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Makeup Redefined

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

See how to use makeup for yourself and not somebody else.

By: Naya Dukkipati

"I believe that all women are pretty without makeup and can be pretty powerful with the right makeup,” Bobbi Brown.

Makeup is a loaded word nowadays. Its divisive nature has evolved into a politically charged subject by how it defines beauty and femininity. With the growth of the makeup industry, we are bombarded by images of how it will help us achieve our “ideal” selves by covering imperfections, and putting our best face forward. It has become a tool for self-identity and self-advertisement. I knew that this was true once I reflected on my own experiences. I used to think if I didn’t wear makeup to school, I wasn’t getting ready enough, and I would look unkempt or grubby because I had discoloration and acne. One day, I woke up 10 minutes after I was supposed to leave, so all I did was change my clothes, grab my bag, and jump in the car as my dad started driving. I didn’t wash my face, do my hair, or even brush my teeth. However, all I could think about was how my skin looked. I was ripping my backpack apart, hoping I would find a concealer, and was worried the whole day about someone taking my picture. All I could think about from the car ride to school until the last bell rang, was what people thought of me. This experience provoked an anxiety ridden precaution. I made sure to pack a kit in my backpack with makeup and other beauty products to ensure the same thing never happened again. I also felt that I needed to wear makeup anytime I went outside, so I wore it to tennis practice and the gym. Since I started to sweat it off, I made sure not to touch my face because I knew that I would get it all over my hands and then on the grip of my racket or clothes, or I might even transfer it to someone else.

But sadly, it didn’t end there...

I was trying to wear makeup through all of this, but make it appear like I wasn’t wearing any. This was nearly impossible to achieve since I had acne scars, so I grew agitated. The anger was directed at myself for not measuring up to what I felt were simple objectives in my daily life. But they weren’t simple or objective, I blamed myself for not being able to look perfect and natural at the same time. I began avoiding going out to places just because I didn’t want to worry about what others thought of me because I didn’t look a certain way. It took me years to realize that I was asking too much of myself and being self admonishing for no reason.

I finally concluded that makeup wasn’t the issue. It was the expectations I put on it. I was trying to fix on the outside what needed to be healed on the inside. It was in the midst of COVID, my perspective shifted. Without the pressure of close face contact, I wore it instead to lift my mood and feel ready to take on the day. Now, I go to the gym without it and skip it for school if I am not up to it. Now, I don’t let it define me. Makeup has become a tool to help highlight the best parts of myself, not hide the worst. It is an extension of my inner beauty and authentic self.

We all have different experiences and attitudes towards makeup, but we can choose how we want to use it and what it means to us at the end of the day.

From today we will say this: “Makeup is a supporting character in my life. It does not characterize who I am.”

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