Living in a city that is all about image and competition, I've found not wearing makeup in Hong Kong one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Known as the city that never sleeps, Hong Kong never bores people with its notable nightclubs, best happy hours and rooftop bars. Everyone is always partying, connecting and taking selfies. As an Asian woman living in Hong Kong, wearing a ton of foundation with blush/bronzer (depending if you’re a baby Asian or an ABC Asian) seems like the norm. Despite having worked in the beauty industry prior to my role at Honeycombers, I’ve gradually given up on using all my makeup for the past few months, even though I have ample time in the morning to do my routine instead of making breakfast. It’s weird how I feel more confident since not wearing makeup and I think women should give it a go more often.
Why does not wearing makeup in Hong Kong seem so difficult?
Living in a city that thrives on consumption and competition, people are raised to abide by certain beauty trends and dress codes – flawless makeup, hairless skin, pale skin, skinny legs, heels, the list goes on. Even if we’re not talking specifically about Hong Kong, this is a phallocentric world we’re living in, and women are taught to carry more responsibility in making themselves “look good” to show that they’re both professional and wife-able. If you’re out and about meeting people at work without a decorated face, it seems like you’re not taking your job seriously. Yes, it’s crazy how a woman’s social credibility depends upon how/if she does her makeup.
Why did I start not wearing makeup?
I’ve never been one of those talented people that knows how to wear a full-face of makeup – foundation and bronzer are way too much effort – and I’m lazy and unskilled. A bit of a disclaimer is that I don’t have flawless skin like YouTubers online do, who can totally pull off a #nomakeup video with their glowing skin. Hormonal acnes is still a thing for me.
Nevertheless, I used to draw on my brows, put on eyeliner and mascara but I wasn’t sure if I solely focused on my eyes as some sort of compensation because Western media has always thrown shade to Asians’ almond-shaped eyes?
Occasionally I showed up at work or at group hangs without any makeup, people would say stuff that was half-genuine and half-consolation-sounding like: “I like how stripped down you look”, “you look adorable”, etc. Were these pity compliments? No, I don’t really think they were. The more I tried not wearing makeup, the more I noticed that it really wasn’t a big deal. You might not be “hot” or “sexy” as defined by the media, but at the end of the day you’re alright – you’re just a piece of flesh, eerie as it is meant to be – like everyone else.
Confidence is key (even if you’re just a lazy piece of sh*t)
I’m not going to go through the whole “everyone is beautiful in their own way” kind of speech here. Some people are just more genetically gifted and some just tend to impress people anywhere they go with their stunning makeup. But in reality, people are way too self-absorbed to care about how you look. Nobody ACTUALLY cares. People like to judge but people don’t care.
The key to get over your insecurity is to not give fucks anymore. When you stop giving fucks about what others think or how you should look like, you acknowledge and accept the most insecure part of yourself – in ways that makeup never did, at least not for me. Attraction and rapport build over time, and having confidence with your bare skin is way more attractive than being all done up and insecure on the inside. That’s why I’ve stopped wearing makeup, because I realised what I’ve been lacking isn’t an attractive face (okay maybe that too), but really what matters even more is confidence and acceptance. And through not wearing makeup, I’ve learnt that everyone is equally ugly just as they are, so ugly that it’s also so pretty, and vice versa, so who gives a fuck?