During the first week of May, I said goodbye to my Beautyblender. A week later, I gave up my blush brush. And a week after that, I sidelined my foundation brush. Slowly, all of my makeup brushes found their way to the forgotten toy bin.
Admittedly, I am being a little dramatic here, but for a makeup junkie who has used a foundation brush since she was 13, this was a big deal. You don’t just give up on the tools that help you attain your (perceived) best self every single day. But I was on a mission.
After years of struggling with acne, I found myself at a crossroads. It wasn’t getting better (in fact, in the beginning of 2019 it started to get worse) — so I did what most millennials do: I detoxed.
And no, this wasn’t your standard detox (or even your scalp detox), I was committed to a makeup brush detox. I had determined that, aside from a skincare routine and continued medication, this was my best bet at starting with a clean slate for my face because I was using a lot of product — and a lot of brushes. A foundation brush. A concealer brush. A blush brush. A highlighter brush. Two contour brushes. A Beautyblender. Four to five eyeshadow brushes. A bronzer brush. And, finally, a powder brush. Now, I am sure that for some this won’t seem like a lot. And for others, this just blew your mind. But for me, it has been status quo for over 13 years.
And I am not sure why, exactly. Over the years — and countless makeup counters — I have slowly picked up tricks, tips and, you guessed it, brushes. I typically take the word of the salesperson as fact, when in actuality, I don’t really need a brush for every product that touches my face. In fact, makeup artists are well-known for stating that the best method of applying foundation is with your fingers — it gives fuller, even coverage and you can warm the product up before applying.
So, why was it so hard for me to let go? Perhaps, because I associated the brushes with doing the most (and I am not very good at doing the least). Or, my obsession with perfection kicked in, a small inner voice whispering that the brush is the only way.
The problem with this, however, is that I also like a lot of pigment on my brushes — always have. So, I don’t clean them as often as I should, which is another sign that pointed straight to the ugly pimple making its home for months on my cheek(s).
I am now three months brush-free, and my skin has completely revived itself.
I am now three months brush-free, and my skin has completed revived itself. The detox worked (although it could have also been my commitment to eat cleaner or the sensitive skin reset). Yes, there were weeks of frustration where I just could not get the cream blush or liquid highlighter right. But then there is the now, where my skin is glowing. Yes, really. I am not even using the word facetiously.
And while the clear (and glowing) skin is awesome, I actually learned something about myself in the process.
Not to be cheesy here but the detox changed the way I view myself. Prior to this, you wouldn’t catch me without “my face” on. And my face includes a full eye-makeup look. But without my trusty brushes — and their pigment — to turn to, my makeup routine changed. It became lighter, more natural and breezier.
It has been a long time since I was able to look at myself in a mirror without makeup. But now, I find myself wearing less and less on purpose. Without knowing it, the minute I decided to embark on this, and I quote myself here, “silly detox,” I hindered the ability to really cover myself up and tackled years of poor self-esteem issues.
Do I miss my brushes? You better believe it. I still struggle with the cream blush or over applying foundation. And there are days I miss my contour. But I don’t miss the extra 15 minutes it took to do my makeup, and I don’t miss the self-criticism. So, unlike most, this detox doesn’t have an end date.