Every time someone tells me “you should wear less makeup”, or I see a post telling me to ditch the cosmetics to embrace my “true self”, or an article congratulating a celebrity for going makeup-free, it makes me want to dive into a lake of Nars sheer glow foundation and dwell there until I feel better about myself again. First things first, nobody needs makeup. Nobody should need it to feel beautiful. And I’m fully aware that the beauty industry is a multi-billion pound a year one that works largely by making women think they need to buy all of their stuff in order to look good. But quite frankly, I’m so over being shamed for my choice to wear whatever amount of makeup that I choose to wear.
The biggest problem that I find I’m constantly trying to fight is the implication that makeup is something for ugly women to simply make themselves look slightly less ugly, and that those who feel more comfortable wearing makeup than not wearing it are in fact uglier than those who choose not to wear it at all. Let me make a correction: makeup is about enhancing beauty, not covering ugly.
Another problem I am beginning to find increasingly disturbing is the levels of praise women get for choosing not to wear makeup. Does anybody else find that patronising? I’ve had friends say “Oh wow, well done for not wearing so much makeup today!” Sorry, I forgot that wearing makeup was a sin against the world… Shall I go and say some hail Mary’s? Also, with a reaction like that, can I ask where the fuck is my medal for not choosing to wear it? Every time these kind of comments are made a little part of my soul dies and goes to a heaven where it can RIP without being berated for its love of good cosmetics and the confidence that comes with it.
Why should going barefaced publicly be seen as an amazing achievement and brave? It’s no more than a simple choice of appearance, like the same as choosing whether to wear jeans or a skirt. It’s this whole attitude surrounding makeup that casts its use in a sometimes-controversial light. It confuses me, because ultimately wearing makeup is a choice, exactly the same as not wearing makeup, so why should these choices be looked at any differently?
There's nothing wrong with promoting natural beauty and the notion that you don't need to wear makeup to look beautiful. Campaigns promoting this have reversed societal judgement that once dictated that we need cosmetics to fit the current ideal beauty standards. Now what is beginning to take its place is the idea that you need to look beautiful, but only naturally, with no help from makeup at all. These campaigns act like a liberator for us women who do not want to wear makeup. But now what for those of us who love our makeup?
What's wrong with these campaigns is they promote natural beauty in a way that shames those who choose to wear makeup by making them feeling guilty, judged, or that because they choose to wear makeup they are not naturally attractive. I’m happy enough leaving the house without makeup on, but I’m unhappy that I now feel a pang of guilt and worry that others might judge me when I wear a full face of makeup so skilfully painted that even Michelangelo would be jealous. Shaming people for their choices won’t change them, it will just make them feel worse about it. Nobody should feel that they have to validate themselves as a person by proving to others how they look without makeup, in the exact same way nobody should feel they have to validate themselves by wearing it. Plus, more often than not
Then there are remarks about how wearing makeup can be unfair and some even argue it’s deceptive. But then what about getting braces? Or using hair straighteners or curlers? These are both examples where tools are used to change a natural look. I mean like, how dare Kate Middleton get a blow-dry immediately after the birth of the royal baby? Damn, the cheeky bitch for trying to deceive us all into thinking she has perfect goddess curly hair 24/7 when clearly it should be slicked back with the sweat and tears that come from the pain and stress of squeezing a baby out from between her legs. Why is it that makeup is crossing the line between real and fake?
Men shouldn’t really come into any part of the argument, but unfortunately they do. I came across this ridiculously infuriating article aimed at both men and women from Elite Daily about Why You Should Date A Girl Who Doesn’t Need To Wear Makeup To Feel Beautiful. Whilst the writer begins by critising women for wearing makeup to appeal to men more, she fails to recognise that her article is based entirely on the premise of a man’s pleasure, hence the title. Despite backtracking, trying to say that women who wear makeup are still great, the whole article goes on listing the reasons why women who don’t wear makeup are better. How is this article helpful? It does not empower women to not wear makeup, it creates an inferiority complex and makes women feel shit and ashamed about the fact that they wear makeup.
Bringing this rant to an end, I’m so over the semantics of real vs fake that surround this debate: so the idea that if you wear makeup then you are fake and if you don’t, then you are ‘real’. Well, shit me, I forgot I can no longer be considered a real-life human being when wearing makeup and that I must be reduced to an animated mask of caked on cosmetics. Surprisingly (apparently), beneath this deceptive mask of makeup that I choose to wear is not the face of a hideous demon. It’s the face of just another human being, with slightly less definition to her face. Wearing makeup is a choice, just the same as wearing no makeup is a choice, and that is it. Never let anyone determine your worth based on how much or little makeup you choose to wear.