Makeup is an accessory, not a necessity.
At age 4 I started dance classes. I’d prance around on stage wearing blue eyeshadow and bright pink lips to go with my overly sequined leotard and fluffy skirt at each recital. I felt sparkly.
At age 9, I took my first modeling class, where they taught all the pre-pubescent girls how to apply mascara and cover your pimples. I felt grown up.
At age 12, I got my very own quad of purple and pink eyeshadows that I wore every day with my covergirl pressed powder in ivory. I felt girly.
At age 13, I discovered glitter eyeliner and eye jewels. Each day I coordinated the colors to match my outfits. I felt fun.
At age 15, I learned applying foundation, then concealer, then powder could cover every zit plaguing my face. I felt hidden.
At age 16, I would’ve rather died than let my boyfriend see me bare faced. I’d make him wait outside on the porch until I was ready. I felt ugly.
At age 18, the smokier the eye, the better I felt. I felt sexy.
At age 23, changing the shape of my face became a skill to master. I felt fat.
At age 27, I became a Mom, so looking alert and rested was a goal I chased with eye brighteners and radiance powders. I felt worn out.
Now, at age 31, I haven’t put on makeup in a week. I feel liberated.
Makeup used to be fun. I used to see it as a way to reflect who I was and what I was feeling. It was an accessory. Much the way putting on a sparkly dress can make a girl feel fancy, makeup told the world that Amy was having a sassy/playful/grungey/bold/etc moment. It was just a small piece of the whole package that I wanted to present to those around me. Somewhere along the line, that changed for me and did for majority of women. We’ve been made to feel like makeup is a necessity. Without it, we aren’t fit to be in public! Our complexions are dull, our eyes are too small, our lips are too thin, our foreheads are huge and let’s not even bring up that nose! And all of these flaws must be corrected before we are good enough to be accepted. You see, I’m a makeup artist. I’ve made a successful career out of applying makeup to people’s faces for a variety of occasions. I go into each application with the intention of adding color and pizzazz, or conveying an emotion or character, or simply just completing an ensemble of hair/shoes/clothing.
But the phrase I hear more than any other is, “Make me pretty”. Oh sister, that’s not my job.
Because what you’ve forgotten is that you are beautiful. You don’t need me for that. When you start to realize that contouring your face is complete bullshit and that what makes you the most attractive is your strength and confidence, the story being told every morning in front of the mirror will change. When you start seeing the light in your eyes instead of listening to lies you’ve been told about their shape and size, the liner and falsies don’t seem so crucial. When you remember that the words you speak have immense power, your lips will become a tool for spreading your purpose instead of the focal point for Kylie Jenner’s next money making scheme.
Makeup IS fun. But it’s not mandatory. You are so much more than lipcolor. You have so many important things to devote your time and energy to. We have to rethink the role makeup has in our life and recognize that it is an accessory, not a necessity. We’ve got to stop allowing the beauty industry continue to beat us down by telling us how each product is going to make us “better”. Because sister girl, you are so fantastic all on your own.