Accepting Your Natural Beauty Doesn’t Have to Mean Giving Up On Makeup

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Art Credit: Cate Parr

Looking for some fresh beauty advice in the new year? Colbie Caillat has got you covered.

In her hit song "Try," she sings a positive message that we don't have to "try so hard." The music video shows many different made-up women gradually experiencing make-unders. By the end of the video, they're all gorgeous, makeup-free, and smiling.

I agree with Caillat that we don't need to be besties with our makeup. Believe me, I’m an au naturel kind of woman. I still don’t exactly know how concealer works, and I try to stay away from foundation at all costs after having a run-in at a makeup counter where I basically turned into a ghost.

Plus, the less time I spend on makeup every morning, the more time I have to get on with my day. Sometimes getting that extra amount of sleep or doing some reading or reflecting before you go into work can make a big difference in your day. And then there are those occasions where makeup is just useless—like at the gym where it's going to melt off mid-workout anyway.

So when I saw Caillat's "Try " music video, I was totally with her in spirit. Then I listened to the lyrics. According to Caillat, all we have to do to be beautiful is: "Get up / Walk out the door"

Uh, hold on here. You mean you’re supposed to exit your house hair all over the place, banshee eyes, teeth unbrushed. Waaaaait a second. The song also suggests you're supposed to “like you,” right? Doesn't that involve taking a little time for self-care?

I get what Caillat is trying to say. And, in one sense, I agree: You don’t have to “try so hard.” And please, I beg of you, don’t “give it all away.” But I think her solution to just “get up, get up, get up” and “don’t change a single thing” might be going a little overboard.

Does it have to be one extreme or the other? Are your only options to go out so heavily painted in makeup that you’re unrecognizable or to make zero effort at all and leave looking like a cavewoman?

I don't think so. Sure, you don't have to change anything. But you can help yourself out and enhance your natural beauty without throwing basic grooming and hygiene out the window. For starters, simple health habits that have nothing to do with makeup can enhance your natural beauty. Take brushing your teeth. Or eating healthy and drinking your eight glasses of water a day—does wonders for your complexion, no concealer necessary!

I've come to view makeup as just an extension of that. Just because you’re wearing makeup or spending some time on your hair doesn’t automatically mean you’re superficial and don’t like yourself.

I didn't always appreciate what makeup could really do for you. I remember when I was in high school, my mom always used to tell my sisters and me before running out the door, “You look a little pale. Maybe a little blush would help?” I remember scoffing at the time, but later I'd put some on thinking, “Wow! This really does help!” Just a smidge brightens your face and draws attention to your smile. (Thanks, Mom.) It really is amazing how some small adjustments can help to bring out your natural beauty and enhance your features, as opposed to masking them.

Since then I’ve grown to appreciate how just a little makeup can make me look and feel more ready for whatever the day brings. Take mascara, for instance; I actually feel more awake in the morning when I put some on.

And my hair? Let’s just say it’s curly, and when untamed, it’s a wild beast. I rarely choose to spend the necessary three hours straightening it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t put a little product in so I don’t look like I just rolled out of bed. Trying to keep things natural doesn’t mean you have to forego any kind of beauty routine completely.

It’s when makeup gets in the way of my daily living that I take a step back. I like the look of a bold lip, for instance, but I don’t rock it as much anymore because I like kissing my husband too much—that's a bigger priority for me. And although I love a good smokey eye, I save it for special occasions like date night.

At the end of the day, Caillat is right that we don't need to always have full-faced makeup on. But the song seems to miss that a little goes a long way and that you can be confident and beautiful finding a routine where less is more.

In my book, it never hurts to “try” to put your best foot forward and present yourself—as “you”—in the best way you can.