Spending my childhood in the Philippines, makeup wasn’t really something that was deemed necessary. I grew up with four aunts of different ages, but as most women were back then, they were all about simplicity. Makeup is for special occasions only, like weddings or prom. So when I moved to the states and sooner than later, entered puberty, I was a little baffled when I realized that girls can wear makeup as early as middle school… on a DAILY basis!
It was a whole new world to me.
I was a freshman in high school when I finally decided to wear makeup. Back then in 2001, there were no YouTube video tutorials so it was basically a hit or miss when I got ready for school in the morning. If it weren’t for my Seventeen magazine subscription, I would have been completely clueless. I remember the first makeup I ever used. My mom gave me a brown pencil eyeliner because black would be too “daring”. Brown was subtle, and I’m glad I went with it because god knew the mess I would have made if I braved the dark hues. But it wasn’t until I was 22 that I finally fell in love with the art of makeup though. I’ve always worn minimal ones, but with the rise of YouTube tutorials and hauls, I was hooked. Hundreds of dollars spent at Sephora later, I finally knew how to accurately use makeup and I eventually got good at it. But still, most days I stuck with my minimal routine which was eyeliner and mascara. The good thing is that I have good skin, so I never felt the need to wear foundation and concealer, hence the minimalism. (READ: 15 Skin Hacks Every Traveling Women Should Know)
It went on for years where my dependency would never let me dare step outside without any eyeliner on. I’d feel naked without it, and though yes, it was as minimal as it can get, I needed it.
I didn’t necessarily think I was ugly without it, I just thought I looked weird.
I mean, I could go ahead and hangout with my boyfriend confidently without makeup, but for some reason, only when I’m in my comfort zone behind closed doors.
Now before I lead you on to believe that I have completely given up on makeup because travel has *opened my eyes*, let me just tell you right now that this doesn’t end that way.
I still like makeup. I still wear them when I feel it’s necessary. I still like to look cute and presentable when I mingle with society. And yes, I still have insecurities. It’s just that travel, in many different ways, made me feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin. I mean, I’ve never really been that hard on myself, but I’ve never really truly learned how to embrace my flaws either. But traveling did teach me how to accept them, and acceptance is always the first step, isn’t it?
The truth is, travel FORCED me to accept them, so I didn’t really have a choice.
And because of that, I’m practically makeupless 80% of the time now. But this post isn’t about wearing makeup or not. This is about learning not to give a fcuk. And here’s why.
Traveling with makeup on isn’t always the most convenient.
Not to mention that I chose to travel to the part of the planet where heat and humidity are extremely ruthless, makeup really isn’t that beneficial most days that I’m out and about. My face will melt before I reach my first stop! The fact that most of my preferred destinations are beaches also makes it easier to leave the makeup kit at home. And honestly, I’m already frazzled enough to see so many places in so little time that I can’t really prioritize getting all caked up. It’s just easier to not give a damn. And plus hey, my luggage is so much lighter without that burden.
No one really gives a flying f*ck.
When I talk to my friends or even with people I meet along the way about our insecurities, it seems that all of our concerns are very surprising to hear. Other people’s insecurities apparently is another person’s biggest envy. Believe it or not, people don’t see your flaws the way you do.
I tend to obsess about my pores which started to become more visible when I started traveling. I still do, and goddamn do I hate those magnifying mirrors. They’re one of the silly insecurities that people think I’m crazy for having. But that’s the thing about insecurities, they brainwash the fcuk out of you, making you believe that they’re a big deal, when in fact, nobody freaking cares! Who has the time to put you under a miscroscope and dissect every little thing about your skin? You think the locals you meet will be wondering why you didn’t put foundation on this morning? Nope, they’ve got children to feed. You think these strangers you meet in the hostel are judging you for your unkept eyebrows? Nope, because some of them probably haven’t shaved in weeks. You think the cute guy you’re flirting with is wishing you wore lipstick instead? Umm no, but your lips, possibly.
And you know what the ugly truth is? Most people are far too busy obsessing over their own insecurities that 95% of them won’t even notice yours.
Locals will spoil the f*ck out of you with compliments.
I’ve been pretty lucky to have traveled to places where locals are extremely nice and kind. Quick fact: I definitely receive more compliments when I’m traveling, because like I said, locals are so vocal with their admirations. Sometimes, you’ll question their motives, like, are they trying to just sell you something? Scam or rape you, maybe? But other times, the compliments will be as genuine as they can get. Genuine without a dash of maliciousness. One time, a lady in Hoi An made a u-turn and pulled her bicycle over just to tell me I’m pretty. And the compliments just kept coming the entire day. Like damn, was I just a hit there or did I evolve?! Neither, because I think people in general are just…kind. And when you’re lucky enough to come across the really genuine ones, they will make you feel beautiful af.
Sleep is good.
Traveling is tiring. And if you’re like me who cares about getting to places before everyone else does, you know that the number one rule is waking up early. Ditching the whole makeup routine not only gives me a little bit more sleep, but I also get ready a lot faster. The faster I get ready, the earlier I get to my destinations. And the earlier I do, the emptier they are. The emptier they are, the more satisfied I am. All because I skipped makeup that morning.
You meet down ass people who gives zero f*cks too.
My favorite thing about travel is that you meet different types of people, and a big fraction of them are the chillest ones you’ll ever meet in your life. I’m not simply referring to people who doesn’t wear makeup because I’m not crazy. Im talking about people that just gives out that kind of comforting energy that makes us feel good about life in general. When you’re surrounded by people like that, it’s really hard to give a fcuk too.
Travel lets you connect with yourself.
If you’re lucky like me, you’ll learn to let your guard down and you’ll realize that though flaws aren’t always beautiful, imperfections are just…imperfections.
I still admire women who does full-blown makeup complete with contour and highlights because that takes commitment. I mean here I am and I can’t even brush my hair. In the end, we all wear makeup for different reasons. I’m not telling you that life without makeup is better. It’s more convenient, yes. I’m not telling you to ditch your makeup neither because I won’t even commit to that myself. All I’m saying is that it’s nice not to have to depend on cosmetic products to feel good about myself. In a judgmental world like ours, it’s hard to accept our own flaws. But not until you do that the world will learn to accept it too. xo
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