Military, Makeup, and Motherhood

Personal Posts

The Space Between: Military, Makeup, and Motherhood

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Military, Makeup, and Motherhood

For a more updated version of this post, click here.

You may not know that before my business came to existence, I was a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force. As a matter of fact, I even decided to continue my military service part-time in the Air Force Reserves after I separated from Active Duty for years later. Being in the Reserves simply means that you must meet the same physical fitness and medical readiness standards required of active duty service members. You must  fulfill the same training requirements, except in a one weekend a month/two-weeks a year timeframe.

I separated from Active Duty and ultimately, the Reserves for a number of reasons but the most important reason involved my family and keeping us all together.

Breaking Stereotypes:

Sorority Sister + Cadet Natalie

Photo Credit: Elisa Demarest of 11th Door Photography

I didn’t really want to enter the military but my dad said if I got a full ride scholarship, he’d buy me a car. That’s any incentive for a 17 year old who never had a car. My dad said there’s this program, called ROTC, that has full-ride scholarships. Based on my high school records and participation in JROTC (again, I wanted a car), I applied for and received a {mostly} full ride ROTC scholarship to University of Colorado.

That scholarship had stipulations. I had to wear a military uniform 1-2x a week, had strict GPA requirements, large portions of my summers would be spent training, but I would enter the military as a commissioned officer upon graduation.

“No big deal,” I thought. I just wanted my car!

Before I left for college, my dad handed me my mother’s jewelry box before I left for college (they are divorced). In that box was my mom’s sorority pins and necklaces. I thought it was SO cool. The idea of a sisterhood, lifelong friends, and passing jewelry onto my future daughter or nieces *one day*.

Little did I know that being in ROTC and being a “sorority girl” would be weird… I didn’t care. I pledged and became a member of Gamma Phi Beta. And for two years, I was the only ROTC cadet (that I knew of) in a sorority. I really didn’t want to be categorized as a ‘military’ girl but also didn’t want to be stereotyped as a girly girl either.

I was breaking stereotypes without even realizing it! 

​I would wear my uniform as “femininely” as possible, apply makeup to perfectly compliment the shades of navy blue or camo green. I would sport my Tiffany heart ring and diamond studs. My nails would be polished in a soft, neutral pink.

I was not the best performing cadet, far from it actually, but I made it through all the requirements {by the grace of God} and was able to show to balance and showcase femininity and fierceness at the same time.

Feminine + Fierce

Finding Balance

Sorority Sisters - Gamma Phi Beta

After entering active duty, everything was a little bit different.

My best friend and sorority sister moved with me to my first duty station, which happened to be one of my two hometowns, Tucson.

While stationed there, I didn’t want to appear too feminine because I wanted to be taken seriously as a commissioned officer by my male subordinates and peers. There was no “military makeup routine” so to speak, but I also didn’t want to appear frumpy or disheveled because I’m not confident when I’m not put together.

Toning It Down

I toned down the matching/complimentary eye colors and sparkly lip gloss and opted for neutral earth tones and neutral chapsticks. It was during this time I felt most beautiful and honestly, it was during this time that I yearn to return to.  My daily makeup routine took about 10 minutes including my skin care regime. My skin was glowing and eyeliner just glided on like butter. I met my husband shortly after entering the military. We got married a few years later, and then welcomed our son into our family a few years after that.

First Lieutenant Promotion Ceremony

Military and Motherhood

This is where everything, in my opinion, went south.

After my son was born, I would do my makeup on occasion for special events but because I didn’t sleep for the first year, my husband and new dad was ALWAYS in the field training, and I never felt like taking the extra time to do makeup.

I would apply a little but it wasn’t the same. My skin wasn’t glowing. My eyes were dull. Under eye bags couldn’t be brightened and I honestly, I was too lazy to apply concealer anyways. My diet was crappy. The wrinkles in my eye made applying eyeliner too hard. The list goes on.

I kept making excuses instead of just making feeling great a priority. For me, feeling great and looking great go hand in hand.

I looked at myself in the mirror one day and didn’t recognize the woman I had become. The woman who put everyone and everything first, before herself. It was in that same moment I raced out of the bathroom and told my husband I’m going shopping, alone, to buy makeup. Slammed the door and replenished my bag with things I used to love, things that used to make me feel “pretty”. It wasn’t about the makeup… it was about how makeup made me feel.

While I have left the military service completely and serve now as a military spouse and government employee, I have never forgotten how I felt in that moment and I vowed to myself never to return to that place. I also recognize now that I wasn’t alone…

You can’t take care of anyone else unless you take care of yourself!

I urge you new parent’s and mommas, working, stay at home, single…carve out some YOU time.

Make it an appointment.

Make it official.

Ask for help.

Do an exchange with another mom friend of yours.

Communicate with your spouse.

Make sure that you find time in the space between.

If you’d like some help in learning how to wear makeup, adapting to a new getting ready routine, updating your makeup bag, reach out and schedule one of my makeup coaching services. They are seriously life changing.

If you could work in law enforcement, a male dominated industry, or in a job where femininity is scarce, my good friend and Detective Mary wrote an amazing article on how she balances her fierceness and femininity here. Until next time!

Military and Motherhood

As always, stay beautiful!


Natalie Setareh

Look no Further!

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Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

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