I want to preface this post by saying that I recognize that some women have no desire to wear makeup, and that’s their choice to make – I personally choose to wear it to boost my confidence and as a form of creative expression, but if you’re not interested I sure as hell won’t judge that choice. It’s your body, do whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident. I’m simply sharing what I’ve found to be an unexpected form of meditation and self expression that has been an easy fulfilling way to distract myself from obsessive negative thoughts . And that’s the reason I’m posting about it here, alongside the creative projects. Because makeup can be a form of self care, a form of meditation, and an art form, in my opinion. It can be an accessory, a costume, a way to convey your subculture to the world. It’s easy to dismiss as vanity or artifice, but ignore those opinions and have fun with it.
If you’re new to makeup, I recommend going on YouTube and looking up some tutorials. My favorite makeup guru is Lisa Eldridge, but there’s someone for every taste. Subtle makeup, retro makeup, pastel goth makeup, rockabilly makeup, just search for whatever interests you. Once you start watching, you’ll become more familiar with what products appeal to you, and what you can afford. (I personally love Too Faced’s Better than Sex mascara, Chanel’s VitaLumiere Aqua foundation, and BECCA’s liquid highlighter.) But if your budget is tight there are plenty of videos about stellar drugstore products that are as good as, or better than, the higher priced brands you’ll find at Sephora and Ulta. I like NYX for eyeliner and matte lipstick and illuminating primer, and Milani for lipstick and eyeshadow. Both are drugstore brands and both affordable. But one warning – if you get hooked on makeup you’ll find yourself drooling at the MAC store and dropping $55 on an eyeshadow palette from Urban Decay. But say it with me: you’re worth it.
Be patient. There’s a reason the pros get paid big bucks for makeup styling. It’s a skill but also involves talent. Most people will be able to get excellent at doing their own makeup, but it will take time. I’ve been practicing for a year, and I’m only passable, not great. But I’m a hell of a lot better than I used to be.
Take some time to sit with your face. Get comfortable with your features – that’s the best way to learn how to enhance them. For example, I have hooded eyelids. I didn’t even know what that was until 6 months ago, but now I know how to modify my eyeliner so that my eyeliner doesn’t drag the corners of my eyes. By acknowledging the unique qualities that make up your beauty, you will be giving yourself a boost of self esteem. You’ll notice that you have beautiful eyes or a soft sensuous mouth, or a glowing complexion and you can learn how to emphasize those. True beauty comes from within, that’s unquestionable, but it’s disingenuous to pretend that physical beauty is unimportant in today’s society and plays no role in our self esteem. But my experiments with makeup are a way of sublimating makeup’s role as a tool to be used to please the male gaze. I think that if women AND men use makeup for themselves and their own confidence, as opposed to as an appeasement or attractant, it can become a fairly radical tool of empowerment.
Whether you use it as an art form, a political statement, a confidence boost, or as a daily self care routine, makeup can be a very fun, rewarding hobby. There are communities on FB and Reddit full of people obsessed with makeup, and there are endless sources for inspiration on both those sites, as well as Pinterest. Sometimes I’ll just search for a color I want to use, sometimes for a look I’m going for, like “grunge”, “boho” or “goth”, sometimes even by season or emotion (after the election I searched for “angry makeup look” on my way to a rally).
Don’t be afraid to have fun with it. I don’t mind occasionally looking like a looney tune. I am a little weird, and that isn’t something I shy away from anymore.
So I hope you guys find this helpful. It’s a little different from the craft and DIY projects I’m going to be posting mostly, but I still think that personal style can serve a dual purpose as an outlet for self expression and as a form of self care, so I think it’s worth posting about!
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