Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Men Will Never Understand Why Makeup is a Necessity (or Why it Takes so Long)

I was over at Fashionista when an article on makeup piqued my interest - should we, shouldn't we wear it, and do you, would you, leave the house without a single swipe of make up?

I was intrigued by many of the responses about why some women can't live with, whilst others can't - literally - live without it.

Piccolina42 @ 11:45am, February 28:
I am the lowest of the low. My apartment building WAS on fire and the first thing I went for was concealer and a toque. (That's a Canadian word, I think you guys call it a beanie or something?) Anyway, horrible. I'm horrible. I had the flu of death a couple months ago and on my 30 second march to the grocery store to get more drugs and gingerale, I still wore makeup. You're not alone! I don't think it's vanity so much as a refusal to look like ass. I want to be one of those little old ladies who, at like 115, is in her hospital bed with red lips and hair totally done.

Even camping, man. I used to get caught as a kid -- while my family was "roughing it" and making breakfast over a fire, I had snuck into the car to put on makeup in the visor mirror. No one ever said camping had to equal ugly.

Guest @ 11:52am, February 28:
this comment of mine might be a bit overly philosphical, i know, but here goes...

i wear make-up as infrequently as possible. obviously i look better with a little color on my cheeks and lips and some definition around my eyes, and i do pretty up for parties, events, etc.

but the reality is that make-up--like push-up bras, men's shoes with lifts, etc--is yet another way for people to hide who they truly are from the world. it's just done in a superficial, surface way instead of a more personality-based way such as editing one's facebook profile to only include good qualities and exclude the bad bits.

over the years, i've certainly had my share of severe acne. and as an adult now i still do not have perfect skin by any means, but i don't particularly care. if i want to communicate who i am to the world thru physical appearance only, i'll do it with my choice of clothes--not my ability to expertly cover up blemishes.

"Do you, would you, leave the house without a single swipe of make-up?"
hell yes! what's to be afraid of?

and besides [...]--make-up is just plain old not good for the skin.

Natalie Hormilla @ 12:07pm, February 28:
guest @ 11:52am,

your comment was way too thoughtful to not acknowledge, so here goes:

i can absolutely appreciate your comparison of makeup to push-up bras.

but there is another side to makeup, which i'm sure you've heard of before - makeup as a means of "readying."

i don't do this everyday anymore, (although I did up until a couple years ago,) but for me, putting on makeup is almost like a form of meditation (no giggles, please!) it's like i'm getting myself ready for whatever i have to deal with that day, thinking about it, picturing what i have to do, what might be a good/bad idea, while i very carefully apply liner, mascara, whatever else. and when i'm done, it's like all of the preparation shows through my face, and i swear i really do feel more prepared for the day once i've gone through this ritual.

but i think you are so definitely right about a certain "fakeness" it has. but i really don't see that for makeup so much as other, more permanent decisions.

my theory is, if you can't wash it off at the end of the day, you've gone too far.

Guest @ 12:52pm, February 28:
I think another view of makeup is that it's a form of self-expression. I don't wear much, and can go bare-faced and be okay, but I've actually shifted toward wearing *slightly* more just because, well, it's fun! Unlike a push-up bra, or shoe lifts, where the bra/lifts are simply a means to an end, I find that makeup is somewhat more... of an accessory, sort of -- just something fun to play with. Lately I've been using an eggplant-colored liquid eyeliner thinking it might help my eyes look greener, and I got a great red lip gloss just to be a little bolder... and it does -- as an above poster said -- sometimes affect my attitude. Not in a serious way, but just in an I-might-break-out-the-John-Travolta-strut way. (Kidding. Mostly :) But don't mistake that as me using makeup for self-esteem! As I said, I tend to go minimal with makeup, but view it as fun -- I think if you're a slave to it that's another story.

And man, do I need to clean my brushes... I'm terrible with that...

Guest @ 6:43pm, February 28:
Considering that I'm a high school sophomore, and the majority of my grade goes tanning on a daily basis and cakes on pounds of foundation, coverup, eyeshadow, and eyeliner, I prefer to be bare. My daily beauty routine is some Aveeno facial moisturizer, Palmer's cocoa butter swivel stick chapstick, and (occasional) a quick squeeze of an eyelash curler. I'm rediculously pale and I've got bags under my eyes, but I'm comfortable in my own skin. Most of my friends wear mascara at most, and I like that it sets me (and us) apart from the rest of my grade.

Chasing pavements @ 9:39, February 28:
Makeup separates at-home me from out-in-the-world me. It might only be some nude eyeshadow, a swipe of mascara, and my go-to lipstick, but it makes me feel like I'm putting energy into looking good, and when I know I look good, not only do I feel good, but I don't worry about my appearance.

Moreover, I've long since learned that people will judge you on your appearance whether you take care of yourself or not, so best to put in a little effort. I know that sounds shallow, but appearances do matter, at least as first impressions are concerned.

That said, I'm currently in academia, and looking like a china doll is far worse, appearance-wise, than going without altogether. Sometimes I notice that paying attention to my clothes, makeup and hair attracts way more attention than it would in other workplaces - and even if I'm complimented on stuff, I feel like I'm also taken less seriously because I care about these "frivolous," "feminine" things.

But enough about my job.

Guest @ 5:20pm February 29:
Many young women start wearing make up in middle school, when hormones cause your skin to break out, in the mistaken belief that covering up blemishes is the only way to go and they usually go about it with a very heavy hand. As a result, their skin gets progressively worse. This habit follows them into adulthood. What many women don't realize is that make up is a toxic brew of chemicals. Just try to read the back of a bottle of foundation. Happily, there are a plethora of natural mineral-based alternatives now available. I bought my teenage daughters the mineral powder when they started pleading for some form of cover-up. I also aggressively treated their acne, natural solutions for one, and Pro-Active for the other when natural solutions failed to work. I can count on two hands the times I have worn more than just mascara, and now that I am 45, my skin is better for it. It is ok to look human, you don't have to buy into the whole make up myth. Eat right, get enough sleep, and if you can't pronounce it, don't put it on your face. Oh! And moisturize your neck & chest with the same stuff you use on your face....you'll reap in the benefits later.

Guest @ 3:22pm, March 2:
just as a note.. noticed that most of the "i've never and will never wear makeup!" people were 15-18 years old :P

i didn't wear any makeup either until i was 22 or so. i don't wear any foundation, etc., but i wouldn't rule it out as i age. trust me, your skin will not always be as fabulous as it is when you are in high school ;)

Sam Alex @ 3:34am, March 10:
I would love to leave the house without makeup, I envy all my friends who wake up beautiful, but honestly, I can't enjoy my day if I don't feel attractive and I don't feel attractive without a bit of makeup. Bad skin runs in both sides of my family, I even did the Accutane bit, and I'll never have that porcelain skin. Some powder and concealer makes me feel infinitely better and much more confident as I go about my day.

Plus, I get such a positive reaction when I put a bit of effort into my face, and who doesn't want that all the time? A lot of people have said how they like to keep it makeup-free during the week so people notice when they are dressed up. For some reason, I enjoy the opposite - I want to look consistently decent ever day. And I mean decent for me, not that you need makeup to need decent! I just feel like whenever I'm out and not made up it gets noticed, in a negative way.

Guest @ 12:52pm, March 11:
for me, make up is a tool for self-expression and creativity. there are many sides to me: sporty, urban, cosmopolitan, euro-inspired, global boho, sleek, tomboy, sexy, earthy, mysterious, minimalist, sweetness, cutie pie, fresh faced, femme fatale, punky, bookworm, au naturel - whatever influences turn me on and make me feel alive.

for the most part, i feel i look my best with some concealer dabbed around my nose, tinted moisturizer with spf applied to sallow spots, eye lashes curled, a berry gloss and perhaps a smudge of either pencil along my lower lash line or some shadow along my lid. i do go bare-faced but i prefer a lash curl and a swipe of sheer colored gloss or lip balm as my best minimal look. i don't have the best skin, which i lament; trust. so instead i focus on my bits that are positive. so much of being fabulous is being true to who you are and working it.

i confess that when i read many of the comments posted, they strike me as judgmental and absolute - like there are these rules and if one doesn't abide by them one is not fashionable. this makes me sad. it seems so uptight and such a buzzkill. i don't think fashion and creativity can truly be reduced to such a terse existence and to comply with such sterile and stringent dictates just seems so anti-style .

i think anything goes and if it makes you feel good and confident about yourself - yay!

Guest @ 5:14pm, March 19:
I feel ugly without any make up.
iv done it before and people are shocked. they ask me if i'm okay, if i'm ill.
and they stare and
im like
aww i look rough.
its not fun.
i feel like i can relax with foundation and concealer on. mascara and eyeliner and blusher.
and lip balm.
thats what i wear.
if im wearing that then i can get on with my day!

Guest @ 9:49pm, March 27:
I glanced through the comments on this article and it has left me disappointed in the female population. I have never worn concealer or foundation and I have clear skin [surprise surprise]; why is mascara non-negotiable for so many of you? Are you all so self-conscious and condemning that you can't stand to ever go without it? Eyeliner or eyeshadow, I understand, and maybe mascara every now and then, but really, don't be so ridiculous. Why is it so difficult to go bare-faced? No, I am not a tomboy or a product of rural upbringing and I have passed through the damned age of acne, but I still never wore makeup. Stop being so superficial. It's making me sick.

Guest @ 3:09pm, March 31:
I have yet to find a make-up that actually stays on. Eye pencil and mascara leave me looking like a panda however allegedly water proof the products are. I already have a natural red colour to my cheeks and going out into the winter chill or summer heat just emphasises it further. Lipstick does not last much beyond the first drink or meal. Above all I am a WYSIWYG kind of girl. I don’t want a beau to run screaming from the room the first time he sees without make-up because the difference is so marked. Paradoxically, I often find that it is on those days when I feel I ought not to be allowed out onto the street without a paper bag over my head that I find strangers are more likely to come on to me. Perhaps decisions about whether to wear make-up are influenced by our mothers. The woman who raised me did not own so much as a lipstick and regarded women who wore make-up as little better than brazen hussies. By contrast my mother, who I went to live with in my teens, believed in applying the full works, down to the old fashioned mascara you literally had to spit on before applying with a wand. One thing that struck me was the way Hollywood stars wanting to be taken seriously as an actress, often ditch the glamorous make-up for a role in the hope that their heroic self-sacrifice will result in critical acclaim: think Charlize Theron in Monster for example.


Me? I'm a very simple girl when it comes to makeup; I can take it or leave it. Lip balm is my only daily - and not even that - application (apart from cleansing, toning and moisturising.) In fact, I only bought my first foundation last year because I'm worth it at my mother's behest [to wear] for my house dinner (and then formal, Valedictory Dinner, etc.) It's never been a routine for me to wear or "do my makeup," so I don't wear concealer, foundation, blush, eyeliner, eyeshadow or mascara, and am pretty much a dunce when it comes to putting them on (the first four, in any case.) Wearing mascara and lipstick does make me feel dressier, classier - a bit more glamorous that my usual self/look (I feel the same way about wearing earrings - because I so rarely do - and rings; they are touches of sophistication.) And it's always fun to Gemini "make me over," which she's done for just about all my boarding school dinners and dances!

To me, at least, minimal is key. There is, I think we'll all agree, such a thing as too much.

In short, my answer to the initial question is yes, I leave the house/college/whatever without makeup all the time. Because I'm born with it I really couldn't care less.

So, do you dare leave the house without makeup?

Just a girl


Rayne said...

I generally have good skin, so I hardly ever cover anything up, but when I do, I always check that it looks natural. U agree that minimal is the way to go, but, for example, today is Spring Fling at the college, so I'm wearing a bit of touch-up and some fun bubblegum-bright pink lip gloss. It's awesome and best to go minimal, but (bitchy) girls just wanna have fun, and who can pass up this sweet shade of pink?


Drop a tear in my wineglass said...

To be completely frank: I do think I look better on with makeup, and I do (more often than not) put on a little bit of blush before going out to buy toilet paper. But at the same time, I don't feel like me wearing makeup is something to be frowned upon.

It's something cosmetic that makes us feel nice, like a hairstyle, plucked eyebrows, pimple cream (or whatever it could be called) or clothes.

Perhaps makeup is more easy to go "overboard" with, and if someone uses a lot of makeup they are usually deemed as fake, unattractive (in that "you're pretty, but I bet under all that gunk, you're not"-kind of way) and gross...(I haven't said that since April 25) and that's why this attitude has come about, but honestly, I think makeup is something to make you look fresh(er) and if you use it, then that's fine.

I hate using foundation though, and eyeshadows and browpens and lipstick and lipliners...I usually stick to concealer, blush and sometimes mascara if time permits. Concealer to hide my blemishes and dark circles, blush to brighten up my face and mascara...because I like feeling like I have long lashes ;P

This was a very long comment.


Just a girl said...

Rayne: when I said minimal, I really meant natural I suppose, and I was thinking more of foundation and people who cake themselves with it with the result that they look more orange than human; I'm not adverse to a bright (or pink!) shade of gloss at all.

Diana: I'm not opposed to women who feel better or prettier wearing makeup - as I said, it makes me feel this way too, and I do [wear makeup] for this reason, but usually only when I go out - but I disagree with the idea that there is a need to wear it to make oneself look better.

Just a girl

-M said...

Mostly everyday i wear mascara and thats it, however some days i just can't be bothered. I have never owned a foundation or eyeliner, and i doubt i will purchase either in the near future.

I CANNOT stand the carrot-face look when girls pack on the make-up. It's really unessisary.

Sure girls want to look decent when they go out - i think anyone can agree with that - but becoming obsessed with it and needing it on camping trips and when ur sick?? no wayyyyyy!

Thanks for posting about this JAG, it's a pretty big issue - especially when girls dont be seen without their "face".

Always, M x

Rayne said...

Although I am itching to leave the house with pink mascara, turquoise doodle-liner and black lipstick. Just for the hell of it.



The Clothes Horse said...

That's a really interesting thought. For me I think a lot of it really has to do with confidence. At first I wore makeup because I was finally allowed to (sophomore year of high school--yay!) and then I couldn't stop. I didn't like to be seen with out. Lately though I haven't been wearing any and I get tons of compliments on my skin and I realize I just don't really need it, I can take it or leave it depending on mood.
But it also depends on your skin. I don't just mean break-outs, but I sometimes wear concealer to hide dark circles.

K said...

Even it means that I'm vain or insecure or whatever, I refuse to leave the house without eyeliner and mascara. My boyfriend begs to go without (and also to not dry/straighten/do anything at all to my hair).

But so far he is the only person who doesn't think I look absolutely horrible without it.

I'm naturally blonde so without mascara, it looks like I have no eyelashes! When, actually, my eyelashes are so long they actually touch my eyebrows if I look up.

I don't need eyeshadow or anything else... Just my eyeliner and mascara.

Anonymous said...

i think make up serves a different purpose for people and we have to respect that. whilst make up for some may be a no go zone it doesn't mean people who wear make up are vain, superficial, insecure people who only care about their appearance. it's just too easy to say that people wearing make up only care for appearances and that people who don't wear make up are backwards, really we should just be accepting that (complete cliche i know) everyone's unique, and not judge each other. i know i shouldn't criticise other people's blogs, but reading the guest's comment made on march 27, it seems so confusing; she is judging people by their appearance; if girls wear make up they are "self-"concious and "superficial" but in judging people on how they represent themselves, isn't she too being superficial? not sure if i'm making sense, but just wanted to get the idea out there. instead of condemning some of the female population, we should accept each other and respect the way we express ourselves, no matter if it's through pencil and paint on our faces or the pieces of fabric we wear or whatever else.

Just a girl said...

Hey Anon,
You make a great point. Loved what you say about we should respect each other, and I certainly respect any woman's personal right to wear makeup how she pleases. I just wanted to make the point that it's by no means necessary to make ourselves look beautiful - though I'm not adverse people wearing it because it makes them feel good about themselves, I do it - and it makes me sad when people like guest say "I feel ugly without any make up."


Anonymous said...

hi JAG,
definitely agree with you, my comments were more in response to the post from march 27 - i totally agree that make up does not give us beauty, it can only (sometimes) enhance it / change it, etc.
anon (june2011:48)

Anonymous said...

Here's the deal...

Most makeup, even the natural, mineral organic kind, has ingredients that have been classified by various scientific studies and research as either being carcinogenic, neuro-toxic, causing reproductive problems, or causing allergies and skin disorders. Most of the chemicals in cosmetics, skin and body products contain petroleum and petrochemicals, and are effing scary when you research what they do to the human body.

The long and short of it is, we have been sold on an idea of beauty, and to believe that we need to fulfill it in order to feel good about ourselves, when really all of these products are solely invented for someone to make money off of them. They often make your skin worse and age your skin, beyond there more harmful effects.

More than a third of all cosmetics contain at least one carcinogen, many contain multiple questionable harmful substances. I have worn makeup in the past, but now eschew it in favour of my natural face. I know it is the best choice. Do not believe that you need to express yourself through the consumption and use of makeup products. You truly express "who you are" when you choose not to use those products. When you use them, that is not who you are, they are simply products you are putting on your face.

Also, for those who say it is a woman's right to wear makeup: Please be aware that many of the products you put on your face and body have negative effects on the ecosystem, from washing into our water supply, and have a negative effect when they are produced, as they contain chemicals that are harmful to animals, humans and the environment. Please check out the Cosmetic Safety Database http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com to check out the safety behind the products you use. It is a valuable resource.