Mims' Musings

Make Up- Warpaint or Disguise?

Posted on: 02/02/2011


I remember the first time I wore make up like it was yesterday. I was 3 years old and about to dance in my first dance show, to Postman Pat.  As stage lights make faces look featureless we were all required to wear brown eyeshadow, blusher and red lipstick. It belonged to my Mum and I used it every year for the show for 10 years, and then although I bought a new set, I kept the old one for sentimental purposes. The particular smell of lipstick still brings back memories today.

I didn’t start wearing make up ‘properly’ until I was about 15. Even now when I look at my Year 11 picture I’m surprised at how much I got away with wearing considering the school’s strict policy against it and how many other girls were regularly sent to the head of years office to wipe theirs off! Back then my every day make up routine was to wear foundation (the most natural shade I could find, I’m not sure why people think being the same shade as a tangerine is attractive),  a bit of mascara- black or clear, blusher, eyeliner and clear lip gloss.  In retrospect I’m half shocked and half proud of my past self for getting away with it!

However, as I’ve become older (and grumpier), I’ve become more concerned about how much make up girls seem to be wearing. On programmes such as Snog, Marry, Avoid (BBC 3), girls (and some boys) seem to wear so much make up it has the effect of making them featureless. Surely make up should be used to enhance natural beauty, rather than obscure it until everyone looks the same.

So why do so many girls do it? My theory is that some girls seem to genuinely think that the more make up they wear,  they more attractive they are. Others use it as a mask, arguing that without it they are ‘ugly’.

The statistics seem to agree with this, according to a recent Daily Mail article, a third of women polled won’t leave the house without wearing make up, and fourteen percent of them wake up early so their partners won’t see them without make up.

Although I might not agree with it, I can see where some women are coming from when they say they won’t leave the house without make up (though I do question what they are expecting to happen if they’re putting on make up just to go to the petrol station).  But waking up early to put make up on so your partner doesn’t see you without make up? It just seems like a step too far. Surely if you’re with someone and they love you, they should love you for who you really are, with or without make up, not for the fake facade that you put on.

After leaving school I experimented with all kinds of colours, textures and styles off make up. Sometimes I’d have three or four colours on one eye, another particular favourite was glitter liquid eyeliner.

It was fun, but a combination of having a lovely boyfriend who convinced me that I didn’t NEED to wear all that make up, and growing tired of temporarily blinding myself when glitter eyeliner gets in my eye, I stopped wearing make up completely.

It felt good! I could fall asleep on the train without worrying that mascara had smudged, hayfever season no longer instilled panic in me about my eyes streaming, my boyfriend no longer worried that he’d end up wearing my lipstick too, and I felt no less attractive. I still wore some make up on special occassions,  which made the whole process feel far less of a burden.

When we went away to the Philippines last August I brought no make up with me at all. Figuring that it’d be so hot that if I did attempt to wear any, it would simply slide off my face as soon as I put it on. Indeed once we got out there I felt justified in my decision, as at times it was so hot it felt like my face was sliding off itself! But then there was a party for Mum and Dad’s anniversary, while getting ready I suddenly felt panic, why didn’t I just bring the basics? I felt like I was going to war without a weapon! Luckily I borrowed some of my Mum’s make up and it was all fine, I just wasn’t expecting to feel helpless without make up!

Today I’m still trying to work out how I feel about make up. A few months ago I had a good clear out of make-up that had dried up, or I knew I wasn’t going to wear anymore (apart from that make up I used in my first dance show). Part of me feels lazy when I don’t wear make up, but the other part of me finds it a hassle when I do wear it.

I guess the trick is to find what works for you!

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