Thursday, September 27, 2012

Makeup: The Good, The Bad or The Ugly?

I first started wearing makeup at the age of twelve. I say 'makeup', but what I really mean was a chalky coat of white eyeshadow on each evelid. Blending? Forget it. Mascara? What? I think what really got me started was my older sister insisting upon plucking my naturally thick eyebrows for me. She took me from caterpillar central to wafer-thin arches, and somehow managed to convince me at the time that they were the way forward. To say I cringe about it now is an understatement, and it's fair to say I regret ever letting her loose on them - especially considering that some of the damage remains to this day!
After the white eyeshadow, I soon progressed to black eyeliner and hair mascara, and it wasn't until several years later that I truly discovered makeup and how to wear it. I was probably about sixteen when I first complained to my mother about my dull-looking skin, and she suggested that, as I was going on a night out, I try some of her Clinique Superbalanced Liquid Foundation. From the moment she popped it onto my face for me (in shade Cream Chamois, if anyone's interested), I was in love. My skin looked just incredible! Smooth, glowy and healthy - why hadn't I given foundation a try sooner?? 
Actually, I'd always prided myself on not needing to wear anything on my face itself, as I had been blessed with good skin, but had I known the difference a good, well-chosen base could make then perhaps I'd have converted a little earlier. Growing up, I'd seen my sister getting ready for school in front of the mirror every morning. Almost without fail, she would ask me, "Do I look orange?", and not wanting to hurt her feelings, I'd - without fail, again - assured her that no, she didn't. Do I need to explain that that was a lie? The thing is, having never dabbled in makeup myself at that point, I didn't really know what it was supposed to look like. Anyway, thankfully she soon learnt what suited her and found herself the right shade - it was a learning curve for her too, much like my white eyeshadow and thick black eyeliner. Let's be honest - we've all made mistakes when it comes to beauty.
After my first dalliance into my mother's high-end foundation, and finding myself without the funds to buy such an expensive product (well, they're not cheap to a sixteen-year-old. Actually, they're still not), I would regularly sneak into her room before a night on the tiles and pop some on, foolishly assuming she'd be none the wiser. Of course, she was - I left foundation fingerprints all over the wall and door on my way out!
I spent the next few years experimenting with what did and didn't suit me and gradually began building up my own makeup collection, beginning to wear foundation on a daily basis, and it was only in the past couple of years that I began becoming interested in application techniques. It was beginning to read beauty blogs that set me off, and I was delighted to find that there were normal people out there who knew about these things.
For a while, I was a 'one o f everything' kind of girl, in that I couldn't understand why people would need more than one foundation, blush or mascara at once. Oh, how things change!

Anyway, the point to my little makeup story is this:
Is discovering makeup really a blessing? Or are we actually doing ourselves more harm than good in the long-run, and making our lives more stressful to boot?
I certainly don't regret the discovery of makeup on a daily basis. I genuinely enjoy applying my 'face' in the mornings, and seeing it go from tired and drained to healthy and glowing, and if I'm going out somewhere special then I adore having the opportunity to really make the effort. 
But what happens when your skin breaks out, and could do with a break from all those products? What happens when you go away for the weekend and forget your makeup bag? Or when you're off to the beach or the pool?
My point is, by wearing makeup every single day, we become dependant on it, and it really makes those occasions when we really should give it a miss that bit harder to deal with. Who wants to apply a full face of makeup to go for a run in the park? Well, no one....but then on the other hand, are we really just dying to show off our bare, puffy-eyed, tired faces to the world either? Probably not. If we weren't so used to people seeing us with makeup on then it wouldn't have to be such a traumatic experience going without - or such a pain applying it for nothing, for those of you who just can't bare to be seen without it.
If I'm honest, I usually do slap on a bit of tinted moisturiser before I go to the gym or the beach, and it really annoys me that I feel the need to do so. Yes, it evens out my skin tone and makes me look more 'awake' and healthy. But as I mentioned earlier, before I started using makeup, I was always secretly pleased that my skin 'didn't need it'. I was perfectly happy with the way it looked, and didn't think twice going out without a scrap of anything on my face. I think that my philosophy now tends to be that yes, I could go without - but why would I want to if I could leave the house looking that bit better and feeling that bit more confident? In my case, I really do use just the bare minimum in these situations, but I know there are many of you who would go the whole hog due to much the same philosophy, and then again there are some of you who are happy to go bare-faced (good for you!)
Something else to consider - especially in the case of us beauty bloggers - is that all these products are not really doing our skin any favours. If we didn't shell out so much money on lotions and potions to prettify our faces then we wouldn't need to go and fork out another small fortune on skincare to correct the damage we are doing - and we wouldn't need to worry so much about anti-aging, either.

I think the ideal would be to never start wearing makeup during the day. Then we'd feel even more special when we did use it, which would be lovely for things like birthdays and celebrations, and at the same time our skin would be free to breathe for the most part. However, I know that a lot of people start wearing makeup for other reasons. It's not always to be 'grown up' (let's be honest - that's what it's all about in the beginning) or to look our prettiest - sometimes we have things that we would like to cover or disguise in order to feel more confident about ourselves, and I don't really see how this can be a bad thing. It's easy for people to say that you should just let it all hang out and be proud of your flaws, but who is really ever going to be proud of a great big spot on their chin?

It has its good sides. It has its bad sides.

What are your views?
Do you feel confident to go without makeup?



  1. Oooh interesting post, glad I read this. Most days I really can't be bothered to wear make-up, e.g. if my plan for the day is 1 hour lecture I wish I didn't have to wear make-up. sometimes I don't, and I feel insecure! Wish it didn't have to be this way, maybe you're right and make-up isn't a blessing at all. Could start a huge debate on this topic haha.

    I've just started a 200 follower giveaway if you're interested in taking a look :)

    1. Thanks Hannah :)
      That's how I feel - I do pop out without it on occasion but then I always regret it and feel like hiding my face! I dread bumping in to someone I know. It's stupid really, and I know it - we look fine without our makeup on. It's just that people are so used to us with it on that in comparison we look ill without it!xx

  2. This was a lovely post - though being the older sister, I hope mine never lied to me about my own make up haha!
    I wish I didn't have to wear foundation, but otherwise, I just generally enjoy make up :) xx

    1. Thanks Rachel. I really do enjoy it too, but I think that wearing it all the times sometimes means we feel we look ugly without it. It's not the case at all, of course!xx

  3. I enjoyed this post its interesting! I only started wearing makeup because i had acne and was desperate to cover it up so for a long time I didnt appreciate makeup at all, I resented it and wished my skin was good enough so that I wouldnt have to wear it!
    it wasnt until my skin eventually cleared up that i started to enjoy it because i realised it didnt have to be about hiding things anymore it could be about enhancing things instead! I guess its knowing wear to draw the line!?
    Great post!!!! :)

    1. Yes, I think you're right. I think makeup is fantastic for hiding things like acne, but then as you say, in those cases it's not so much something enjoyable as a chore. However, at least it's there to give people that extra confidence boost in their hour of need, and I'm really glad your skin cleared up in the end so that you can now have fun with it :)xx

  4. What a great post Mel! Sometimes i really resent the fact that I feel as though I need to wear makeup, I mean people aren't going to drop dead if I don't, but the chances are that people would notice...or at least that's how I feel after years of everyday makeup application. I can't even really remember my transition to wearing a full face, but I wish i didn't have you...sometimes it's just nice to let your skin breathe! Also, I find that at different times, different things seem important...for instance I went to the gym the other day and felt it was essential to do my eyebrows rather than my face because I didn't want to wear any make up really but couldn't quite face it with nothing at all!
    I love applying my makeup, but sometimes I'd love to have the extra time in bed and not give two hoots about what I look's the same face that's there when the slap comes off!!
    anyway, loved the post



    1. Thanks Alice!
      I know what you mean - even on the days when I go 'makeup free', or 'natural', it still takes a bit of...well, makeup to achieve the look! Haha, it sounds so silly when you put it like that. But as I said, I don't go too far - just a bit of tinted moisturiser and filling in my wonky brows ;)xx

  5. Fab post and really well written! I can step out into the world without a stitch of make-up on but I do get told that I'm 'brave' a lot which is probably an insult in a polite term. I think a lot of women feel better when they wear makeup and feel more presentable but as for make-up at the gym? A full face plus all that sweat is never going to turn out flawless after an hour (or maybe it does sometimes depending on application?) but if that's how women feel confident then that is their choice. I would probably wear a BB cream or tinted moisturiser when if I went to the gym though - just to look more 'with it'.

    I remember that I really got into make-up at about 17 because a boy I liked told me I looked healthier with it on. My sister has always been make-up crazy though which infuriated my father greatly...

    I could ramble on and on... This is a fab post, I really enjoyed reading it so thank you for the food for thought :) xxx

    1. Thanks Helen :)
      My thoughts exactly, surely all that sweat mixed with heavy makeup can only lead to one place, and that is spot central.
      Ahh, that happened to me too as a teenager - someone said I looked really nice so from then on I was afraid to go out looking any different in case that meant that normally, I looked rubbish - haha, so silly.
      'You're brave' is such a silly thing to say, why not 'you look lovely without makeup', or just nothing at all if that's not what they think!? I'm sure it is though ;) xx

  6. This is a great post! I think the older i get the more comfortable i feel in my own skin,i HAVE to wear it every day for work but i now enjoy NOT wearing it on my days off....Thanks for the great post you have given me some food for thought :)

    1. Thank you Tiarni, really nice of you to say :)
      I know what you mean, I enjoy being at home without any makeup on and knowing it's free to breathe. But as I said, I do still tend to fall into the trap of needing to put at least a little something on if I'm going anywhere :(xx

  7. I started wearing makeup pretty late and, weirdly, since I got pregnant, have been more interested in it- my collection has certainly grown in the last few months. I'm lucky in that my skin is fine naturally, but I think I wear makeup because I enjoy the ritual of it (also, I'm a teacher, so for work, I have to wear certain things). I can go out without it, but I just like playing with it! I do make sure I have at least one day a week off from wearing it though- and an excellent skincare routine certainly helps too.

    1. Yes, I'm definitely with you on the skincare, it does make a big difference and certainly helps in terms of damage limitation. It's nice to hear that you just enjoy makeup and can go a day without it as I think that's the way t should be, really. You've got a good balance. xx

  8. I do and I don't. I never used to touch the stuff. Some days, I feel more confident than others. Some days, I just apply some lip balm and eyeliner and head out like that. Other days, I put a full face on. Though with my health, just brushing my teeth etc, simple things are exhausting, I think these are the days where I feel like I want my face on the most! My eyes look so sunken and dull without a little something and this puts me on a downer a bit, but I'm used to my face without make up.

    Lizzums x

    1. Yes, I can imagine, as whenever I'm feeling under the weather in any way it seems like such an effort to put makeup on, but at the same time it does make you feel better once it's on!xx

  9. Really great post!!! We all loved that thick black eyeliner ha x


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