Niche for Nude

Age 13 was not anybody’s year, and it especially was not mine. My adolescent years were filled with sporadic breakouts and the sudden growth of what would become my current double-Ds. I was the poster child for puberty—where nothing fits right and no one fits in— especially when the dark spots on my face fashioned themselves into something of an unplayed connect-the-dots game on my forehead. There was nothing I could do about the breasts, so my preteen vice was stealing my mother’s Bare Escentuals foundation. The leading contender in my defense against my dark spots was pilfering my mother's foundation and pouring and smoothing its rich liquid onto my acne-ridden skin. I explored other avenues of concealment too. For a while I sported a a self-cut bang with tattered ends that admittedly was the worst decision I’ve ever made for both my hair and my social life. Still, in my preteen mind, Bare Mocha 20 was liquid gold, my saving grace.

Except that it wasn’t, and I eventually grew tired of fighting the inevitable. My acne had bought a home and paid a mortgage on the prime real estate that was my forehead. After three years of every cover up, overpriced powder, and covert operation into my mother’s vanity, I came to my senses and developed what I like to call my niche for nude.

It wasn’t easy, but around age 16, I gave up on trying to have the pore-less skin I saw in Teen Vogue and started working with what I had.  Granted, it didn’t hurt that in attending an all-girls school, the notion of trying to appear relatively presentable drops right around sophomore year anyway. I started sporting a bare face, running errands and sitting in classes without a drop of the Bare Escentuals foundation. My skin finally was bare, and it could actually breathe. Fresh faced and Proactive friendly, those blooming blemishes eventually dwindled.

I won’t try to fool you: My skin still isn’t perfect. I get blemishes right before a big night out and wake up with zits and bumps that make me feel less than flawless. But that’s not what I’m going for anymore. My skin feels healthy, no longer suffocating under the pounds of makeup that used to seep into my defenseless pores.

When I was a pizza-faced preteen, makeup was almost an identifier of mine, but I’ve discovered the liberating feeling of going bare faced. I can leave my room without makeup on without feeling naked and exposed, I just feel natural. My nude face has become my norm and I’ve learned to admire my face without makeup just as much as I do with it.