This is a post I’ve wanted to share for a long time, discussing all the things I love about the world of makeup, but also all the things I hate.
I love makeup and first started wearing it when I was about 12. As I’ve grown up, I’ve loved getting more creative with different looks and seeing all the amazing canvases people can create with different eyeshadows, lipsticks, foundations, highlighters etc. The options are truly limitless, which makes makeup so fun to play around with.
Of course, alongside the artistic aspect of makeup, there is also the part where you apply makeup to feel more beautiful. Maybe you want longer lashes so you put four coats of mascara on, or maybe you have a few spots so you go for a full coverage foundation, or maybe your lips aren’t as full as you’d like so you apply some lip plumping gloss.
The reason the makeup industry is as huge as it is because it allows you to create something new with your face while removing your perceived flaws. We’ve all seen those before and after makeup photos and some of the results are shocking. It’s insane how much makeup can change your face.
But is this a good thing?
Well, it depends.
On the one hand, makeup can give us a confidence boost. A lot of us feel we look our best when we’ve got a full face of makeup on. It helps us define features that wouldn’t otherwise be prominent without makeup.
But, on the other hand, the makeup industry can make us feel worthless. We compare ourselves to other people we see in glossy magazines or on Instagram when they’re wearing makeup. It can make us feel insecure if we don’t wear makeup and like we’re not pretty – or worse yet, ugly – without it. These feelings can lead us to depend on makeup.
In my opinion, we should use makeup to enhance our natural beauty, not define it. I love slapping a full face of makeup on with glitter, false lashes, winged eyeliner and loads of bronzer as much as the next girl, but I don’t think I should rely on it to feel like I’m worthy.
And I say “should” because I also battle with insecurities and low self-esteem myself. Not just from makeup, but from the world of social media and just being human.
We’re fed beauty standards and are made to feel like the girls we see online are how we should look. We’re not told about the hours of effort they put into their makeup routine. We’re not told about the image editing they’ve done to their pictures. We’re not told about those same insecurities these girls share with us.
(Although, one thing I will say about the beauty industry is that it is starting to recognise beauty in diversity and is far more representative now than it used to be – so credit due where credit’s due).
As much as I love makeup, there’s a fine line between having fun with it and feeling like you need to wear it to leave the house.
That person was me in my younger years. I wouldn’t go for a 5-minute walk to the shops without putting on some makeup because I didn’t like my face without it.
It’s so silly when I think about it objectively because I never look at people when I’m out and about like “eugh, they could do with some makeup”. Yet, when it comes to ourselves, we often fall into this trap of feeling like we must wear makeup to feel like we’re enough.
It’s funny because I spend far less time on social media now than I used to, particularly Instagram, and that has helped me with my own self-image. I don’t spend hours looking at those beautiful girls with makeup on and perfect figures wondering why I don’t look that way. I mean, sometimes I do. But since doing it less, I’ve come to realise it is all subjective.
What you see on social media when girls are looking their best is, well, just a picture. We’re made to believe that this is how people look all the time. I’m not saying these people don’t exist or that they’re fake, I’m just saying it’s not realistic and we don’t see the work that goes into their makeup routine. Or the lighting or the editing or the filters or the angles…
It’s a cliché, I know, but your unique power is you. That is your beauty and that is what makes you stand out from everyone else. If you looked like the person you keep comparing yourself to, you wouldn’t be what makes you you. Maybe that same person is looking at you wishing they had what you had.
There is beauty in imperfection. You don’t have full lips, so what? Maybe you have the prettiest eye colour ever. Maybe you don’t have the best skin, but hey, your hair is incredible and always lays perfectly. Maybe you don’t have naturally full eyebrows, but you’ve got a killer smile that radiates warmth.
Go to work one day without makeup and then the next and then for the following week and realise that you don’t actually need to wear it day in day out. If you want to, then you do you girl, but don’t do it out of necessity.
Makeup is great and I’m not saying don’t use it. I’m just saying the makeup industry is not without fault and don’t let some socially constructed image of what society says is beautiful rule your life. Because there’s no such thing as perfection and that’s a good thing!
The main purpose of this long ass rant is to not let makeup define your beauty and don’t rely on it to make you feel like you’re enough.
Own your unique beauty ⭐
Join the list
Keep up to date with all the latest beauty & lifestyle content
I love how makeup allows me to reflect how I feel that day…
Really good topic. My history with makeup is pretty complicated myself. My mom started buying me makeup when I was in middle school, but she never showed me how to use it (she almost never wears it), and this was before YouTube so I didn’t know what I was doing. I would put it on if I felt like it or if I had time in the morning, but eventually I decided not to waste my time with it. So, it only went on for special occasions. This continued on through college, and when I got my first job, it was casual dress, even though it was an office setting. So, it felt dumb to put on make up when I was just wearing jeans and t-shirts to work. It wasn’t until I headed into my 30’s that I began to feel like I saw a tired face in the mirror and in pictures and wanted to look less rundown. So, I watched YouTube tutorials and learned some basic techniques and came up with my own daily routine. Now, I put it on every work day and whenever I go anywhere other than the store or to a relative’s house. But your ideas about not “needing” makeup really resonated with my school-aged mindset. Looking back, that’s when I should have taken more of an interest in it. It might have improved my reputation a bit because like you said, we’re conditioned to use these products as if they are super important, especially at that age. But wearing it now on my own terms and calling the shots on what I use and how I want to look keeps it from feeling like a social obligation and more of a personal choice and another art form to play with. So, there’s no shame in expressing this shift in your views despite being a beauty blogger. Mine have been changing for years, and it has ultimately been for the better.
Thank you for sharing your story, it was really interesting to read because it has shown a real shift in your attitude. The reason I wrote this post is because I think it’s important to share the message that yes makeup is awesome, but you should have a healthy relationship with it and not rely on it to value your own looks. I mean, if you want to wear it every day, that’s great, you do you, but I think once you start relying on it to feel good about yourself, that’s where there’s a bit of a grey area. It’s great to hear your mindset has shifted for the better and it seems you’ve definitely got a healthy perspective on makeup!
You have written such a fantastic article. I agree with you so much and never thought about make up enhancing my natural beauty like you so perfectly put it.
I think we all need to learn to be comfortable in our own skin with or without make up we ade beautiful.
Thank you for this post.
Thanks so much, I’m really glad you liked this piece and I wasn’t sure how it would be received because I don’t normally go for more personal posts. Absolutely, it’s about owning who we are and not relying on products to feel good. I love makeup as much as the next person, but you need to have a healthy relationship with it 🙂
I love this blog post! I fully agree with you though. I’m still struggling with going somewhere without makeup, just because I like myself more when I’m wearing make-up. I always thought this wasn’t insecurity but just a preference but who am I kidding right?
I think if you start getting into a habit where you feel like you need to wear makeup to go somewhere, that’s when it becomes a bit unhealthy. If you’re doing it because you want to, that’s something else. But I’m the same, I also like myself more when I wear makeup
Love what you said that makeup should be used to enhance our natural beauty. That statement definitely opened my eyes more and its so true! Like many of us we have insecurities that we try to hide or change but we shouldn’t feel ashamed. I love makeup because how artistic it can be and all the different looks you can create.
As a SAHM, makeup is only on rare occasions and I’m okay with that. Like you, I try to stay away from Instagram too because of all the pressure that comes with it. This post was such a good read and so inspiring!
Thank you for sharing lovely and I hope you have a beautiful weekend!
Sandy | Beauty, Bliss and Chaos
I definitely fall into the trap of using makeup to cover my insecurities sometimes and when I feel myself doinf that I think to myself NO GIRL DON’T LET IT OWN YOU. But, we’re all human and we sometimes need a little boost, I guess. It’s hard to get the relationship right with makeup, but I’m getting there I think 🙂 absolutely, Instagram can be extremely toxic and we don’t need that in our lives. I’m so glad you liked this post, this has made my day 🙂 you too girl xxx
Thank you for sharing your story. My relationship with make up is very similar. I now work with make up but like to focus on it enhancing my customers natural beauty rather than covering so called flaws. x
I think that’s the right way to approach makeup for sure! x
Such a well written and thought provoking post, Sarah! I love makeup and experimenting with different products and looks but I’ve also felt like I ‘need’ to wear it in the past to cover acne and other imperfections but you’re so right in saying that makeup is something we should have fun with, it shouldn’t be a necessity and if we want to let our skin breathe one day then we shouldn’t feel like we need to cover it up just because of standards that exist. Loved this post as always!xx
Thank you so much for your kind words Elin, it means a lot coming from you because I’m always so impressed by your posts! I wanted to write this post to try and encourage people to have a healthy relationship with makeup and to try and ditch beauty standards that make us feel unworthy or unattractive without makeup! xx