Today we have a guest post by the lovely Aminah Khan who wanted to write for us! The #nomakeup movement has been gaining lots of traction in the past couple of months and today, Aminah gives us her take on it.
One thing about summer that I’ve noticed is that I always seem to change up my makeup routine, and by change up I mean I just wear less makeup. Personally, I don’t like having a full face of makeup on when the weather is really hot. But this summer I decided to stop wearing makeup during this period to really see if I could liven up my skin.
Going makeup free doesn’t come without its fair share of challenges, for example the annoying pimple on your face that you really want to conceal because you think everyone is staring at you. This was what I was like at the beginning, it was a new experience to just go out on a regular basis without any makeup on. But after a while I got used to just going through my morning routine and missing out the step of makeup; I got over the feeling of being self-conscious and embraced the fact that I was doing this for myself. What initiated me to do this was the fact that during the exam period the stress I felt was reflected in my skin, whether it was a breakout or generally lack lustre skin, I thought it would be best to give my skin a break. Peter Elias an MD and a professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco says that “chronic stress increases the hormone cortisol, which damages skin’s ability to hold on to water” causing dryness. Along with the dryness, my skin would undergo periods of mild acne and my eyes had a tired appearance. But I didn’t want to cover up in makeup and not address the actual issue with my skin, so I decided to part with some of my cash and improve my skincare arsenal.
So this summer became my summer of skin cleaning. With this new resolve I decided to look into Korean skin care routines to see what I could take from it and how I could better my own routine. For example in the morning I use a foam cleanser, toner, an essence, eye cream, a serum and then a moisturiser. My night time routine has a few extra steps, for example I use an oil cleanser to remove any impurities that have built up throughout the day, a mild exfoliating scrub and an overnight face mask. By having this regimented routine, the appearance of my skin genuinely began to perk up. When I first learnt about skincare it was all about the 3 step process (cleanse, tone and moisturise), no one ever told me that serums could be such game changers. But needless to say, even with this new and improved skincare routine, to get rid of any pimples I needed something that will help soothe and reduce. There’s a huge range of products that help acne, but to be honest spending a lot of money on acne cream was not really viable considering I am a student. But I found a great alterative whilst scouring YouTube for skincare tips, which is tee tree oil. I also came across a video that suggested mixing some aloe vera gel with some crushed mint, then to apply that mixture to your pimples and leave it overnight. I was reading up on the properties of aloe vera and its benefits on mindbodygreen.com, which stated that aloe vera contains the two hormones “Auxin and Gibberellins. These two hormones provide wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce skin inflammation. Gibberellin in aloe vera acts as a growth hormone stimulating the growth of new cells.” When I tried it out it actually helped reduce any pimples and was really gentle on the skin, which is great because sometimes skin can go through periods of sensitivity.
But this #NoMakeup movement that I decided to embrace is not just to detoxify my skin, but also to detoxify any negativity I was feeling. Sometimes when I would wear makeup I would still only see the imperfections. The beauty of not wearing makeup, I found, is not condemning make up or those who choose to wear it but looking at yourself as an individual and not feel negative towards your own reflection. To embrace every part of your appearance. The choice to wear or not to wear makeup is solely down to the individual concerned, for me personally I’ve felt more empowered because I know now if I choose to go out in makeup or no makeup I will always be me and I won’t try to hide my makeup free face.
What really propelled the #NoMakeup movement was the empowering essay by Alicia Keys on Lenny. In the essay she wrote that “we all get to a point in our lives (especially girls) where we try to be perfect” and because of this she vowed to stop covering up. “Not my face, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing,” she said. A few days after the publication of her essay (May 31st 2016) Alicia appeared make up free in her Fault Magazine spread, smiling, just showing that being makeup free can make you feel liberated just like the makeup in cosmetic advertisements. Even in her performances she went make up free and in her essay she wrote that before she started her new album she wrote a list of all the things she was tired and sick of. One of them being “how much women were brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect… or that constant message that being sexy means being naked”. From this the #NoMakeup came about and has produced over 12 million results on Instagram.
Share your thoughts and comments about #NoMakeup. Whether you choose to go makeup free or not, embrace who you are. As Salma Hayek stated, “the most liberating thing about beauty is realising that you are the beholder.”
Words by Aminah Khan