* ‘make up’ in this post is mostly referring only to face make up, NOT eye make up*
A couple of days ago one of my best friends came to stay at my house. She lives very far away and I don’t get to see her very often.
She does not wear make up. Not any. Not even on her eyes.
I hope I haven’t caused any fellow beauty bloggers to faint from reading that statement because, I know, it is a bit of a shocker. I couldn’t understand how she did it. We chatted about it for a while before she came to what I suppose was her main point, which hit me quite hard. She said;
“Boys don’t like girls who are fake”
She said it in passing, as a simple statement that didn’t mean to cause much effect. I’d heard it before, I knew it was true. But I didn’t think anyone was actually strong enough to listen to it. It lingered in my mind and I began to consider why I wore make up, who or what for. I realised that it was a little bit habit, and a lot for the opposite gender. It’s obvious really – why would I want to impress any girls with my looks (as you may have noticed, I am not a lesbian. Yet)? I would hope that girls would easily look past that, especially when looking for a friend and not a romantic partner. So, at the end of the day, I wear make up to expand my success with boys.
For a short while, as I have done many times, I managed to convince myself that I needed the make up to actually be attractive and that she was very lucky not to. Boys may say that, I thought, but if they had a look underneath all our fakery they would keep their sorry mouths shut and let us put on our concealer. I assume that most make up wearers have adopted this view.
Then we decided to do makeovers. Because we were having a sleepover and we were (…and still are) girls. And girls on sleepovers do makeovers. I covered her in BB cream and I put concealer over her (agonizingly few) spots and blackheads, her blotchy uneven cheeks and her terrible under eye bags. I gave her blusher but didn’t bother with contour because I generally fail at it. I looked at her face with a growing sense of doubt; I saw what the make up had done. The character of her rosy, blotchy, naturally and indeed sensibly coloured cheeks, the realness of her under eye bags, were gone. Suffocated under smooth colours and textures, covering up her individualities.
Her face was gone. A child’s painting remained.
She was quite intrigued; hooked on the idea of finally having society’s perfect face. She said she liked it, rather mesmerised by her newly discovered ‘beauty’. I however had realised that her true, individual, wonderful beauty was underneath – what she had found was a popular way to cover that up and join the masses.
Who can honestly tell me there is beauty in that?
I told her she looked better without it, convinced her to stay how she was. I hope she listened to me, because I would be devastated if I had triggered her to tumble down this slippery slope. It was then time to do my make up.
Obviously she ha no idea what she was doing so I did all my make up myself. The growing sense of doubt I felt for her was creeping in on me again – did I really look better? Did I just look fake? If I’m honest with myself these thoughts had been at the back of my mind for a very long time. I asked her when I had finished;
‘Do I really look better than before?’
We looked at our sad, painted faces. My mind flashed back to the first thing she said, and it dawned on me that I had been deceiving myself into the easy option of just carrying on regardless. I looked at myself, and I looked fake. Boys don’t like girls who are fake.
I realised that as my face was on the road to ‘perfect’, it was leaving trueness, originality and, yes, beauty far far behind.
Now, a couple of weeks prior I had bought a foundation which turned out to be the wrong colour. I chucked it right to the back of my cupboard behind all my stuff so I couldn’t get to it, because I knew I would forget and use it otherwise and wind up looking like a traffic cone threw up one me. It was a good plan and it worked.
Upon my aforementioned realisation I decided to take a very brave step. I took some make up and threw it to the back of the cupboard. I did it gently, it wasn’t a symbolic killing or anything and I’m fairly sure it’s all completely intact, it was simply so I remembered not to use them. I made it much more difficult for myself to give up and go down that road again. I kept my concealer because I believed that it was a simple and small thing, and I kept my powder just in case I needed to combat my shiny face. I wanted to throw all my blusher and bronzer but most were attached to eye shadows in sets and I still wanted those. I hoped I would be strong enough in mind and in memory to resist them.
I was going to go bare-faced.
“Thank you,” I said to my friend, “For inspiring me to do this”
In part 2 I will recall the outcome of these events.
Thank you so much for reading :)
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