Beauty Crutches: Could You Give Yours Up?

Nat The Fat Rat With Bronzer, And Dirty MirrorNat The Fat Rat With Bronzer, And Dirty Mirror

Beauty crutches. Let's get into this.

Do you have a beauty crutch? I do. Don't we all? (No, I don't think we all do, actually.) What is a beauty crutch? How do one know if one has one?

Well, to my way of thinking, a beauty crutch is a certain product or product application that you simply cannot think of existing without. Less "Oh, I need mascara to feel finished," and more "Oh, I need three coats of this mascara followed by two coats of that mascara, and if I don't get my eyelashes curled just right then I can't leave the house, don't even try me on this one." You know what I mean.

I have a beauty crutch. My beauty crutch is bronzer.

My little sister first introduced me to bronzer in 2007. At the time she was wearing a ton of it. She looked great! She looked healthy, sun-kissed, and through some impressive trick of make-up artistry she was able to make her cheekbones appear higher, her face more slender, and her eyes go POP! It was like magic. From tired to perfect in just a few swipes.

She taught me all she knew and, slowly but surely, I perfected my own bronzer artistry. I came to the conclusion that I could never live without bronzer ever again. For the rest of my life. Period the end.

Before long, bronzer application was taking up 80% of my allotted get-ready time in the morning. What I loved about bronzer was I could use it as a highlighting and contouring tool to make my nose appear smaller. Because I hate my nose. But getting it just right was a beast. The blending process would require bronzer down my neck and past my clavicle. I never forgot to swipe some along the back of my neck, just in case I decided to pull my hair up at any point during the day. Sometimes I'd buy a new lipstick color and be like, "shoot, this lipstick doesn't match my bronzer." Everything in my make up bag was covered in a fine dusting of the stuff. Heaven forbid if I tried on any white tops while shopping and wasn't careful with the necklines. And by the end of the day, most all of it would have rubbed entirely off, anyway. So what was the point?

Related: 25 beauty tricks that will save you time in the morning

And then, my sister-in-bronzing-and-blood announced that she had entirely stopped wearing it. "I want to embrace my paleness," she said.

I started wondering if I was really doing myself any favors anymore, or if I was just stuck on it unnecessarily.

So I decided last week that I was ready to try something new. Grow as a person. You know, Oprah type stuff. At this point I had had five good years with bronzer, oh we had a good run of it, but maybe I could go without bronzer for a whole week? Just a week, nothing crazy here! But maybe it would be good for me. Maybe I'd become "free"? Maybe my skin would be enough on its own? Maybe it would be horrible, and it would be confirmed for me once and for all: I Need Bronzer, Always. At least I'd know for sure, then! And in the meantime, think of the free time I'd be gaining in the morning? Maybe five whole minutes!

And so, this last Saturday, I took a deep breath and put the bronzer away where it couldn't tempt me. And I went bare-faced. (Well, minus tinted moisturizer.) It was kind of scary I'll be honest. (In that scary way where also: it's just make up. Let's not be ridiculous.)

Here is what happened to me:

Suddenly, my blush options became so much more exciting. Pink! Dusty mauve! Really really pink! Rosy red!

Suddenly I was like, "Hey, have my eyebrows always been this great? Let's play those suckers up."

Suddenly, my nose didn't bother me nearly as much as it used to. I suppose wasn't thinking about it every morning, trying to diminish it's lovely presence, and so naturally, I stopped thinking about it. Duh how that works?

Suddenly, my make-up routine took four minutes. Flat. Five minutes of freedom gained? Check! Let's, uh, what can you even do with five minutes?

It's been a week now and guess what. I'm not going back. I mean, not to the way it was. I might wear bronzer one day, or maybe I might not. But I certainly don't feel beholden to it. I mean, whatever. It's make up.

But do I feel liberated? Dorkily enough, yes I do! In a very silly way, I even feel a shot of extra confidence.

I think what it comes down to is the law of diminishing returns (oh yes I got a B in college Econ 101, thanks). It would seem that the more time one spends on one's face in the morning, the more frustrated one feels if what one is left with is anything less than perfection. Meanwhile, the quicker and dirtier one splashes things on willy-nilly like in the morning, the better one feels when one glances in the mirror later and thinks, "Hey! Not half bad!"

And so.

A challenge unto you, ye beauty-crutch carriers of this world. Let us attempt to hobble on without our crutches. Just for a week! Starting tomorrow. See what strength and changes it brings! (I mean, let's not get too carried away, it is just make up.)

I'm dying to know how it goes for you. Do let me know, won't you?

- By Natalie Holbrook
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