I go through various stages of acceptance when it comes to my skin, and I'm always adjusting the amount of makeup I wear — and the type of complexion makeup based on its level of coverage — accordingly. I'm sure a lot of women can relate to that.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the three levels of coverage I use most, and it turns out I have a lot of feelings concerning each one.
Coverage level 1: No makeup
This is my skin without any makeup. (I'm only wearing clear lip balm, non-tinted moisturizer, and my brows are still filled in from the previous day — whoops.)
My level of comfort with my bare skin fluctuates a lot. I have rosacea, so my main concern is always redness — mostly on my cheeks. If I keep on top of my skincare routine and cut back on triggers like coffee and alcohol then it's not too bad, but I still feel envious of women who have naturally even-toned skin.
In high school, my rosacea wasn't too bad yet, but I did have acne. I didn't often feel pretty in high school or college; I remember cringing at pictures of myself. I rarely wore makeup, and when I did, I felt like it looked clownish or bad on my skin.
Now I wouldn't go on a date without some makeup on, and yet I do feel pretty when I eschew makeup to hang out at home or run to the store. I'm not completely at peace with how my bare skin looks but I will say that having extremely short hair (or no hair at all) really forces you to get used to your own face.
Coverage level 2: BB cream
This is the coverage level that I rely on most often these days. I use Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm to even out my skin tone (and I also like the nice glow that it gives my skin). Then I dust It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Finishing Powder pretty much everywhere except for my cheekbones to nix shine and keep my makeup intact.
Of course, if I'm taking the time to put on BB cream then it's impossible for me to resist adding a few finishing touches. Mascara, lip color, and brow powder are my other three go-to products for feeling put-together.
This has become my makeup look for pretty much everything lately, whether I'm going on a date or taking a day trip somewhere. It feels like just the right amount of coverage: my splotchy skin is evened out a lot without looking or feeling like I'm wearing a lot of product. It still looks like my skin.
Sometimes I'll add concealer, but lately I've been trying not to because it's one of those things that, once I start, it's hard to stop. Before I know it, I'm piling concealer on my entire face in an endless quest for perfection.
That brings me to the last level on my list...
Coverage level 3: Foundation and concealer
I've developed such a love/hate relationship with foundation. Once I found a foundation that actually sat nicely on my perpetually dry skin (Japonesque Color Luminous Foundation in shade 02) I became enamored with how perfect it made my skin look. I wear this foundation in the majority of my xoVain articles. When I ran out a month ago, I broke my beauty budget just to buy a new bottle for a wedding that I had to go to.
Lately, however, I find myself using this medium-coverage foundation less and less in favor of sheer BB cream. When I put it on for this article along with two kinds of concealer and finishing powder, it felt way too heavy, and I couldn't wait to wash it off. It photographs pretty well, but in person, it just doesn't look like my skin anymore. In fact, I realized it makes me feel worse about the texture of my skin.
Plus, I've noticed that when I'm wearing foundation, I feel the need to wear much heavier makeup overall. I love wearing a bold lip and an inky black cat-eye, but I don't like how foundation makes me feel obligated to pile on lipstick and eye liner so I don't look washed out.
I'm not sure when I first started switching from foundation to BB cream but now I've decided to stick with it. Looking at the above pictures, although my skin looks closest to perfection in the last photos, I can honestly say they're not my favorite of the bunch. (And I'm not gonna lie and say the first two photos are my favorites, either.) I'm most comfortable with the middle ground right now. I'm OK with my skin looking like skin, flaws and all, even if I'm still not in love with how it looks completely bare.
And, for what it's worth, it's totally fine if you refuse to wear an ounce of BB cream or if you prefer wearing full-coverage foundation every day. I know how annoying it is to be told to wear less makeup, and I certainly don't want this to come off sounding like I think wearing less makeup is a virtue. All I know is that for me personally, wearing foundation became less about having fun with makeup and more about hiding all of my flaws, until it became a chore. So I'll keep my foundation on hand for some events and photo shoots, but it's no longer a daily obligation — and that feels pretty good.
- Is there any makeup product or beauty routine that's become an annoying obligation for you?
- Would you be able to go without foundation for a week or do you already do that?
- What's your preferred level of skin coverage?