For someone who used to do pageants, I’m shockingly bad at hair and makeup. The only reason I look put together on occasion is because I was #blessed with super manageable hair and nice ears. No joke, nice ears can do wonders in framing your face.

Fun story: For my bridal shower, my sister-in-law pre-asked Aaron a bunch of questions, then I had to answer them to see if our answers matched up. One of them was “What’s Aaron’s favorite body part of yours?” I didn’t think he’d be uncouth while answering something that he knew would be read in front of my parents’ friends (I was mistaken), so I guessed “my ears” since I always talk about how that’s my favorite body part on myself. He said “her butt.” Classsssyyyy.

This was followed by me exclaiming, “Oh yes! It’s the sausage extender for Aaron!” when I opened the KitchenAid sausage stuffer that Aaron [randomly] put on our registry. Sausage stuffer, not extender. Oh, the jokes that were made with that one. #welcometomylife

Who knew that my ears could lead to the first 150 words of a blog post? That’s neat.

Anyway, what I’m trying to tell you is that I have no clue how to contour my face with makeup, nor have I ever done anything fancy like put extensions in my hair or successfully created a straight part. The most impressive thing I know how to do is apply fake eyelashes like a boss, because I had to wear them every single day when I was a singer at Busch Gardens. People assume I acquired this skill from pageants, but no no. It was from dressing up like a slutty witch who sang “I’m a Barbie Girl” in front of thousands of people on a daily basis.

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That moment you’re doing your best Beyonce strut through the audience while dressed like a Halloween cartoon hooker and your mom pops up out right in front of you to snap a picture.

Ah, the good ole days.

Even though I, myself, have never purchased makeup outside of CVS, I know lots of people who regular Sephora and know how to curl their hair with a straightener, which seems downright miraculous to me. Despite not having the slightest interest in Youtube makeup tutorials or reading the beauty tips in any magazine, I still understand why women spend a good amount of time “enhancing” their appearance. Heck, you can even find my favorite products HERE.

While it would be nice for us all to channel our inner Alicia Keys and go bare-faced all the time, I have no desire to attend a wedding or a nice dinner without at least a bit of concealer and mascara. Over the years, I’ve grown out of my need to wear makeup on a daily basis, but I still wouldn’t attend a social event without it, unless that social event is at the beach or the gym. Not that I ever attend social gatherings at a gym. We’ve established that I hate group workouts.

We often ask the question, Do we “look good” for other people or for ourselves? I think 80% of women would say we get dolled up for ourselves. It’s fun. I mean, I know my husband loves me without makeup, so it’s not for him. And my friends say that they can barely tell the difference when I have makeup on vs. when I don’t (probably because I’m not putting it on correctly…), so I really don’t think it’s for other people. It’s because putting on makeup makes me feel good.

I know, I know, you then have to delve into the why it makes me feel good. Which could very well lead back to approval or attention, which is a valid point. A point so valid, in fact, that it’s the very reason I’ve pulled back on the makeup over the last few years. Throughout high school and most of college, I wore none at all. Senior year of college until the age of 26, I wore it pretty much every day. Now, like I said, I wear the minimum, and just step it up for special occasions.

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Finding that balance of enjoying the feeling of being glam while still feeling confident au natural is one of utmost importance. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable in public without your “face” on, odds are you aren’t just doing it “for you” anymore. In fact, you may have lost sight of who you are without hair extensions, lashes, and pronounced cheekbones that may or may not actually exist once the contour washes off. I actually think it’s really important to regularly go out into the world with natural hair and no makeup, just as a reminder that you’re free to be confident and happy without all of that stuff. I have a few pageant friends who do “Makeupless Mondays,” which sets such an incredible example of natural beauty. And I’m not talking about the people who post “no makeup” selfies, even though you can tell they have on foundation, hair that once belonged to someone else, and a dab of natural eye shadow.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve actually become concerned about women who can’t feel comfortable without nice hair and makeup. The need to look flawless all the time must be exhausting, but worse, it perpetuates the idea that you’re not entirely confident and genuine. Plenty of super wonderful women wear tons of makeup– I’m not saying that a daily makeup routine makes someone fake, but when it never ever comes off, you have to wonder what’s going on in their psyches.

I look back on the years that I wore makeup every day, and I can certainly say that they were the years I thrived off of compliments about my appearance the most. Sure, even nowadays I get more compliments when my hair and makeup are done, but those compliments no longer matter as much to me. Back then, I didn’t want to go a day without them– even though that desire was often subconscious. (This could lead to an entire rant about why it’s lame that people shell out more compliments to someone who is “done up,” but I’ll just tell you to read my post about social constructs instead.)

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Listen, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel feminine and pretty. Enhancing your appearance with hair tricks and makeup are not bad in and of themselves. But if you can’t turn it all off and feel equally confident, it’s time to do some soul searching. This goes for me, too. Even though I comfortably wear my hair in a bun with no makeup 5 out of 7 days a week, I still have to remind myself to be confident when I’m standing bare-faced next to a woman who is primped and primed for her close up.

A good hair day, new cut and color, or a flattering shade of lipstick are all really fun to rock around town. The fact that you feel good when you think you look good is actually a great thing. I love how women express themselves with beautiful, edgy, different, classic, or trendy hair and makeup. Even this past weekend, I had a blast getting dolled up for a wedding that I knew would be the closest thing to a royal ball that I’ll ever attend. I support letting yourself feel good when you find a “look” that resonates with you, but my challenge is to take off that look once in a while to ensure you don’t lose sight of the beauty in how you were naturally made.

Trust me, we all know that no one looks physically photoshopped in real life, so no amount of makeup or killer hair is going to make people think you’re the one exception with smooth, angular, shiny perfection from every angle. If anything, it’s the people like Alicia Keys who shine the brightest. I personally look at natural-looking women in awe of their beauty more so than the women who I can’t really tell what they’d look like without the eyeliner and brow filler. There’s something stunning about freckles, bare eyelids, and hair in a ponytail. So own it!