Last Updated on 12th November 2020 by Sarah Sarsby

Girl applying lipstick image

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