Whether one chooses to wear it or not, makeup has become more accessible and plays a part in countless people’s everyday routine. In some countries, it is standard for women to wear makeup every day, whether natural or glam. In others, very little to no makeup is the standard.
I happen to be from a place where all ends of the spectrum are embraced.
My journey with makeup started in middle school, when I started slapping on drug-store foundation, without a primer or even a brush, and heaps of black eyeliner (clearly, my scene phase). Since then, I have been through periods where I did not wear makeup and periods where I wore a full face every other day.
This year, I mostly only wore makeup for special occasions and barely wore any during the summer; however, I felt confident in my makeup techniques as well as the state of my skin and was ready to travel.
As I packed my bags for my journey abroad, I set aside my toiletry bag filled with lipsticks, powders, and sprays – envisioning myself stunting on everyone, primarily myself, at the airport.
I was completely ready to level up in the makeup department and ready to try various products abroad.
Fast forward to the moment I arrived in my new apartment and started unpacking my bags, which was when I realized that I left that toiletry bag with all my favorite makeup products at home, save for one tube of mascara and one tube of lip gloss. Now, I was not completely devastated. After all, it wasn’t like I wore makeup every day, or even every week, back at home.
Having acne prone skin as well as a very limited budget did not allow me to indulge in most of my makeup and skincare fantasies; however, the inability to beat my face when I truly had the desire to was a bit painful, which led to my binge-watching makeup tutorials in order to live vicariously through beauty gurus on YouTube who had access to a plethora of products that were missing to me.
Despite other people’s testimonies that French women do not wear that much makeup, I do not necessarily feel in my element when sporting a bare face in this country. In fact, I felt more at ease not wearing makeup back in New York. Perhaps it is because New York City has a very “do as you please” vibe or perhaps it is because it is my home, but whatever I chose or did not choose to wear on my face felt validated.
In France, however, it seems that a natural beat is the norm, and one should not really aspire to more or less than that. I mean, I’m still going to do what I like, as one should, but for now, I guess I should view my absent-mindedness, which resulted in my lack of makeup, as a blessing. Furthermore, considering the fact that my skin has gone through significant changes since coming here due to the change in humidity and air quality, I am certain my skin is already thanking me for keeping my pores unclogged.
Naná is a proud Brooklyn native and aspiring digital nomad. She enjoys travel, nature, and art. Her other hobbies include reading fantasy novels, binge-watching series on Netflix, and language-learning. Find her @blackbelletravels