I started this blog on a complete whim.
Last week, while on a break for studying for exams, I got into a discussion on Facebook about makeup – my friend told me I didn’t need it.
This begged the question: do you fall into a binary of “needs makeup to be conventially beautiful” or the superior “doesn’t”? Or perhaps as your grow into your twenties you “graduate” and don’t need makeup anymore. Or the “need” of makeup to begin with is a personality flaw, signalling some deeper insecurities?
These points made me reflect on my own journey with makeup.
If you don’t know me, I am the definition of a makeup junkie. I love trying new makeup and using skincare and I have an extensive collection of each. But it’s definitely taken a while to get here!
The first makeup I ever tried was mascara. I was somewhere around grade 8 or 9. I remember looking in the mirror, then going skating afterwards. I still remember how incredible and confident I felt, like the simple act of adding black to my lashes had given me wings to glide over the ice.
Later that year, I got my makeup done so I could learn how to use it. Walking out of the appointment, I felt unstoppable. The picture I took that day was my Facebook profile until grade 12.
When I stopped being homeschooled and went to highschool, my perception of makeup changed. I was surrounded by girls whom I felt were all much more beautiful than me. I felt had to wear makeup. Without it, I felt incredibly insecure; with it I would still check the bathroom mirror incessantly and wish I had a prettier face. There were no more wings or photo shoots.
I didn’t find joy in makeup until I was well into my gap year. I got way too deep into youtube makeup communities and grew to love buying new products to test out. I ended up reclaiming makeup and with it came love for myself.
Each new discovery I made – how to wear blush, how to do your eyeshadow, eyeliner, bronzer, brows- gave me a sense of empowerment and self esteem. I loved being able to change areas of my face that I hated. I’d had acne for years – it was gone. Under eye circles from studying? Nope. Blotchy, discoloured lips? Gone. My brows stood out, my eyelashes were inhumanly long black and fluttery, my skin flawless. Being able to not feel insecure about myself was incredible. I didn’t cringe inside when people looked my way in public.
I remember the first time I ever went to Sephora. A beautiful tall sales associate with a swelling baby bump helped recommend products. To me, she was a goddess. My first ever purchase was the Naked 3 palette. I still use it to this day.
Truly discovering makeup for the first time was life changing.
In first year university, the excitement had worn off. I was (and still am!) in a school setting again where there was no time to fully express myself every morning. I tend to focus more on covering my breakouts and acne scars now instead of creating, instead of shaping my face into one that gives me invincibility. I miss it. I’m excited for school to end so I can go back to playing with eyeshadow instead of slapping foundation on half asleep.
My journey with makeup made me realize that makeup brings me true joy when I’m expressing myself with it. I love transforming myself into someone a little different. I love feeling different ways every day – sometimes more loud and confident when I wear lots of eyeliner, sometimes more girly and soft when I wear neutral eyes and lots of blush. I am so excited for other people to experience the same thing that I tend to get carried away. I know I’ve scared my sister away. 🙂
But what makes me unhappy is feeling like I “need” to wear makeup. School is very good at bringing that need out in me. I’ve forced myself this year to wear no makeup to school. I ended up liking it just as much as I like wearing a full face sometimes. I didn’t feel as confident, but I didn’t feel disgusting either. It was kind of liberating. No makeup set me free from being distracted, from touch ups, and gave me 20 extra minutes of sleep in the morning. It was more than worth it!
Sometimes, makeup brings out my best self, and sometimes my bare face does. I’ve realized it’s never really been about makeup for me, but more about being free to choose to be my best self. The ability to choose to wear makeup to hide my acne gave me confidence in grade 9. The ability to choose to wear no makeup to school if in second year university set me free. In between, I relish the ability to create myself every time I use makeup.
Will I write this much when I’m not procrastinating for exams? Stay tuned to find out!