10:44 PM
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When people meet me, they're often surprised to find out I'm a professional makeup artist and tell me I don't look like what they'd expect someone in that line of work to look like. In fact, despite working with copious amounts of cosmetics every day, I usually wear very minimal makeup, preferring a natural look. But that wasn't always my approach. 

Years ago, I'd spend hours getting ready for days at a corporate job I hated and nights out on the weekend, dropping hundreds of dollars each month on new products. I enjoyed to process and creativity of wearing a lot of makeup, experimenting with my look to try something new every day, but I realized it was also a way of hiding myself. 

Through makeup, I was trying to be someone I thought others wanted me to be: the hot, sexy girl who didn't give a f*ck. I wanted to be glamorous and sophisticated, not scared of anything, always up for an adventure. But inside, I was lonely, guarded and never let anyone see the real me (personality or face). I was afraid to be vulnerable, terrified of being seen without the protective "mask" makeup provided.
When I finally left my corporate job to pursue my dream of being a makeup artists, I discovered new things about myself and my perception of beauty. Here are five things I learned about real beauty: 

1. Dramatic makeup can make you look older.
At the beginning of my artistic career, I tried to wear crazy, dramatic eye makeup because that's what I thought was expected of me as a makeup artist. But it didn't feel like "me." It wasn't really a surprise, but I realized that when I wore a ton of makeup, I didn't look like myself. In fact, I looked older than I was, and not in a good way.
So many people try to use makeup as a tool to become a different version of themselves, much like I once did. But I feel so much more comfortable when my makeup looks natural or I wear none at all, and I look younger too. 

2. Wearing a mask of makeup can keep people from seeing the real you.
As I discovered that I felt more like myself with less makeup, I could feel my clients trusted me more than when I was trying to look like someone else. They knew I wouldn't make them look crazy or feel uncomfortable, and that I would bring out a more polished version of themselves because I wasn't wearing over the top makeup myself.
When you show your true self, you build trust by exposing who you are without the protective mask of makeup. 

3. Less is more.
 Realizing that less is more with makeup helped me develop my personal style and beauty philosophy. I believe that bringing out a woman's natural beauty and true self by enhancing her unique features will make her look and feel like an even better version of herself. You don't need to wear a full face of makeup with 15 different beauty products to look beautiful.
If you're nervous to go without your usual makeup, try thinking about whether the products you use enhance or hide something on your face. 

4. Embrace your natural beauty.
Once I realized I was using makeup as a wall and started to embrace a fresh face, I became infinitely more comfortable not only with my looks, but also with myself in general. I used to spend hours picking apart my features, critiquing and criticizing what I saw in the mirror before trying to change them with makeup. Now, I embrace them and appreciate the face staring back at me ... because it's mine. I appreciate every line and blemish because I know the emotions and adventure that have left them behind. Your face tells your unique story, so embrace it and share that story with the world. 

5. Give your skin a break.
Before I became a makeup artists, I refused to leave the house without being full made up. Now, I'm often not wearing anything on my face. Ironic given my profession, huh? I no longer need a mask to hide behind or to look like anyone other than myself. I'm fully me, and I'm proud to let people see that person.
I still love makeup and cosmetic artistry, but now I'm more inspired by bringing out a woman's true beauty and helping her feel more confident in her own skin. By giving her that confidence, it helps her shine and be seen for the beautiful woman she is.

I invite you to be more conscious of your beauty routine. Are you wearing makeup because it helps you feel more confident or are you hiding behind a mask? The next time you go to do your makeup, do it to enhance your natural beauty rather than hide it.