I got an email the other day that had me thinking about the significance of makeup, especially in my life. She asked how I felt about the accusations that using makeup is a deceptive way that women represent themselves. I figured I’d respond to this publicly because I feel that it is essential to my readers to understand why I write what I write and the role that makeup plays for me personally.
Let’s start with a little personal history! I’ve gotten on a beauty kick lately more so than ever. I’m really loving experimenting with makeup and different products ever since I visited Ulta and later got an Ipsy subscription, which delivers new, varying beauty products every month for only $10, making it pretty much impossible for a girl like me to refuse. My love for using makeup has been a consistent love. I remember, as a young child, I used to carry around one of those caboodle carrying cases full of makeup and sit around with my friends and create “makeovers”. Sure, they probably weren’t as aesthetically pleasing then as they’d be now (I’ve learned at least some skills since those days), but even then I understood what makeup meant to me. I loved using it because makeup is artistic as well as purposeful.
I see so many comments on the pages, videos, and posts of beauty bloggers by men (and some women) saying that makeup is deceptive and that it hides one’s natural flaws, making the individual more attractive than they actually are, attracting individuals who apparently think they naturally look flawless. Ahh. Let’s get this straight here. Makeup enhances one’s beauty and gives the individual the ability to exemplify certain physical traits while toning down traits they see as less desirable or bothersome. That’s not deceptive. It’s something that we, as humans, do similarly with many things. We always want to put our best traits forward, whether it’s for a job interview, a first date, whichever. Makeup is something that allows women to accentuate their best physical features.
Some women, like myself, also use makeup as a way to conceal acne scars in order to be more comfortable and confident in their own skin and especially in face to face social situations. For me, I focus immensely on the base of the makeup look: the foundation. I have had severe acne for the majority of my young adult to adult life and it has left me with unsightly, discolored scars that I don’t always like to leave bare. It’s a sensitive thing for me, having others ask about the permanent marks that were left on my face from these years, so I find that knowing how to apply my makeup effectively gives me a major confidence boost. Others aren’t looking for scars, but rather social queues on my face, which is a nice change of pace. I could imagine many others apply makeup for the same reasons. They would rather reduce the distraction of little flaws and feel comfortable and confident in their own skin than go out, barefaced, knowing that the uncomfortableness will ultimately hinder them. I remember feeling like I was going to cry every time I’d look in the mirror and see how badly my skin had gotten. Makeup gives the individual the freedom to look glamorous and to feel beautiful, acne scars or not. It’s more so for the individual’s sake than for any outside force, meaning that the use of makeup isn’t as much for “deception” as many like to call it, but for the expression of illuminating one’s perceived best features in vibrant, inspired new ways, neutralizing the flaws we have that chip at our confidence.
Makeup is enjoyable for me. I love to be able to have a clean canvas to create new looks every day and to experiment with different color palettes. I can change my look to fit my outfit, my mood, anything I desire. I honestly think using makeup is as “deceptive” as a woman looking beautiful in nice clothes. Is that deception too, because she’s not spotlighting the bumps and rolls that are just a natural part of her figure, but finding pieces that illuminate her best assets?
Realistically speaking, how is makeup any more deceiving?
Why should I not feel comfortable in my own skin?