by Tiye Bradley
(Last names have been left out of this article for privacy purposes)
While traveling, I overheard a conversation between two young ladies about wearing makeup. The young lady wearing makeup was almost chastising the other for being out without makeup on.
She scolded her, “You should never leave home without your face done! It’s unattractive.” Her friend protested that she only wears makeup on special occasions; that wearing makeup every day takes away from the surprise of a new look when she does glam up.
The woman in makeup then responded, “Women who don’t wear makeup are not considered beautiful. That’s why people say, ‘you look so beautiful’ after you put on makeup.”
Overhearing this conversation left a pressing question on my mind- To beat or not to beat?
For some women, this is one the hardest decisions to make. In an age where women are empowered to challenge society’s preconceived notions of what defines beauty, many women are still shamed for wearing makeup.
Women who wear makeup can often be perceived as vain, fake, self-centered, and even insecure. On the other hand, women who choose not to wear makeup are sometimes regarded as lazy, unconcerned with their appearance and simply unattractive.
But, does the choice between donning a fierce contour and a vibrant lip, and flaunting bare skin with no frill or flare, determine beauty?
“I personally enjoy a good beat,” said 20 year old Mya. “It helps me start off my morning right because it is the one thing that I can’t fail. Doing my makeup is fun and it makes me feel good about myself. While I do go barefaced on busy days, there is nothing wrong with wearing makeup every day.”
Aspiring makeup artist, Kayla, also receives enjoyment from makeup but believes people should be careful about placing the notion of beauty solely in cosmetics.
“I believe it’s something that should enhance your looks and not change them. I have nothing against fresh faces because I do that more now since school stresses a girl out. But when women believe they need makeup to feel and look beautiful, that’s when problems occur. Everyone’s natural face is gorgeous, some just like “enhancements.” I think it’s a personal preference, but I personally would chose to beat than to go bare faced.”
“I feel as though makeup is a wonderful thing that girls enjoy doing. It enhances our beauty, makes us feel good, and it is fun. But I am also a big advocate for healthy skin, so I feel like makeup should only be worn when your skin is in good shape It is ok to cover up scarring or dark circles, but it should not be worn to cover up things like acne, as it will only make it worse, “ said 21 year-old Sydni. “Being a fresh faced girl is also a great thing, as long as she doesn’t feel the need to put down girls who wear make up. Everyone has a different preference and putting someone down is not cool.”
While these young ladies view makeup as a fun and enjoyable endeavor, Many young men seem to have differing opinions.
The “take her swimming” trend has illuminated how some men really feel about makeup. The idea that women can transform their faces with makeup and trick a man into believing she is something she is not, sparked fear in the masculine circle. But despite their attempts to “keep it real,” men fail to realize that water is no match for waterproof makeup and a “bomb” setting spray!
Kurt, a 37 year old married man, believes that makeup can be a hinderance to a woman’s natural beauty.
“I prefer a fresh face. I understand makeup is big business and people utilize it for any occasion, but if you take good care of your skin and use daily procedures to clean, protect, and moisturize you skin, one would use less makeup frequently. Girls who wear makeup all the time are hiding their beauty. It’s a process to put on and remove and it gets all over your clothes and things. I’ve seen girls who never wear makeup and do not take good care of their skin and it shows. I believe the less makeup the better.”
Zurriel, a 28 year-old bachelor, equates women’s makeup to men’s cologne and believes less can be more sometimes.
“For men make up is like cologne. If you wear too much it’s offensive. Women should treat make up how they expect men to treat cologne. Individuals define beauty. ”
From a guy’s standpoint I love seeing women in makeup, but like a lot of guys, I don’t like seeing a heavy amount of it, “ said 22 year-old Richard. “Let the makeup highlight your natural beauty. Too much makeup tends to take away from her appearance as opposed to adding to it. Less can be good.”
Jamal, a 20 year-old Bachelor, thinks makeup is more of an art form and the art form of makeup itself is beautiful and enhances the appearance of a woman.
“I believe make up enhances a gals natural beauty. Make up is a form of art, even though most people don’t see it as that, and art is beautiful. Almost everywhere you go there’s some type of human creative skill put into something, usually being visually. It links back into the artistic world that it’s beautiful to visualize layouts, colors, how things will end up looking, what works, what doesn’t, and what complements each other. That’s basically what you are doing when you wear make up. So, that’s what I think of beauty and makeup. People who wear it take a blank canvas and make it into something more enhanced and that’s astounding. Everyone can wear it, but not everyone can do it. It’s a craft that takes talent.”
There is a notable difference in the way guys refer to makeup and in our patriarchal society, the voices of men are often at the forefront of this debate and many women assume men prefer women without makeup.
Niya, a 19 year-old, feels that women should not change their appearance to appease men, yet they should do what makes them personally happy.
“Men always state how they prefer women natural or tell us that we don’t need it, and despite this being pure facts, the majority of us DO NOT buy $50 worth of makeup for male approval. “
However, no matter how anyone feels about makeup, it is up to the individual woman to decide how they will determine beauty and if they will let opinions of men play a part in their perception of beauty.
So is makeup a mask? Are you hiding your “true” beauty? Does it make you beautiful? After countless interviews, I decided to take a moment to self reflect.
I have been performing since I was a little girl. Performance required me to wear makeup and dressing up my face with eyeshadow, mascara and lip gloss became one of my favorite things to do. As I grew older and discovered the many other components of makeup artistry, I fell in love. In high school, makeup became a part of my daily routine.
But around my junior year, my confidence and self-esteem plummeted. Unfortunately, my motivation to beat my face each morning shifted from a love of makeup to a need to hide. There were things about my body I wanted to change, but could not find a quick solution. So, I hid my insecurities behind makeup and lost sight of my own beauty. I continued to struggle until my Sophomore year in college. I finally found the “real me,” and in doing so I also rediscovered my love for makeup as an art form and as an accessory.
This “self-love” journey allowed me to flourish. Now, my confidence, self-assurance, and skin health have become top priorities. But, don’t think that I will not go out in a full glam face! I love makeup for all of the right reasons. It allows me to be expressive, accentuate my features, and show off my youtube learned application skills. When I don’t have time to beat my face I basque in the glow of my bare skin.
Along with many other women, I am faced with the boisterous opinions of men who feel the need to assert their preferences, but i maintain the belief that the choice of makeup should reside with the woman and the woman only. So I encourage all women, whether you choose to beat or not to beat, love yourself and know that the beauty you posses is eminent at all times.