Why I Don’t Wear Makeup

My round of trips recently got me to thinking about why I don’t wear makeup. As in, I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve put anything other than chapstick on my face in the last year on one hand. When I went to pack my suitcase for England, it didn’t even occur to me to put any makeup in until a friend floated that I might want some in the event I went out to really nice restaurants in London. So I threw in a mascara (still in the packaging), some powder, and lip gloss. Everything came back unused because I was happy with my Burt’s Bees chapstick. Crazy, right?


Hiking in the Lake District with my friend Elli

Hiking in the Lake District with my friend Elli



Maybe not. I just never got into the habit. When other girls spent hours in high school learning to perfect their eyeshadow techniques, including many of my own friends, I looked on while reading or scribbling in my journal. I knew about stage makeup from my years in ballet, but never bothered to ascertain my ‘best look’ for everyday life. In my junior year, I took a stab at putting on makeup every morning for school, but that fizzled after a week or two because I was already waking up at 6am and didn’t see the point in rousing myself earlier.


I still don't understand makeup at 6am. Or while running...

I still don’t understand makeup at 6am. Or while running…


It wasn’t that I was a tomboy – not by any means. In fact, I am way more conventionally athletic now than I was growing up. I did ballet seriously, dabbled in competitive gymnastics, tried my feet at figure skating, and spent a couple of years as a varsity cheerleader. Basically all the physical activities for girls where appearance actually DOES matter. I was very girlie. My favorite color was and continues to be pink. And yet, I somehow missed the part where I was supposed to like experimenting with makeup, except for the LipSmackers phase (who didn’t love LipSmackers?) 


I just snapped this photo of some of my stuff strewn on the dining room table - I don't even try, it's just pink, everyone knows it.

I just snapped this photo of some of my stuff strewn on the dining room table – I don’t even try, it’s just pink, everyone knows it.


I figured out how to do a little for the few events where makeup was deemed necessary – my brother’s bar mitzvah, some school dances, a couple of sweet sixteen parties – never using more than five products. Mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, flesh-colored powder, and lip gloss. By the time I went off to college, I had accumulated a small stash of these.  Five items purchased for me by my mother or my friends, determined to ensure that I was able to look my best on meeting all the people who would surround me at Oxford. During Fresher’s Week (orientation), I made my second attempt at putting on makeup every day, and it ended just as quickly as the first.


The only color I need is from a bracing snow

The only color I need is from a bracing snow



Nobody ever seemed to notice that I wasn’t wearing makeup. I recognize now that I was a teenager blessed with extraordinarily good skin. My idea of a major breakout was a few little pimples scattered on my nose, barely noticeable if you weren’t standing right in front of me. The only reason I tried to get into a makeup routine in the first place was because my mom kept telling me it would be necessary when I was older, and that everyone, no matter how pretty, could use a little makeup to highlight their best features. She was, and is, probably correct. I know that if I had my makeup professionally done, my face would look magazine cover ready. But I also know that I was insecure about my looks for most of my life, and that trying to use makeup to fix that didn’t do me a bit of good. You know what worked? Eating right after a long battle to get there, finding exercise that was enjoyable, and attaining the glow of a generally healthy person!



Pretty happy at the Dumbo Double Dare

Ready for my close up at the Dumbo Double Dare



When I got to law school, and when I started my summer internship at a law firm, I again attempted to get some makeup on my face each day and just as quickly abandoned those attempts. I’ve been told makeup would make me look older, which could be helpful as I begin my career, but at the same time I’m not going to go crazy with it until I want to. For a fancy party, a graduation, a wedding? Absolutely. I’ve got nothing against makeup, or the idea of it. If it’s your thing, and you enjoy experimenting with it, by all means do.



At the Apollo Circle Gala last November...

At the Apollo Circle Gala last November, with a little extra color…


...and at graduation in May, without any, because I had to get up early as it was!

…and at graduation in May, without any, because I had to get up early as it was!



With time has come perspective. Wearing makeup won’t make boys notice me, or get me new friends. I admit that I can look particularly lovely when I add the right amount. It takes about five minutes, and incorporates the five products I mentioned, most of which I have owned since I was 16. (My best friend made me replace the mascara and eyeliner last autumn before the Apollo Circle Gala when she realized that what she found in my bureau drawer was actually the same stuff she’d seen in my drawer back in high school). You can see the result of 5 minutes and 5 products in the photo above! But makeup doesn’t give me a confidence boost. Being happy and healthy does. If I wake up one day with the burning desire to learn how to apply a smoky eye, I’ll go for it. Until then, I’m pretty happy with not losing precious time to standing in front of a mirror with an army of products every morning, and I can do a lot with the money I save not buying makeup. What it comes down to is, I like my face the way it is 🙂





What’s your take on makeup?


Do you wear makeup every day, or more on special occasions?







© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.


18 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Wear Makeup

  1. Love this post!!

    I used to wear makeup all the time, and now I don’t. For the past year I’ve worn it only on special occasions, sometimes not even then.

    For me, it was pragmatic: it is the most time-consuming thing I do in the AM, and also the most unnecessary. I don’t have a public-facing job and I see the same handful of people at work every day – no need to look pretty for any of them. My boyfriend and I have lived together for 2 and a half years, I don’t have anything to hide from him. I have nothing against makeup and like you said, it can really highlight features and make me look a lot better. But…meh.

    Tl;dr version: I’m too lazy 🙂


  2. I wear the basics to work and may doll up a little bit more for special occasions, but I never took the time to learn either. I have neutral eye shadows, only powder for foundation and mascara. I never mastered eye liner and won’t use it at all because I always look like a panda. My morning make up routine before work takes 5 minutes.


  3. I think you look really great without make-up, and I actually think that all the ladies I’ve seen look good with and without make-up. My personal stance is that I don’t really wear it, except for the weddings that I’ve been in… Most of the time, I guess I”m okay with looking like I’m 16 instead of 22. ;-D I guess it’s not super practical for me, and I don’t really care for it… But I do have great respect for all those girls and ladies who do use it!


  4. Perfection! I love this. I don’t wear any make up either. I just have never been a girly girl and my mother never wore makeup while I was growing up. My first exposure was in college in my sorority house. And I always feel like I look much older and VERY different with make up on. I usually don’t recognize myself in the mirror. I much prefer to have a clean face and be able to let my skin breathe! I feel totally sticky with any type of makeup on my face, and to be honest, I’m way to lazy to wash it off my face before I work out! Haha.


    • I totally agree with letting skin breathe – my face feels weird with makeup! I’ve always loved pink but I guess on reflection loving pink and Lilly Pulitzer but also running, biking, writing, reading more than anything don’t make me a typical “girlie girl”.


  5. I actually love makeup and even considered becoming a makeup artist at some point, but I see it as a creative/artistic outlet more so than a confidence boost. I wear a pretty minimal amount on a daily basis, but I do love being able to bust out something fancier for special occasions. It’s just fun for me — but don’t talk to me about doing my hair 😆


  6. I never wore makeup until I started working full time 3 years ago. I’m a project manager and interact with a lot of more experienced professionals on a daily basis. Without makeup, I look like an intern and didn’t really get respected as a professional, or would just get ignored since I look so young! So, now I add a few products to make myself look more presentable and mature. Plus, I really like wearing makeup and have fun applying it. To me, it’s a relaxing part of my morning routine. On weekends though I’m definitely makeup free- much better for your skin 🙂


  7. I wear makeup almost every day. I’ll skip it on the weekends, for the most part, unless I know I’m going to be around people and want to look presentable (i.e., not when I go for my long runs haha), but if I want to look put together, I wear makeup. I’ve had constant acne for 15 years, and on top of that my eyelashes are naturally different colors (my left eyelashes are blonde, and my right eyelashes are brown. True story. My left eyebrow is also part blonde/part brown, while my right eyebrow is totally brown), so for me, my makeup usage is more to bring me to “normal” rather than go above and beyond. Sometimes for fancy occasions I’ll do more, but otherwise, I just want my skin to not look like that of a 13-year-old boy or my eyes to look weird (because trust me, when one eye has blonde eyelashes and the other has brown, they look pretty weird on their own!).


  8. I own a bunch of it, because I feel I will wear it one day. I don’t know why I have to have it. I do not wear it-EVER. I just don’t like to waste time with hair or makeup. If you don’t like the way I look don’t look at me. I don’t understand how people can spend hours getting ready to go to the gym or store. Ponytail, brush my teeth, and put deodorant on and I am set for the world. It feels good to know I am not the only one…


  9. I’m definitely with you on this too–I veryvery rarely wear makeup since I’d rather spend my time sleeping or getting other stuff done, but I do break it out for special events and such. :] I did gymnastics in high school and dance in college, but…still very rarely bothered with it. I’ve been told it’ll help me to look older so patients will stop asking me if I’ve just graduated from high school, but…meh!


  10. I look really young for my age no matter whether I’m wearing makeup or not, which is so annoying. I never had any interest in makeup, but I do wear it when I’m “going out”. I recently started wearing makeup every day to work, so I’m still learning how to do it and not look too overdone.

    You have really great skin and don’t really seem to need much makeup! Sometimes it’s nice to add a little extra pop, but I don’t like that teens and tweens are getting so obsessed with it when they don’t need it.


  11. Hi! Dear lady, you hit the nail! I too do not wear makeup, also love my natural face, regardless of what others may say. It is sad that today the society sets a standard for wearing makeup by women to look more professional or likeable… I somehow never got into the idea that women need makeup to be beautiful. It is just not true! All ladies are beautiful in their own way, it is just the strange view of the society that women are pretty only with makeup. im also really sad to write I was terribly bullied online because of my makeupless photo…it was so humiliating to experience such a horrible bullying…by both men and women…I still cry sometimes when thinking about it…never wish to anyone experience such nightmare… Im 27 year old makeupless lady. I only wear it to some celebrations, wedding, etc. But even on the occassions, sometimes I just do not bother to put on mask. Unfortunatelly I live in a country of conservative right wing macho assholes who do like to objectify women and do not care about womens feelings about such kind of nasty oppression… Really sad…I want all other ladies to know that we are beautiful and we do not need makeup! Kisses


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