I got lash extensions for the first time before a summer vacation I took with my husband to Italy. I figured that I’d want to wake up in the morning and go, so made the decision that lashes were the best way to feel good quickly.

I’d wildly underestimated the heat and didn’t fancy making time to apply make-up that was just going to slide off anyway. But more than that, I felt my new set of lashes gave me this sense of ‘put togetherness’ that I could carry without the added excess of makeup. It was as if I’d actually made an effort, without having to do anything. Like when you get a spray tan and immediately feel the huge sense of relief that you can get ~confident~ naked, you know?

It sounds stupid, but the lashes gave me an unfounded surge of confidence to stop wearing makeup, and so I did. For the following five weeks, I ditched the foundation and blush in lieu of a liberated, makeup-free holiday. And it changed the course of my skincare and make-routine forever.

I’d grown so used to seeing my face clean and raw and pure that I decided that post holiday I’d ditch my regular makeup routine for good.

I guess you could say this was a turning point for me. I saw myself differently. I looked healthier, happier. I had a glow. I’d completely redefined my own definition of beauty. Less was actually better. My skin had completely changed. I stopped needing to conceal the blemishes and spots, because they were either no longer there, or I’d ceased caring about them. I hadn’t had a pimple in 12 months.

My skin cleared and it was like a lightbulb moment in my head. I started investing in ways to make it better. Skincare became a priority; I bought retinols, peels, sunscreen, face scrubs – whatever I could get my hands on I would, to better enhance this newfound love of my skin. And in the process I felt like I was evolving, obtaining a greater sense of who I was which naturally translated to a desire to invest in the health of my skin, rather than a quick make-up fix.

As for make-up, I still wear it but it’s minimal and I’m more conscious about the products I select. I’ve thrown out all the heavy foundations and replaced them with lighter BB Creams and tints with SPF and products that hydrate, protect and soothe my skin with antioxidants, like my serum concealer from bareMinerals.

At the end of the day, lash extensions were the unexpected gateway into developing a deeper relationship with myself. And now, I stare at myself in the mirror not with an expectation of what I should look like, but an appreciation of how I feel about myself, and that my friends, is my new definition of beauty.

Words, Astrid Taemets.