It took one year for me to grow accustomed to it – life without makeup. Four years later I still have moments when I am tempted to hide the motherhood tiredness and too-many-long-winter-days-spent-inside-the-house pastiness.
Going makeup-free began with the thought of my daughter, Brianna, as I mentally flashed ahead to the advent of her teen years and the inevitable question, “Mom, can I wear makeup?” And something in my heart broke. Because I can’t imagine agreeing with my daughter that she would look better or more feminine with makeup on. I don’t ever want her to think that.
I began considering ways to encourage her in the battle of the beauty myth. Certainly it would send her a mixed message if I told her she was beautiful without any makeup only to turn around and put some on myself. This left me with only one option – stop using it.
After 17 years of putting it on, I struggled to go without it. Thankfully, God encouraged me along the way.
He first brought to mind the TV show “Survivor.” If you’ve ever seen it, you know the women are without makeup throughout the game. After watching these women over a couple of months, it was startling to see them fully made up on the season finale. I thought they looked great without makeup. God whispered, “I think you do too.”
Still, it would take some getting used to. Since He knew I would be tempted to turn back, He gave me two other forms of encouragement: my husband’s enthusiastic endorsement of the makeup-free me and learning about makeup’s make up. Let’s just say I learned enough to think twice about putting it on my skin.
But this also is a spiritual battle. One in which the enemy of our souls tells me I look better “in color”; that I am not beautiful enough without it (enough for what?). God tells me to look deeper and when I do, I learn more about how He sees me. He sees a child He created, in His image, to His exact specifications with no mistakes. He was not mistaken when He chose the color of my eyes and skin or proportions and shape of my face. He was not mistaken when He chose to give me fine, straight, dull, I mean, dark blonde hair (I’m still battling with Him over this one!). He chose.
I began to see putting on makeup was, for me, a way to hide the discontent with how I looked and sometimes what I was feeling inside, a way of telling God I didn’t like the choices He made when He formed me. Isn’t that crazy? To tell our Creator, the one who birthed something out of nothing in perfection, He somehow slipped up when He made me!
To fight against these lies, I needed a stronger weapon in my arsenal – God’s Word. As I looked through the Scriptures, I began to discover what God values as beautiful. Among my favorite Scriptures are the verses in 1 Peter 3:3-5 which say the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is unfading and has great worth in God’s sight. It is how holy women of the past who hoped in God adorned themselves. How I want that! Lord, please give me that – beauty which does not fade and will not spoil.
Do you also struggle with believing you are beautiful without makeup? What do you think God would say? Pause for a moment and listen. I believe He will tell you what He told me: “I think you look beautiful.”
By Andrea, Whispers in the Silence
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Amy Hunt says
It is a delicate balance to live, for sure. Resting in His unconditional acceptance of us and His Truth that we are beautiful just the way we are. He tells me that I needn’t do anything to my face for this beauty to be evident. And I pray each day that I really *know* that.
What a gift to teach your daughter, Andrea. I pray rich blessings for you and she, that you’d both live in peace, knowing your simple beauty.
E. Johnson says
That is such a beautiful way to teach your little girl about true inner beauty. She’s blessed to have you for a Mom 🙂
What a great message! I’ve never worn makeup (other than the few occasions others talked me into it) because my dad didn’t like it and my husband prefers I don’t. Although I usually feel fine without it, I often feel the pressure that I will be beautiful if I wear it. It’s tempting at times and this is a great reminder of why it’s not necessary and even more so with my raising three little girls. Thanks for sharing what God shared with you!
Amy C. ♥ says
Thank you for this post… I have been makeup-free for almost a year now, and have never felt more beautiful, as I focus on the inner me instead of the outer me. Blessings!
This is such a thought provoking piece. With first daughter in arms as I type this you have given me much to chew on as i think of the years of raising her ahead.
Thank you for this post. I don’t wear much make-up at all because I never wanted to be caught without it and for people to think, “Oh, that’s the real her.” I don’t miss a day of sunscreen, but the make-up – I can’t take or leave it and I think that I will be leaving it more than taking it. 🙂
This is also something I have thought a lot about: Most men are considered more attractive as they get older. They don’t wear a thing on their faces or color their hair. Why do we, as women, feel that we have to do these things to be attractive?
Rhonda J. Smith says
Thanks so much for this, Andrea. Even though you spoke about your choice not to wear makeup, I like how your piece transcended that and challenged us to be satisfied with how God made us. Covering up and switching up is something we too often do without thinking about what we’re communicating to God and even others. Thanks so much for this.
Thanks for this encouragement this morning. I have often been questioned because I don’t wear makeup~ I had never thought about the why really (except maybe that I’m lazy!?), but this adds another dimension to the ‘why not’. I struggle daily with how I feel about myself and what I am passing on to my littles by the way I look at myself and speak about myself. Your honesty is refreshing and gives me much to think about~ I definitely want my little girl to see that who God created her to be is perfectly His design!
Betty Draper says
Deeply felt post Andrea, a subject few of us women would even think let alone write about. It’s easy to see the beauty on your face.
About a year ago i decided to stop coloring my hair..i was 63 and we live over seas so getting it, doing the actual coloring just became to much of a bother. It was a little hard to get use to but interesting enough after I let all my natural hair show the national ladies would come up to me in the store and comment on how pretty I was. Slowly buy surely i got very comfortable with it. Some changes need to come slow so I was grateful for my hair slowly growing out.
The real test was yet to come though for furlough was coming up and I knew my US friends and especially my mother would make me feel like I need to color back to my younger color, a deep auburn. To my surprise very few were negative, most everyone commented how pretty i looked and how much they liked my hair. Even had a young man, jokingly say Miss Betty you look hot…guess that is the new word for you look nice.
Another surprise, I could wear bold colors that I could never wear before. Friends had fun buying me things to show off my hair. Wondering why I waited so long but very glad i took the plunge.
since we live in a very hot tropical humid climate most of the time i never wear make up, it would drip off my face with each drop of sweat. Our make up is our tan you get from just doing the simple things such as hanging up clothes, walking to a neighbors house, shopping at the market. so when that fades when we are in the US i do wear a little makeup. But again with aging comes wrinkles so too much only increases the creases. I want to post something i found recently searching out quotes on beauty. Betty Draper
For attractive lips,
Speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes,
Seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure,
Share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair,
Let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
Walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.
I LOVE YOUR BEAUTY TIPS! I will pass them along!
Laura@Life Overseas says
I agree. I LOVED Betty’s comment and advice. So perfectly spoken. Poetry in the comments! Thanks, Betty!!
I am definitely going to retweet & post this on Facebook because I feel a lot of women need to read it. I have been makeup free for many years & I love the freedom! My mother has tried for years to get me to wear it but I held fast & refused. Now I’m forty and am my own woman and she accepts me for my decisions. Thank you for posting this. I’ve waited so long for someone to agree with me on this subject!
C.C. Almon - my journey as a Christ follower, wife, mamma, and fibromyalgia fighter says
This is something I have been struggling with for quite some time. I spent many years as a full-time beauty consultant sales representative and so was almost always made up. As I moved into graduate school and that job became about only purchasing my own products including bath/shampoo/deodorant/etc. at a discount and occasionally letting friends/family purchase stuff, I majorly reduced the amount of makeup I wore. I am now in a full-time job ministering in hospitals and I feel the pressure to be made up again. I have fought it and now only wear a mineral powder and blush and a light coat of mascara. I relish the days when I am off work and go makeup free. It’s a delicate balance. Not sure where I will go with this in days ahead. I really appreciate your writing on this and how it is making me think. Blessings to you!
What a beautiful post. Thank you for reminding me of my inner beauty and how God sees me. I am not sure I would be brave enough to go without makeup. Maybe God will give me that same strength.
I never started wearing makeup until middle/high school and even then I didn’t do it often. And now as I see my sister enter that stage and cover her face, my heart aches. I want her to know she is beautiful inside and out. I will not be teaching my daughter to use makeup. Now that I’m married, I don’t wear makeup because (and this is hard to say) I got the guy. I cringe to think of school girls wearing makeup just to impress guys. God looks at the inner self, so in all honesty, I don’t think makeup is necessary. Thank you for making me think today.
You have beautiful skin. If I had skin like that I would not cover it up. Unfortunately I don’t. It’s damaged from getting sunburn one summer in Phoenix and it’s terribly mottled with brown spots all over it. So I cover it up because it looks so bad. But if it was not damaged I would just wear moisturizer and sunblock 5000. (I do wear sunblock now and moisturizer.) 🙁
When my wrinkles were starting to bother me every time I looked in the mirror I started thinking that I had a big chunk of money, I would get that “taken care of”. But then I thought about my daughter and the message that would be sending to her and to her generation. I decided I will grow old gracefully and embrace my laugh lines and see them as a plus….I wouldn’t have them if I weren’t smiling so much, right? I just don’t want to send the message that we need to be fixed. God planned for us to grow older and I now accept that plan.
tammy@meadows speak says
This is definitely something to chew on….thanks for sharing.
Beautiful post Andrea! I definitely think that women are truly beautiful without makeup. What a wonderful example you are for your daughter, and for all of us.
I truly admire you doing this! I am everyday trying to live more and more and more simply and I know in a society that disdains simplicity, it is so very hard to live that way and feel beautiful and valued. Rock on girly! =)
I was imprisoned my so many aspect of the lies of beauty…..I was recovering from anorexia and other lies when one day in God’s love for me he asked me to take off my mask…..see when I first got married I slept with my makeup on….not because I was lazy but I was bound. So one day He came to set me free….I said sure…but had no idea how bound I was. The first time I was to go out in public(a very public place…my husband coached at a major college) …I was paralyzed in my bathroom. This felt the same as if I was totally naked. Finally…..with my kids saying…”we are going to miss tip off” I found my way into the gym…..From there on the freedom that followed was just thrilling…..Not all women are so bound as I was…..but God not only set me free….but kept my daughters from following me to that same prison. That was some 20 yrs ago…..I do wear a little foundation at times….One time I tried eye makeup to see if my husband preferred me with it on…..he said he could not really tell a difference….so I decided why go to that trouble if he did not have a preference. I love your story…thanks for sharing it.
Laura@Life Overseas says
I love that we as women can navigate through so many different choices in life, and, if we are seeking and listening, can hear God’s whispers spoken to us and learn from them. I personally, do wear make-up, and I’ve learned valuable lessons from the wearing of it, in the same way that you and others have learned valuable lessons from the choice not to wear it. Like so many things, the catalyst isn’t really the issue. It’s the heart, the obedience to the best of what we feel God is saying, that is truly what matters.
And I love that you have been able to highlight God’s truth to your heart and that you have challenged the rest of us in the process. Thanks so much for posting!! You’re beautiful!
About a year ago I stopped coloring my hair, cut it short and grew out all the color. I’m fairly gray at 43. I struggle between feeling like it ages me and liking that I look like myself and not what some advertising agency thinks a 43 year old should look like. I rarely wear makeup anymore also. Thank you for the perspective that I’m beautiful as God made me and not just “letting myself go”.
Amy McCollister says
This comes at just the right time. I’ve not been proned to wearing make-up, like ever. The most I did was in middle school, and that was only eye shadow, nothing else. The only other time I’ve worn make-up was on my wedding day, and it was very very subtle. Something about sensitive skin and covering it with make-up didn’t make sense to me.
The timing issue comes in because my older sister just started selling Mary Kay. I hosted a party for her. Before the party she gave me a make over. She kept saying over and over again how good it looked on me. It got me thinking that maybe I should start wearing make-up.
So this post, reminded me of all the reasons why not to wear make-up, and encouraged me that no matter what others say, the me I was created to be, is better than me with a mask on. Thank you!
Thank you so much for this post. I rarely wear make-up (usually only for special occasions when I get really dressed up … so maybe a couple of times a year). It was just never something that I got into and I like the fact that it doesn’t take me forever to get ready in the morning. Thanks for the inspiration in teaching my daughter about where true beauty comes from.
Beth West says
There are a lot of advantages to going without make up. I did without for about 15 years and I thought the best part of it was not taking the time to put it on. However, I also felt ugly for all of those years. Yes – you could definitely argue that that is an issue 🙂 And I toughed it out.
But in my mid 40’s I have begun wearing light make-up again and I feel SO much better about myself with it on. I definitely favor a natural look, but as an insomniac it is comforting to be able to cover up the dark circles beneath my eyes. So there’s another perspective for you young things 🙂
PS – don’t be shocked now, in my enthusiasm to be au natural (as I was created, for modesty etc) I also ceased shaving. For years I went around feeling like a gorilla until I couldn’t stand it anymore and went back to shaving. I feel so much better shaved. I believe a lot of this has to do with the culture we are raised in.
The Lord has spoken with me on this in the past and is nudging me again recently. Timely read. Thank you for sharing your story and reasons.
You look beautiful just as you are!
Well done! And what a great example for your daughter. I haven’t gone without makeup but I did stop highlighting my hair. Both of my girls wear glasses and have crossed eyes. When they were little they would say things about how they look different than the princesses in movies. I told them how God created to be exactly how they were and that they were beautiful. I then realized I was being hypocritical. I wanted to be an example to them and be who God made me to be. So I stopped highlighting my hair. It’s funny because now I have the mouse-y brown hair that most people would highlight and my very blond girls always tell me how pretty it is and how when they grow up they hope their hair is brown like mine.
I love this post! I’m 31 and I’ve never worn makeup. I’ve heard countless times that I would look better if I did and I always think that that is a really unfair thing to say to someone. Thank you for your encouragement today!
God Bless you for encouraging your daughter as well as other women to make emotionally healthy choices for themselves. So few women see no makeup as an option even if they allergic to some of the ingredients and struggle to find products they can safely wear. You have Blessed them with a choice!
Great article. I was one to only wear makeup up when dressed up. and then as a missionary in a humid climate, I quit wearing it altogether. Two years ago, I realized I only put it on when I went to church. I had to stop and ask myself, why?
My daughter has also been asking when she can wear makeup and I have had the exact same experience you have.
In the comments above, I noticed people talking about not having their hair colored anymore. I have been getting highlights and now am contemplating giving them up too.
This article and the comments here have added some more perspective. Thanks for submitting it.
Lily Dawn says
I love your perspective and it does make me think about the way God sees us. I personally enjoy wearing make-up… I always have… something artistic in it for me~ I like to try different colors and techniques, etc. it;s fun- but I don’t feel horrible if I go without it. I do struggle with other cosmetic flaws though (hello after babies body) I know if I raise a daughter one day- I want to set a great example, but I am definitely still working on it! Thanks for this post! 🙂
What a wonderful post. While I don’t have any girls (just two little boys) I totally think you have made a great point. I wear less and less makeup it seems every day. I don’t like putting it on (both because of what is in it and because I am lazy). I believe that I will shortly get to where it’s just moisturizer for me every day (with sunscreen). I may reserve makeup for special occasions, I’m not really sure, I’ll have to give that some thought.
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Thank you! I too prefer going sans makeup- but need to just get up the courage to pitch what I have. I have mornings where the Enemy whispers into my ear that the circles under my eyes are too noticable, my skin too sallow/too broke out/too _____, and so on. What I have noticed though, is foundation feels too heavy, mascara causes the above mentioned dark circles, and powder makes me look cakey and sallow. My husband doesn’t notice whether or not I wear makeup– trying to emulate the tips on pinterest takes too much effort and I feel like I should be on stage. Like you said, our Father created us according to His holy specifications. Who am I to say that He erred and to make “improvements”? Keep up the great posts!