Contoured or Clean: Why I Opted for Less Makeup

  • Fashion
  • Rachel Walker
  • June 22, 2016

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Featured Blogger, Claire Cavanaugh weighs in on the topic of make up, and why she opted for less. Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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contoured or clean makeup article pic 1

I’ve been wearing makeup since the sixth grade. Of course then, it started out with a humiliating array of blue eyeshadows, pink glosses, and black eyeliners (to be worn on the bottom lash-line only). Yes, cringe, I know. We’ve all been there. But as time went on, I quickly came upon a discovery about makeup. Once I started wearing something new, I wondered how I ever showed my face without it before. So after building up my arsenal over several years with this unshakeable mindset, I sported a full face of foundation, concealer, blush, and mascara by the time I graduated high school.

As you can probably imagine, this resulted in an extensive morning routine. By my senior year of high school, I was waking up at 5:30 every morning to ensure that I had enough time to straighten my hair and do my makeup before I needed to leave for school. Breakfast usually fell by the wayside, but I don’t think anyone ever found out that my natural hair texture was not in fact flawlessly straight, but instead inconsistently wavy and admittedly a little frizzy.

Once I moved to Vermont to start my college career at St. Michael’s in Colchester, this routine would inevitably become harder and harder to stick to, and frankly, started to feel a little ridiculous.

All us girls seem to get the same spiel…you look the same with or without it!…but how do we feel?

So, this begs the ultimate question and main point of this article: how much of my time, money and effort is this all worth?

If I recall correctly, it all started the day I found myself complaining about the thirty-minute drive to the mall for a (pricey) bottle of my go-to high-end brand foundation. My mom replied with an obvious answer…“well, then don’t go get a new bottle.” But to me, this obvious answer brought a stunning threat to dismantle the entire routine I’d worked years to build up and perfect.  And as I reacted this way, it hit me. I was relying far too much on a mask I put on each morning, and it was time to make a change.

So I never bought that new bottle of foundation. Instead, I sat back as the various pros to shedding a heavier face of makeup hit me one after the other.


That bottle of foundation I finally rejected would have set me back $43. And its accompanying concealer (only a half-ounce tube)? Another $34. And you can’t stop there, because your cheeks and eyes shouldn’t have to fend for themselves. At the most makeup I ever wore, all products came to a combined total of  $89.50.

After several years, I accepted that a routine worth almost $90 wasn’t worth that routine’s supposed comfort and consistency.


I think the best term I can use to describe the impact wearing less makeup has had on my primping process is relief.

A dab of coverage here and there as needed, a swish of mascara and a swipe of blush later, I’m ready to roll. Simple, quick, and no need to take militant reign over the bathroom for the unforeseeable future.


Makeup often catches people in a vicious circle…we wear makeup to cover blemishes, the makeup creates more blemishes, and we continue to wear said makeup to keep covering said blemishes. So where does it stop?

No longer relying on the cover my foundation provided, I have become far more conscious of my skin: not picking at blemishes, finding a skincare routine that works for me, and letting my face breathe. My skin has since vastly improved, as has my confidence in it. Which brings me to…


Nothing beats looking at your barely-covered (or even bare!) face in the mirror and feeling more confident than you ever felt behind a full face of makeup. Maybe it’s because my skin has improved, maybe it’s because I’ve gotten used to wearing less, or maybe it’s a bit of both.

Either way, I can now focus on taking care of, accepting, and loving what I have instead of focusing on how I can cover it up.  How can you beat that?

What is your relationship with makeup? Are you happy with it? If not, how can you be?

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{A note from Rachel: There is a time and place for everything. I’m with Claire on this one. Everything in moderation. For those of you that know me, I’m definitely the makeup-loving girly girl, but when makeup (and I’m talking full face here) got in the way of getting work done on the website – that’s when I had to re-think my everyday routine too. Now I keep going “all-out” for the special occasions, photo shoots , or days when I really need the extra ‘Wow’ factor that a full face can bring on. But everyday Rachel? She opts for less too.}

Photos borrowed from //1//2//


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