In high school I wore basketball pants in PE no matter how hot it was outside because I was so self conscious about my leg hair. Even if I shaved the night before, I thought everyone was staring at my legs and noticing the stubble when the sun shined on it.
I learned how to wear makeup but on mornings when I didn't have time to put on a little mascara, I would wear glasses instead of contacts to distract away from my hideous face. I wore makeup not because I enjoyed putting it on or experimenting with different techniques and colors, but because I felt like I needed it to look less repulsive.
I had major self confidence issues.
After I got married, I became a little more comfortable with my appearance, a bit more lax in my shaving frequency, and less frequent with my makeup usage. But I still had many, many days where I felt ugly and felt like I needed a little help.
Then about three years ago I took a Women in American History class. At one point we discussed the way women are portrayed in advertising. And I realized in a sudden moment of clarity, there is a multi-billion dollar "Beauty Industry" that is making a ridiculous amount of money off of my self-esteem issues. Their business is literally built on making me feel ugly in my natural state. Every time I think that the way God created me is inadequate, somebody earns another dollar toward their beach house.
I have not worn makeup since then. And I have never felt more beautiful. In the interest of full-disclosure, occasionally I will still use a dab of concealer to minimize the appearance of a blemish, but that is it. (As a bonus, I actually have clearer skin now than I did when I was wearing makeup regularly. Piling on the concealer, foundation and powder-and not being good about washing it all off at the end of the day-contributed to my pretty bad, acne-prone skin.)
I also stopped shaving my legs. Perhaps this deserves it's own post. But to be brief, I think humans have body hair for a reason. (Not exactly sure what that reason is, lol, but there must be a reason!) And my husband has never cared or noticed whether or not my legs were smooth. So I have been unable to see a reason, other than "social norms" to scrape a sharp object over my limbs everyday.
It is now my conviction, and I am trying to instill this belief in my children, that beauty has more to do with confidence and personality than physical appearance. You are beautiful the way Heavenly Father made you! Nature is beautiful.