99.9% of the people I meet while travelling meet me with no makeup on.
The other 0.01% might meet me on a night out where I decided to throw on some mascara and potentially a smear of concealer.
And guess what? I have still somehow managed to make friends and people are still willing to talk to me without a full face of make-up on. It truly is a miracle…
Back in my late teens and early twenties, I would not have ventured out of the house without something on my face. That’s a testament to how fantastic my self-esteem was back then.
In my mid-twenties, I started to care a lot less and frequently left my home bare-faced. I don’t deserve a medal for this but at the time, it was a big step for me.
When I went through a bout of bad skin around the age of 24, make-up became my mask. And though I tried everything to make it better, I couldn’t solve it and so make-up became a shield and in many ways, the short-term solution.
And yet, even after I solved my skin issues (after a long-overdue and extremely expensive trip to the dermatologist), I still had my hang-ups about makeup. I never went to work without something on my face, assuring myself that it was necessary to look ‘put-together’ and ‘professional.’
Thank you misogynistic office politics, I am not ascribing to you ever again.
When I went on a night out, I felt it necessary to plaster my face in makeup because it just seemed necessary, as if the more foundation I could pile on my face had a direct correlation to how much of a good time I would have or how attractive I would feel.
And then, thankfully, I went travelling. I left home in January 2018 and almost instantaneously, makeup became superfluous.
At first, it was liberating; proudly boasting my bare skin as if it was something unusual.
And then it became more unusual to actually apply makeup. I became used to meeting people for the first time completely fresh-faced to the point of not even thinking about it.
When I did decide that I wanted to throw on some eyeshadow and mascara, I tended to feel ‘overdone.’
Travel has thought me that despite shielding myself behind a new hair colour or cut, a new foundation or constant wardrobe of alternating clothes, it was all aesthetics.
In the end, I realised I could speak to people, I could engage with my surroundings and most importantly I could forge relationships without makeup. Makeup and my perception of what is perceived as attractive and therefore socially acceptable is all fake.
At the end of the day being able to communicate confidently as a more authentic version of myself is an amazing gift travel has given me.
I am not denouncing makeup and will still wear it when I want to. But the difference is that I will wear it because it makes me feel good and because I want to, not as something to hide behind.