I wrote the following a while ago in response to a prompt on Man Repeller.
For many years make-up seemed taboo to me. My mother was always a makeup –minimalist, with a sweep of mascara and a quick swipe of lip tint she was out the door. I was raised to be smart and was taught that being smart was better and more important than being pretty anyway. But as I got older, these rules have changed; as my mom gets older her interests in cosmetics are beginning to develop and flourish, and mine are quick to follow.
Now, I wouldn’t attribute my recent interest in make-up wholly to my mother, but I think that many of our pampering proclivities begin with the opinions and preferences of our role models. For me, my mother was always my role model, and although I was hesitant to fully hop on board with her new fascination with eyeliner, which started just a few short years ago, I was also intrigued. Maybe my mom’s age had something to do with it, but she started buying make up in sets of two. A lipstick for her and a lip stick for me; she’d try a light concealer and before long I had a matching concealer of my own. So I started to try it out.
The older she gets the more she believes in doing what makes her feel good, and I am a huge proponent of her change of heart. Make-up is still not an everyday thing for me, but I do use it more consistently and these days I am starting to take risks and play around. I remember girls in high school talking about how much fun they felt make-up was, and I remember responding with pride, “I don’t even bother with it,” maybe because I felt I was a more natural beauty than they. But who was I kidding? Make up IS fun.
It’s fun to be bold, to be luscious, to try new colors, and explore your own unique skin tone, eye color, hair color, lip shape, and enhance those lovely lashes. I don’t wear make-up strictly to look more attractive. I mostly use it because some days it just makes me feel more complete and more interesting. It gives me confidence because I tried something new, and did it myself. Some days it makes me feel fresh, and other days I am lazy and tired and I don’t want to stand out, so I keep my brushes and tints in my bureau drawer. I think make-up can be another way to play with identity, another way to try new things, and a way to feel your best if it has that particular effect on you.
Women don’t NEED make-up to be beautiful, but sometimes it just does the trick for our mentality; it gives me extra pep in my step, some cohesion and color for encouragement. I think my original feelings, and maybe my mom’s too, about the separation between smart and pretty were wrong. Why can’t we have it all? Why not be pretty AND smart? Make-up can be intellectual and artistic, why not adopt it as another creative outlet?
My personal favorite make up is lipstick, nothing makes me feel sleeker and sexier than a bold lip. Do you have a favorite part of your make up routine? A favorite brand? A favorite technique?
Share your thoughts in the comments!