22 October 2012

On Make-Up

I haven't been blogging for a while due to lots of issues, but I just was about to start ranting away about yet another thought that I can't conclude on in a satisfactory manner, when it hit me that Twitter just isn't as awesome as Blogger when it comes to longer thoughts.  Plus, I get ignored by practically everyone on Twitter *cue violin music*

My issue today, is make-up 
(Oh, and all the images in this blog-post were photographed by yours truly. :D   )

I lie, though.  Because this issue is not just an issue today.  It's an issue every day, and it actually has boggled my mind for so long that I feel incomplete without having concluded what I actually think of the entire phenomenon.  My dilemma started many years ago, when I hadn't even hit my teens yet (though I did have an interest in boys, as that had started when I was two - don't ask!).

 I was raised by a mother who believed only in natural beauty, and so I often heard belittling comments from her about women "hiding behind" their make-up.  I thought the exact same for many years, and felt very happy to walk around looking like I just woke up (okay, I washed my face etc, but basically wore no make-up).  I'm now at a very different stage, and my opinion changes like the weather on this topic.  I realised that there is nothing wrong with make-up, as women have been wearing it for centuries.  Some women who I respect and admire greatly will never be out without their standard eye paint, and they don't exactly seem to be the types that are "hiding" (ie women without confidence).  Sure, the stereotype of the horridly hot "popular girl" with 10 layers of make-up, who secretly is very insecure, does exist, but where do *I* (or "eye", as my good friend Alexis often types for emphasis) stand on this?

Sometimes I want to be an artist in every way, and express myself in fashion, jewellery, and make-up.  Let's go WILD with those colours!  The next day, I consider that to be a mask, and so I go "naked" with casual clothing (but less confidence when I see other well made-up women), as I cringe about the day before where I was probably considered an attention-seeker.   Then there are nights when I want to look my best, so I put the full treatment: foundation, contouring, heavy black eyeliner etc.  I'll then look in the mirror and wonder why make-up actually makes me feel uglier.

Then I decide the next day that I want to accentuate only, so I do natural-looking make-up.  I will put a very thin line on my top lid to accentuate my big round eyes (which I usually wish were pointy and small aka SEXY), put natural-looking mascara (LUSH or Chanel!), and potentially contour a tiny bit with some darker colours (a soft line on the dip under one's cheekbone, and another in the crease of my lid).  I also cover the veins under my eyes that are a major reason for my lack of confidence in how I look.  I end up looking like I'm barely wearing any make-up, which feels great for my self-esteem.

Then I get home, take off my make-up, and feel like I just lied to the world.  That's not "me", that's not what I see in the mirror when I wake up.  That's a pretentious lie, leading people to believe I look gorgeous when I don't.  My conscience is unlocked when I return to my home, appearing from its room where I kept it hostage while I pretended to be someone I was not.  And yet, without make-up I end up feeling like a shadow when I see other beautifully (classily!) made-up women.  I want to hide, and never leave the house again.  I feel like something not worth the ground I walk on at that moment, and a huge feeling of regret wells up in me; "I wish I had bothered to make myself look nice today".

This might all sound over the top, but it's how I feel, and I've learned to embrace my feelings instead of considering them to be wrong or right.  I know very well that a lot of this has to do with me being raised by an individual who, quite simply, wasn't healthy, as well as self-esteem/confidence issues.  But even then, I still don't know where that would make me stand if I eventually did "fix" my confidence issues!  What is "right", and what is "wrong"?  Which decision will make me look back and say "Yes.  This was right for me."?  What is the ideal balance for me, that I can fit in my routine?  I don't want to look like a child of 12 (I have a baby-face), but I also don't want to get so dependent on make-up that I end up feeling like I am nothing without it.

Don't get me wrong.  This isn't an issue that plagues me, but simply a constant issue that pops up more than I like.  I hate not know where I stand with something as important as how I represent myself.  My "look" is the cover to the story inside me, and I want to accurately represent who I am without feeling like I betrayed my identity.  I want to be sure about this issue, but for now I realise I'll just have to make do with being impulsive every day (aka just saying "who cares" and not wearing any make-up).  Hopefully one day I'll be able to say with certainty that I know where I stand on this.

Again, I know a lot of this has to do with self-esteem issues, but I am curious as to what my female readers think of this topic.  What is your make-up "routine"?  How do you feel when removing it?  How do you feel when you see other women with lots of or no make-up?  How did your own mother teach you about make-up (or how did you learn about it)?  Do you also compare, what is the reason you do/don't? How does your SO (or your exes) feel about you with it?  I'm lucky that my SO finds me beautiful with and without, but sometimes I get afraid that if I were to wear make-up every day, that he would see what I will end up seeing:  a woman who can no longer be without a mask.


  1. Gakenia Gathura22 October, 2012 20:37

    Hey! i'd say make up is not a bad but as my mom taught me ther people who need it and therz a time in life when you'l really need it thus as for now early teens to early 20's 30's it shouldnt be so much of a priority.
    Though if u decide to use it
    1.men hate women with too much make up,a man wants a woman he can wake up to in the mornin and wonder wt hurricane hit u durin the night.
    2. the more natural the better
    3. bright and flashy is mostly for evenings
    4. professionally (like if yr lookin for a career) u might feel like yr more confident with all that make up on but wt yr potential employer wil c is a mask..i think the result is obvious
    5.make up is to improve yr appearance nt change yr appearance...
    6. n ofcourse the lonfg term effects of too much make up use are jst nt intrstn so avoid it by all means if u cn!
    hope ive hlpd!

    1. Hey Gakenia,

      Thanks firstly for reading! :)

      I like that your mum taught you that you do not need it now. My mum taught me something similar, but seeing my peers in a lot of make-up makes me often wonder what is "right", and whether I am living in my own illusion.

      Response to your other points:

      1 - I have heard this before. My bf finds me hot with/without, as well as the morning after not washing it off (panda eyes!), so he's just a special case. I wonder if he'd be the same though if I constantly wore a lot of it.

      2 :)

      3 Agreed! Except for moderate bright (like a bit of orange or yellow highlight on my eye when I'm in an artistic mood).

      4 So true! Though eye make up seems to be standard with working women.

      5 Not for everyone though. Make-up is a wonderful solution for those who dont want surgery, and can do wonders. But I agree, a self-esteem issue needs to be dealt with from the root, and not simply covered up.

      6 I use only natural/mineral eye make-up (when I do wear it), and my foundation is so good that when I DO bother (and I hardly ever do because I'm just too low-maintenance) wearing it, it actually leaves my skin looking better afterwards :P

  2. My opinion is that make-up only makes one prettier if one is comfortable with having no make-up on. Make-up itself is not good or bad, it depends on the utility. If you wear make-up because you are insecure about yourself, it will in someway show. If you are wearing make-up because you like to sometimes take care of yourself and be an even better version of yourself then make-up looks great, but you can see the confidence of such a girl, and you can see the lack of confidence in a girl who is wearing it as a mask. In that case I do not find make-up attractive... Cause you shouldn't have to need it... It's more an attitude thing then 'make-up' thing...

    1. That makes a lot of sense. I have come to realise that we as humans are more sensitive to subtle cues than we realise. The same way (do you watch the Dog Whisperer) a dog will accept you as a leader when you feel like one, your balance/groundedness is probably felt by others. It is probably why pregnant women get hit on so much - they are comfortable and in their element and full of love, and people somehow tap into that.

      This also makes sense as to why Jessie J looks so damn hot without make-up, as she says she feels fine with or without (yum - referring to an old convo we had about her). :P

    2. Jup that's true... I'm lucky that I am ok with who I am, with make-up or without... This partially has to do with the fact that I know that confidence is more important. I'm not a typical pretty girl, and I don't feel the need to be, I believe that we focus too much on things about us that we do not have any credits for... Girls being proud of their 'full lips' and 'almond eyes'... Why in hell be proud of something that you can't take any credits for? Be proud because you study hard to get a degree, that you work hard on your job, that you have a great personality etc etc... For that matter: I'm proud of being in a university, I'm proud that I am able to arrange shoots, I'm proud that I've got a lot of friends... Why worry about my 'big ass nose' while that's the one thing that I'm not responsible for? Be happy with who you are and people will find you more attractive, we believe that we are all superficial and only look at 'the outside' but that is not true... It just is the case that we see the outside differently if we like someone

    3. You ARE a pretty girl!!

      But what you said makes sense. Being proud of body parts also makes no sense unless you have been working in the gym for it.

      Thanks for the new insight Lotte :)

  3. Hi,
    So I'm not even through reading your article, so maybe my reaction is a little hasty (only the last 2 paragraphs to go, though!), and so here's the deal:
    The transition you seem to have made in your way of thinking about make-up is what most girls go through, myself included. We are generally born to mothers whom for various reasons (culture, health, culture..lol) instill in us this understanding that make up is something not natural, and therefore is, to say the least, 'frowned upon'. You said it yourself, as soon as a girl chooses to have 12 layers of make up on (though that is the exaggeration of the millennium), she is labeled insecure and just plain 'fake'. That she is lying to us because she wants to put on some pink eyeshadow and purple lipstick, to me, is NOT understandable in any way. How do we decide that this person is lying because of that, eventhough we think she looks great? And further, how do we bring ourselves to the conclusion that being natural is not 'gorgeous'? I ask these questions to myself of course. But the real lie here, is when this girl, feels she can't make use of what makes her feel confident, (and which just by the by, does not hurt anyone), just so we don't judge her.
    So after asking myself all the same questions you do in this article, and going through all those phases of "I'm gorgeous, who needs makeup' to 'Oooook, mascara is in order, girllllls', I came to this conclusion, or rather, this method which helps me personally to stop thinking about makeup and my face in all those different ways that just confuse the cells out of my skin; Take it one day at a time (which you do, it seems), but more importantly, if you want a consistent result, you have to do something consistent as well. My 'consistent' thing is to give myself (and I mean my image of myself) enough of everything. Some days, I'll feel my face looks like I'm dying, but then I realize it's just how I feel that day, bc something didn't go my way, or because I didn't eat enough sugar, or because I forgot to tweeze my eyebrows! Simple! You have to take care of your skin, facials, scrubs, all that stuff; and the best part? Do it at home, and have fun with it! In the end, I find it makes you look AND most importantly, feel great! And whoever says natural beauty doesn't need care is an idiot who missed science classes!
    So do it how you want, and day by day, but give it your best, whether your making up, or cleaning up.
    On a more technical note, I think we are (luckily!) moving towards a more accepting mentality in regards to make-up, as girls are not only more conscious about 'how much' should go on your skin, but also, the techniques, the artistic side and the different results that can be achieved, but also more aware of the healthy ways (both physical and emotional) of doing this, which really, should be the only concern :)

    1. 12 layers? Exaggeration? ;)

      I loved your post! Very enjoyable, as well as educational. I hope you'll post under your name next time ;)

      I have an issue with looking after myself, it has deeper causes (as all superficial things do) which I believe stem from me putting myself below others. I don't prioritise looking after myself enough, but am in the process of learning how to. One step at a time. :)

  4. First of all, I just want to say Hi! I haven't seen you around for a while.

    Now to the topic. When I was much-much younger I loved using make-up. It pains me to look at some of my pictures from that time ;)

    As I'm getting older, I use more and more care products and less make-up. I do not want my face to look painted. Well, unless it's a Halloween make-up or a big party.
    In "regular life" I want to use things that make me look better but do not look foreign on me. Also, I don't want to look like I'm trying too hard, I think.

    My daily make-up consists of a tinted moisturizer, setting powder, a brow pencil, a lip pencil, a lipstick and a perfume.

    I have no idea what my SO thinks about that and, frankly speaking, I do not really care about his or anybody else's thoughts on the topic.

    1. Hi Undina! :D

      Yes, I have been abnormally busy, and am really behind on my perfume blogging as well as reading other people's blogs! Hope you are well :)

      I like your dailies. When used in moderation make-up can accentuate so well. I still cannot get into lipstick; I am so not used to it that I keep feeling like the world can see that I'm wearing lipstick (does this make sense)? I'm trying to get into it a little more, as I have them but never dare to use them.

      I desperately need to get into doing my brows though. They can make such a difference!

      Glad to hear you do this for you, regardless of what others (incl SO!) think :)

    2. You do not have to use lipsticks! Get a lip gloss or a tinted lip balm. Do it not for the look but to protect your lips from sun or cold.

    3. Lip gloss and I don't work - I chew it - and the skin - all off :( Tinted lip balm is a good idea, thanks :) I also love lip stains on special occasions; I hate the idea of reapplying!

  5. I personally see nothing morally wrong with makeup. Some of the most beautiful art ever created has been on the faces of women. That said I do think that when makeup, like anything, is used as a way to cope with a deeper pain it is PART of a morally questionable equation.

    Basically if someone is putting on makeup to make a separate persona that allows them to cope with something in their life. I had a friend that was a stripper and she used to wear a ton of makeup to have a separate personality that could do all the degrading things she hated doing. It literally gave her split personalities. It started as a way to cope with sexual abuse from a young age.

    Most of the time this is not the case. Most of the time makeup is used as a form of self expression. I am solidly for any form of expression! If we come to understand this we can understand that it is part of being whole. Expression helps us define ourselves and helps others understand us. This is always good. We NEED to be able show ourselves as a whole person to others. Sometimes a story requires ink...


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