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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?

Makeup is the only artistic ability that I have, and I love trying new looks and reading about new items and beauty blogs and watching youtube tutorials/reviews etc. Its what I do for ME. Not for the world, not to impress a boy, not to look like a model in a magazine, but for me. No one pushed me into makeup, no one forced me to wear it, its something that I grew to love on my own which is one of the reasons I love it so much. I also find that when I Iook my best, I *feel* my best, and when I feel my best I feel more confident and when I have my confidence I feel like I can do anything. Smiley Very Happy





Re: Why do we put on make up?

Ya I completely agree with you.

I can actually date my return to make up to fit within that kind of narrative also. I did my undergrad in Fine Arts and continue to study Art History, but within about a year of slowing down my artistic production, I started experimenting with make up. And I know I didn't do it for my boyfriend. When he met me for the first time (3 years before I started wearing make up again) he thought I was an anarchist... 

It does make me feel sexier and more confident, but I wonder if that's because I'm conforming to an ideal of beauty or if I'm happy with my 'creation'. Y'know?

Re: Why do we put on make up?

I couldn't have worded it any better <3

Re: Why do we put on make up?

Mmmm....that was deeper than I am willing ponder, but basically, it's an industry so there is a dedicated group, but that's just a very specific/narrow population. Some people put on make up because they want to cover some imperfection (same as how some people chose to dress or act a certain way to disguise their flaws), and it's just a matter of outlet. Others, like me, chose to do it because it looks pretty/fun and I feel like it. When I first start to be obsessed with fashion/make up, I want to buy/collect everything, but then I realized that 1)I am NOT in the industry therefore does not NEED to keep up with the trend or get the newest status item now and 2) I am an escapist where whenever I encounter a difficult/depressing situation or am stressed, I can find five thousand excuse to do something else instead of dealing with the problem, so most of the time it turns into browsing every single products Sephora offers and playing around with my stash. Therefore, I now tell myself "no thanks" whenever somebody (or me) is super excited about this awesome product that I just HAVE to try, and BT is my addiction but I try to limit myself to skincare/non-ATE thread only. that was kind of rambling ish too. o.O

Re: Why do we put on make up?

You are not alone in the escapist world, m'dear! 

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.

Re: Why do we put on make up?

When I was younger I really didn't wear makeup.  My mom was not into it, so neither was I.  she did, however know how to take care of her skin.  Now I am over 50 and learning more about application.  My primary goal is still healthy skin.  At my age I only wear minimal foundation or  BB cream.  I am very pale, so I add blush and cover dark circles..this makes me feel pulled together and more confident.  I add lipstick for personal expression...its fun


Thats what makeupmis for

Re: Why do we put on make up?

Interesting topic......


My husband said his mother told him three things to look for in a girlfriend/wife: a giving heart, a sense of humor, and pretty skin/well-kept hair.  I have thought on what she said for a long time.  She didn't say beautiful, skinny, or fashionable.  I think what she meant by someone having "pretty skin and well-kept hair" is that someone who is willing to take care of their skin and hair loves themselves enough to want to look good.  I am not obsessed with my looks, but I want to look my best.  I'm not beautiful, but I consider myself attractive.  Yes, I need to lose some weight, but I'm working on it.  I care enough about myself to get healthy.  What she said could also apply to guys too!


So, why do I wear makeup?  Because I want to look my best.  I take the time to wash my face and put on makeup.  I take the time to style my hair and choose clothes that fit well and appropriate for the occasion.  I've seen women wear a little or no makeup and look beautiful.  I've also seen women wear a lot of makup and look horrible.  So, there is a bit of artistry that goes into applying makeup; wearing too little or too much, choosing the right shades to compliment your skin tones, and application techniques.  I have to admit, for me, makeup is a creative outlet.  I don't change up my looks a lot, but I'm always

experimenting with new trends and products and adapting to my aging skin.


Is this vanity?  I don't think so, unless we let it rule our lives. Our focus should always be on loving our family and friends.  But as the old saying goes, "how can we love others, if we don't love ourselves."  We love ourselves enough to want to want to look our best!   That's why I wear makeup. 


Re: Why do we put on make up?

I like this a lot. I think it's easy somehow to say that you wear make up because you lack confidence, but I don't think it operates that way necessarily. I don't feel like I use it to hide parts of myself. When I was at my least confident, I didn't wear make up because I didn't want to draw attention to myself, and wasn't even confident I could apply it well anyways. It exacerbated my lack of self confidence.

I feel as though, as I become more confident, I become more willing to experiment with how I look, and that includes make up. Make up is another part of my arsenal of how I play with my appearance and enjoy myself. My confidence hasn't been going up because I wear make up. I think it's the other way around...

Re: Why do we put on make up?

To keep small children from running screaming to their mothers...


Seriously, I'm 45 so I've been at this for a while.  I do not wear make-up to draw attention to myself.  I wear make-up (mostly understated/elegant/natural-type looks) so that I shine through.  I do not want my appearance - whether it's blemishes or redness or wrinkles - to be a stumbling block (either real or imagined) to someone paying attention to what is important.  (Think of when you're talking to someone and they have something green in their teeth - it's just hard to get past it!)


I worked at a shelter for abused/abandoned/neglected children for 5 years.  "Matthew" was an abused boy with cerebral palsey confined to a wheelchair.  We were having a birthday party for another resident.  Most of them had never had one before so it was normal for us to explain that you make a wish when you blow out the candles.  When we asked Matthew (trying to draw him into the party) when it's your turn, what will you ask for?  His answer:  I would wish that when people look at me, they see me, not what's wrong with me.  Broke my heart.  Changed my life. 


See me.  Hear me.  Look past my skin, past that dry patch, past that pimple and see the woman inside.  That's why I do it.

Re: Why do we put on make up?

Oh my goodness... that is a really beautiful story. I completely understand your point Smiley Happy


Re: Why do we put on make up?

Being a woman who is 50 something, there is nothing I could do to reach that perfect standard of beauty that many people buy into.  I now have a list of things that would be considered "mortal sins" against beauty.  As time has marched on I have developed fine lines and certain parts of my body live further south than they did years ago.  Skin in certain areas like my eyelids has become darker and my jawline has become a little softer.  There are other things, but we don't have to go there. I have battled health issues including cancer that have left their mark.  Still, much to my amazement, I accept and love myself more than I did when I was young and somewhat pretty.  I know who I am and I am very comfortable about being real.    I have always enjoyed  hair, makeup, fragrance, skincare, and accessories.  These things let me play up my strong points and and give me an opportunity to outwardly show some of my personality. If I need to rush out the door, I am not ashamed to walk out and not be totally made up.   I am married for 32 years and I love my husband dearly.  That said, I don't do things just to please him.  I wear what I like because it makes me happy.  When I am happy and confident that makes me more attractive to him.  I try to be the best me I can be-physically, spiritually, intellectually and socially.  If some people don't like me I can live with that because, quite frankly, I don't like everyone  either.  My wish is that young woman would accept themselves more and not waste time "wishing" they had different features. Enjoy makeup as a means of self expression, not a mask to hide what you see as your imperfections.  You are just who you are supposed to be, so be the best you that you can be!  Smiley Happy   This will give you an inner peace that translates into true beauty no matter what you look like. 

Re: Why do we put on make up?

I am 52, and just started with wearing makeup every day. I am a caretaker for my disabled husband, have been for the past 4 years, I decided that I had better figure out how to wear makeup as in today's society, no matter if you think it is right or not, first impressions can "let you in" or  "keep you out". Yesterday, the visiting nurse came to check on the husband, usually she comes first thing in the morning, but this time she arrived at 3:30. First thing she said to me was, you look great, where are you going? I told her my story, thanked her for the compliment, and it made my day. This also told me that there was a big difference between me with make up and me without! 

Just that one comment re affirmed the money I have spent, and the investment into a good lighted mirror. Now, I have to learn how to do the make up in 10 min or less Smiley Happy I am glad I made the decision to learn (btw You Tube has some great make up artists doing tutorials, try Pixiwoo)



Re: Why do we put on make up?

Fantastic! That's a wonderful story!

I also struggle with keeping my morning beauty routine down, lol. At this point, I've split it up into 'rush make up' and 'non rush make up' where there are just things I skip for one and not the other (lipstick, curling my eyelashes, etc.)

Re: Why do we put on make up?

I put on light powder and concealer, in addition to a lip tint. I've never been a make-up person. For bold lips, I reserve that for interviews and special occasions. I think the minute you go that route of putting on a full face, you have to buy more products. Ok, so you line your eyes and put mascara on. Now, you have to invest in a makeup remover or wipes. If you put on heavy foundation, you need a good primer. Wait, no. There's not just simple primer. There's eyeshadow primer. I'm 24 years old, and my biggest problem is getting my acne under control, and that alone is a boat load of money, but that's for health reasons. Of course, I totally respect those who can commit to looking flawless because it does take skills, but I'm sure the general public doesn't care if you looked like an anime character (unless it's part of your job). Bottom line? It's just a matter of priorities. Great question! I swear it feels like a women's studies and gender class!

Re: Why do we put on make up?

Lol sorry about that. I'm doing my PhD in Art History and its greatly impedes my ability to function :s lol

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