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6 reasons why I stopped wearing makeup — and why you should consider it too

INSIDER logoINSIDER 4/12/2018 feedback@thisisinsider.com (Nasha Smith)

a person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Nasha Smith © Provided by Business Insider Inc Nasha Smith

  • The beauty industry is worth an estimated $382 billion. Women spend up to $15,000 on makeup during their lifetime.
  • Cutting out makeup could save you time. The average woman spends 55 minutes on her beauty routine.
  • Foundation is absorbed by the skin. A break from cosmetics gives pores a chance to unclog and lessens occurrences of infection.

Long before Alicia Keys made it a thing and a slew of celebs followed the trend, I've been going makeup-free. My decision to go sans makeup was not a conscious one at first. It was cultural. I was born and raised on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, and we generally follow a strict school dress code. This includes uniforms through post-secondary education, earrings no bigger than a 10-cent piece, short, unvarnished nails, and certainly no makeup.

Naturally, some girls gave into temptation outside of school confines but I never really felt inclined to. The women in my family were minimalists and we were years away from the now commonplace YouTube tutorials.  

When I finally entered the workforce, I viewed makeup as a rite of passage — a surefire signal that I had been ushered into adulthood. I dutifully spent my mornings applying pressed powder, slathering on lip gloss, and carefully trying not poke my eye as I swiped on liner through blurred vision. Those awkward beginnings slowly gave way to a more refined look.

But to be honest, the whole process felt like a chore, and so I decided to pack it in. The world would have to deal with my moles, oily skin, and occasional breakouts. Moving to the US years later where it seemed no one ventured out in public without their 'face' on made me reconsider my position. That lasted all of a second. Of all the insecurities plaguing me, my bare face was not one of them, and I was determined to hold on to that.

Related Gallery: Stunning Portraits Show What Beauty Looks Like Around the World

a person wearing a colorful dress:  Romanian-born photographer Mihaela Noroc has been photographing  women around the world for the last four years. She's captured portraits in close to 60 countries from Afghanistan to  Iceland. Noroc is calling her project The Atlas of Beauty, and she's planning on publishing a book of her photographs in September of this year. Keep scrolling to see her breathtaking work and to learn more about the project. Stunning Portraits Show What Beauty Looks Like Around the World

It's honestly been one of the best decisions I have ever made. That's not to say I have completely sworn off makeup or that I am averse to it. I was eager to cop some gloss from Rihanna's Fenty Beauty Line, have a deep affinity for MAC's Ruby Woo, and would love to master the cat-eye. But I have seen the makeup-free benefits and would encourage others to give it a shot.

Obviously, everyone should do what is right for them and makes them feel beautiful. You don't have to stop altogether, but it wouldn't hurt to experiment with giving your face a few days off. 

It can help you to save money.

Sephora (Thomas Lohnes/Stringer/Getty Images) © Provided by Business Insider Inc Sephora (Thomas Lohnes/Stringer/Getty Images)

For one, your pockets will thank you. Money magazine estimates that women spend an average of $43 on makeup per shopping trip. This may not sound like much but over a lifetime it adds up to an incredible $15,000! Think of all the vacays you're missing out on. How does this bounty break down? The eyes have it. An astounding $3,770 is spent on mascara and $2,750 on eyeshadow. Lipstick is the other big-ticket item at $1,780. We haven’t even mentioned brushes, skin care, and makeup removal. It's no wonder that the industry is valued at $382 billion globally. Love might not cost a thing but beauty sure does. 

It will save you time.

As a novice, I felt like it took forever to apply my makeup. And I was doing the bare minimum. I would hardly qualify as glam. Now everything seems so much more complicated. There's priming, concealing, blending, contouring, and baking — all after having crafted the perfect brow. A study showed that the average woman takes 55 minutes to get through her beauty regimen. I practically lost a day of my life just reading about Kylie Jenner's 15-step makeup routine. With all that extra time you could easily fit in a quick workout, linger over breakfast with your boo, or even hit the snooze button.

Of course, there are less intensive routines but if you're looking for that beat face, time is not on your side. 

It's good for your face to take a break.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Face masks (Kris Connor/Stringer/Getty Images for Dr. Jart) © Provided by Business Insider Inc Face masks (Kris Connor/Stringer/Getty Images for Dr. Jart)

Like every other living thing, your skin needs to breathe. Long-wear makeup may be a godsend but is built to absorb deeper into your pores. If not properly removed, this can lead to acne. Eyeliner also presents problems, especially when applied in the waterline.

Errant particles may get into the eye and cause irritation or worse. A break from constant cosmetics gives your pores a chance to unclog and lessens occurrences of infection. Not wearing makeup allowed me to focus solely on locking down a good skincare regimen. I absolutely love sampling new cleansers, toners, masks, and moisturizers to add to my rotation. 

It can boost your confidence.

The "lipstick effect" is a psychological phenomenon in which wearing makeup can boost an individual's confidence, increase self-esteem, and make them feel more physically attractive. Cosmetics help us play up our best features and hide our flaws. And when you look good, you feel good. But the no makeup look can be just as powerful.

It gives us an opportunity to be comfortable with our authentic selves and to be accepted as we are. You would be surprised how impactful going bare can be. 

It can be better for the animals.

Many of the cosmetic products we purchase are subject to animal testing. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), estimated that millions of mice, rabbits, cats, and dogs have been used to test cosmetic products, while the Humane Society International estimates it's roughly 100,000 to 200,000 per year.

The tests are reportedly painful and animals are usually killed at the end of the process, according to the Humane Society of America. Fortunately, many companies have been producing vegan options and it's totally possible to buy makeup that does not test on animals

It can leave you feeling liberated.

I'm a hugger. I'm also on the short side. This meant I was always inadvertently leaving behind traces of foundation on someone's clothing. Now I dole out hugs freely and fearlessly. And I don't know about you but the last thing I want after a night out on the town is the added burden of thorough makeup removal. Instead, I can just fall into bed un-bothered (only after brushing my teeth because dental hygiene is crucial).  No more touch-ups throughout the day or adventures in oil blotting. No more smudged mascara raccoon eyes or lipstick on my teeth. Just free to be me.

Related Video: The Crazy Cost of a Lifetime of Beauty (Provided by People)

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