This week I’ve put myself in the hands of my daughter to give me a full works face of makeup, using everything in the armoury to create the look. This is weird for me. Day to day I use tinted moisturiser, and that’s only really for the SPF, usually plus mascara and sometimes a bronzer or blusher. Going to work means adding eyeliner. Going out means adding some eye shadow. The full works would take me less than five minutes. You get the picture I’m pretty much at the minimalist end of the spectrum.
I’ve always been intrigued by women who wear full makeup daily. If that’s what makes you feel good and boosts your confidence when out and about, then great. Many women do a fantastic job on their appearance and I regard them as artists. But I don’t really understand spending the time that is required and I’m a little suspicious of the idea that it is in some way unacceptable for anyone’s face not to be presented more or less as it is. And another big question why is make up a ‘norm’ for women but still not men?
Okay, a little experiment here. I ran a search on ‘why don’t more men wear make up?’ and this was the first response up, with very similar findings more or less repeated down the whole of the first page of results.
“Men do NOT wear makeup in the same way as a woman because they do not look good. Makeup gives even color, brightens color, and makes you look soft and healthy. … Women don’t look at a man’s face the same as a man sees a woman. Women don’t mind a little ruggedness/non-perfect look and, if fact, they like that.
“Well, Makeup’s goal is to make someone look more youthful and more attractive, which is likely why it appeals to women more than men.”
I’m actually shocked. So no men can look good in make up and women all like rugged looking men? Women all want to look more ‘soft’ and attractive and men aren’t interested in that for themselves? Wow!
I can completely understand the idea of make up as a self care ritual and happy for anyone who feels makeup gives them confidence (I know sometimes that is me). I use it as part of dressing up for an occasion (even informal ones) and in keeping with the outfit. It can make a real difference as camouflage for scars, birthmarks, lack of sleep or acne, but the gender issues around this make it hard to differentiate. What’s the difference between “I wear make up because it makes me feel good” and “I feel I am expected to look youthful and to take steps to enhance my looks”. What happens if makeup doesn’t quite get you to the standards you see on social media, and what do you do to your face after that?
It took an 45 minutes or so to do the full works and we used a total of 16 products, plus brushes and sponges. Holy moly! How do I feel about how I look? Well if someone to said to me ‘you look fabulous’ of course I’d be pleased, but I’m not totally sure I did. I had to take the photos inside because in sunlight you could see it all caking in the wrinkles. My make up free existence doesn’t mean I’m exempt from vanity! I was a little ill at ease with the amount of products that we’ve just consumed. Overall I’d rather be looking at a face that shows character, laughter and life. But that’s just my preference.
I didn’t expect to set out this week ending up having a minor rant about societal expectations put upon women. I thought I was just trying out some makeup, but there you go. Try new things and see where they take you, that is what my 50 challenges are all about.
Do this again? Probably not, although to wear makeup at all I recognise that using the right planet friendly/skin and age suitable products is a good thing to update now and then – and I still admire the artistry of the professionals.