It dawned on me that I have been on a halal, modest makeup journey for a little over a decade now, and when I look back at how it started and how it's going, I think there are a few things I can share, if you find yourself in the same place I was a while ago.
You might have just become muslim, or maybe you've been muslim and have learned about modest makeup and would like to give it a try or perhaps you will find this blog and have no connection to Islam and it's concepts on beauty, but I hope that no matter where you are, you know that this is a beautiful path that will lead you to self discovery and love.
So the first thing I want to say is that when I started this journey, I did not start it with the intention to wear no makeup, I just wanted to wear less of it and not have it be a central part of my life. And this was all motivated by my own conversion to Islam of course.
But what does Islam have to do with no makeup, you might ask?
Oh boy, there is a lot to be said. And you might have already read about it: that women should not show their beauty to people who are not their mahram, (a mahram is a person that you would not be permitted to marry due to their closeness and blood relation to you, so a father, uncle, father in law, brother). Also you might have read that some practices, like waxing the brows is not permitted, as well as procedures that will change they way you look (for non essential reasons) like botox or plastic surgery.
(There is probably a few things I am missing from this, but these are the main rulings)
Now, you might start to feel a little cornered after learning about the rulings, like it is a restriction on you. But it's far from it, what Islam always wants to do is to make us better, to make us truly free, and to provide an inner peace that can't be achieved through other means.
Now, back to the no makeup journey....
The first thing I did was:
Take it easy
I never told myself that I would stop wearing makeup all together, because It just felt completely impossible for me to do, coming from a background where makeup was as essential as dressing in the morning. Before Islam I was doing modeling, and attempting a career in show business, so wearing no makeup didn't even cross my mind. And I am saying this to push you to know yourself first and foremost.
There are certainly women who become muslim and stop wearing makeup the next day, but that doesn't mean that is the case for everyone. And we need to acknowledge that and not compare our journey to others, because everyone struggles differently.
So when we know ourselves, we can push and challenge, without burning out and giving up all together.
So in the beginning phase, I just tried to first replace all the products I was using with halal and wudhu friendly alternatives, (and when I saw that there were not too many options, I created my own, alhamdulillah). So, I wore makeup, but it was all wudhu friendly so I wouldn't have to keep removing it when having to pray(ALL my makeup was waterproof before starting this journey).
I wore the same things I usually did, foundation, brows, lipstick, eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara, while at the same time becoming more and more aware of the reasons behind the rulings, on why the emphasis on not changing yourself or applying makeup and going out and showing off...
In the beginning (8 to 10 years ago) heavier makeup looks as I adjusted to a more modest approach
The second thing that started happening is:
Getting to the Root
After a couple of years, and a bit more knowledge, I started to realize that what Islam is asking from us, is to love ourselves as we are. To see the way Allah created us, and understand that we are indeed beautiful, not only through our outer form, but the inner form as well.
I started to ask myself, why was I so dependent on makeup to feel good about myself?
And at this point I knew exactly what the answer was: It was the health of my skin...
My skin had suffered a bit from not only 2 pregnancies at this point, but also a long time of harsh makeup use that would damage my skin with each use, and an aggressive skin care approach where I would try to suck all the moisture out of my skin, thinking (so,so wrongly) that it would prevent breakouts and keep my skin clear.
So at this point I really took the health of my skin seriously and went got completely invested into not only learning how to craft products that would meet my needs, but also an approach that would be natural and effective. I had experience in the past with natural skin care, but it was a very rough routine that included lots of baking soda and coconut oil, and as great as those ingredients are, when you don't know how to use them (or if you should even be using them at all) then it's not quite as useful.
My instagram account at this time (6 to 7 years ago)
From this, my skin care line and approach came out,
from the struggles I dealt with, and overcame, and alhamdulillah it has been wonderful to see not only my skin improve, but also the one from all the sisters that have purchased as well.
So at this point, my skin care is going super well and everything is improving, and at the same time my makeup has become more natural and modest.
I would still wear my usual products, but did see a reduction in some areas, like I stopped feeling the need to wear mascara most days, and instead used eyeliner instead.
the subtle shift (last 3 years or so)
I also started doing things like wearing my bronzer as eyeshadow, which keeps things very natural looking. As well as finding the lipstick shades that looked subtle and complementary.
As I did this, I started feeling less and less like wearing brighter colors, maybe it was never my thing, but I found my place in the deep browns, golden and pinks that made me feel beautiful but was not so dramatic.
And at this point I thought this is where I would remain, that I would always wear the mineral skin tint, and my concealer, and my brows always had to be filled,etc.
This is the point I wanted to reach in my journey, modest makeup and good skin care.
Now the third thing that happend is:
Consitency IS beauty
This next phase was completely unexpected, but not unpredictable now that I look back,
I took better care of my skin with a natural approach, which means that the job of protecting the skin doesn't rest only on products, but also on the inner workings of our body.
one of my first times going out without foundation :0
So then more and more I saw that I needed to nurture my inside, as much as the outside. That hydration on the form of the face spritz, will only go so far, and the rest has to be made up by drinking water (or tea, or soup, or smoothies even)
That sunscreen is important, but the cell repair that happens inside, that is fueled by antioxidants rich foods, is just as essential. That there is a lot that can be done on the skin, and A Lot more that can be done for our skin, in the way of stress management, proper rest, reduced sugar intake and plenty of water.
So without planning, and with the consistency that the 5 daily prayers brought (and the skin care i was doing alongside it), I slowly realized I was going a few days without reaching for my foundation, I just really didn't see the need.
This for me was the biggest shock, because I always thought that when you decided to wear less makeup, or no makeup at all, you will have too look at a version of you that you dislike, and you would have to suffer through it with the strength our faith gives us.
But to see myself, and love the skin I see, and the brows I have, my chubby cheeks, and everything about me, this has been the sweetest moment.
It is what has motivated to write this, that a journey into modest makeup is not one of restriction, but one of freedom.
That if you are starting and you feel like you can't do it, then don't go too far, but do start.
Start somewhere, and you will get there, not by forcing it, but by opening up your eyes to the real you, by gaining knowledge on the actual restrictions that are put on us by societal beauty standards, and by finding the tools you need to uncover the beautiful self that has been there all along.