wear it my eyes stand out so I wear it. My only addiction and this is something I cannot live without is my lip balm a.k.a. chapstick…what is it in this stuff that makes it so addictive ? Every now and then I switch up and put just olive oil on my lips but that’s hard to do during the day when I am out of the house. It’s a good feeling knowing you conquered something and yes, you can leave the house with out makeup! Nice one Bridgette!!! <3

  2. I love this post so much and am so glad it is the first thing I read this morning. I didn’t start wearing makeup until my mid-twenties (I’m now almost 32) and while I don’t wear a ton, I still feel “better” when I at the very least throw on some mascara and blush. But today I’m going to go makeup free in public. Thanks for an inspiring post.

  3. I’m glad that it’s not just me. I have worn makeup maybe a dozen times my whole life, mostly Halloween. I hate the way it looks, too fakey. On special occasions I have tried to wear makeup because it is “required” and people say that because I have dark brown pigmentation all around my eyes and very pale skin I need makeup so that I don’t look like night of the living dead. Sorry, but makeup makes it look so much worse. My Granny had the same pigmentation and I loved her, she was my hero. So if I look like her, all the better! I don’t understand why everyone thinks women are only pretty with makeup on and men can be handsome without it. Does that make sense to anyone? Are women that self critical, hateful, destructive? I agree with Brigette! Love who you are! Even if you will be attacked by the humans during the next zombie crisis, lol.

  4. this post is an awesome post! I can relate sorta! for the first time in 5 yrs I went makeup-less in public a whole day last week! I was very insecure but I tried to not remember not to be afraid to “look ugly”, this did help me gain confidence. However Im back to using makeup daily because It helps me feel more confidence after depending on it for yrs.

  5. It is POWER. When you projected it was okay for YOU to be without makeup, who even noticed. I think it is really cool and strength of character for You, because makeup was such a part of who you felt had to appear in public. Now you feel the power or freedom of “come as you are”. Good for you.

  6. I love love LOVE this post SO MUCH. Being a 14 year old girl, I feel lots of pressure to wear makeup to school and through the day. It’s so great to have strong role models like you to watch, and show me (and everyone else, especially teens) that you look beautiful with and without makeup. I plan to show this to all my friends, especially those who have feel as though they even have to wear mascara before falling asleep, in case of someone (even their family members) EVER seeing them without makeup. I thank you SO SO SO much, and I plan not to wear makeup all next week. Congratulations for being able to show yourself, me and everyone else that you were strong enough to go without makeup, and we can be too!!

  7. I have dark circles under my eyes, so I have a hard time not putting concealer on. One day I just totally forgot to put makeup on, and no one noticed! It’s amazing what our own thoughts and ideas do to us. Good for you!

  8. Good for you for not wearing any makeup that day! Not that it matters to me if you wear makeup or not. But I find that, like you said, no one really notices if you’re not wearing any. Me, personally, I usually forget to put makeup on in the mornings. I really like wearing dark brown eyeliner to accent my light eyes, but I always forget to put some one before I leave the house. It’s cause I don’t really wear makeup unless I’m going out to something that needs for me to look all dolled up. But I’ve noticed that if you go about all your days au naturel, when you do make up your face, people tend to notice more! I just like it when people wear themselves naturally, because that’s true beauty. Makeup is there only to enhance it. And Brigette you look simply beautiful!

  9. I definitely think that no one notices your makeup/lack thereof as much as you do. It’s like you get so used to wearing it that you think you can’t possibly go without it, but then when you do it’s sort of amazing. It’s not like people scream and point and yell MY GOD WHAT IS THAT HIDEOUS THING!! We all need to be easier on ourselves when it comes to embracing our natural beauty. I once had a conversation with a dude about makeup/no makeup on girls and he said that guys don’t even really care or notice, most of the time. He said if a girl is pretty, she’s pretty, makeup doesn’t really make a difference.

  10. Bridgette, thank you SO much. This is a beautiful post. You are beautiful. It couldn’t be truer that make-up is in fact not what makes us look good, but rather, it is our spirit that lends us all that makes us shine, like our grace, fearlessness, and compassion. Thank you for being so brave. It has empowered me! So much love.

  11. I have red hair also, which comes with blonde eyebrows and blonde eye lashes….So I don’t go anywhere without mascara on..ever…But a couple weeks ago I was in Florida and went to the beach everyday with my brother,the first day after my makeup had washed off in the ocean, I realized that it was a little crazy to wear makeup to the beach, and no one ever looked at me differently…I spent that entire vacation sans makeup and it really did feel so freeing…I still felt like the same me, just without my signature mascara on..and I was definitely alright with it.

  12. It is liberating. You should try it for a month or longer. I love makeup too, but most of it isn’t very good for us.

  13. I don’t wear makeup in general, but I thought I’d put a twist on this: I just got in a biking accident in which I tore up my face pretty bad. I am happy to be alive, and would feel ridiculous complaining about abrasions to my face, but sometimes I wonder how it will look when it heals, or whether it will heal completely back to normal. It looks as though I’m at least going to be left with a very noticeable pink mark of scar tissue along my jaw from chin to ear. I think I will continue not to wear makeup, thanks in part to your words. I agree that beauty comes from within, and I think that if more women believed that, we wouldn’t feel obligated to cover the imperfections we all have. At the end of the day, who cares if somebody took note of your blemishes or light eyelashes or my facial scar? How much is your day affected when you see somebody with a pimple? Does it deter you from being friends with them, or does their own carefree attitude allow you to be more comfortable and natural in their presence? Wouldn’t you rather they remember the contagiousness of your laugh? Or the natural way you blush or how your eyes light up when you smile? I would way rather be free, focusing on what I say and how I act rather than how I look. Thank you for your bravery in going barefaced, and for sharing your moment of freedom. Rock on girl!

  14. hey chelsea, no one ever told me this until it was too late, but if you ever have serious or surgical scars, ask your doc for a scar massager. Not only will it help your scars heal by promoting circulation, but they’ll be lighter and smoother in the long haul. You can also use Mederma or any other product that allegedly helps lighten scars. Thanks for your post– helps keep us all grounded to what matters. and p.s.– I think scars are bad ass. I love making up different fun pretend stories about how I acquired mine.

  15. I find unusual scars or birthmarks to be sensual & mysterious but have always been too shy to comment to the person- figuring it was probably something they were sensitive about & I wouldn’t want to intrude, you know? As far as scars go, I have had food allergy rashing & scars from it for years & the thing that has helped me the most is a scar-gel that Derma E makes. It’s not expensive, like twelve bucks or thereabouts, & is clear & odorless & gentle, and I found that using it for a few weeks greatly reduced the appearance of my scars. You have to massage it in a few times a day, but I consider it awesome wonder gel.

  16. You know, it’s strange- I bet most of us remember when we were little girls & first got to use makeup. Make-overs at friends houses, using our mother’s make-up or maybe wearing it when we weren’t allowed as an act of rebellion. When did it shift from something dress-up to something “necessary” in order to feel pretty? My Great-Grandmother wouldn’t leave the house without her lipstick (and whenever I wear lipstick, I think of her), my Grandmother often refers to having to “put on her face”. I’m under the impression that waaay waaaaay back it was considered highly inappropriate for women to wear rouge. Yet further back even, to use kohl was to line the eyes with prayers. Makeup is a cultural tradition I suppose. When we use it, is it a mask to hide what we interpret as flaws, or a costume to enchant, or does it stem from tradition with other meanings… is it the ritual of composing ourselves that gives us the confidence?

  17. I have never really worn makeup, so many people say I look the same without it! I just figure it’s not worth the hassle and the nasty feeling of never being able to get it off!

  18. Love this post! Summer is also a great time to not wear makeup – I live in Maine and it has been 95 hot and humid here the last few days (really hot for us) and on the 4th I was debating on weather or not to wear makeup to the cookout/party I was going to. I’m glad I didn’t! Everyone was melting, especially while standing around the clam bake!

  19. I wore make-up everyday for 8 years, from middle school through some college. I finally started kicking the chemicals out of my life, and then make-up. I feel great when i dont wear it, my skin is healthier, and I don’t have to worry about doing something active and having my make-up run off. I do wear it once in a while if i am going out, but for the most part i am make-up free. :)

  20. This is amazing. I hate wearing makeup but I tend to wear mascara most days because of my fair eyelashes and the black mascara makes my bright blue eyes pop more. That’s it though, makeup just makes my skin feel gross and i feel more self conscious with it on cause then i worry if its moved or smudged.

  21. Brigette, you continuously inspire me and I love you for it. I’m going to the movies tonight and I just don’t think it’s necessary to “put on a face” if no one’s going to be looking at me and if, more importantly, I just don’t feel like it.

    Much love xx

  22. Your beautiful with out it. I love make up too but my high school sweet heart convinced me that I didn’t need it at a young age. Best thing he coulda done for me now I where it when I feel like it. Took a while to get used to but I don’t regret it.
    Check out my Hemp store
    Mary’s Hemp Store

  23. you are naturally gorg brigette! I accidentally left my entire makeup bag at home when i left for vacation last week and spent 7 days with 0% makeup. It felt so good that when I came home I decided not to wear as much in the summer (while I am tan), just a light dusting of bareminerals foundation and some mascara.

  24. I used to be the same way. It started in 6th grade and wasn’t until I met my husband and he convinced me that I didn’t need it that I have loosened up on it. I spent 6 months traveling last year without a bit of makeup and even went to a party last night without it. Whenever something has a hold on you, I think it’s best to free yourself from it.

  25. love this post so much!! My favorite part is that this can be applied to so many things in our lives today…there’s so many material things that we cling to for confidence or comfort and it would be interesting to see just how liberating life is without those things—so inspired!


  26. This post is wonderful. I have very sensitive/easily irritated skin. I often wear makeup because my skin is very fair and I feel self-conscious of just exactly HOW pale it is. Thanks for giving me some confidence to go sans makeup.

  27. that’s really brave and modest and humble of you to post a picture like that for anyone to see. and you are truly beautiful with or without makeup, inside and out.

  28. I can never go out without eye make-up. I do not like my eyes, they are small and have very small eyelashes, and now that I am growing older, my eyelashes have become very thin. I always wanted to have big eyes with long eyelashes. All my life I have felt very ugly because of my eyes.

  29. It’s a Friday night & I am reading old posts- LOL. I absolutely love this article. It is so real & embodies exactly what Free People is about. My Monday will be sans makeup. Thanks for the post- so authentic!

  30. Every year during the month of February I go makeup-less partly because it’s the shortest month, and partly because it’s the month of love, not just to others, but also towards oneself

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