Every morning, I wake up an hour and 15 minutes before my first class. I start my day off by stumbling out of bed and into the shower. That bit is essential. It’s difficult to look cute when your hair resembles one of those seabirds caught in oil spills you see in nature documentaries.

Once I’ve de-greased, I pick out my outfit. That is obviously a process in and of itself, but probably one for another article.

These last 10 minutes are devoted to one last crucial step: makeup. I spend over an hour a week smearing gunk on my face, and my makeup routine isn’t even particularly extensive. So what makes this so much more crucial than getting a few more minutes of precious sleep? 

Makeup has been a staple of the routine of fashionistas since Cleopatra, and many consider it essential for a complete look.

According to Occidental freshman Jane Drinkard, “It’s not just about looking pretty—it’s about looking put-together.” Makeup application is just another component of the getting-ready process. Not wearing it is akin to wearing a dress without its necessary belt; some component of the look is just missing. You don’t leave the house without brushing your teeth, and you don’t leave the house without makeup.

The same way different types of clothing pop in and out of style, the most desired makeup looks pop in and out of popularity as well. The prediction of trend forecasters is that au naturale is the face du jour. In other words, many women will forego smearing their lips with red and opt instead for a more “nude” shade.

The NY York Daily News recently ran a story citing all the different makeup products you can use to make it look as if you aren’t wearing any. When asked about this, most males wondered why women would go through all that trouble. It’s absurd: if you want to look like you aren’t wearing makeup, don’t put on makeup. However, these men would also probably assume that beach-y waves actually come from sitting on the beach (Spoiler alert: you need product).

Most men are not in the bathroom in an all-girl college dorm on a Saturday night, so they just don’t understand makeup. When talking to men about the concept of a woman going barefaced, many claim it’s obvious. According to Occidental freshman male Eddie Perezic, “It’s easy to tell when a girl isn’t wearing makeup.”

And honestly, that’s what we’d like them to believe. We’ve all witnessed those awkward moments when a boy asks a girl who is generally caked in foundation if she’s sick (and chastised him afterwards for not being aware of the fact that she probably got up too late to ‘put on her face’). Obviously, this is a moment we all want to avoid.

Still, some realize wearing makeup all the time truly is a commitment, so they decide not to. Occidental sophomore Christina Hobbs generally doesn’t wear makeup; she saves it for the moments when she wants to look especially good. It’s “better to be able to turn it up than to have it on full volume all the time,” meaning it’s better to surprise people with how good you look when you do wear it. The rest of the time, keep it casual and easy. As freshman Malaika Caldwell says, wearing makeup is “like wearing a dress…it’s something you go out of your way to do.”

For me, I am almost definitely one of those perplexing girls -- the one that will genuinely consider looking like I’m wearing less makeup to be a aesthetic choice and one aspect of the outfit I have put together. I consider the color of my lipstick to be as much of a choice as the type of purse I choose to carry or the shoes I put on my feet.

Not wearing makeup says something in the same way a bright red lip does. Maybe the argument isn’t as loud—but it’s certainly saying something about the way you’re presenting yourself.