Bearing it All - The Beginner's Guide to Going Makeup-Free
It's summertime and if you live anywhere where the sun beats down relentlessly, you know that the most fun time of the year also brings heaps of humidity, melted makeup, and worse- congested skin. To battle your skin woes, you pile on the makeup even more, only to have the dreaded black smudge of mascara underneath your eyes by noon and blemishes peeking their way through your now-spotty foundation. It doesn't matter if you have young acne riddled skin, finely lined mature skin, or the combination of both- the wrath of the bright shining sun shows no mercy on all who dare to step outside June-August.
So, how do you beat the heated woes of summer? Follow this guide and you'll be bearing it all at the beach in no time (and going makeup-free!)
1. STOP wearing foundation!
No, don't skip over this just because you don't like what you read. This is the most important step by a long shot. Foundation, even the "skin-clearing, dermatologist formulated, scar-lightening, Your Skin But Better CC+ cream" will clog your skin. Clogged pores lead to a dull appearance, which is the fine line on how your skin looks. I used to use It Cosmetics CC+ cream during summer, thinking it was lightweight and helping my skin, but I kept getting breakouts and my skin seemed so dull and splotchy without makeup. This foundation (or whatever you want to call it) had great reviews online and I had been using it for months. I stopped for a few days (and hid inside during that time) while my skin magically cleared up. Now, if I feel the need to hide an old acne scar or undereye circles, I use a great concealer on just those small areas. My skin hasn't been this clear in years.
2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Yes, I realize that it is summer and you may not need more moisture...or do you? Heat makes you dehydrated and chances are, you aren't drinking enough water to compensate for what you loose in sweat. So, definitely drink more water and also moisturize for an incredible glow. You don't have to stick to just your face either! Your whole body could always use a non-oily, deeply penetrating kick of hydration. My personal favorite is 100% pure emu oil. "WHAT? Are you crazy?" Well yes, and no. This oil is great for every. single. skin type. Even acne riddled skin like mine. It doesn't clog pores, sinks in quickly and leaves your skin so soft it's ridiculous. I have oily skin so I use it at nighttime during the summer and just a small bit during winter days. (During summer days, my skin still needs a little moisture so I use another incredible daytime moisturizer by a natural Australian skincare line called Crop. It's so good, even my best friend texted me from Tennessee to ask what moisturizer he had borrowed while visiting me.)
Emu oil can also be used for stretch marks, a leave-in oil for your hair, cuts, scrapes, burns, sore muscles, wrinkles and fine lines, or for a scalp massage. I haven't found a better versatile oil, ever. It's in my top 3 favorite beauty hacks of all-time. The other two? Keep reading to find out!
My favorite emu oil: Pure Emu Oil
3. If You Can't Envision Yourself Sans Makeup - Add a Highlighter
I laugh out loud when I try to envision myself trying to apply contoured makeup, eye liner or eye shadow. We are conditioned, especially older generations, that we need eye liner and shadow to make our face complete. This isn't true! Unless you know how to expertly apply these items, or you have an event you feel that they are necessary, skip them! Which brings my to #2 of my favorite beauty hacks of all time. Highlighter. Sounds fancy and foreign but it's not at all. Just a sweep or two across the tops of your cheeks add a healthy glow that is natural looking and adds dimension to your face. So what is highlighter? It's micro-fine glitter, essentially, but don't be afraid! It's light enough that it won't sink into wrinkles, fine lines or pores. It's just a touch of sweet shimmer that can really make your face seem to glow from within. Bonus tip: If you're feeling daring, try adding a tiny bit to the inside corners of your eyes, underneath your eyebrow bone, and to the cupid's bow of your lip. Remember, just a touch here and there for a natural and dewy summer look- and skip the blush.
My favorite highlighter for all skin tones and types: Wet N Wild Highlighting Powder
4. The big ST - Self Tanner, Not Sun Tanning
I try to avoid sitting in direct sunlight but because I live at the beach and we have a boat, the sun is unavoidable...not that I'm totally complaining! I am always tan though, and I contribute that to my secret weapon, my #3 must-have beauty hack. I can't travel without it and if I run out, I run to the store or order on Amazon as soon as I can. I have used Jergens for about 10 years now and keep coming back to it even when I've tried the more expensive self tanners at Sephora. Then, Jergens released a mousse...a true game changer. It gives me a flawless tan quickly (about an hour!) and you can build on your base coat to deepen it. It doesn't become patchy in the slightest and it takes as long to put on as it would lotion, so not long! I use it head-to-toe, including on my face, with no breakout issues. It doesn't make you orange in the slightest!
Bonus tip: Rub it in really well. I use nitrile gloves to apply to avoid staining my palms. Just make sure you lift the gloves and rub it on the backs of your hands so there's not a distinct line where your forearm ends and your hand begins. If you find a patchy spot you didn't rub in well enough the next day, simply take a coarse, dampened washcloth and scrub for a second or two. Poof! Problem fixed. I also avoid water in the first few hours to avoid streaking. After a few hours though, you're good to go and the color it set in! Go for a swim or a hike without worry, and always pat dry just in case.
A very important part of lightening scars, lessening the severity of wrinkles, and overall brightening your skin's appearance is exfoliation done correctly. Big chunks of exfoliants can cause damage and cause microtears that can lead to future issues. St. Ives creates a green tea scrub that I found in high school. I dealt with cystic and painful acne that covered 80% of my face as a teen. No amount of prescriptions from my dermatologist helped but then I stumbled onto this stuff. It worked like no other exfoliant face wash I had used before. I still use it to this day, on my face, neck, back and chest. I still deal with adult acne (thanks, lupus!) but this stuff keeps it at bay, big time.
6. Remove the Gunk!
Removing dead skin by exfoliation reveal a bright, glowy face. So what do you do if you constantly have clogged pores, even though you don't wear makeup and take care of your skin? A clay mask once or twice a week works wonders. Shea Moisture makes the most effective one I've ever tried. They make one for acne prone skin (the one I use) or a hydrating one for mature and/or dry skin.
Bonus tip: You can buy sample packets to try out at places like Wal-Mart or CVS. It's typically $3-$4 and you can get 3 uses out of it if you put the remainder in a small storage container with an air-tight lid.
6. Start Slow
At this point, we've gone over quite a few ways to put your skin in tiptop shape to boost your confidence to bear it all. A big part of going makeup-free is realizing that you don't have to quit cold turkey right away, or at all. Wear as little or as much makeup as you like. For me personally, I quit the foundation first. Then I realized how much power, time and freedom I gained from not having to apply it every day. Then it was blush. Next was concealer. I still occasionally wear mascara. It is your face; it is totally up to you how you go about it.
7. Frame it With a Brow, if You'd Like
One thing I never skip is my eyebrows. No foundations, no blush, no concealer, no mascara, but you can bet my brows are bountiful. A filled in brow can really add so much structure to your face. To keep it natural, choose a shade of pencil or powder that matches your eyebrow color. If you're stuck between shades, go with the lighter one. Remember, you're not coloring your face; you're adding light strokes one at a time to mimic hairs.
8. Brighten it With a Smile
Whiter teeth will instantly give you confidence, and you'll find yourself smiling more often when you like your smile. I use Crest White Strips every now and then when I need a boost before an event, but to keep my teeth stain-free on a daily basis, I use a natural and whitening tooth powder. I love the way it makes my teeth feel and look. I drink coffee a few times a week and tea almost daily. This tooth powder deep cleans for a fresh and white look. Pair it with your Jergens Instant Sun and you'll notice a difference in your confidence almost immediately.
This tooth powder only requires a tiny pinch so it lasts me nearly 6 months. The instructions on exactly how to use are printed on the bottle.
9. When in Doubt, Style it Out
Let's face it, nearly any day is a good day when your hair is on its best behavior. A fresh cut, a few face framing highlights, a little volume can do wonders for your confidence. If you find yourself lacking a bit in the self esteem area when it comes to stepping outside sans makeup, try a new hair style or just get a refresher with your favorite stylist. There are so many things you can do that aren't drastic and don't cost a lot that will give you confidence. Try a gloss treatment, a toner if you have medium to light hair, or a trim and blowout. If you'd like to skip the salon, try an at-home deep conditioning mask to boost shine and radiance, both within yourself and within your hair.
10. Love yourself - Confidence is Key!
This last part is the building block to all of the others, but I saved it for last because it is absolutely crucial. To really rock your new look, loving how you look at every stage in life is so very important. We all struggle with it and we all are trying our best to love who we are, from the inside out. I posted a while back on my Instagram Story about how I had decided to go without makeup and had so many people with supportive words but who also said things like "You have the skin for it so you can do it." NO. NO I DO NOT. Let me be very frank: I had severe, cystic acne in high school that followed me into my twenties. I am left with bouts of recurrent painful acne on my face, chest and back, very oily skin, scars, pock marks, large pores that never seem to stay clean even without makeup and more. You have to change the way you see yourself and stop comparing yourself to others. Other people don't notice the way my skin really is because I am my own worst critic- and so are you.
Just get out there and rock it! As long as you take care of your skin, drink plenty of water and eat clean(ish) then you have nothing to hide. You're doing the best you can and that's all that matters. Going without makeup gives you so much power back that even Ulta's remarkable (*sarcasm*) $3.50 off $15 coupon can break you.