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Why I Don’t Wear Makeup, and That One Time I Did

Wearing makeup (!!!) after my first wedding trial.

The final product of my first wedding trial: Fully wearing makeup!

Our wedding is in less than two months, and so this week I had my first ever wedding makeup trial!

Now, let’s discuss the concept of makeup.

How does makeup fit into the life of a normal gal, as well as a traveler? Answer: I’ve never seen the point of makeup.

I’ve done pretty fine in my life without it (you know, career, family, friends, fiance, fun). So why would I spend the time and money on painting my face when it’s unnecessary? Think about it this way: If you had the choice of breathing for free, versus breathing for $1 and an extra minute for every puff, which would you pick?

It’s a similar choice to this: Would I rather wake up at 5:40am to get to school each morning makeup-free, or arise at 5:30am to paint my face with expensive chemicals? As far as I can tell, my 7th graders can still hear me without my lips being red, and that extra ten minutes of sleep at the crack of dawn is precious.

Now let’s pause for a moment for photos from my admittedly super-fun wedding makeup trial this week:

Now, what about traveling with makeup? If you notice, my articles on what to pack for travel never include such items as “eyeliner” or “foundation.” Why? First, I think it’s downright dangerous. Eye makeup in particular can cause eye infections, and I sure as heck don’t want to deal with conjunctivitis in rural Ghana.

During backpacking, it’s hard enough to find a place to wash my hands well enough to take out my contact lenses without risk, let alone get enough water and scrubbing materials to fully take off eye makeup before sleep. Is the “benefit” of having slightly more defined eyelashes worth the risk of blindness from untreated or poorly treated infection?

Look at all these tools of makeup science.

Look at all these tools of makeup science.

And simply having a more defined eyelash line strikes me in itself as worrisome. Nearly all of my travels around the world have been as a solo female traveler, and for safety reasons, I often go out of my way to look less beautiful or feminine.

When I’m walking alone at night, I wear a baggy shirt to cover up, and night or day, I don’t wear makeup in a strange city where I know no one. No woman should ever be assaulted, no matter how she’s dressed, but, given that I had a scary episode in Vietnam involving a creepy man, I’m well aware that women always need to be aware of how we come across to people around us.

So that brings us to a final question regarding makeup: What’s the point?

I’d actually love for any female readers to explain it to me in the comments section, below.
What are YOUR reasons for wearing makeup? What about during travel? What effects (positive or negative) have you experienced when painted and not? Do please share!


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Sunday 28th of February 2016

I don't wear makeup. I just don't see the point. If people wear it because they genuinely like it, power to them, but I wonder how much of it is choice and how much of it is cultural indoctrination.


Monday 29th of February 2016

Good point!


Wednesday 6th of August 2014

I love makeup. There are days where I do it and I look in the mirror and am content with how it looks, and there are days where I do it, look in the mirror, and think I am jaw-dropping gorgeous. I love making my eyes pop with shadows and mascaras and giving my skin a flawless look with primers and foundations because they make me feel good, and everyone deserves to feel absolutely fantastic in their skin. If makeup does that for you, like it does for me, then fantastic, we have something in common. If it doesn't make you feel like a goddess, that's perfectly fine, too. Just as we all don't have the same interests, we all don't have the same love for makeup.

As for using it while traveling... I personally do. I carry makeup removing wipes and the Meltdown Makeup Remover (by Urban Decay) with me to take it off at night. However, carrying makeup does alter my traveling style a bit. My fiance and I generally don't stay at campgrounds, so we don't have to carry around tents and extra living supplies. We stay in private rooms in hostels. So I'll bring my makeup essentials along with me in a small bag. When we plan to do nature activities (We're both just as indoorsy people as we are outdoorsy people), we make a sort of "base" at the hostel, rather than hiking and camping each night. But makeup while traveling is important to me, because my fiance and I are very big in photographing our trips, and I want to look nice in photographs that are going to last forever!


Wednesday 6th of August 2014

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Penny Sadler

Thursday 8th of May 2014

Hi Lillie, I can't believe I'm just now reading this. There are some great comments here. As a professional makeup artist I will simply say that there are many many good reasons to wear makeup, and some not so good. From my perspective I use makeup as a tool to either create a character, or an attitude, or conversely to eliminate distractions such as shine on camera. I find it a bit ironic that many women say I never bother - only with x,y, or z. Well x,y, or z is putting on makeup! A few final thoughts, spending a bit of time on your appearance, ie, grooming is a good and healthy thing. If that includes makeup, so be it. I once heard a spiritual teacher from India say we owe to ourselves and to others to make an effort. I couldn't agree more. Now the disclaimer: If I have to chose sleep or makeup, sleep will always win. p.s. you look great no matter what.


Thursday 8th of May 2014

Great points! :)

Sophia G.

Tuesday 29th of January 2013

Ms. Marshall, I affirm what you said about waking up at 5:30 just to put on makeup. While I was doing Urban Nutcracker, I had to put on all of my makeup before the show, although I had to wait for a very long time.

Crazy sexy fun traveler

Saturday 12th of January 2013

I rarely wear make-up when traveling. I do only for important days and it's very few of them in a year. I never use anything for my face nor lips, but transparent lip balm, eye shadows, eyeliner and a mascara.

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