As someone who has spent most of her life bare faced, never woken up before a certain time to make it to school, and whose eyelashes had never touched a mascara wand until about two years ago, applying makeup has not always come easily to me.

Then, towards the end of my sophomore year, I became increasingly interested in makeup. I started purchasing eyeliner, eyeshadow, concealer, and an arguably excessive number of lipstick.

Makeup became a hobby for me. I watched hundreds of makeup tutorials, researched the best (and preferably inexpensive) brands and products, and used my face as a canvas to paint on. Many who identify as female or feminine have experienced this at some point.

Men and women alike, however, have become conditioned to what a woman’s face is supposed to look like; I assure you that what men see as the “natural look” takes lots of makeup to achieve.

Natural beauty comes from within– it cannot be measured in the amount of foundation blended into one’s skin or bronzer applied to the hollows of one’s cheeks.

People claim that they prefer a natural look, but as soon as they see a woman’s completely bare face– sparse eyebrows, acne, under-eye bags and all, they exclaim: “this is why you take a girl swimming on the first date!”

Never have I worn makeup for male attention, or anyone’s attention for that matter. People tend to believe that women wear makeup in order to seem more attractive or appealing to others, when in reality, the main reason that the majority of women wear makeup is because it makes them feel good.

Even if someone is literally using makeup to conceal their flaws, what is wrong with that if it makes them feel more confident and better about themselves?

Whether my eyelids are purple with a sharp wing, or their natural color (darkened by exhaustion), I am the same person underneath. While makeup is a tool that helps me feel empowered and put together, it is not a necessity that indicates my worth as a person.

Truthfully, on most days, I’d rather sleep than pat my face down with a beauty blender, but when I do, I definitely have an added spring in my step. Personally, I consider the process of applying makeup and spending extra time in the day to do something just for myself to be an act of self-care.

However, a lot of women do not find satisfaction in wearing makeup, and that is perfectly fine; they should not be condemned for that either. The fact that they do not wear makeup does not in any way make them superior because they embrace their “natural beauty.” Wearing makeup does not equate to insecurity.

Natural beauty comes from within– it cannot be measured in the amount of foundation blended into one’s skin or bronzer applied to the hollows of one’s cheeks. Do not allow makeup to dictate the judgement of one’s worth.