Why I'll Be Going Makeup-Free Well After Quarantine

Kelsey Stewart

As much as I wish I could say I'm one of those girls who can show up to a group hangout or out on a Friday night without wearing a full face of makeup, I'm not. A low-key game night? You bet I'm arriving all dolled up. That's because makeup has always been more than just a creative outlet, it's a sense of security for me. But I have a different mindset after being isolated at home and going makeup-free during quarantine. Over the past few weeks, I've never felt more comfortable in my own skin. With that said, my post-quarantine beauty routine will involve less makeup, and a whole lot more self-confidence.

Looking in the mirror to see my skin without a bucket of foundation and my eyes not chock-full of glitter has been a refreshing change. However, that's not to say I feel totally assured in my skin. I still struggle with discoloration, rosacea, and acne scars. In high school, I started forming painful cystic acne so bad I decided to go on Accutane. It's been a long, long journey to get where I am now with my skin. After years of having anxiety showing my true complexion to the world, quarantine has been a huge wake-up call for me. I'm aware this might come off as cheesy, but I've come to the realization that I'm just as beautiful without makeup as I am with it — and that goes for everyone. I don't feel the need to always cover up my natural beauty anymore.

Kelsey Stewart

And not wearing makeup every day has its advantages. "Your skin has time to regenerate and repair," Dr. Michele Farber, M.D. of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, tells TZR. "Thicker makeup can have oils or other ingredients that sit on the surface of the skin, block pores, and cause breakouts. In the shorter term, this means unclogging of pores, and improvement in acne and other inflammatory processes like eczema and rosacea that can be exacerbated by ingredients in makeup as well as wipes or removal products." And she says that after several weeks, your skin becomes more consistently self-regulated without the effects of a daily barrier.

This is especially beneficial if you struggle with acne. "You’ll see reduction in acne and general inflammatory conditions that can be flared by makeup," Farber explains. "Especially for acne sufferers, a break from makeup can help unclog pores and reduce breakouts. Cosmetics as well as toners and products used to clean makeup can dry the skin and cause rosacea as well as forms of eczema on the face from irritation or allergies."

Additionally, if your skin is prone to irritation, taking time off from makeup could help it. "For some people with sensitive skin, they may find they get various red blotches, dry patches or irritation from different makeup products, so for these individuals, avoiding makeup can help avoid this irritation," Dr. Marisa K. Garshick, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City, explains.

Over the course of the past month and a half, I've stuck to a pretty simple skin care regimen. I wash my face with Ole Henriksen's Truth Juice Daily Cleanser both morning and night. For serum, I use PCA Skin's Vitamin b3 Brightening Serum (which is amazing for discoloration), and at night I opt for Biossance's Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum. To moisturize, I typically use Drunk Elephant's Lala Retro Whipped Moisturizer, but since I ran out a few weeks ago, I've been reaching for Sobel Skin Rx's Hyaluronic Moisturizing Cream. And for my semi-weekly masks, I'll either use True Botanicals' Pacific Glacial Clay Detoxifying Mask or Ole Henriksen's PHAT Glow Facial Mask.

After following this routine, I've noticed less redness and splotchiness. The texture of my skin, which is typically bumpy and uneven, has smoothed out. Even though my acne has been under control after using Accutane, I still get occasional breakouts. But I haven't had any blemishes pop up over the past month and a half. Overall, my skin looks healthier than ever.

Aside from wearing fewer face products, I plan on also laying off the brow makeup. My eyebrows are another insecurity of mine, as I plucked them into oblivion when I was a kid. Thankfully, they've made a fairly decent recovery, but it's still a struggle going out without all my brow products on. That all changed during isolation. I haven't touched my brows with products or a tweezer, and I've come to terms with the fact that I'm more than OK with them in their natural state. Instead, I plan on taking days off and just brushing them up with a spoolie (and OK, maybe some Boy Brow, too).

Kelsey Stewart

The makeup staple that I do plan on keeping in constant rotation is my signature mauve lipstick. It's is the one product I truly can't live without, so it'll still be a permanent part of my beauty routine. My go-to lipstick is Honest Beauty's Liquid Lip in BFF, finishing off with a few swipes of Fenty Beauty's Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Fenty Glow for a shine glossy enough to defy Zoom's sometime-y quality.

Of course, whether you wear makeup after quarantine ends is at your discretion. No judgement. But as a devoted full-facer, I now see the importance of taking a break. "If you can at least go one to two days per week without makeup, but still use your essential products like SPF and moisturizer, it can help regulate oil production and keep inflammation in the skin at bay," Farber notes. "It is healthy for your skin to give it a regular break to reduce irritation and prevent clogging. In addition, when you do wear makeup, choose a mineral-based formula as this is less occlusive and easier for consistent tolerability." So once I can finally gather with all my friends again, I plan on arriving with a lot less makeup.

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If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.