Makeup can be a pretty controversial topic. As a teenage high school girl, I can say that I do wear makeup with variable frequency. Odds are, I’ll wear foundation 1 out of 5 school days. It won’t happen unless I’m wearing concealer, which I tend to do probably 3 out of 5. Eyeliner/mascara/eyeshadow? Probably 2 out of 5, but I can’t guarantee I’ll be wearing any other makeup as well.
The point is, I don’t wear makeup every day—in fact, I make sure that I have at least one day completely makeup-free— but I do wear it.
Many makeup condemners try to explain that “You’re hiding who you really are!” but I don’t really agree with that. True, sometimes I am covering up my skin, like if I have a bad breakout or something. But I don’t think I’m hiding who I am… Honestly, this argument doesn’t make much sense to me, because we are the only ones who can declare who we are, and therefore the only ones who can declare whether or not we are hiding who we are.
They also say, “Why do you need makeup to be confident?”
Here’s the thing: I don’t need makeup to be confident. I like myself just fine, and I am pretty comfortable in my own skin. But makeup does sometimes help me to be a little more comfortable. I enjoy looking put-together, and I really like dressing up for events, or even just for the school day. Wearing makeup does two things for me: I feel more put-together, and slightly more inclined to work, because I feel less lazy. It also makes me feel less self-conscious, because I don’t worry about people paying attention to my facial imperfections instead of my words.
I do take issue with some elements of makeup.
It is a vicious cycle. When you start wearing it, you may not like to go back to your un-made-up face, and that is where the “confidence trap” comes into play. You get so used to your powder-y lotion-y face that you almost forget what regular-you looks like. That’s part of why I make sure to give my face a breather at least once a week—Not only is it healthier to not have any stuff all over it, but it’s nice to remind myself that other people can see me without makeup, and they don’t judge me. I can look at myself in the mirror and be 100% okay with who I am.
Which brings me to my (somewhat related) other issue with makeup. Wearing a lot of it, so often, forces the idea that no one can be pretty without alteration. And that is a problem for me. I have that issue with braces, too. Despite the confidence, despite the (in the case of braces) health benefits, it’s still alteration. It’s still not exactly me.
I also find that makeup gives me an excuse to sleep less, which is probably not so good. Oh, I have another hour of homework? That’s okay, I can sacrifice the sleep. I can always cover up the dark circles in the morning. And that is unhealthy. I know it is. But, see point one. Vicious cycle. Sleep settles itself in patterns, and once you start getting less sleep, it’s hard to stop, which leads to fatigue and dark circles and imperfect skin, which can all lead to more makeup…
My other big problem with it is the extreme double standard. They don’t really market makeup to the male population, with the exception of stage makeup and stuff for celebrities, who spend their lives under flashing lights. Guys aren’t ridiculed for a little bit of acne, or for a few dark circles. But girls are, and then we are handed little pink tubes of substances to try and make it all better. It’s an industry partially based on girls’ low self esteem, which I find to be pretty damn condescending and discriminatory.
However, none of this is to say that I don’t like makeup. As I mentioned before—I do wear it, and occasionally plenty of it. I like it for special occasions. I follow several beauty vloggers on Youtube. I have a rather large—although maybe not so large, in comparison to those of some of my friends’—stockpile of my own.
But I do think that wearing it every single day can be a not-so-great decision. And I also think that wearing it for other people is a downright awful decision. I wear my makeup for me. And if other people see me wearing it, then that’s great for them, but they also get to see my naked face whenever I opt for that, as well.
I do think that makeup can boost confidence. And yeah, I think that it can also destroy it, when people get caught in the circle of I can’t go outside the house without makeup. But I think that on a base level? It doesn’t matter. We are who we are, and we do what we do, and if we feel comfortable with that, then that’s how it should be.