Bare is Beautiful: Why I’m Quitting Cosmetics

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by Darby Hoffman, Lifestyle Editorial Assistant


I have been wearing makeup since my first tube of mascara at thirteen-years-old. After a seven-year stint, however, I have decided to give up my cosmetic regime. This resolution found its way into my mind towards the end of last year, when I first began embracing the idea of minimalism. I wanted to only own the necessities and rid myself of all the clutter surrounding me. Focusing on downsizing and being intentional with my belongings forced me to reconsider my collection of cosmetics.  My current collection consists of:

  • 1 nail polish
  • 1 blush
  • 1 gel eyeliner
  • 1 sample-size of mascara
  • 4 pallets (my weakness)
  • 5 lipsticks


Although I did get rid of a lot of the products I previously owned, I would still say that this makeup will last me a while. My current plan is to use these products completely and not make any additional purchases. Although I anticipate some challenges I may face with this project, I’ve found multiple reasons to make it worth the effort.


One key factor which influenced my decision was the cost of products. The thought of spending my money on unnecessary amounts of makeup that may or may not ever be used just made no sense to me, especially now that I’ve become financially independent. Recognizing other ways that I could spend my money, more productive or practical ways, helped solidify my decision.

Just the cost of my own extremely simplified makeup collection exceeded $200:

  • “Naked on the Run”: $58
  • “Naked 3”: $54
  • Victoria’s Secret Deluxe Eye Palette in “Impressed”: $25
  • Revlon Illuminance Crème Shadow Palette in “Wild Orchids”: $6
  • Milani powder blush in “Romantic Rose”: $8
  • Wet & Wild Silk Finish Lipsticks in “Cherry Bomb” and “In the Flesh”: $0.99/each
  • Nars Lip Pencil Sample Set: $18
  • Milani Color Statement Lipstick in “Rose Femme”: $6
  • Philosophy Candy Cane Lip Shine: $9
  • Benefit’s “They’re Real” Push-Up Liner: $24
  • Too Faced “Better Than Sex” Mascara sample: $12

Huffington Post said women spend over $426 billion on makeup each year. On average, the beauty routine of a singular woman will cost her approximately $15,000 in her lifetime, according to InStyle and


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Another issue which has amplified my desire to be cosmetic-free is the dangerous chemicals which the products contain that could be absorbed into my body.

Celebrity makeup artist and natural beauty expert Katey Denno said, “There are over…10,000 ingredients that are potentially toxic in our very common beauty products.”

The five most common of which, she states, are parabens, petroleum, phthalate, diethanolamine (D.E.A.) and triethanolamine (T.E.A.).

These chemicals alone have been linked to a variety of health issues, including cancer, birth defects, reproductive issues and organ system toxicity.

If you can’t motivate yourself to fully omit cosmetics from your day-to-day routine, Denno recommends utilizing green brands, such as BITE beauty and Bert’s Bees.

Although some “natural brands” do still use a small amount of synthetic material, Denno said it is when cosmetic producers combine high levels of the chemicals that health and environmental effects can occur.


Currently, I plan to finish all of the products that I own, out of fear of throwing away my investment and being wasteful of my belongings. However, after learning the true cost of wearing a full face of makeup, I know I will not be repurchasing my beloved cosmetics again. Not only do the financial and health factors keep me from going back, but also the issues of animal cruelty, environmental effects and the pervasive message that women require makeup to be beautiful. Plus, just the convenience of not having to remove my makeup at night or worry about rubbing my eyes and smudging my eyeliner is motivation enough for me.


Photos by Darby Hoffman

Information Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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