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Post in Besides Beauty

Why do we put on make up?

Sephora Beauty Talk has a really vibrant and encouraging make up, skincare and hair care community of thoughtful individuals. I've been asking myself this question as soon as it occured to me to put make up on, and I've been doing it on and off for years. And it just occured to me to pose the question the community. My regime has stabilized in the past few years, and I'm not racked with the guilt that I once was when I was in art school in Montreal, and wondered if I was participating in an anti-feminist attempt to conform to an unrealistic ideal for female beauty that disempowers us.

I no longer feel that way, but I'm unsure as to how I feel. My friends and I regularly joke, when we shop for make up or clothing together, about how our boyfriends and husbands don't like certain things we buy and wear. We say "Yes, but this ____[insert highlighter yellow nailpolish, tangerine lipstick, black and white checkered pants, etc. here]____ is for girls, not for boys." I feel as though there is an alternative and aesthetically oriented community of individuals who take clothing and make up tremendously seriously, not because they're trying to make themselves look more like a disempowering ideal of Photoshoped beauty, but because they are a part of an alternative community that takes this seriously and competitively in the same way that one might take videogames, basketball, or politics seriously (but of course, this doesn't bar us from taking any or all of those seriously as well!).

For me, sometimes make up does become an unhealthy way of labouring over a dismorphic notion that my undereye bags are crippling. Sometimes it's a way of making myself conform to unrealistic ideals I have for how my skin or my hair should look. It does give me confidence, but does that confidence simply steel me against my own sense that I only inadequately match up to ideals of beauty that I didn't contribute to or create? More positively, I often feel that I wear make up because I enjoy it, it spices up my day in a way that isn't related to beauty or ideals or confidence, and I'm not doing it to be a more spicey sexual object, but for purely aesthetic purposes.

Well... that was rambling. What do you all think?

Re: Why do we put on make up?

I COMPLETELY understand you in every way. I have not always been a makeup junkie -- in fact my old roomie (who was gay, but not, like, super-femme) joked that I was butcher than he was! But lately I am constantly looking for new colors and ways to wear them. It's just plain fun. Makes me happy when I look in the mirror. It's not for guys, not even for other girls -- just myself.


That being said, it's really easy to get obsessive about it, and I have to watch myself or I will spend way too much money.

Re: Why do we put on make up?

Hahaha. All I can say to that is "ditto"!

Re: Why do we put on make up?

I really enjoyed reading that.  Thank you so much for posting your thoughts, it was a great way to get a very interesting discussion started!


I wear makeup because I feel empowered by deciding what other people will see when they look at my face.  I don't wear makeup all the time, only when I feel like it - although that is quite often and I do wear quite a lot.  I don't even really attempt to do the "no makeup makeup" because I don't care about that.  I'm creating a face that I feel like having that day, that moment, and it's the way I feel like looking.  That makes me feel pretty powerful, and I suppose it makes me feel beautiful to know I have the ability and the opportunity to recreate myself if I feel like it.


I also feel beautiful when I'm not wearing makeup, because makeup does not define my facial structure - it's an art to me, and I use it to express how I'm feeling or what I want to put into the world that day.  But I don't wear makeup to hide (ok, I wear concealer to hide pimples because I have a tendency to pick and I don't like how purple they look on my super pale skin) because I don't think there is anything wrong with my face that would need me to change it.


I guess, I wear makeup because I can, because I apply it well, because I love all the different beautiful colors and effects and artistry makeup involves, and because I truly enjoy the process.


I'm proud to call myself a feminist, and I'm proud to say that my look ain't natural, but it is FIERCE Smiley Wink

Re: Why do we put on make up?

I can't heart this reply enough. Empowerment is a wonderful (and I think accurate) way to look at this.


Re: Why do we put on make up?

Power looks are incredible.  Haggled a $10 discount yesterday, got someone to professionally makeover my senior design website, and met someone to network many more connections with in the area I'll be moving to soon so hopefully I can find work faster!


It's all in the hips (makeup)! 

Re: Why do we put on make up?

I put on makeup because I absolutely love the process of doing it so much.  I find it thrilling to look through all of my colors and deciding on what "look" I want to go for that day-sometimes I try to match my outfit, other times I don't care and just match my mood.  I am 41 and recently became obsessed with makeup, I have worn it since I was about 15 but always lacked money/experience to give me a good outcome.   Through the internet, I have learned many valuable techniques that truly make a difference in my routine and I just find the whole process of "putting on my face" to be an intimate personal experience-I like having that time to myself.   I do often, however, put on makeup to please my husband (I think I look better with it on, than without) but for the most part I wear it because it gives me self-confidence.  I want to look my best at work and when I present myself to the public. Often times, I will put on a whole face of makeup just to stay home--I enjoy playing around with it so much!  I recently went to the grocery store sans makeup for the first time in EVER, and it was empowering to realize that people didn't treat me any differently with no makeup on!  I have become so used to wearing it that going without feels really weird...but I kinda liked it!

Re: Why do we put on make up?

Totally with you to feel comfortable either way...I forgot to mention that I've come to the understanding (Perricone's books and lots of research have helped) that what we put in our bodies is MORE important than what we apply topically for looking great (healthy food/ fats/ supplements), in addition to minimizing stress/ being in a healthy emotional state. When your skin is looking fabulous, makeup is just icing on the cake.

Re: Why do we put on make up?

Hear, hear! The best thing you can do for your skin and hair is eat well, drink lots of water, and a multivitamin never hurt. 

Re: Why do we put on make up?

Oo do share some good skincare supplements.

Re: Why do we put on make up?

I'm 100% hooked on Perricone's Metabolic Formula (I don't follow his diet but do try to eat as much fish/ nutrient rich food as possible). I take 2 packettes a day with meals (rather than the 3 a day for 10 days per his regimen) to make them last a little longer.


I had tried these before but bought some specifically for a trip to Maui (didn't want to experience tummy ache on the plane due to the hours/ food/ swelling) because I really wanted to look great in a bikini (I work out but I'm a curvy girl), and they also help your skin/ mood. I wouldn't tout it as literally an "anti-depressant" but the balance of fatty acids definitely gives you what you need to feel happy and digest your food properly. The CLA also helps you to feel full faster. I took 3 a day while I was there/ traveling.


Once I realized how much they helped, I've been on them ever since. A lot easier than trying to get the right balance on your own (and actually cheaper really considering the quality).


I also take Holy Basil to combat cortisol/ the inflammatory response, and make smoothies w/ spirulina and coconut oil (+ fruit, greek yogurt).


Really getting into cooking, just trying to seek out the best ingredients...I feel just as good doing that as I do taking care of myself other ways (including skincare/ supplements, and makeup). Also yoga and acupuncture.

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