A No-Makeup Girl Wears Makeup For One Week

Kate McCarthy
Kate McCarthy is a Boston-based freelance writer. Her current goals are to travel the world and live a life that Oprah would approve of. She is one of few twenty somethings that don't have a bunch of social media pages, so here is her LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kateqmccarthy/


In a society that’s constantly pushing beauty products, anti-aging remedies and simple tricks to hide the flaws in our faces, I often find myself wondering, “Am I the only girl in her 20s who hates wearing makeup?”

People who wake up and put on a full face of makeup every morning are as mystifying as unicorns to me. So instead of staring at them from afar, I decided to join in and challenge myself to become a full-blown makeup-wearer for one week.



The fact that I had to wake up 20 minutes earlier today is tragic. I don’t even know where to begin with this application because usually I’m putting on makeup to go out to a bar with friends. Most of the time I’m already with my friends and I force them to put it on for me. This must be how baby birds feel when they are finally pushed out of the nest.

My eyes are barely open and my bathroom doesn’t provide the most flattering lighting. I end up leaving my house looking like a child going off to her first ballet recital; everything is a bit too heavy in direct sunlight. Fortunately for me, I’m also like a child and rub my face all day long. By lunch time, all my makeup has been rearranged on my face due to my constant rubbing and I just go to the bathroom to wash it off.

This is going to be a long week.



I’m much more mentally prepared today. I realize I’m not just putting on makeup–this stuff is a serious art form. It still takes approximately two hours for my eyes to open in the morning, so I disregard eyeliner. I also don’t know how to use eyeliner, which I use as an excuse as well.

The powder I put on makes me look way too pale, so I fix it with powder that makes me look way too dark. Instead of crying over the fact I look like a Jersey Shore cast member, I pretend I’m a scientist and mix up a bunch of powders instead.

I leave the house with the correct skin tone and I convince myself that CoverGirl is going discover me me and offer me a lucrative contract on the spot. To my surprise, this does not happen, but the lady at the front desk of my office compliments my look, so I’ll take the win.



Research is necessary for this project so I dive into the infamous YouTube black hole of beauty tutorials. I realize that I’m at about a third-grade skill level while other girls my age basically have PhDs in the art of makeup application. These YouTube personalities enjoy telling me the precise brushes and brands they’re using and I enjoy looking up these products and gagging at how much they cost. Instead of being inspired to buy some new products, I end up adding up all the costs to see what else I could buy. (Spoiler alert: the answer is a plane ticket to Europe!)

The thought of doing a “cat eye” still scares me, so I decide to get wild and put on some blush. I apply said blush very lightly, mostly because I’m afraid it will look like I have a fever. Since I had gotten so distracted by YouTube videos, I only have about five minutes to do my look. I end up over compensating with mascara and slightly resemble Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove.




Having to wake up early all week is taking quiet the toll on me. It has only been three days, but I’m already cutting down my makeup routine from 20 minutes to about seven. This morning, I find a long-lost lipstick in my makeup bag that I definitely wore in a middle school play. Since it’s extremely early and my brain isn’t functioning, I convince myself that putting on this hot pink lipstick will the bold fashion choice I need today.

I get to work and the lady at the front desk of my office calls the lipstick “daring.” I smile politely, go back to my desk, proceed to wipe all of it off and question my mental clarity. I opt for some good old Vaseline to put on my lips instead and revel in the fact that I don’t look like a clown for the rest of the day.



The feeling of relief knowing that it is the end of this personal challenge is quite like seeing the finish line of a marathon. I was hoping that by Friday I would be walking out of my house looking like an Instagram model. Instead, I end up running out the door because I am late due to an eye shadow emergency. (The emergency being that I dropped it and covered my bathroom in glittery dust.)

I certainly wasn’t going to become a YouTube tutorial star or makeup guru by wearing makeup for just a week. I guess I just wanted to know why so many women devote significant time in the morning to this sort of ritual. The answer? I literally have no clue. Makeup actually makes me feel more self-conscious.


Throughout the days I wore it, I was constantly worrying if I was going to smudge anything or get some smeared on my clothes by accident. While plenty of people enjoy making themselves a bit more glamorous in the morning, this week solidified the fact that makeup just isn’t my style. So, to all of you girls out there who aren’t afraid to rock your pale skin, short eyelashes and occasional weird blemish, welcome to the club! We get to sleep in later than most, so it’s a great club to be a part of.