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Thursday, 9 July 2015

BEAUTY || What Make-up Means to Me.

A cheesy title, I know, but I couldn't think of anything snappier! This is a post that's been a lot time in the making - or is it the writing? Who knows, but it's been playing on my mind an awful lot recently. 
To be honest, my love of all things beauty can be a bit of an insecurity of mine. I'm scared people will assume I'm vain. Although I'm incredibly proud of this blog, despite keeping it fairly secret from family and friends because cringe, sometimes I get scared of being labelled superficial because the sight of a Sephora makes my heart flutter in the same way that a good book does.  Make-up is a passion of mine just like writing this blog is. Of course, literature is my first love and I adore my degree but I sometimes feel just as passionate writing about a Charlotte Tilbury haul as I do about the 19th Century Novel. And is that so bad?

A guy friend always tries to wind me up by saying that women wear make-up for men's pleasure. And to a certain extent, yes we do beautify ourselves for men. But, for me at least, that's always secondary to wearing make-up for myself. Maybe I'll apply it a bit more carefully before a date but my daily make-up routine is something I do for myself. It's a therapeutic part of my day where I take some time out to make myself feel confident and comfortable. And that's not to say I don't feel confident barefaced but applying my go-to make-up always makes me feel ready to take on the day.
It's a ten minute ritual that I really enjoy. I'll make a cup of tea, listen to my current playlist (I'm having an Amy Winehouse moment which usually results in a karaoke session too), and just take my time applying my favourite products and mentally prepare myself for the day. Make-up is my comfort blanket, it makes me feel more like myself. And I love donning a bold lip for a day and winged eyeliner the next, it's a form of personal expression in the same way fashion is.
My first memories of make-up will always go back to my grandmother. As a child, my sister and I would always look forward to the moment after Sunday lunch when Grandma would let us go upstairs and explore her endless drawers of mystical beauty products. We'd sit at her dressing table from the 70s and apply orange lipstick paired with blue eyeshadow like it was going out of style. Note to self: it will never be in style. It was at young age that I realised the transformative nature of cosmetics, almost as if it let you pursue different personas. When I was five years old, make-up made me feel like a sophisticated and glamorous woman - an aspiration that was high up on the list at that age!
Nowadays, I wear make-up for me - not to pretend to be something I'm not. I guess what I'm trying to say is that nothing irritates me more than when someone undermines my intelligence or thinks any less of me just because I own a ridiculous number of nail polishes. My love of all things beauty related is just as much a part of me as my love of books! And if wearing a bold lip makes me feel trendy and confident then I'm sure as hell going to do it. As long as I know that it's for me, then there's no point caring what any one else thinks. Make-up gives me the same confidence you'd get from wearing a LBD.
Sometimes it's hard being a woman in the 21st century, our looks are all too often dissected in our personal lives, our working lives, and relentlessly in the media. Wearing make-up doesn't necessarily mean we're adhering to society's horrendously thwarted ideals of beauty, it means we're just trying to get through the day and remain happy and confident in ourselves. In some instances, my make-up can be a suit of armour... but I don't feel obliged to wear it daily.
I'm in awe of this Buzzfeed journalist who went barefaced for a week as part of a social experiment and learnt that the only person it affected was herself. I thought a lot about this issue when this article was published back in October of last year. I happily spent days at uni, chilling with friends and not applying an ounce of concealer to my complexion. Sometimes it's nice to let my skin breathe. But when I thought about going without make-up for a week, my gut reaction was that I didn't want to. And that isn't because I'm scared of what people will think, it's because I love wearing make-up too much. I love taking that time out of my day to concentrate on something other than my uni reading or whether I've done enough preparation for my seminar. My daily make-up routine gives me some much needed headspace.
I wear make-up because I want to and because I love it, not because I feel like I have to in order to impress a guy or look like someone I'm not. Being interested in make-up is just the same as being interested in a sport or any other hobby and I'm over being labelled superficial for it. I know I'm not any of those things. Writing this post has been extremely therapeutic and after I hit publish I've decided that I no longer care what people think. I'm going to swoon over the latest Essie Spring/Summer collection in peace! As my life guru Taylor would say, 'haters gonna hate' so why not leave them to it.
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