By Catriona Mactaggart

I never thought it would happen, but I ditched makeup during lockdown and I’ve never felt better. 

I still remember the day when I first started wearing makeup, I was in year eight, age twelve or thirteen, and I’ve been wearing it every day since. 

I was pretty much the last girl in my class to develop an interest in makeup. Quite frankly, I liked my face the way it was and didn’t see the need to cover it with foundation, douse my lashes with mascara, and draw on my eyebrows. But one Saturday, I was hanging out at my friend Charlotte’s house, and she insisted it was time I started wearing makeup – especially foundation – so I let her give me a makeover. Charlotte proceeded to cake my face in cheap-brand foundation that wasn’t the right shade for me at all. I was horrified and quickly wiped it all off. But after some searching and experimenting, I eventually found a foundation that I liked and proceeded to wear it almost every day for the next few years – until now.

As the years have gone by, I’ve learned that when it comes to makeup, less is definitely more – that caked foundation look doesn’t do anyone any favours. I have also come to realise that my teenage self did not need to wear makeup to school every day. Honestly, I could have saved myself a lot of time and money if I hadn’t felt so much pressure to wear makeup. Between that point in year eight and now during lockdown, there have only been a handful of days where I haven’t worn any makeup at all. Yeah, sure when I’ve been on holiday or travelling then reaching for my makeup bag wasn’t really a priority, but for a nice night out I would usually use some mascara, an eyebrow pencil and some bronzer so it looked like I made a bit of effort, so even then I was never completely makeup-free. 

Things have changed dramatically since lockdown began. I stopped wearing makeup almost immediately. I did put makeup on once right at the start of lockdown for a group Zoom video call, but it just felt like such a waste. I use mostly Bare Minerals products which are expensive so I ended up questioning why I had even put it on when I couldn’t go anywhere, and no one can see you that clearly on a video call anyway. It just felt like throwing money away so after that I didn’t bother again. When I had more video calls with my friends I just embraced my bare face – it was freeing.  

Since I stopped wearing makeup, I have this new attitude and it has given me so much more confidence. As someone who used to put makeup on to go to the shops, go for walks or even just stay at home, this has been a massive shift in my attitude. I have been sticking to an all-natural skincare routine – which mainly consists of cleansing and moisturising my face – and allowing my skin to breath daily has made a massive different to my complexion. This has been key because now that my skin is clearer, I enjoy showing off my bare face and feel I’m glowing with confidence. 

Looking back, wearing makeup daily seemed like something that I had to do to conform to the patriarchal narrative and society’s idea of ‘pretty’. So, taking a step back and not wearing any makeup has been empowering. I feel more like myself and definitely love having that extra time in the morning. Going on from lockdown and back into the world, I am not going to slip back into the mode of mindlessly reaching for my makeup bag each morning. Deciding whether to wear makeup has become more of conscious process and I ask myself, do I need this? To which the answer is usually no, so I think I will just save wearing makeup for special occasions. 

My takeaway from ditching makeup in lockdown: 

My attitude toward makeup has definitely changed, and I feel so much more confident for it. I’m going to keep up with my skincare routine and embrace a more natural look on a day-to-day basis.

Go forth and embrace the bare face look, you won’t regret it.