With all of the makeup artist tutorials bombarding Youtube and celebrities releasing lines of makeup products, you’d be forgiven in thinking every woman wears make up. There are products and techniques that were barely in existence a decade ago, as baking no longer refers to a cake in the oven and highlighting isn’t what you just do when studying with your notes.
I personally have never been a huge fan of the stuff for my own face. I appreciate the skill, beauty and mesmerizing transformations some people can create with it. Some people are like a modern day Monet with their brushes and products. It allows people to express their personality externally and allows them to look their best or different versions of themselves.
I however, have always been drawn to going out with a minimal look. I don’t mean the ‘no makeup look’ which involved 15 products and 30 minutes of time which could have been spent sleeping in the morning. I mean the traditional face wash, lip balm and cream look. All of my spots, blemishes and imperfections are discernible. Bare faced, completely. This is the same look I wear on first dates and every time I get told ‘You look just like your pictures!’, as the other party exclaims in surprise.
Ironically enough, I did wish I knew how to skillfully master the art of make up as a teenager, simply, because I thought I looked ugly. I mean, what teenager feels like a Greek goddess all the time? I got my sister to cover my face with a dusting of eye shadow and blush before going to weddings and events. A few years later, I felt this wasn’t me and resigned to using my one lipstick (I have now doubled this to two) for special occasions. I still wear makeup if the occasion requires. I reluctantly allowed several makeup artists loose with brushes near my face for my sister’s wedding. With the most ostentatious look, I felt the most uncomfortable as I looked the least like my regular self, and similarly, felt more comfortable and pretty with the lighter look.
These instances of a full face of makeup are so rare, you’re more likely to see the tooth fairy. Although on some days, I loathe the uneven bumps and scarring on my skin, I revel in the fact that I can wake up and be out of the door in 30 minutes because I don’t need to spend time doing my face. I can arrogantly wear white tops without colours painting them by the end of the day. Above all, I appreciate that this is how I feel most comfortable. Even though objectively I am not that gold standard of beauty and attractiveness, I don’t deem makeup a necessity to my life to cover up these imperfections. I’ve had the odd day where I have felt insecure about large spots and used concealer, but never to the point of being dependent on it. I also believe that my inner beauty makes up for it by shining outwards!
I still enjoy taking care of my skin and love the occasional face mask, a good moisturiser and certain serums. I do also dab on a coating of lipstick and maybe a flick of the mascara wand if I feel like adding some colour occasionally. This is when I want it on though, and it is never for other people. Some of my friends have requested if they can do my face with great zealousness, which shows how much of a bonding activity it can be between people, from buying the products, discussing the best combinations or techniques to applying it. I’ve allowed them do it for amusement on me, before wiping it off.
I have been told by women that I will change my mind about make up as I get older and been told I can look older (which in my case would by my real age) with it. Now in my mid 20’s, I have stuck to my decision and feel comfortable (most of the time!) in my skin and how I look. I don’t feel I would personally gain the enjoyment from a perfectly painted face. I would much rather admire that from afar on someone else’s face.
It may sound cliché but there is obviously no ‘right’ here. The pressure shouldn’t be to conform to wearing the perfectly respectable amount so that you’re always looking polished but not ‘too much’, flawless but ‘natural’. It shouldn’t be an expectation for women to wear make up to work, much like there is no expectation for men to use it. Societal pressure shouldn’t force you into using pricey contouring kits if that’s not what you want. We should be able to feel beautiful bare and beautiful in makeup when we choose to apply it in whichever way we like. Women shouldn’t be told one way is better than the other, because the best way is ultimately how we feel good in ourselves.