Ahh make-up. Something some people can do without and others feel like they cannot live without. There are millions of Youtube videos about how to put on makeup, how to take it off, why it’s important, why it oppresses women. Some are proud not to wear it, others won’t leave the house without it, and lots of us are right in the middle.
I’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship with makeup. The first time I wore any (apart from play makeup as a girl) was at summer camp at the age of twelve. At the end of the week, there was a goodbye dinner that everyone got dressed up for and spent the whole week looking for a “date” (even though we ate dinner with our cabin mates and that was it). One of the girls in my cabin brought makeup and we each sat down in front of the small mirror in dim light and applied it. I learned how to put black eyeliner on my water line (something you don’t do nowadays because it makes your eyes look smaller) and how it kind of blurs your vision just a little bit. We all applied pink sparkling lipstick and an inordinate amount of blush. We were young women now.
Throughout highschool I kept with the eyeliner, though I passed on the lipstick and the blush. I was one of those very lucky few that didn’t need to put anything on my skin. I wore lipstick once for a play that I was in, but that was it. Eyeliner and mascara got me through just fine. I bragged about not needing to wear makeup (To every person who knew me at sixteen, I’m so sorry).
Then adulthood happened and makeup was not worth doing anymore. I worked in a carwash. Nobody saw me. Once Brian and I started seeing each other, I reverted to my old eyeliner schtick, but by this point, I was embarrassed by my lack of skills. By this point, Youtube and Instagram were full of people who had mastered the art of smokey eyes and contouring and “glowing skin” and I was not one of them. I started putting eyeliner on my top lid (Yay! Progress!), but my routine stayed the same.
Not for my sister though. Before you go any further, if you don’t know, my sister is beautiful. And I’m not just saying that because we are related. It’s insane. I’m serious. She’s jaw-dropping. Anyways, she had been practicing and practicing and practicing and she got this stuff down. She’d perfected the smokey eye in colours that enhanced her bright, blue eyes. She’d worked out the perfect red lip to rival Taylor Swift.
So she and I’d hang out and I’d make her show me cause I looked a bit haggard in comparison, especially in photos. Together we practiced. And spent waaaay too much money at Sephora. Like seriously.
Soon, I had the eye stuff down. But that’s it. I can’t rock the lipstick, as much as I’d love to. I still don’t have to worry too much about breakouts so the skin makeup still eludes me. Contouring? I need it in a bad way, but I have no clue where to start (especially since there is no highlighter white enough to highlight my vampire-pale skin). And please don’t even look at my eyebrows. But I can do a smokey eye AND in colours to make my greenish-greyish eyes look green. Woot!
The feminist in me kind of despises how much I want to love makeup. I guiltily watch tutorials when I’m alone to pick up tips on stuff I probably won’t ever even try. I mean, what is makeup for except to make you more appealing to others? Shouldn’t I be more concerned with inner beauty? I shouldn’t have to conform to modern beauty standards (trust me, I don’t. Not even a little bit)!
But I look at the women who wear oodles and oodles of makeup and I am jealous at how talented they are. Then later I look at the women who wear none and am jealous how naturally beautiful they are. I watched the rise of one of the grossest things I’ve seen on the internet:
That’s the weird thing about makeup. It’s sometimes considered necessary because you always have to look “beautiful” but other times it’s considered deceptive. I don’t know. I don’t like the idea that you have to be beautiful, like you owe the world a pretty face. But I also want to feel beautiful and makeup helps me feel that way. I don’t judge women on whether or not they wear makeup, but there is that double standard within myself. You know what I mean? I judge myself on something that I’d never judge anyone else on.
Then I was thinking about it when I was walking around the beautiful lake we have in my town. Natural landscapes are beautiful. I’m awed when I see fields of wildflowers. The way that the world placed all the plants in an chaotic, but gorgeous display. But when I see a perfectly manicured garden, it’s also beautiful. I see the huge amounts of work that went into it. I see the deliberate choices of colours and placement. Both are lovely. And so are we, no matter where on the makeup scale we land.
So, ladies, I’m going to remind you of how utterly stunning you are, makeup or none. And gents, maybe lay off the “trust issue” crap. You’re looking for beauty in the wrong place.