If you are reading this blog, it's safe to say you have some sort of interest in the beauty world. And if you do, you have probably heard the buzz about Alicia Keys, and her #nomakeup movement. In a recent essay on Lenny, Alicia depicted her experience growing up and also in Hollywood, feeling the pressures of having to look a certain way, and portray a certain image in order to satisfy the unrealistic expectations of society. And let me start this by being frank, and to the point. I get it. I am by no means a Hollywood star. I don't know what it feels like to have my every move documented and I certainly am not photographed every time I leave my house. But just like any other breathing female on this planet, I too have been subjected to pressure to look a certain way and fit into a certain mold.
We are all guilty of judging other people. Get on your pedestals and claim to be perfect if you want, but we've all done it. And what better example than a red carpet Hollywood event. There are hour long TV specials after these events, where the sole purpose is to judge fashion choices, makeup artistry, and in the last few years, even nail colour choices. A sad fact that I don't think will ever change. Below is the picture of Alicia that started this whole movement. She showed up to a fashion shoot, from the gym, and the photographer insisted on shooting her in her raw beauty. And let me say, she is absolutely gorgeous.
This whole thing seems to have stemmed from a song Alicia wrote called "When a girl can't be herself" a song that's lyrics are meant to speak to women, and empower them. Make them feel that being in their 100% bare faced state, should feel amazing, and we shouldn't feel the need to pack on the makeup. One lyric that is highlighted in the essay is
"In the morning from the minute that I wake up / What if I don't want to put on all that makeup / Who says I must conceal what I'm made of / Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem"
These lyrics were actually what made me look at this a little differently. Do I think its a good message for young girls (and grown women) to learn to embrace yourself without makeup on? Absolutely. Do I have days that I wake up and I don't feel like putting makeup on? All the time. The problem for me is that this movement is starting to push an already hot button topic, and giving "makeup shamers" a platform for more judgement towards those of us that do decide to put makeup on, whether it be a full face with falsies, or brows and mascara to run to the grocery store.
I was recently at an appointment with my family doctor. I have never seen her with a stitch of makeup on and to be completely honest I never gave it much thought. She is a doctor after all, and seeing her patients while constantly being called to the hospital to deliver babies must be tiring. I work in the beauty industry, and sometimes even I can't be bothered. She had mentioned to me in previous appointments that she chooses not to wear makeup, and that was really the end of the conversation. This particular appointment however was different. She told me that she does not support my industry, and would never want either of her daughters to pick up a piece of makeup. If people don't like who she is without makeup, then they aren't worth meeting. I have a few issues with what she said. Number one: Do not assume that just because someone works in the beauty industry, that they are shallow, vain people who would never be caught dead in public without makeup on. Number two: Who is she to try her best to keep makeup away from her daughters? They are both absolutely stunning girls, but it is only a matter of time until they express interest in it. And we all know how it goes when your parents forbid something. Thats how girls end up changing their outfits and packing on the eyeliner in the bathroom before school starts. Number three: Back to my earlier point, everybody judges. It sounds harsh, but trust me its true. First impressions are everything whether you're at a job interview, a first date, or even just meeting new people in a social setting. I have been talking to a lot of my male friends (and some of my lesbian friends) and asking what they are attracted to when they initially meet someone. I got a lot of the expected answers, a smile, a sense of humour... but almost everybody said "I like it when a woman looks like she takes pride in the way she looks" Digging a little further, I said "Oh when they have a full face of makeup on?" and the response was the same across the board. "Not a full face, but some gloss and a hairbrush go a long way" Bingo. And I completely agree. Small things can really make a difference. Now if you feel your best with cake makeup and drag lashes on, thats your prerogative - and if it makes you feel confident I say go ahead.
Another thing that I haven't even mentioned yet, are people with serious skin conditions. Vitiligo, Cystic Acne, Pregnancy Mask... the list goes on and on. Some of these people use makeup as a bit of a security blanket. To put their most confident face forward before they face this harsh world that we live in. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. As a makeup artist, I can tell you that there is no better feeling than when you're able to make someone look like the person they feel like inside. Giving a cancer patient their brows back, or covering acne that a junior high student gets bullied for everyday. Hell, even if I make an already beautiful woman feel a bit more beautiful and I put that extra "swag" in her attitude because of boosted confidence, I have done my job.
I guess the reason for the huge rant is I want to make sure everybody is remembering through this #nomakeup movement, that the people who choose to use makeup to cover, brighten, or alter their appearance are no less beautiful or brave than those who decide to go out 100% natural. Makeup is therapeutic for some people, and for others it is an outlet for their creativity. And where do I stand? I wear makeup almost everyday. And somedays I don't, but you best believe you will never catch me in public without my brows on!
What do you guys think of all of this? Are you pro #nomakeup movement, or are you pro confidence regardless of products used?
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