Why I Wear Makeup

Monday, 27 June 2016



Why do I wear makeup? For twenty-five years I did really well without it. I was never interested in makeup before. I didn't see an allure to it. Friends had gifted me cheap makeup eyeshadow palettes and utensils before for secret Santa presents for a last minute birthday idea - they clearly didn't know me. I had no clue how to use any of it. The brushes felt like I was brushing a Brillo Pad on my face and foam eyeshadow applicators were the most annoying things to exist. So why did I suddenly become interested in makeup at 25 years of age?





It was if a switch was flipped two years ago. 

I was participating in a charity fundraising version of Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing with the Stars for my US readers). We learnt two dances and performed for our friends and family to raise money for Tinkled Pink in memory of a treasured colleague who passed away from undetected cancer. We wanted to do something in her memory. So we had a Strictly Come Dancing themed evening. We had our hair and makeup professionally done. 

I sat on the makeup artist's stool and let her work her magic. She worked in front of a window so I couldn't see how my makeup was progressing any time I opened my eyes. I could feel the brushes move over my skin, along my cheekbones and over my eyelids. I could see various colours plastered over the back of her hand and felt her nearly glue my eyelids shut when applying false lashes. That was not fun. By the way, false lashes are the strangest things to get used to when you first wear them. Oh my god, my eyelids felt so heavy!

I had no idea what she was doing. I had an inkling but had no clue what her colour scheme was. Worst case scenario was raccoon face. I was the last girl to get her makeup done and I saw the others be transformed into these stunning women whose eyes just sparkled and faces glowed. I have low self-esteem and so I didn't think makeup would be able to transform this face into anything spectacular. As I said before, I expected raccoon face or panda eyes. I had every faith in the makeup artist, I just didn't have faith in the canvas that she was working with. 

Boy, was I wrong.

When I looked in the mirror after she was done, I was actually speechless. Actually speechless. To say that my jaw hit the floor would be an understatement. My jaw hit the floor and went straight through it and then went through whatever was beneath that. I couldn't believe that the face that was looking back at me was me. The makeup wasn't extreme now that I look back. A smokey eye with a nude lip and a contour. But it just made me feel like a supermodel. Especially with my hair and costume.




I had always received compliments on my clear skin and how much people envied my porcelain skin. My Mum always told me that people would pay to get fair skin like mine. I always saw people paying to get rid of it. This was before Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud created her Dainty Doll line of cosmetics. I wish that it was still readily available. I had no clue what to do with makeup or even how to go about finding makeup that wouldn't ruin my skin. The most I had every experienced with makeup was mascara and even then I hated that because of how my glasses magnified it. I used lipstick or tried eyeshadows after a friend from school practiced her makeup skills on me on a sleepover. I even asked friends to teach me but it never happened.

From that Strictly Come Dancing night, I was intrigued by makeup. I wanted to know how to apply it away from the stage so that I could recreate the eye makeup from that night. That lead me to YouTube. 

I first started to watch Ingrid Nilsen's (missglamorazzi) videos. I marathoned her videos for weeks - watching and re-watching videos. That then lead me to Fleur de Force, Estée Lalonde, Amelia Liana and so on and so forth. I watched video and after video. I watched them apply their makeup. I took in their recommendations and techniques before even approaching a makeup counter. 

One Saturday I plucked up the courage to approach the solitary Rimmel bay in my local Asda and bought everything that I needed - foundation, concealer, powder, an eyeshadow palette and a lipstick. I had a set of cheap brushes that I got from the Forever21 website. I knew that I wanted to start off with drugstore products before launching myself into anything more expensive just in case this was a fad and it fizzled out. 

Armed with my products, I went at it and I was really pleased with the results. I loved how I looked. Not in a shallow way. But in a way that said that if I can do this, I can do anything.

After a couple of months of watching beauty videos, I started to find YouTube channels that were more creative with their makeup application. The ones that used makeup to transform themselves into their favourite Disney characters, their favourite cartoon characters or to emulate their favourite celebrity. I realised that through makeup, I could emulate my favourite characters and perhaps embody some of their confidence in the process. It wasn't so much about beauty but character and the characters that makeup can create. Beetlejuice, Wednesday Addams, Poison Ivy, Scar, Elphaba, Deathstroke. As an artistic person, I saw my face as a canvas and that makeup was my paint. I could be grotesque, I could be alien, I could be human, I could be Vulcan, I could be a goblin. I could be anything that I wanted to be.






Sometimes when I feel like my confidence is waining, I apply my makeup like Jane Seymour. Or I use the lipstick that was used on Kate Mulgrew or Hayley Atwell and I feel like I can do anything because I have them on my side. From a lipstick? I know it's crazy but if I can kinda look like them, I can imagine myself walking like them and just tackling anything that comes my way. Does that make sense? It's like asking, 'what would Janeway do?' just by wearing a lipstick. Are you getting the men with the white coats yet?

For me makeup isn't a shield or a mask. It's strength. I don't feel like I need it all the time. At work, I don't wear makeup. I work at 6am and I would rather have twenty more minutes in bed than get up and apply some makeup in the dark. I don't feel like I need makeup every time that I walk out the door. I don't need it but it's nice to know that I can wear it when I want to. 

I apply makeup when I'm going somewhere to do something, for example, hanging out in Belfast or going to a singing lesson, going out for the day with my Mum or brother. I don't need makeup for rehearsals, or work, or going up the town for a dander or sitting in the house. I like my bare skin. I love my freckles. But I love how makeup, particularly foundation, can even out my skin tone. On minimal makeup days, I find myself catching a glimpse of my makeup in a mirror and I love how clean and clear it looks. The redness if minimal, the skin tone is evened out and I look healthy. I don't feel like I need to hide it. Yet it does give me confidence when I have an even base. Even after hours of wear and it's faded a little, I still love how my skin looks and it makes me feel like I am beautiful. It boosts my confidence and I need all the help I can get at times. 

Sometimes, I feel confident with a bare face and freshly cleaned hair. Sometimes I feel confident with some makeup on and a messy bun. It doesn't change who I am on the inside. Not at all. It simply gives me a little bit of courage to say that this is who I am and I'm okay with that. Plus, I can use  makeup to turn myself into any character that I want. Somedays I can be Wednesday Addams, others I can be Morgana Pendragon, Agent Carter or Kathryn Janeway. Nothing wrong with that.





I know that people are critiquing others for wearing too much makeup. But if it makes them happy, more confident or generally makes them feel good about themselves, you go! Slap that makeup on. Wing that liner out so that it cuts a bitch. Apply those falsies. You do what you want to do. It's your face. You're beautiful either way. It doesn't make you any less of a person if you wear a tonne of makeup or no makeup at all. 

I love makeup. I don't rely on makeup to make me feel good and confident, but it does help.



3 comments:

  1. Such a great post that I can actually relate to so much (as you probably already know ;)).
    I also totally agree with you btw. If makeup makes you happy go with it, if it doesn't that's also okay. :)
    I wish that more people would get that memo. :')

    Also great photos. You really have come so far and done so many different styles, it makes me want to try out new stuff too. :3 <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course! You're basically my twin!
      Exactly. I wish people would understand that. It goes with anything. If reading makes you happy, awesome. If it doesn't, that's okay too. The same goes for Star Trek, Star Wars, fashion, football, food, nature or anything you can think of. Do what makes you happy and don't apologise for that.

      It amazes me when I look back and see what I was able to do. My favourite look ever was that Steampunk one. It still amazes me. At times I feel like I've stalled and that I'm not as creative as I once was but I have to tell myself that I have to let the creativity take me where it wants and I'll follow that stream.

      xx

      Delete
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