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14th October 2015

Why do you wear makeup?

“I would be lying if I said that makeup doesn’t contribute to my self-confidence. It is concealer and not coffee that helps me arrive at a 9 o’clock lecture looking and feeling more awake”

For a lot of people, I can see that an interest in makeup could appear to be quite superficial, even narcissistic. It’s a billion-pound industry that feeds on your insecurities and lures you in with the new ‘cult’ product that will make you look even more fabulous than the products you’ve already got, supposedly. Some may find it all a bit silly. Why bother? Why do you wear makeup?

In response to this question, I would say that I have never had an agenda to appear attractive to others through the use of makeup. My interest in cosmetics started at a relatively young age, and way before teenage insecurities and hormones kicked in. Makeup was an outlet of creativity that I treated as a hobby, which made up for what I lacked in primary school art lessons. I could use whatever colours I liked, and there were generally very few guidelines. My face was not always the limit. My lipstick compositions were sometimes daring and avant-garde, with the wallpaper in my parents’ bedroom being one choice of canvas. Nowadays, wouldn’t they call that modern art?

The use of makeup at a young age is often frowned upon, used to prematurely age and ‘sex-up’ young girls. For me, it was just an extension of the universally popular childhood pastime of fancy dress; the cherry on top of a flamboyant, bizarrely-clothed cake. How could I have pulled off a Cruella De Vil get-up in my grandma’s velvety dress and faux fur scarf without pale powder and a blood-red lipstick? And my Egyptian pharaoh costume would not have been complete without a slick of bold black eyeliner.

Tutorial coming soon if you want to try this dramatic eye look at home. Photo: The Mancunion

An indication of someone’s relationship with makeup is how they feel without it. I would be lying if I said that makeup doesn’t contribute to my self-confidence. It is concealer and not coffee that helps me arrive at a 9 o’clock lecture looking and feeling more awake. I am not one to turn down the chance to dedicate an extra 20 minutes to my makeup before going out to ensure that my mascara looks great, and that the whole ensemble will not have smeared off altogether by the small hours of the morning.

However, I would not say that I am bothered by makeup. A makeup-free day is a regular occurrence, not a nightmarish concept. I do not treat makeup as a mask to be applied every morning before leaving the safe confines of my bedroom. Celebrity makeup artist and businesswoman Charlotte Tilbury has stated in an interview that she is never seen without makeup on, even by her own husband. She takes this to such lengths that she wears makeup to bed to “keep the mystery alive.” Aside from the fact that she must surely have perpetual conjunctivitis, her attitude is, sadly, quite common. The proof can be seen in the rising popularity of ‘makeup tattoos’­, such as getting eyeliner literally inked around your eyes.  Makeup in my opinion should not be treated as a second skin in which one has to permanently reside to have beauty and sex appeal, but simply a weapon at our disposal that can be wielded when it takes our fancy.

As you can see, I paired my baby pink eyeshadow with a statement hat. Photo: The Mancunion

What I love about makeup today still pertains largely to the creative aspect that I cherished in my childhood. I love the industry for its fast pace—makeup trends, like fashion, are constantly evolving and fascinating technologies enable us to achieve new effects. Makeup is itself undoubtedly a form of self-expression, and can complete your look or totally transform it, depending on how you feel on the day. The process of applying makeup has become, for me, a ritualistic act. There is something calming, satisfying and undeniably fun about devoting a bit of time to playing with beauty products; an attitude that has been widely held for generations and that I do not think is set to change any time soon.

Never too young to start. Special mention to the Harry Potter duvet. Photo: The Mancunion

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