One week ago, I woke up later than ever, and ran out the door hoping to find time to put mascara on in my car. I drove to campus, parked, pulled down my little car mirror and prepared to darken my eyelashes, as part of my everyday routine. In that moment, I thought of the bare-faced Polaroids I had taken the previous morning, and how different it felt to take makeup free photos. Out of nowhere, I thought, “Why not keep going?”

I had always worn makeup most days without questioning the act. From dance to theatre and photoshoots to shows, makeup had become an unquestionable part of my life, one that I couldn’t see myself without. And even worse, one I couldn’t picture others seeing me without.

This made me question: Why do we wear makeup? Does everyone wear it for different reasons? And could I, personally, handle being seen in a way that I rarely show myself?

First, we asked a few female students if they had any particular preferences regarding their makeup routines:

Media by Mariela Diaz and Alexi Arias

Then, I decided to take the ultimate test: One week without makeup.

Day 1: I checked myself four times in the mirror at 8 AM before walking out the door, questioning if I truly wanted to run with this experiment. Makeup has always been a part of my daily routine, and I feel slightly naked without it. While my bare eyes felt sunken in and noticeable, it didn’t seem to distract anyone else from their day. Shockingly, mascara or not, the Earth continued to turn.

Day 2: I’ve slept a measly four hours the past few nights and I want to throw some product on my tired eyes, but I love how quick the mornings are with no makeup. While I do feel like I’d look more awake with some under eye concealer, I wanted to complete the week challenge. But if we’re being honest, the “dress good, feel good” phenomenon helps me explain why covering these dark circles would perk me up a bit.

Day 3: Unsurprisingly, another day went by that no one was impacted by my al naturale decision. For the first time, however, I paid a little extra attention to who does wear makeup versus who does not. As I pondered why, it came to my attention that everybody does what makes them feel most like themselves. For me, that means wearing a little makeup, but I saw everyone’s preferences from a different perspective.

Day 4: While it is nice to rub my eyes without an issue, I miss feeling put together. It seems as if no makeup in a work setting portrays a careless look, and I noticed I am a bit more focused when I get ready for the day. Today, I’ve truly realized that everyone is empowered in different ways through different styles, and to each their own.

Day 5: The end of the week is here, and although it is shocking, the press has still not covered my no-makeup story.  I am pleased to observe that my bare faced decision did not haze anyones’ impression of me, and even happier to report back that the only person who should care is myself.

Overall, this week I learned a valuable lesson; no one sees you quite like you do. While we may feel insecure about the way we appear to others, the way they see us will always differ. This week, nobody said a word about my makeup free face. And while I felt the difference was dramatic, not one person questioned my decisions that day.

Whether my fellow females choose to glamour themselves up every morning, roll out of bed just in time for class, or find a look between the two, they are each choosing a beautiful option. Makeup or not, the best choice you can make is the one for yourself.  After this week, it seems my preferred look varies day by day, and that’s okay; what matters most is being happy with who you see in the mirror.

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