Beauty – I Went Makeup Free For A Month! Here’s What Happened : no makeup challenge

Whether you put on makeup every day or only on special occasions, there’s no doubt that our favorite products have a transformative effect on the way we look.

I am pro makeup and I love that feeling of confidence from a bottle. But, I asked myself one day: do we really need the temporary fix to get ourselves going? Did I become so used to a made up face that my natural face started to feel foreign when I had to leave my house with it?

I guess the answer to this for me personally was, no & maybe.

I initially started this “challenge” as a personal one. I didn’t announce that I was doing this challenge nor even tell myself it was one. Partly because announcing it would have given me more pressure than I would have liked and also because I was afraid I’d fail the challenge and disappoint whoever was watching from afar.

Alicia keys personally questioned my cultural dependence on makeup and the effect it had on me by being makeup free for most of 2016, inspiring many women to cease their makeup regime and accept their natural faces for what it is. Kim Kardashian also went fresh-faced during Paris Fashion week and after her tweet about how amazing it was that she didn’t have to go through her usual intensive beauty routine, I almost became convinced I could do something like this.

It shouldn’t be that hard, at least that’s what I told myself on Day One of this experiment.

Going a month without makeup should be a cinch.

It was not that simple for me.

Despite my fears, I still went makeup free for one month. What I thought would be an easy peasy feat ended up being a test of self acceptance and confidence. Here’s what I learned from this challenge:

I had more time in the mornings for breakfast.

Or rather, I could sleep extra 30 minutes. Every morning I wake up 30 minutes earlier than I would prefer to, because I have to make time to wear makeup. I go through my usual beauty routine and smear some makeup on my face, only to have it wear off by noon. Also, the transportation route to school involves walking through a busy street with various pollutants in the air, humid temperatures and occasional running to catch the tram or bus. How could a full face survive this?

Going makeup free made me realize how freeing it was to not have to deal with creases and having less time in the morning for my sweet breakfast.

It was hard to not look tired all the time.

Whenever I got out of the house, I feared the questions like: “Why don’t you have on makeup? Why do you look so tired?”

I wasn’t at all surprised at my need to cover my face in the first few days of going makeup free. I didn’t leave home without sunglasses, a hat, or have big hair to conceal the tired look on my face. I feared that my eyes were so swollen (from possible lack of sleep, as usual) and I had no eyeliner nor concealer to hide anything. It wasn’t easy but it got easier. This was what made me certain I was almost addicted to covering up.

theash tree no make up challenge
Day 15 without makeup, I was getting more comfortable. #nofilter

It was a big commitment.

No lies, moving from a time when I couldn’t leave my home without putting makeup on to a time when I had to leave, barefaced was a tad bit difficult. It being a commitment boils down to the fact that, I had to consciously make the decision not to wear any form of makeup, be it a dab of powder, or some lipstick. Because of this, I learned to actively make the decision to stick to what I set my mind on regardless of the consequences (even though the consequences were so minimal).

Going on a date at first was terrifying but got easier.

While I was on the makeup free challenge, there were plans to have dinner with a guy I fancied but going makeup free was absolutely terrifying. When we first met, I had on flawless makeup and all the confidence I needed. So, when we had to meet up again during my “makeup free” period, I was a bit scared that I wouldn’t appear as nice as I did the other times. I soon gathered myself together and asked myself: “are you really scared to see him because of what you think you look like without makeup?” With that, I went on the date!

It’s sad to admit that I was very self-conscious during the conversation. I imagined all my scars and blackheads peeking out and making faces at him. This made me spend a considerable amount of time looking elsewhere.

However, soon into the discussion, my fears had faded away and I was reminded that I looked lovely despite having no makeup on. That made me gain more confidence and encouraged me to continue the challenge #heckyeah #winwin

A skincare routine  was tougher to maintain, but I realized it’s importance.

I would have thought that having less or no makeup on meant more time to concentrate on skin care and build a solid routine. Boy, was I wrong.

Because I wasn’t wearing any makeup, I gradually resulted to just washing off my face before bed and in the shower in the mornings. I didn’t care much about exfoliation, cleansing, and all of that good stuff, simply because I associated prime time skincare with taking off my makeup. As a result, my skin was is even worse than before, I was breaking out every other day and feeling worse because I had no chance to cover it up with makeup.

I did however force myself to get into a skin care routine and it seems to be paying off so far. I also watched my diet closely as I learned that this may have been one of the contributing factors of my breakout, and not necessarily the presence of makeup products on my face.

Eventually, you won’t need makeup with the right skin care routine.

Social media plays a major role in how we view ourselves.

There’s no denying the fact that we humans are more inclined to react to an Instagram story of a girl with a fully snatched face, than to one who’s looking dull and tired. This was one of my concerns as a social media person, going makeup free. It took a while to get used to uploading stories and pictures of myself with  a bare face. With filters however, it helped the transition and after a week or so, I was more than comfortable.

(I even uploaded a travel post where I had no makeup on through the journey). 


On the morning of day 30, I looked in the mirror and loved what I saw. Although I couldn’t be more excited to get back to my favorite beauty products, I knew I didn’t need makeup to feel better about myself, I didn’t need to cover up any blemishes, I just had to focus on making my skin better or just loving the skin in whichever condition it was in.

I even became so used to not wearing makeup that I hardly ever went out with any, after the challenge.

It felt like freedom.

Where do you stand on the to wear or not to wear makeup topic?

15 thoughts

  1. This is great Ash! I noticed that you haven’t been really wearing as much makeup on your social media uploads but to be honest I just thought it was stress that caused it. I’m glad you went through this challenge and learned your lessons. Moreover, it’s so amazing you had to share. I hope some girls get inspired by this. Kudos!



    1. Thank you so much! It was tough posting on social media w/o makeup on but I understand why you must have thought it was stress. Lol. I’m happy I shared my experiences.


  2. First of all, you need to wake up 30 minutes earlier to do your makeup? I need to wake up 2 hours earlier than normal to wear makeup! Haha! Seriously though, I feel good when I put in the effort to look good. And I am motivated to put in the effort to look good when I feel good about myself. Makeup to me isn’t about covering my face – it’s about enhancing it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha unfortunately, that was my life in the previous years, waking up much much earlier to have time to do my makeup. And now I see you have to wake 2 hours earlier??? GIRL!!
      same, makeup is about enhancement not just covering up flaws. I’m happy I learned that!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this!! As someone who only wears makeup on rare occasions, I can tell you it gets easier. I never got into makeup because I wasn’t allowed to wear one and I just grew up not caring. I save so much on not buying makeup and I truly enjoy that extra 20 minutes spent in bed. Lol but above all, it allows me focus on what’s most important, a healthy skin. Now, end thlight i wear makeup here and there, I don’t allow it define me and I don’t feel sad not having it.


    1. girl you said it all, that extra 20 mins in bed is always a bliss, and I have saved a lot on not buying makeup. Its so liberating knowing that makeup doesn’t define us, rather its just an addition to the beauty we already have and lets remember, it is an art!


  4. Dear Ash, this is one of the best articles I’ve read from you so far. Going makeup free can be so liberating and I’m happy you thought so too.
    It can be tough to switch back though. Are you back to wearing makeup frequently or just when you really need to?

    Keep up the good work!

    Love, Lisa


  5. You are beautiful with or without makeup – I love that you tried this challenge! Personally, I love the way my makeup makes me feel, but what I love is that we’re moving into an era where women can choose to do whatever they want without judgement. We have a ways to go, but we’re definitely headed in the right direction. Cheers, girl.


  6. Good for your for challenging yourself! It’s amazing how makeup can be fun but quickly turn into something that makes us question our own natural beauty. Glad you did it!


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