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Post #23: To Make Up Or Not Make Up?

Welcome to the twenty-third post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #23: To Make Up Or Not Make Up?

Walk into any beauty store, and you’ll find lotions and potions and paint and perfume for anything and everything.
But when did we start needing all of this stuff?
And does anyone ever finish eyeshadow?

Make up: is it self empowering or simply false advertising?

Make up: a tool for self empowerment or false advertising?

[Source: Pinterest]

I think it’s both, and maybe the pendulum swings. I knew East Coast girls in college here who reapplied their make up before bed, and arose earlier than their mate to reapply for a ‘fresh morning look’. Seriously. For me, that’s taking things too far. Plus, if you never let people see the unmade-up you, then you won’t ever get compliments, right?

Recently, I sat down one Friday night and put on some makeup just for enjoyment. I went for something a little dramatic, and with just four products, I was able to change the way I look. It was empowering. I could be whomever I wanted to be. Maybe make up is a way for us to align our outward-facing self with our inward-facing self.

Self portrait

My skin is naturally a little oily in parts and a little dry. It’s neither fair nor olive. I have the scars from a summer holidays enjoying chicken pox, aged 9. Purple rings under my eyes deepen in colour and depth with each year that passes. Plenty of freckles from a lifetime in the harsh Australian sun, and the lines from 31 years of laughter. These are the things that make me who I am. So why do we want to cover these ‘flaws’ up? In some respects, I think by caking my face in creams and colours, I am wearing a veil of my own.

Here’s the conundrum: I am woman trying to get comfortable in her own skin. I don’t like the time,Β  effort or outcome of making myself up fully. But here in the US, more than any other place I’ve ever lived, there is real pressure to not look like an old hag. It makes me feel I need the primer, the 24 hour kiss-proof lipstick, the waterproof mascara…

What do you think? Is make upΒ  a tool for self empowerment or simply false advertising?

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