When I was 14, I started breaking out with acne for the first time in my life. It was awful and I was so self-conscious of my once smooth, clear skin. Getting teased and embarrassed by classmates and family didn't make it any better and my self-esteem took a nosedive. I begged my mom to take me to buy makeup and didn't even know where to start, but I knew I wanted anything that would make it look like I had perfect skin. Suddenly, the words "full coverage" immediately jumped out and became my best friends.
Fast-forward to today: As a retail makeup artist, I’ve never seen so many people bravely bare it all. Medium to full coverage foundation formulas are being replaced by sheer coverage tinted moisturizers, BB creams and other types of lightweight makeup. More and more women are even asking me to point them in the direction of these products in order to ditch the heavier formulas.
Recently, brands such as Bare Minerals, Sephora and NARS began releasing makeup that you can’t really hide under. Suddenly, it seems as though people are proudly flaunting their freckles, dark spots, and acne scars, not giving a damn about what anyone thinks. It’s an amazing time for the industry to start embracing natural beauty — and I could not be more excited.
Don’t get me wrong, though: I still love getting all dolled up and glam for a night out with the girls. I’ll experiment with all types of foundations and do enjoy the look of seemingly flawless skin every now and then, but it’s nice to know that I don’t have to aspire to this every day. Even to this day, I still struggle with acne and wish that I could have problem-free skin from time to time, but there’s no point in beating myself up about it. I can run out in broad daylight and grab some coffee or go to class with sheer makeup for all the world to see without a second thought. And guess what? Everything is okay, the world isn’t over.
So, what gives with this shift anyway? Why now? First of all, as good as the Kardashians may look with their amazing contouring techniques and glowing skin, having all of those layers on every day can get uncomfortable or wreak havoc on your skin. Women are realizing this and are, perhaps, sick of feeling like they have pounds of makeup on. It can do wonders for your skin to let it breathe every now and then, after all. So with that, maybe the priority is now to actually take care of and love your skin by using products that offer sun protection and are free of crazy chemicals.
IMHO, the stigma that you cannot be taken seriously in public as a woman without having a noticeable amount of makeup on (because without it, you look “sick”) is beginning to dwindle. While going makeup free in the workplace still seems out of the question for women in many industries, sheer coverage products are allowing people to experiment with the no-makeup makeup look in a new way. In a working woman or busy college student’s fast-paced world, there is no time to be fussing around with tons of products, but throwing on some sheer makeup can get you out the door in no time.
During my teens, I wish I would have been confident enough to not run to heavy makeup at the first sign of an imperfection. Sheer coverage products aren't for everyone, sure, and I’m not implying that they are the be-all and end-all to makeup. But I do think that women should be able to wear whatever type of cosmetics they want. And ladies, if a minimalist look is what makes you feel confident, go for it and don’t look back.
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