The Vicious Cycle of Makeup

I love makeup: I love what it’s capable of. I love the artistry that goes into good makeup application (which I admittedly don’t have much of, which makes me appreciate the talent even more). I love the confidence and pride it instills in me after I’ve applied it successfully, in such a way that my features have been noticeably enhanced.

I loved makeup a lot when my skin was at my worse. Having cystic acne kept me constantly checking mirrors, shielding my face from others, not making eye contact, and generally just not wanting to interact or interface with anyone, even the people I was very close with, who ostensibly wouldn’t judge or care if I had acne in the first place. Makeup — foundation, specifically, that was full coverage enough to hide the acne — was able to eradicate my fear of going out into the world, perhaps not fully, but to a great extent.

Foundation can make your skin look great. It can make it look smooth and blemish-free, amongst other things. But foundation itself — what’s in it — is still just chemicals and ingredients, both natural and unnatural. Foundation is not your skin. No matter what the label tells you — non comedogenic, natural ingredients only, oil-free, skin-like, etc. — it’s still not your skin. You are putting, painting a foreign substance over and onto your natural human skin. Keeping that in mind, there’s a good chance you may be an individual who is impervious to certain irritants, so wearing makeup is a non-issue for you. But the other half of us has an equally good chance of experiencing breakouts after a full day of foundation. I am in this latter half.

When you are someone with sensitive skin, makeup becomes both the savior and the catalyst for your skin issues. I needed makeup to cover up the problems on my skin. But the makeup was also making me break out more, as evidenced when I came home every night, rinsed the makeup off, and came to find out that more spots had appeared.

Even Kendall Jenner isn’t immune!

I was really able to put this to the test over the past month, now that my skin is usually close to 100% clear, thanks to the very powerful Epiduo. Generally speaking, I’ve been going to work without any foundation. But on the days I do wear foundation to work, I come home after eight hours and notice my pores show sign of congestion even after washing the makeup off. Which leads me to believe, for at least half of us with sensitive skin in the world, makeup will only make your issues worse.

But it’s really difficult to go out into the world without makeup, if you’re trying to cover up acne. At the height of my skin issues, I had the suggestion made to me that I needed to wash my face at night. That was such an embarrassing comment to receive — of course I was washing my face at night already! Just washing my skin was not going to cure a hormonal problem!

So, makeup can really do amazing things for your confidence, particularly when you feel you’re at your lowest. But I wish I had been more confident to go out on public without makeup when my acne was at it’s worst, and I really feel for those who are in a similar position as me. I wish the education around acne and what causes it was a little more mainstream in our society, so others wouldn’t automatically assume the sufferer was “unclean”, thus reducing the stigma around it.

I’ll never trash my bottles of foundation, and I’ll never unsubscribe from my favorite MUA’s on Youtube. Makeup is an art — it can accomplish amazing things if applied correctly. But from now on, I’m going to try to go bare-faced as much as I possibly can, even when a small breakout occurs. And I hope, for the new year, that my beautiful readers have the confidence to go out into the world with a look based on what they are comfortable with, and not just what society deems as “acceptable”. ~A

Both of the Georgia Gibbs in this picture are beautiful!

Beauty Products and User Subjectivity

I wanted to write a disclaimer on the sidebar about how I am not a doctor or a cosmetologist, I’m simply a beauty product enthusiast, and that all of my opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone will have a slightly different experience than I did with all of the products I’ve mentioned on this page. But I also wanted to add my personal take on “everyone’s needs are different/everyone is different” and “you should never fully take the advice of someone on the Internet.”

My favorite makeup and skincare YouTubers are Jeffree Star and thataylaa. Jeffree Star is probably my prime example of “everyone is different”. He tries on makeup that he loves, that I generally think is tacky and god awful. Now Jeffree, I’m sure, has sponsorships of all kinds, even if he doesn’t directly promote them. But whether he likes, or dislikes, the product, he makes himself completely clear as to why. His videos allow you to actually see how the product performs alongside his, ah, very opinionated commentary. Whether or not you agree with him, that’s up for you to decide. But I find that his brand of brutal honesty is preferable to most of the other channels that exist, where the creator is seems almost hesitant to mention the drawbacks of the product, likely because they’re trying to upsell in order for you to click their affiliate links.

Next, there’s thataylaa. I also like her for her honesty, and her head-on approach with to dealing with cystic acne: she put her makeup-free face on display for thousands of viewers at it’s very worst, and demonstrated how to use and find makeup for people with similar skin issues. It helped that she had similar skin tone/eye color/hair color as me. As a result, much of my Amazon and Ulta shopping was fueled by her recommendations.

I found Catrice Prime and Fine finishing spray through her! It worked magnificently — until I broke out, read the ingredient list (yep, after buying it, of course… my fault), and noticed it had benzoyl alcohol in it. No, it wasn’t at the very top of the list, so the chances of it being an irritant were slightly less, but I still felt weirdly jilted. I mean, didn’t she know benzoyl alcohol is a common adversary for those who suffer from cystic acne?! How dare she! In the most petty way possible, I felt disappointed in her.

Then I opened my bathroom closet a few days later and realized that my favorite self-tanner had alcohol denat listed somewhere along the second line. But I loved that self-tanner! I was never going to give it up! Double-standards galore. I digress: it made me realize that everyone’s needs and likes are going to be different. Thataylaa probably wasn’t having issues the same way I was with the finishing spray, and why would she? She isn’t me.

So when you read any review, or watch a video that demonstrates the product, just keep in mind. Your results are probably not going to be the same. A popular product won’t always be guaranteed to work for you, just the same as a lower-rated product might be your personal holy grail. I’d take a guess and say that 98% of reviewers are not professionally certified in any way to give a completely accurate dissertation (including myself!), so digest those reviews accordingly. 🙂 ~A