Why Do You Wear Makeup?


Over the weekend I joked what life would be like without makeup…

Of course, I leave the house all the time without makeup. People ask, “What happened?” most of those times. But whatevs. I could chalk that up to getting older, but they asked, “What happened?” in my teens as well. What do I look like without makeup? This:

photo (4)

That’s me in the morning, sometime after my first cup of coffee and before my morning shower. So there you have it. An unfiltered, non-photoshopped 39-year-old me, pores and all.

I’m confused when it comes to makeup. On one hand I want to say, “Accept yourself the way you are!” And with the other hand, I’m Googling Fraxel laser treatment and researching if tattooed eyebrows can ever look natural (because I HATE when my brow pencil smudges or wears away). Part of me hates the endless spiral of fixes my insecurities throw me on. The other part of me knows that without my superficial insecurities I would have to obsesses over something other than shoes and makeup, and  and perhaps shoes and makeup are easier to look at than fixes for some of my deeper, less visible flaws.

 In my mind I thought ‘if only I could be like someone else,’ but in that desire, I failed to see the gifts I had to offer. Sure there are lots of tricks I can use to look ‘beautiful’, like wearing nice clothes, styling my hair, wearing makeup, and exercising, but those are all just extras.  I’ve tried them all to feel beautiful, and they help,  but it’s a slippery slope, because no matter how many shoes you have, not one of them is going to fix what’s going on in your mind. Believe me, I have tried, and tried. ~Everyone Is Beautiful, The Coveted 2009

In the last five years, I’d like to say I’ve grown. That I obsess less about superficial crap. But I don’t. I still get that feeling of hope every time I buy a new beauty product:

“Will THIS mascara give me beautiful lashes?”

“Will THIS primer erase my pores?”

Because you know, once I’m beautiful, then people will like me.

This idea of beauty=happiness cuts down to the core of many insecurities. So much so, when Elsy Anthonijsz aka Glam_Her_Booth posted  her contouring tutorials on Instagram, it made waves on the internet.  Who needs plastic surgery and photoshop now that we have contouring? Look at what contouring can do… it can make a plain girl into a knockout!

Even Into the Gloss, has now become Into the Foundation with all their contouring tutorials and “instant nose jobs.” It’s pretty apparent that many of us would love to look like someone else.

This week, the Man Repeller, Leandra Medine talked about why she didn’t wear makeup in response to a man who had called her ugly. She discussed in her eloquent post, not the political nature of makeup, but the underlying reasoning we feel the need for it. Feeling comfortable in one’s skin. Coming to terms with one’s looks, something that she has done… which is wonderful, as at her age I was so far from even thinking about coming to terms with my own looks. Then again, at her age (and even my age) I was far from many things she has been able to accomplish.

Makeup doesn’t make a person more beautiful any more than it makes a person feel like they can make a difference with themselves. I feel part of my makeup wearing is rooted in feeling like I have some kind of control over what I look like. That a tiny bottle can stop time, or a pencil can give me Brooke Shields brows. I can choose my looks, not the DNA that was given to me. Maybe my transformation isn’t so much like the girl in the Glam_Her_Booth, nor is it in my attitude like the Man Repeller. It’s somewhere in between. Makeup makes me feel like I can make myself beautiful.

Maybe that feeling of being able to change… maybe that’s all we really need.

 Why do you wear makeup? And if not, why?

jennineWhy Do You Wear Makeup?

Comments 22

  1. Kez

    You look beautiful with or without makeup! I totally get it though. I feel washed out and tired without makeup (I have blond eyebrows and lashes). Also, I’m 40. And while I’m neither ashamed nor afraid of my age, I welcome a little help. For me it’s all about: undereye concealer, tinted moisturizer and bronzer. I get my lashes and brows tinted. Also LOL re: googling “can brow tattoo ever look natural.” I’ve Googled many variations on that theme. :)

    1. Post

      Aw thanks! As do you (with your perfect skin!) I do feel washed out and tired without makeup… which is the basis of the little makeup I do wear. Tinted moisturizer, sometimes concealer, light reflecting setting powder, brows, mascara, and gloss. Ok, and eyeliner and eyeshadow. Maybe that’s the whole gamut. Eek!

      Have you found natural brows tattoos? I can only find permanent brows that look like they were drawn on with a sharpie. :(

  2. Kristen

    Love this post… I was shocked when I read what that website founder wrote about MR. So offensive, not to mention false. I think you look great without makeup and I would not ask you what happened! :D I don’t wear very much makeup, and it’s funny, as I get older I wear less of it. I still haven’t found the perfect lipstick color so I just don’t wear it. I’m terrible at applying eyeliner so I just usually skip it. I guess it’s part of growing up and feeling more confident in general. But I do love being tan! I hate applying self tanner but I do it on occasion. I also don’t like leaving the house without my brows done, and without some kind of powder on my face because I tend to be oily. But there’s no way in hell I would walk around with all that contouring business on my skin, nor would I ever have the patience to apply that much makeup. But when I break out I’m thankful that it’s socially acceptable for women to wear makeup :) But it’s more about skincare for me as I get older. Kind of obsessed with my NuFace… and that’s a whole ‘nother story! http://stylenik.com/2014/03/20/kphilipk/#more-17189

    1. Post

      Yeah.. that was crazy what that website founder said. Just horrible (and rather douchey if you ask me). Anywho… I am the same way when it comes to makeup… even though I’m quite religious with it, I’m not very skilled, so basically everything I wear has to be applied with my fingers because I’m terrible with a brush. Except powder. I can’t even wear full-strength foundation or BB cream. Tinted moisturizer all the way! Now that I’ve read your post about NuFace, I’m obsessed. Thanks for that. ;)

  3. Lisa

    It really depends on context. I wouldn’t wear makeup to the gym even if you paid me:). I don’t wear it to walk on errands with my husband. But for anything social, and always for work, I do/did. Over the years I’ve figured out a couple of “looks,” and I enjoy the painting in preparation for an outing with a component of “show.” I do shake my head over the Expectations For Women Are Different Than For Men thing, but I chalk it up to the genders’ differing primary mechanisms for mate selection:), and move on to other battles.

  4. Savvy in San Francisco

    What a great piece! I’m the same exact way about buying new makeup or skincare. I think this, this product, is going to be life changing…what I have always been looking for. I’m the same way as I rush out of the house, tinted moisturizer, lipgloss, eyeshadow and mascara. But I try to up the anti when I go to an event. Have you tried Benefit Gimme Brows for your brows! I love it! It’s quick and easy. Just a couple of swipes and I’m done. It has fibers in it that fill in your brows. - Melissa XX

  5. Lollie Shopping

    I love wearing makeup. That time in the morning when it’s just me, the mirror, my beauty arsenal and a cup of coffee is heavenly. It’s a very masturbatory act. It’s like painting, and my face is the canvas. For me, wearing makeup is no different than adorning my body in stylish clothes. It’s for decorative purposes only and it’s just fun. But on those days when I’m feeling lazy or embracing my au naturalness, I have no problem wearing no makeup. Sometimes my pores need a break. PS: Jennine, you look radiant sans makeup and your pores are nonapparent!

  6. charles

    I don’t think Elsy is plain. I think we are beautiful in our confidence, in our natural states, with smiles. I don’t think we wear makeup for men-our men see us looking like drowned rats in the pool and shower, in the morning with more bags and creases around our eyes than a full-grown elephant. We do it for women because women know when other women are wearing makeup. We do it because the models (who are specifically chosen because of ‘plain’ facial features) are painted perfection and because we would rather use questionable animal-containing concoctions than learn to love our faces.
    I’m not saying makeup is evil. I’m not saying that women who wear makeup are bad. I’m just saying maybe just taking one or two days off from wearing makeup, to realize that it isn’t the end of the world, and that maybe that hour could be spent doing something more productive isn’t such a bad thing…
    thank you for this important point-raising post!


  7. Ulli

    I remember several occasions in my life where I realized that wearing some make up does make me feel better.

    There was that morning when I was about 33 or 34 and I took a selfie (hey, I was early with the trend) before I left the house and as I looked at it on my shitty little Verizon flip phone I went “Oh..”…..I grabbed my Bare Essentials and evened out what needed evening out and that was that.

    Then there was another step change when I turned 37 or so, where suddenly I realized Bare Essentials wasn’t doing it anymore and I wanted a bit more coverage….out came the liquid make up.

    For a woman who didn’t even START wearing makeup, pretty much any make up, until her early 30s, it was a pretty quick learning curve. At the end of the day, I wear make up because I feel better. Do I wear it on weekends? No, definitely not unless I am going out, but during the week I do.

    Around 35/36 people would start asking me if I was tired. On non make up days. And it really really upset me a bit to be honest, because I realized HOLY SHIT, I AM NOT TIRED AND THESE PEOPLE THINK I AM. With Make up, I never got that question.

    Long story short: I wear make up because I feel more confident with it. I look less tired and as I have gotten older I have gotten more redness on my face that I hate. I know makeup won’t cure my lines and wrinkles, but I defnitely can take care of other small blemishes that affect my self esteem :)

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