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Makeup or No Makeup

I can not stand applying mascara. I have long curly eyelashes and after I apply it I have to take scissors and divide them up  hair by hair cause sometimes they clump together cause they get tangled in the length and curl. It’s not the mascara’s fault cause I tried everything so, it’s my lashes.

It’s kinda ridiculous but it got me thinking about my journey of makeup. No one ever taught me how to apply makeup. I never wore it  in high school, barely wore it in college, but, when I graduated college I was living in New York and I felt the pressure to look good and “put together” so to speak plus, I had a real job in the real work so thought maybe I should start looking like a mature woman, so I started to wear makeup.

It was nothing serious. A simple eyeshadow, mascara, and a natural lipstick. I was not into foundation or power which is weird cause growing up I hated my freckles. People would make fun of me and call me freckle face and I would see other girls pack on loads of liquid foundation to try and smear away blemishes and hide their skin. I thought it looked gross and clownish so just accepted the face that I had freckles and left them alone. I remember once even in the dermatology world freckles were frowned upon. I went to see my first dermatologist cause I had this red mark on my cheek and I worried that it was skin cancer. I’ll never forget walking into the dermatologists office and asking her what she thought of my face. She turned and looked at me and said, “I see a LOT going on here.” I immediately freaked out and thought oh God I have cancer. Turns out she was referring to my “brown spots” as she called it. It took me a minute to realize she was referring to my freckles, and was horrified cause she discussed lasering them off like I was some freak. I ended up storming out and never went back.

So, here I am in my twenties. I am living in my little studio apartment, walking to work with my minimal makeup on, and something shifted. One day I went out without any makeup and I felt naked. I felt self conscious like people were looking at me oddly, and I was immediately uncomfortable. I ended up leaving work early to race home and apply my usual routine and vowed to never step foot onto the streets of New York sans makeup. This ritual went on for an entire decade.

Then, in my early thirties my job drastically changed. I got in trouble from a book I wrote, and was involuntarily removed from my job and relocated to work with homeless people in Skid Row. You can’t walk the streets among chronic homeless people sporting stilettos and pencil skirts and look all pretty so, I stopped wearing makeup. Then slowly but surely, after quite some time working in such a decrepit environment, I plummeted into a deep depression. I went on medical leave, entered therapy, and worked on finding a new job, which I was successfully able to achieve. So now I was back wearing my stilettos and nice clothes and everything but, when I wore makeup I looked like I had paint on my face. I felt pretty wearing absolutely nothing, which was such a 180 from my early days in New York.

I know guys that dump girls when they see them without makeup, and I know girls that wear makeup to bed so guys never see them without makeup. It’s wild, superficial, and lame but, I get it. Now I wear it from time to time but it doesn’t define how I feel about myself. I can wear it or not wear it and still feel the same about myself. The funny think is I have precancerous red blotches on my forehead like a third eye, and would never think to try and cover it up. And the irony about that is, when I was a kid and at the peak of hating my freckles, I wouldn’t wear sunscreen and try to burn my face so it looked like one giant freckle. I would spend my summers boogie boarding with no protection, and my winters skiing with no sunscreen, and would get such bad sun burns I would get blisters on my face. So now I have the leftovers, the repercussions stamped right in the middle of my forehead, and it’s perfectly fine.

So, makeup or no makeup. It really doesn’t matter. It’s just my face either way. Makeup doesn’t define me, and I hope it doesn’t define you too.

Makeup or No Makeup

Erica Loberg

Erica Loberg was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She attended Columbia University in New York and graduated with a BA in English. She is a published poet and author of Inside the Insane, Screaming at the Void, What Men Should Know About Women, What Women Should Know About Men, Diamonds From The Rough , Undressed, and I'm Not Playing.

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APA Reference
Loberg, E. (2019). Makeup or No Makeup. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 Apr 2019
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