Make-Up: A passion and a pressure

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One of my friends, E, recently started working at a store that sells make-up and other beauty essentials. Her pictures online after starting to work there have been gorgeous – not only are all the tubes and compacts adorable, but her face looks so sophisticated, exciting; if I saw her for the first time from across a room, I’d want to talk to her! Besides the fact that she’s also my friend and I like talking to my friends.

I have such a strange relationship with make-up – my mother never wore it, but I knew about it through my pre-teen and teenage years. At summer camps and college, I’d borrow a lip color or an eye shadow, but I didn’t own my own; I eventually bought a lipstick, a mascara… until I had my own bare-bones collection.

It makes sense, though, that my collection stayed small for a long time, because I wore it only on special occasions, or perhaps the first day of class. It wasn’t until I moved to Spain, where bold lip colors and a perfect eye were so standard that I felt weirder without them than with them. For those two years, I spent most days wearing at least a little make-up. It was the only time when there were people in my life who had never seen me without make-up but who were close friends.

When I returned to the States, there were more people who went natural-look, and I got lazy – I was in a long-distance relationship, which is uniquely good for making you think you don’t need make-up to impress anyone and you don’t need make-up to look good for a particular person. I found myself pulling it out only occasionally when there was a party or a poetry reading, but usually nothing.

I thought, when I got my first full-time job, that I’d wear make-up; I was younger than most of my colleagues, and I was working with college students, and make-up would have been a good way to make myself look older than them. I even found a bunch of great promo codes and splurged on an order from Benefit (love their products, even if I neglect them!). It didn’t last though – I’m confident that I can do my job with or without eyeliner. I wear it for big days, and when my husband and I go on dates, but not otherwise.

Part of me thinks that my love of make-up is wasteful, since I don’t follow through and wear it, and part of me thinks that being obsessed with making my face into a canvas is a little wasteful anyway; I could spend money a different way, and the environment probably wouldn’t mind if we didn’t make a bunch of face products from our natural resources.

How do you feel about make-up? Does it complicate your life or give your life a little sparkle? I find it can go either way for me, but one thing is for sure: I don’t think women should feel the pressure to wear it, even if they are having a zit day! Being who you are is an important thing, and unless make-up is part of what you want to be wearing, it should be very optional.

14 Comments, RSS

  1. buildyourzen September 27, 2017 @ 1:35 pm

    I love your posts! It’s like I’m reading my thoughts written in words. I have this same relationship with makeup. I became a sephora VIB two years in a row but barely ever wear makeup. What a waste! Haven’t bought anything in a year now. I’ve decided to use up what I have before I buy anything – Clothes makeup food. Keep writing! 🙂

  2. Gabi Coatsworth September 27, 2017 @ 2:17 pm

    I used to wear relatively little makeup in England, where I’m from. When I moved here in 1979, people would mistake my secretary for me, since she was so much better made up. I worked with a lot of women who showed me how to use the right stuff. These days I always wear some lipstick and, when meeting people I know, eye makeup. I have a large face and the eye makeup makes my eyes stand out more. Anyway, it’s fun!

  3. Cadence Rage September 27, 2017 @ 3:20 pm

    I have a complicated relationship with make-up, too. I tend to splurge on it, but I’m so lazy about it and am always in a rush, so I rarely use much except for eyeliner. I don’t mind the spending because I’m supporting ethical, cruelty-free make-up brands, but every so often I do feel pressured to slap some on (and then, cue the raccoon-eyed result of what should have been a ‘super easy smoky eye’ according to YouTubeGoddess532 😑).
    What really bothers me, though, is that when one does decide to go a little crazy and add some sparkle to one’s day, I’ve noticed women in certain situations becoming unnecessarily judgmental. Women need to support each other, not the other way around.

  4. blissfullycreating September 27, 2017 @ 3:33 pm

    my mom hardly wore makeup, like mascara was it every day. so going through high school i wore none. now i pretty much at least put eyeliner and mascara on; but bought some foundation from a friend and use that more and more frequently just to change things up. my dad noticed in a facebook picture and called to tell me i shouldn’t change things. lol he’s pretty anti change. i just laugh because i’m a twenty-nine year old getting scolded by my father for wearing makeup.

  5. posttraditionalkatie September 27, 2017 @ 4:25 pm

    I have an Ipsy Subscription. It’s my spoil me thing. I have a huge make up collection, which I really don’t wear a lot. My reasoning is wanting perfection and being taught to apply make up by the queen of bright pink lipstick and blue eyeshadow (my nana). I’m glad to know not every woman wants a perfect face.

  6. fredonna September 27, 2017 @ 5:48 pm

    I agree it should be optional! I enjoy putting on a little makeup, because it feels like a satisfying creative endeavor. I don’t like wearing it every day, though. I work 4 days a week, and I usually only wear makeup to work. Seeing myself dressed up and made up first thing in the morning puts me in a “work” frame of mind. Those other three days, though. Nope. Not happening.

  7. Emily September 27, 2017 @ 5:59 pm

    I agree with the difficult relationship! I have dark bags under my eyes (permanent, thanks genetics!) and have always liked the way my face looks better with makeup than without. My husband genuinely likes me without makeup, but also likes when I dress up. I love putting on a ‘full face’, as we call it, but I only do that when we’re going out.
    The pressure I feel to wear makeup every day to work (I’m a high school teacher – I wear foundation and mascara mostly, sometimes lipstick) that pressure is entirely my own. I’m due with our first bub in Jan and I know next year makeup is definitely going to take a back seat!

  8. jackieruesink September 27, 2017 @ 7:39 pm

    Thanks for following! I agree, there’s a bunch of weird messy things that make wearing makeup (and being a girl, really) complicated. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  9. myquarterlifesurprise September 27, 2017 @ 7:51 pm

    I agree with you that it should be optional. Growing up, I never wore makeup. Sometimes, my mother used to kiss my cheeks and her lipstick would be my blush. That alone made me happy. 🙂

    I really picked up on lipsticks though during college when I met my best friend of all times. Now, I am out of the bold lipstick phase, but I cannot go without a mascara and neutral lipstick. I feel it makes me look more put together and awake in a professional environment.

  10. teacherturnedmommyblog September 28, 2017 @ 7:10 am

    I too have gone on a roller coaster ride with makeup. When I was a teen I wore mascara, blush and eyeliner every day.Then I got to college and stopped… too much work! When I started working I wore it again. At that time I’d gone to some makeup party and actually had foundation and other stuff, but always found that too fussy. Now I’m back to no makeup. I actually usually have to go buy makeup whenever I have an occasion fancy enough to need it.

  11. dellisphelps September 28, 2017 @ 10:02 pm

    I love that you’re sharing an honest story here, including your ambivalence about make-up. When I was a teen, my father refused me the option of wearing make-up AT ALL until I was 16. Of course, way, way before that, everyone (but me) was wearing all of it, espcecially those frosted, flavored lipsticks that were popular in the sixties.

    Once, after gym class in eighth grade, I borrowed a friend’s base, but spilled it on my dress. I had to rush home after school to wash out the stain, praying my dad wouldn’t find out. Geez!

    For years, during my college days and early marriage, my face was a “canvas,” as you put it. Bold eye shadow, lined lips, mascara, lash curler, the works!

    But then one day, I stopped. I just wanted to see what I looked like. Later, I had my eyeliner tatooted on. I loved it. Now I wear an Almay lipstick that won’t stay put and really just blends into my face but keeps my lips moist.

    I’m with Annette Benning’s character in one of her movies (I’m sorry. I’ve forgotten) who says, “This is my face. Deal with it!”

  12. […] via Make-Up: A passion and a pressure — Messy Mapmaker […]

  13. Papilow October 6, 2017 @ 10:47 am

    I used to wear it everyday and I’d constantly be buying new products but in the past year I’ve felt myself become less bothered with it – sometimes I miss it but mostly it just seems like such an effort to put it on! Great post, my make up free face and I enjoyed it 🙂

  14. Annie October 11, 2017 @ 2:39 am

    Total makeup addict here! Happy in my own skin though. I buy loads of makeup and I do wear it… to work, out shopping, out for lunch etc. I work from home a few days a week and I don’t bother with it then if I’m not going anywhere for the day.
    I’ve never felt any pressure to wear makeup, and I have a few friends who seem to be in awe of my “bravery” to wear some of the shades of lipstick that I do. I don’t find it brave, I just wear what I like and what suits me. I’m already eyeing up a holiday collection from one of my favourite brands 😝

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