Tubes of brightly colored lipsticks, coral peach blushes, and eye shadow quads line her cherry wood vanity table. My eyes are fixed to her towering figure as she sweeps a taupe color over her lids and a dark copper shade above her crease line. Her lips part to form an “O” as she applies a bubblegum pink shade. She peers into the mirror for any traces of smears before absent mindedly telling me she’s heading out for the night and not to open the door to strangers.As my mother leaves, I catch a whiff of her perfume.
Years later, I’ve obtained my own collection of magical potions and elixirs that make my eyes look wider and alert, my complexion less ruddy and my acne less visible. I see makeup as magic, almost. With it, I feel instantly more beautiful, and it disguises the flaws in my face. I am confident, more likely to approach strangers, and more likeable. It creates the face I present to the world.
My relationship to beauty stems from the fact that I grew up in family dominated by females, with my mother, my aunt and my older sister. My mother groomed her girls to become beautiful. For my bad vision, I wore contact lenses starting when I was 10. For my crooked gait, I wore contraption to sleep and visited the oedipetician often. My smile was fixed with braces. For my horrible cystic acne break outs, I had appointments for facials. My mother put a lot of importance on appearance.
High school was the first time I dabbled in makeup. For my birthday, I received my first eye shadow palette from my older sister. The palette signified a right of passage to womanhood. At the time, I didn’t question how or why a women’s self-worth was contingent on her beauty. I started off innocently enough with concealer, foundation and eyeliner. Then eventually, with college (and late night parties), more makeup was piled on. Makeup became a daily routine, I would not leave the house without it. I became that girl who would not let a guy see her bare face the morning after.
Now that I look back and retrace my steps to my relationship to makeup, it shows dependency. I’m thinking about taking the challenge of not wearing makeup for a week. How would I approach the world differently without makeup and would others react to me differently?
What is your relationship to make-up? Do you wear it on a daily basis?