I am not a hair person. I am not a makeup person. I am the “You look so natural!” person.
Poring through the products of an Into the Gloss Top Shelf, for me, is like reading an account of what life is like on another planet. My own Top Shelf would require about 15 words: Neutrogena Concealer (poorly blended in), Simple Facial Wash (from Walgreen’s), St. Ives moisturizer (sometimes). My hair routine is similar: wash, towel-dry, haphazardly trim bangs into the sink. I have never dyed my hair, and I haven’t trimmed it since the beginning of my last relationship — around 5 years ago, if not longer.
So, now you understand. I am not a hair person. I am not a makeup person. I am the “You look so natural!” person. It’s not a hill I’ve stubbornly chosen to die on — I’m certainly not anti-these things and am surprisingly vain about my looks and fearful of aging, but it’s a concept that, similar to people who are comfortable openly checking their balance at an ATM, seems very foreign to me. Not really caring about having a skincare routine or using certain products or getting a regular manicure — all of those things so common for so many women — they don’t come naturally to me.
Growing up in South Texas, I felt like somewhat of an anomaly. I was surrounded by often very well-made up Latina women and pageant-blonde ranchers’ daughters — both groups knew the value of a flyaway-free ponytail and flawless makeup. My mom is also not a hair or a makeup person. Aside from dying her hair occasionally and some Almay foundation, my mom is fairly maintenance-free. It’s an attitude I’ve unwittingly inherited, this no-makeup life. I’m not sure I always want to be the “natural” girl, but I don’t think I’ll ever be the woman who requires a full face of makeup before running out the door.
I have nothing against makeup — lord knows there are many times where I wish I were the sort of woman who looked natural with a winged eye and red lips, but I’ve just never felt that my face is the sort of face that makeup accentuates. I have prominent facial features — jawline, nose, cheekbones — and swabbing makeup on them always made me feel kind of garish. Recently, I was looking at my skin in the mirror and wasn’t thrilled with what I saw back. Some breakouts, too many visible pores, under-eye bags. Nothing like the perpetually waning sunlight of a New York winter to make you really see yourself.
I sometimes question if my lack of makeup affects how I’m seen in more ways than I realize. I wonder if professional situations — job interviews and previous jobs — have been colored, even in some very minute way, by how I presented myself. Not that I’m ever unkempt (though maybe occasionally there are greasy bangs), but I’m never polished, lipstick and bronzed foundation and all, in the way many women are.
Similarly, my naturalness extends to my lack of tattoos and piercings (except single ear piercings). Once again, absolutely nothing against them, they’ve just never felt…right for me. Am I scared of committing to a look — a capital L look not so easily reversible? Absolutely, there’s some wimpiness there. But also, I’ve (mostly) embraced my accidentally on-purpose naturalness as just a part of who I am.
There’s something I kind of love about the chameleon-like nature of my appearance — I can be a real freak off a leash, which I sometimes express via clothing, but I can also be an undercover freak, too. My boyfriend once told me that my hair reminded him of his older sisters growing up in the ‘90s. I had never thought about it before, but he was right. It does evoke a sort of vintage girlishness — maybe a Sweet Valley High Wakefield twins vibe or, let’s be real, probably a Dawn from Baby-Sitters Club vibe.
If that’s my capital L look, I’ll keep riding with it. That being said, maybe it’s time to make a few tweaks — subtle changes taking me from Dawn to Pamela Anderson (just kidding, not really.) Maybe there’s a happy medium to strike between earthy mama and beauty junkie. Tune in next week, my babes, to part two of my series, “Skin Care for the Product Shy (or Maybe It’s Time to Care About Beauty).”