Do you wear makeup? It’s a simple question with an often complicated answer for girls with vitiligo.
For many, makeup can be a ticket to freedom – a chance to control an uncontrollable situation, a means to express who you are, or a free pass to skip staring, judgmental eyes. For others, makeup is just an option to enhance what they already find beautiful. And still others find makeup to be a part of a journey that was once a necessity and today only a mask of who they really are.
Lifestyle and vitiligo blogger Gabriela Fano falls somewhere in this last category. As she writes on her blog The Health Panda, “the day I got vitiligo was the day my life changed.” And her relationship with makeup changed with her. Today Gabriela wears makeup only occasionally, but there was a time when that wasn’t the case.
“Today I actually put it on and then took it off,” said Gabriela. “I decided I like myself better without it. But I used to use makeup to cover up. It was my security blanket. It was my understanding that as long as you had a pretty face then you wouldn’t be made fun of. This changed for me when I changed my perspective. I learned that being yourself is the most important thing, as cliché as it sounds.”
Curious to find out exactly how girls with vitiligo feel about makeup, we decided to create a poll for our Instagram community. With 91 total responses, 72% of participants said they do wear makeup. However, when we asked our community to share why they wear makeup (or why not), the answers were are varied as the spots on our skin.
Here’s what they said:
Some girls with vitiligo feel beautiful without makeup
Initial responses to our question showed a lot of confidence with comments saying “you’re beautiful without it” and to “just wear confidence.” A number of people chimed in to say how makeup has been a part of their journey with vitiligo – and that it’s not something they need anymore. Kristell wrote, “I love makeup but during my journey to learn how to love myself I realized that living without makeup makes everything so much easier. That’s your face, your own beauty.” Deb shared: “When vitiligo first spread to my face, I was devastated and would keep it covered with make-up constantly. I wouldn’t swim in fear the make-up would come off. Through the years, I’ve grown more comfortable in my skin and rarely cover it anymore. I’ve accepted it and learned to feel beautiful with my spots. Never thought I’d get here, but feels good to go “bare” now.”
Some girls with vitiligo just go with their mood
Special occasion? Makeup. Headed to the gym? No makeup. That was the approach several girls with vitiligo shared, saying that they feel beautiful either way so the decision to wear makeup is simply based on how they feel or the situation. Medha shared, “I used to cover my whole face with makeup until last year. Now I wear makeup to cover it only when I feel like dolling up. I feel more empowered now and have the choice to wear makeup when I want to. If I don’t want to, I don’t and I still feel confident in my own skin. I feel beautiful either way.” Alejandra Leal also chimed in, saying “When I go to a party I wear makeup, but when I’m with friends I prefer to show my face without it.”
Some girls with vitiligo love the art and expression of makeup
Lashes? Contour? Winged liner? Glitter? Some girls with vitiligo just love makeup. They either wear a full face because they love it, or they wear it in a way that doesn’t hide their spots – even going so far as to wear two colors of makeup. As Ka Iwalani wrote, “I’ve been playing with makeup since the age of eleven. On a normal day, I am a full coverage girl. I always have been, even before the onset of vitiligo. I wear makeup because I want to, not because I have to. For me, I enjoy the “me time.” It gives me a couple hours to decompress and ready myself for the day ahead.” For other girls, like Allison, makeup is a form of self-expression: “I wear makeup because it’s a way to express myself. I used to do it to cover the spots by my mouth, but that’s not the reason I do it anymore. It’s a form of art that I love to do, and now I wear makeup but wear my vitiligo spots all over the rest of my body proudly.”
Some girls with vitiligo are looking for comfort and security
Sometimes makeup – and even products like spray tans and tanning lotions – can provide a sense of security and comfort. That was the motivation for some of our readers, one of whom shared, “I’m single and I feel more vulnerable. I’m not comfortable [going without makeup] yet.” Noemi wrote, “I wear full coverage makeup on the face and neck. It’s the only way I feel comfortable going out.”
What’s your story? Do you wear makeup? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments below.
Erika Page is the Founder and Editor of Living Dappled. After getting vitiligo at the age of seven, she lost 100% of her pigment to the condition and today lives with universal vitiligo.