A quick background so you know where I am coming from when you read this post. I graduated from high school in 2006 from a co-educational Catholic school. At my school, like many other private Catholic and non-Catholic schools, there was a no make-up policy. Hair longer than shoulder-length also needed to be tied up and be a natural colour. I was frequently being sent to the office to remove my make-up. This was not because I was the popular vain type, but because I used to have really bad acne resulting in serious self-esteem issues. I was actually quite the nerd and goody-two-shoes and always wanted to do the right thing and please my teachers but I quickly developed a reputation among the teaching staff for breaking the make-up rule. The boys would even tease me for wearing make-up to school! (amongst other things...I never really quite fit in and still don't). I wanted to write this post to give some advice to anyone still in high school facing the similar issues, or simply looking for some ways to wear make-up to school on a day-to-day basis.
Me as a teen at school, somewhere between 2003-05. (Yeah I went through my little punk-rocker/scene phase like most did at some stage haha!)
First up, I want to remind all you lovely ladies to wear makeup as infrequently as possible. When you DO, wear as little as possible too. I would like to say never wear make-up to school because the best thing for your skin is to let it be free and have your natural beauty shine but that would be really hypocritical of me and not very helpful for you. I am yet to secure a permanent teaching position but from doing relief, I see all to often girls in school with eyeliner and foundation caked on, not looking too comfortable or happy at all. If you MUST wear make-up to school, PLEASE make it minimal and stay to natural looks, save experimenting with colour and smoky eye looks for the weekends and special events. You will give yourself more time to sleep in the morning before coming to school and you will be less worried about touch-ups and rubbing your eyes when you are bored or tired in class.
Getting Rid of the Acne
If you are like me and have really bad acne (I did before I got it sorted out and grew out of puberty) I will tell you now go and see a doctor for a solution! Stop trying to cover it up with make-up and stop hassling yourself with over-the-counter products, proactive, creams, lotions, whatever. If you have nice skin, it means less make-up and less breaking the rules! (unless of course make-up is allowed at your school). I tried everything, nothing worked in the long run. I actually went to my GP a few times over the year and he prescribed me with a range of medications that I would try one after the other. I say go to the doctor because they are the experts and they will help you find what works for you. I first got put on benzac, a medicated cream. It actually works quite well and I still use it from time-to-time when I get a horrible zit right in the middle (yes you know where). After a few months of that, I went back because it really wasn’t getting to the root of the problem, as it is a surface treatment. I went on antibiotics to settle my hormones and this did help for a while, but I still wasn’t satisfied (my acne was really severe). Eventually, after many other treatments, the doctor referred me to a specialist dermatologist, who (hesitantly) put me on a course of roaccutane.
As much as I would have LOVED to post some 'horrendo' photos of my skin at it's worst so you could see what I am talking about, unfortunately I would never let such photos of myself exist and I would have murdered anyone trying to take a photo of my acne when I was a teen. The memories and hurt are enough for me...
A Little Bit About Roaccutane...
Roaccutane is serious stuff and will change you forever. You can only get a prescription from a qualified dermatologist however I have heard it is now banned in some parts of Australia (I don’t know for sure!). It can have a range of serious side effects depending on the individual both physical and mental and that is why it was a last-resort medication for me. Luckily, I only suffered from dry lips, dry skin all over and increased sensitivity to sun. The thing is though, my skin type back then was oily. I now have consistent dry skin and have to moisturize everyday and still burn in the sun like never before. I also had to start taking a contraceptive pill like all women on roaccutane because it can cause birth defects in unborn children. Having said all that, after the 18 month course, my face was totally cleared up and I now only get occasional break outs like most normal people when I don’t eat right, at that time of month, or when I simply don’t wash my face or take care of my skin properly. After going on this course I was so much more happy and confident in year 12 than I was in previous years, and was starting to wear less and less make-up too.
Bending the Rules
If you go to a school with a no make-up policy here are some tips and possible products you can use that hopefully will make it look like you aren’t wearing anything and will stop you from getting in trouble. I do not condone breaking the rules and if you go to a school with a no make-up policy then you really shouldn’t be wearing at any at all. The rules are there for many reasons, one of those being that it is better for your skin to wear none and you shouldn’t have to worry about wearing make-up at high-school age but like I said (hypocrite) I did it, and I know how it feels. Even if you don’t have any acne at all I know how important it is to be able to express yourself and using make-up and beauty products is a great way to do this so here goes, try this to start with. I have linked each header in this list to a product you can check out!
- BB Cream- Use this instead of foundation. I really love The Face Shop Power Perfection BB cream but it costs around $50 which is usually slightly out of budget for anyone still at school but the Garnier BB cream is very affordable at around $10-$15 and is not a bad product to start with. These creams will usually offer a lot more coverage than a tinted moisturizer and depending on the one you choose, can often offer a range of benefits to your skin too! They also blend really well, adapt to your skin tone (making it harder for teachers to spot!) and are super quick and easy to slap on in the morning before school.
- Concealer- This is an optional step. If you’re still feeling a little self-conscious about those blemishes and unsatisfied with the coverage of your BB cream then smudge a bit of concealer on those problem areas. Be careful not to put too much or it may end up having the opposite to the desired effect and draw attention to spots and blemishes!
- Eye Primer- I use Too Faced shadow insurance as a base all the time for my eye shadows but I also wear it alone whenever I am too lazy to put shadow on. It corrects any discolouration around the eye area and can brighten up your face. You can also try the Lemon Drop colour-correcting primer, both can be found here (or at kit cosmetics in Aus).
- Compact Powder- Only use this if you are totally confident that you have found one that matches your skin colour perfectly and doesn’t look chalky on your face. Powder sets your skin and keeps it shine free during the day. You can also carry it around and use it for touch-ups.
- Blush/bronzer- Another optional. Use with extreme caution and only if you feel your face looks blank and unnatural with just the BB cream. You want small touches to contour your face. Don’t use anything with shimmer or glitter in it (sorry, NARS orgasm sits this one out!) and try to stick to pale browns or peachy colours as pinks/reds will stand out more and be a big give-away.
- Mascara- Mascara looks pretty on everyone. Use something subtle and don’t worry about smacking on layer upon layer.
- Lips- Use a balm as many glosses have glitter/shimmer and even if they don’t, you are likely to get told of for having a gluggy plumping serum on your lips going to school. I like the range you can find in supermarket check-out shelves from Nivea and Carmex.
A Bit Extra
If you ARE allowed to wear make-up to school then here are a couple of looks that I am a fan of. You won’t make me cringe by any means if you walk into my classroom looking like this.
|Pinup makeup from Anna Saccone|
|Peachy Nude from makeup by Alli|
|Vegas Volt and Peaches from Beauty Down Under|
I hope this was helpful, comments are always appreciated... let me know what you think!