I hate foundation. I hate powder. I hate how every time I scratch my itchy face while wearing foundation and powder I end up with it caked under my nails. Little half-moons the color of my skin.
I hate how I only ever put it on when I’m feeling like I’m looking my worst.
I hate how every time women post pictures of themselves on the internet, they have to make squeaky noises about how sorry they are for how awful they look. A picture of a woman’s face, for example, is unfailingly prefaced with OMG please ignore all the crow’s feet and those dark circles and don’t even think about looking at the state of my brows!!!
I see my face a lot, because it’s always there in the mirror. I’ve learned a lot of things about it over the years. My eyes are a good feature. My nose looks better at some angles than it does others. I have a weak chin and a square face. My right eyebrow is still truncated from that day I got overzealous with the tweezers almost a decade ago. My eyelashes are still sparse from when I picked at them as a kid. My upper lip has lost a little definition from this habit I have of tugging on it.
I lean in closer to the mirror for a better look at my skin. I have a slightly oily forehead, slightly dry chin. A smattering of visible pores. The hint of a varicose vein alongside my nose. Scars from long-healed acne. Spots from a little too much sun.
I understand I’m meant to have smooth, perfectly even skin. This is important, because people spend most of their time looking at your face. I know flawlessness is the ultimate goal. But I can’t fathom how flawlessness is remotely feasible, unless you pack your face on ice every day and slather it with cream every night and never frown, smile, break out, or go outside.
Some days are better than others, of course. Some days I’m driven to pick up a brush and try to paint over all of my face’s mistakes. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Some days I’m an active voice in the chorus of physical flaws that seems to rise when women gather. My complexion! It’s awful! Oh no, honey, I would KILL to look that smooth! Me, on the other hand….
I try really hard not to succumb to this flagellation anymore, even on those days it feels disgusting to wear my own skin. I don’t expect perfection from friends, music, or the characters in my favorite novels. Why would I expect it from my body?
I rarely use powder and foundation these days. I want people to get used to it. I want to show them what a lived-in face looks like.
It’s not great.
But increasingly, I don’t believe I need to apologize for it.