Unfortunately for our self-esteem, we are all constantly victims of the demands of beauty advertisements. TV commercials urge us to have longer, fuller lashes and fashion magazines teach us which colors accent and which flush out our skin.

Keeping up with fashion and style is one thing, but a cute outfit would be nothing without hair and makeup to complete the look — or so they say.

Sometimes I giggle when a model posing with voluptuous lips and dark long eyelashes is referred to as sporting a ‘natural look’ in these ads. While some people (like myself) learn to avoid torturing their self-esteem by flipping through the latest magazines, it is built into our culture to feel an expectation about what it means to look good.

My first recommendation in terms of make-up is to ignore the ads. You should be concerned with what makes you feel good. Do not let anybody tell you how to be beautiful.

The major concern I am addressing is the overall makeup obsession. Sure, it is wonderful to be able to enhance your features when dressing up for a special occasion.

I love to use mascara to elongate my lashes so that the blue of my eyes pop. I even think it can be fun to play with when there is no place to go. However, I find that makeup has become a dependency for many of the girls I meet on campus.

A prime example of someone with a makeup obsession is one of my former roommates.

During the semester we lived together, I never once saw my roommate without makeup on. It makes me wonder how her skin ever had a chance to breathe.

Underneath the dark black eye shadow, I am certain there must have been pale eyelids, but honestly I never had a chance to see. She would even go so far as to wake up early to apply makeup before going to the gym.

Then she would come back and shower, immediately reapplying. It was an obsession, and the obsession came from a fear.

What was she afraid of? I know that at times we all want to make ourselves feel pretty with some makeup, but it concerns me that there are people who would not leave the house without it.

In many ways this restricts your personal freedom. Feeling a need to put makeup on before leaving the house could prevent you from participating in last minute plans that otherwise may have turned out great.

One of the most striking examples of the unnatural relationship we as a society have formed with makeup is the surprise that comes when we see celebrities without make-up.

A celebrity is expected to be made up at any given moment of their life. While celebrities are associated with glamour and trends it is important that we as people recognize that they too have lazy days.

My point is this: makeup, just like a scarf, a bag or a pair of shoes, is an accessory. We are meant to use it sparingly, to enhance our overall look. Makeup should never become mandatory to leave the house.

I strongly encourage those afraid, to venture out for a day without a stitch of makeup. It took me a long time to become comfortable enough to ditch the eyeliner and skip the mascara.

Now that I feel fine leaving home without any makeup, I find that when I do put some on it is much more of a treat. I also feel like I save time on those days when a few extra minutes can make a big difference.

Makeup adds to the list of things we need to do to look good, and I am saying that you look great just the way you are.

Enjoy experimenting with makeup products and different looks, but realize that your most natural look is also when you look the most you. Forget the makeup and quit hiding the natural beauty you have.

Arline Votruba can be contacted at avotruba@kscequinox.com

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