I took off my makeup before my date.
My relationship with makeup has been a rocky one. I have had problem skin for years, which began to worsen when I started college. I would never leave my dorm room without at least putting on some foundation, concealer, and powder to cover up my spots, redness, and oily skin. More often than not, I would do those basics, and then continue to add on more products to enhance my appearance. After evening out my skin, I had no color to my face, so I’d add on just a bit of bronzer and a tad of blush. Then, my eyes would look sallow, so I’d brush on some eye shadow and follow it with some liner. With that much going on, I’d have to swipe on some mascara and fill in my eyebrows, and then top it all off with a swatch of color on my lips to balance out the whole look. Before I’d know it, I unintentionally put on a full face of makeup.
The thing is, I do enjoy makeup for all of its merits. I enjoy getting to play around with colors and fun products. It helps me feel more put together and ready to tackle a new day, and a bold lipstick gives me an extra boost of confidence. I don’t touch my face as much, which helps keep away icky germs. It also gives me some time in the morning to pamper myself and think about my goals for the day.
However, even with all of these positive qualities, I often slide into the mindset of makeup no longer being a choice, but a necessity. And that’s where things go wrong.
At my most insecure times, I feel like I need to wear makeup so that when people look at me, they don’t automatically see my blemishes. I cover up my skin and carry around my grab bag of go-to products for quick fixes throughout the day. I can’t even run an errand with bare skin.
I vividly remember the first time I went out since starting college with zero makeup on my face. About halfway through my undergraduate schooling, I left my room with clean skin. I pulled into a parking spot at the grocery store and felt nervous and self-conscious. I convinced myself that I was overreacting and just got out of the car and went inside. I picked out some produce, searched around for my favorite cereal, and grabbed a few snacks. People saw me with pimples and blemish scars and red spots. And no one cared. I received no disgusted looks, no lengthy stares, no snide comments, nothing.
This was a big turning point for me; a sort of wake-up call in realizing that make-up is a choice. Other people are so caught up in their own lives and honestly don’t have the time or energy to care if I’m wearing mascara or if my concealer is smudged. What I wear is up to me.
I’ve noticed myself slipping back into the habit of covering my skin every time before leaving my apartment, so this week I put this back into action. While getting ready for a date, I took off my make-up. When my boyfriend opened up the car door and looked at me, he said, “Wow, you’re beautiful!” and in his loving and genuine response, I saw Christ.
In Scripture, God reminds us over and over again that we are beautiful just as we are. We all have some way that we cover up our insecurities and perceived blemishes, whether it be makeup or something else, but the Bible says that God cherishes our hearts more than we cherish our appearances (1 Samuel 16:7), and outer beauty is fleeting anyway (Proverbs 31:30). He has made us wonderfully (Psalm 139:14), and without flaw (Song of Songs 4:7). Our Creator made sunsets and mountains and daisies and puppies and shooting stars, and with all of this, He decided that the world needed to be a bit more beautiful, and He made you.
However we choose to present our bodies, it gives us the opportunity to honor God’s creation. We can walk proudly with a bare face, or we can choose to enhance the features that God chose for us. With or without makeup, we are beautiful because of who we are.
In Joy, Monica
God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The Lord looks into the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7b