No makeup days

26 August 2019

Here’s a question for you: do you wear makeup every day?

sunset fam

Most days? Some days? Never?

For a long time, I’ve worn some makeup pretty much every day – usually under-eye concealer, a light BB cream, cream blush, a little bit of setting powder, and a tiny bit of eyeliner on the lower outer corners of my eyes. Sometimes mascara.

It’s not really a “fun” thing for me (it’s also not not-fun – just neutral!), but I do like how I look when I wear it. It’s hardly noticeable, but with makeup, my complexion is just a little more even and my eyes are a little more prominent.

The second day we were in Maine this year, though, I put on my usual sunscreen and then… walked out the door. Why? A few reasons, I think:

1) In this particular community, it’s an established norm. Most Islanders subscribe to the classic New England throw-on-a-hat-and-call-it-a-day look. Many people wear tees, shorts, and sandals every day; I’m in good company with a no-makeup look.
2) I’ve known these people my whole life, and they’ve known me – I’m known and loved. I feel like one of the reasons I wear makeup in my “normal life” is to try to manage the first impressions of others, and that’s not necessary here.
3) It’s an active place. We’re in the water, in the sun, on the boat, walking, swimming, playing tennis. There’s little point in spending too much time applying product just to have it wash off a few hours later.
4) I rarely look in the mirror there. At home or at work, I pass mirrors several times a day and give myself a once-over each time. I spend a LOT more time outside in Maine, and it seems to be out of sight, out of mind with me – I just think about what I look like a lot less.
5) When I’m in a beautiful place, I find I care less about my own beauty. I’m just grateful to be there, and I already feel like my best self living my best life :)

Em in Maine

In my continual quest to live my best Maine life at home, I’ve been forgoing makeup more often since our return. These days, I’d say I’m wearing it about 4/7 days a week. I generally don’t wear it on days we’re planning to ride our bikes, or days I’m working from home and won’t be “on camera.” I’d love to get to the point where a CC cream or concealer doesn’t make any difference, and my hope is that by wearing makeup less often and letting my skin breathe, I’ll get there faster! :)

This is a topic that could go much broader and deeper, but we’ll leave it there for today. I welcome your thoughts on any of this, but mostly I’m curious: do you wear makeup every day?

Photos from Maine, sans makeup. Affiliate links are used in this post!

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
August 26, 2019 8:10 am

I basically have the same approach…my makeup is super minimal (and I don’t think most people even know I wear it), but I appreciate that it makes me look a bit more “polished,” even if I’m the only one who really notices! But I leave it off on days when I’m going to be very active or just around the house doing chores, and to me the much more important thing is to try to take the best possible care of my skin. I get a fair number of comments on my skin, not my makeup, so I guess it’s working?

August 26, 2019 8:23 am

When I wear makeup, I wear a bit more than what you have described (sometimes, not always!) but I’m always on a 3 or 4/7 days a week method. It depends what’s going on and where I need to be. Sometimes I just don’t feel like having it on my skin, and on those times I feel like if my hair is “groomed” haha then I can get away with it in a lot of situations. :)

August 26, 2019 9:01 am

I’ve gone through a similar transition. I used to feel so vulnerable/naked leaving the house without under eye concealer and mascara (at the very least!) that I almost never did, especially as I’ve always had pretty prominent under eye circles – Mediterranean genetics! And then last year, rather unprompted, I started slowly adjusting my sched to only 3/4 days a week with make-up. I was just sick of always having to camouflage for work… what if I AM tired?? Also, this is just my face?? (Most) men don’t wear make up and we can still perceive them as put together/attractive, without fixating on imperfections that would be covered by make-up. People’s eyes have been trained to expect women to wear make-up. As my perspective shifted, I started noticing colleagues without make-up and observing their ESSENCE rather than perfectly smooth, even skin. I still like make-up and it obviously does make a difference (especially with break outs!), but I’ve felt really empowered letting go of make-up as a necessary shield. Now photos without make-up are a whole different story…

August 26, 2019 9:15 am

I tend to wear make up Monday-Friday for work. It just makes me feel more put together and professional during the work hours. But on the weekends I tend to forgo the makeup. I started using Rodan + Fields products in January and then became a consultant. And one of the unforeseen perks is I love my skin much more now and don’t feel the need to use makeup like I once did. Love your thoughts on this topic. And how a few years ago you sought out professional help to see what works best for you. I followed suit and asked my local makeup/hairstyle her opinion so when I do wanna go extra glam I know what works for me.

August 26, 2019 10:01 am

Hi Em!
I love your thoughts on this topic! I‘ve actually never been much of a make-up person myself, but I did go through phases where I wore it on a regular basis (new job, after a make-up class, when I used to go out more)… So, not being a big make-up person to begin with, I wore it even less after having kids. And moving to Savannah, I was basically not wearing any makeup all summer! It just doesn’t feel good on my skin in this humid and hot place :-) I do wear make-up most Sunday’s for church or when we go out in the evening (which is rare). And when I say make-up, I’m talking BB cream, mascara and some blush, ha!
So, here is to no make-up days!!
P.S.: I‘m sure my first impression of you would be just as fabulous with or without make-up!

August 26, 2019 10:23 am

I have a make-up routine that I can do in two minutes (I timed myself LOL) before leaving for work (BB Cream, Brow Gel/Pencil, Mascara, Bronzer/Blush, Lipstick). I’m at a place now where I can say that I’m really happy with the way my skin looks without makeup. But my “Two-Minute” make-up routine makes me look and feel more polished/awake which ends up boosting my mood a bit, especially on days when I’m really dragging at work.

August 26, 2019 12:04 pm

I love this! I almost NEVER wear make-up on vacation and I feel so free and easy. Similarly to your Maine community, my family goes to a Lake Cottage that has been in our family for generations. When we’re there, it’s all outside time and you just go from one bathing suit to another. Other than SPF, I wear nothing, and I feel great. It’s nice to be around family who never notice if you’re wearing make-up or not.

Also, in April of this year, I switched to all non-toxic make-up and skincare products. It has drastically reduced the amount of make-up I wear because I simply have less of it to choose from. And you know what–I love it! I love having a handful of products that I love and feel good about. And don’t feel like I have to wear them most days.

Right now, I basically wear ‘light’ make-up on the 4 days a week I work from my office. Under eye concealer, blush, eye-brow gel (it goes on with a brush and kind of tames them and makes them just slightly darker), and mascara. That’s it. And I don’t stress about it. I don’t even think anyone at work noticed that I changed my make-up routine haha. It’s so freeing!

August 26, 2019 12:22 pm

Love hearing your thoughts on this. I love makeup and love to wear it but have not been wearing as much lately. I used to do a “full face” of makeup every single day but stopped about my fourth child was born – ha! Definitely ran out of time to do this every day (or it hasn’t been as much of a priority to make time for). When I leave the house though I usually have *something* on, even if it’s just a BB cream and a little bit of mascara. Mascara is definitely my must have makeup item. :)

August 26, 2019 4:33 pm

After undergrad, I worked in a job where most people wore makeup, and I felt much more pulled together and professional when I did. During grad school, there weren’t many women who wore a lot of makeup, and in the absence of having much spare time, even 5 minutes in the morning felt like too much work. In my current job, it’s more split, and I’ve definitely followed suit. I don’t think of myself as particularly incline to listening to peer pressure – but maybe in this regard! One thing I’ve noticed is how my makeup-free face starts just looking normal to me, instead of tired, when I don’t wear daily makeup. It’s a good reminder that my face without mascara or filled in eyebrows is just fine.

August 26, 2019 10:41 pm

I do not wear makeup often! I am a stay at home mom, so that may make a difference. I use a tinted sunscreen moisturizer everyday and that’s it. I do wear lipstick but I love that and that alone makes me feel pulled together. Maybe 1 or 2 days a week I use mascara and/or blush, but only if I want to. I stopped wearing concealer ever and I love that! I have some makeup that I will wear for special occasions and our once a month date nights, but I have been focusing on my skincare lately and just liking what I see. I actually only started wearing makeup senior year of college and throughout my 10ish years of work, but even that was light and I would do no makeup days often. But yes to the lipstick!that makes all the difference for me, lol.

August 27, 2019 9:02 am

This is such a fun question to ponder! I’m pretty simple when it comes to my makeup/getting ready routine, and I don’t wear much makeup ever. But I do wear mascara 99% of the time – I don’t feel awake/look much like myself without mascara on! I wear makeup most days, but I really don’t wear much and my goal is to look really natural and fuss-free. When I work from home and have zero meetings scheduled outside the house, I usually go makeup-free. But mascara! That’s the key element for me – ha!

August 27, 2019 10:38 am

I think I’m in good company with you, Emily, and with the other commenters! :) I’ve always been pretty minimal when it comes to my makeup routine – usually foundation, concealer, mascara, and sometimes tinted lip balm! As a college student and then young professional, I used to always wear mascara to work because I felt like it made me look older and more polished. Fortunately, most of the women I work with now wear little to no makeup on typical workdays, so I don’t feel pressure to keep up with my own daily makeup routine. I usually wear mascara about 3 days a week, and then just foundation and concealer on the other days. I love a good no-makeup Saturday too!

August 30, 2019 7:33 pm

LOVE thinking about this! I had very bad skin in high school and college and would never consider going anywhere or doing anything without makeup on. I didn’t feel confident enough to show my “real skin” out in public. My skin is now much, much better (thanks to Accutane and very diligent skin care), but I still wear makeup almost every day — and this post has made me stop and think about that! I feel like I wear makeup now because I find it fun to apply and try new things … but I also wonder if I’ve been so conditioned to think I “need” makeup that I’ve talked myself into enjoying it. I almost want to try a full no-makeup week and see how I feel after that!

Bethany Howe
September 1, 2019 8:22 am

I hardly EVER wear makeup. I used to wear it every day in my early 20’s, but as I’ve gotten older it’s just not a priority for me. I like the way I look with it on, but I hate actually taking the time to do it, ha! I also hate the feel of foundation on my skin. I wear makeup probably 4 times a year(!!).