The Edge

I Went A Week Without Wearing Makeup To School

Alexandra Kube with makeup (left) and without (right).

Alexandra Kube with makeup (left) and without (right).

Alexandra Kube

Alexandra Kube

Alexandra Kube with makeup (left) and without (right).

Alexandra Kube, Staff Writer

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I’ve worn makeup to school religiously since the seventh grade. Although I desperately wanted to believe that I used makeup as a form of self-expression, it’s actually because I look like Rizzo. I’m not talking about the girl from Grease, I mean the rat from The Muppets. For me, concealer is meant to do just that: Conceal. Don’t feel. Don’t let them know you’re a rat.

A Renfrew Center Foundation survey found that 44% of women had “negative feelings” when they weren’t wearing makeup, and I was part of that percentage. I could only succeed in hiding my self-hate beneath layers and layers of synthetic self-love. Too Faced was two-faced and something needed to change, so I decided to find out what it would feel like to hate myself for an entire week (which was surprisingly not that hard to do).


Confidence: 2/10

You know those nightmares where you walk into class, look down at yourself and realize you are wearing nothing except for your underwear? And it’s not even your good underwear? It’s some form of granny panties that look like you are preparing for menopause? That’s what it felt like to go to school barefaced. Although eyelash curlers look like they were used to castrate small dogs, I was afraid to live without them. Fortunately, going makeup-less skimmed 10-15 minutes off my morning routine, giving me extra time to sleep in and cry a few more minutes than my usual routine. Despite looking like a homeless lady that walks along Highway 9 with a coyote in her stolen grocery cart, I headed to school. The entire day I didn’t want anyone to look in my general direction. And when they did, I started writing my application to the Witness Protection Program.

They still haven’t gotten back to me.


Confidence: 5/10

It was a classic case of Stockholm syndrome, and I already wanted back to my poreless captor. Although I went long periods of time without remembering I was makeup-less, sooner or later it would aggressively hit me like Mr. Larson on High Five Fridays. In a moment of vulnerability, I caught eyes with a person in the hallway that I had matched with on Tinder, who I had no idea went to Glacier Peak. They squinted at me in the typical That’s-Not-What-You-Looked-Like-In-Your-Profile-Picture fashion. It was official, I was an MTV Catfish, emphasis on the fish. I was a less attractive version of the guy in Shape of Water, and not even a selective mute Sally Hawkins would want to caress my gills without a little contour on them. I haven’t been this embarrassed since the time someone yelled Yahtzee and I thought they said Nazi. Although in our conservative school, I wouldn’t be too surprised by either.


Confidence: 7/10

It was my first day with my hair in a ponytail, leaving my deep-set acne on my cheeks for all to see. Yet, throughout the day I grew more confident in my makeup-less skin, no longer using my hand or my hair as a shield. Which is nice I guess because I didn’t have my matching sword with me.

I was pleasantly surprised with how much the important people in my life didn’t seem to notice or care. I talked to more people than usual, yet not one of them asked if I was cosplaying as Amanda Bynes during her 2012 breakdown, which was a success on both fronts.


Confidence: 5/10

Just like every normal teen, I live my life one depressive episode (and Riverdale episode) to the next. Although having a naked face was less of a foreign concept to me, it started to make another dent in my already obliterated self-esteem.

In a desperate search for advice and opinion, I turned to my friend Katie Blair, a junior who has never worn makeup to school. Comfortably curling up on the hard lunch table seats, Blair shared that she doesn’t wear makeup simply because she never personally got into it. “It’s like painting,” Blair observed, “I can’t draw but I appreciate the art.”  Consoling my bare face, Blair said, “There’s kind of a pressure to wear makeup. I just think people look beautiful without it.”

By Thursday, I had fully accepted the fact that I looked like I’m one DUI away from turning into the reptile man who tours elementary schools, and I was okay with that.

At least Katie Blair will think I look nice.


Confidence: 7/10

After five days of feeling like I looked less like a person of substance and more like a person of substance abuse, I was relieved the week was over. Yet despite all, I am no longer afraid to miss a day of makeup in the future. Not only can I work without makeup, but I can werk without it. Don’t quote me on that.

At its core, makeup is a beautiful form of art and I refuse to bash it. What I am criticizing is using it as a crutch as I had, and still do. Applying makeup only because you think you aren’t pretty enough is what Gwen Stefani would call B-A-N-A-N-A-S, no doubt.

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2 Responses to “I Went A Week Without Wearing Makeup To School”

  1. Emily on April 8th, 2018 8:01 pm

    THIS IS SO GREAT. I am in awe of your courage, and bless Katie for her deep thoughts. Here’s to the Rizzos and the reptiles, thank you for this beautiful inspiration! 🙂


  2. Jorah on April 26th, 2018 12:28 pm

    Alex, you are so freaking clever and original it is unbelievable, Why are you even friends with me? You literal satire goddess.


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