I, like many other women, waste between 5-10 minutes most mornings applying overpriced goo onto my face. 10 minutes each morning spent making weird expressions as I carefully coat my eyelashes in some odd black substance that is supposed to make them seem ‘longer’ and ‘fuller’. 10 minutes each morning neatly drawing a black flick on my eyelid as if that’s going to change my whole face in some mysterious and jaw-dropping way. But would I ever ditch the make-up? Would I ever change what I do in those 10 minutes and attempt to do something that was actually useful in that time?
No. No, I wouldn’t.
No, because every minute of the time that I ‘waste’ putting gunk onto my probably suffering skin is to me, a minute not wasted at all, but a minute treasured.
One of the most common misconceptions about make-up is that women wear it for the sole purpose of impressing and pleasing their male counterparts. Although it may come as quite a shock to some people: make-up is usually worn for the benefit of the wearer. Truly scandalous, I know.
Every day women across the world spend those all-important 10 minutes drawing on their faces and then leaving their homes with a kind of confidence that is priceless to anyone who has experienced it; because they know that today, they’re looking pretty damn fine.
But, of course, make-up means something different to everyone. To some it is an escape; a refuge; a different personality. To others it could be an enemy; a friend; a lie.
As the 11-year-old who first discovered the wonders of eye shadow and eyeliner, make-up seemed to me as an art form (and really, I still think of it as such). It was as if I could create something magical on the spot and it wouldn’t be utterly dreadful. I have never been a great artist. Whatever my previous attempts may have been, they all end up resembling something that is vaguely similar to my cat’s regurgitated hairball. Being a beginner, my efforts were not much different than my drawings, but then (as with anything) as I practised more the results inevitably improved and I realised how insanely great the colourful powder made me feel. You can compare the feeling to the one you get when you finish reading Harry Potter or watching the BBC’s TV series adaption of Pride and Prejudice. And the glow of confidence and awkward pride you get after someone has complimented you on the brilliantness of your perfect eyeliner – I would say – exceeds that. It’s even better than Colin Firth coming out of the Pemberley Lake.
Surely, when something can make a person happier than Mr. Darcy can, it’s worth doing.
For me, makeup is a choice, a freedom, a hobby, an artist’s tool. It’s whatever you want it to be.
I suppose I’m just tired of hearing people say “She only wears make-up for boys,” or “Who do you want to impress?” Maybe I want to impress myself. Maybe I want to look good for me, to make myself feel happy and confident. Screw those who think that looking good for someone or people, in general, is more important than a person’s happiness and self-esteem, because I would much rather be comfortable in my own skin than have someone complete stranger think my face was ‘okay looking’.
Undoubtedly there will the odd occasion when I make an extra effort with the pricey gunk because I know that I’m going to see a particular person that day – but that’s fine. It’s human nature. There won’t be a single make-up user who won’t think at least once in their lifetime ‘So-and-so is going to see me looking so hot today!’ because as much as people wear makeup for themselves, it can be used for other reasons. They should be selfish reasons as well. There should never be a time when someone puts make-up on against his or her will or just because someone else likes it. It should never be a selfless act.
No one should feel obliged to smear goo on their face. Even if it’s the highest quality goo can buy, that still doesn't mean that you have to wear it. Even if everyone around you is wearing that goo in that certain way, or not wearing ay goo at all, it doesn’t mean that you have to be the same. Make-up should always be worn for your own reasons, not anyone else’s.
Do what makes you feel happy, because after all: a smile is the best makeup that anyone can wear.