It is a well-documented fact that I have a slightly irrational fear for makeup. Even after watching countless DIY makeup videos on YouTube, I remained an unwilling participant in the world of makeup for the longest time. Growing up, I would often spend time as a lab rat in my sister’s never-ending practice sessions of makeup Vlogs and tutorials. She loved makeup and I loathed it. She would often ask me why I hated it so much and I wouldn’t hesitate to laud my so-called moral rectitude over her, claiming that I did not want to appear ‘artificial’. Little did she know that I was terrified of makeup. I was completely baffled by the power it had to change the way one looked, to add tiny gems of beauty where none existed before.
Welcome To Adulthood!
All this changed when I joined my first job and officially jumped onto the ‘adult-bandwagon’. Suddenly, life was no longer about classes, assignments, and hangouts but conference calls, discussions and engagement announcements. Though I would often pull off the ‘no makeup’ look with élan, I was secretly envious of all those well put-together ladies who strutted off with panache, in their high heels and winged eyeliners. All this changed when a kind colleague once took pity on me and pulled me into the office loo to give me a makeover. “You look tired babe, you need a little color on your face,” she said as she began to paint my face with various assortments of products.
After she was done, I couldn’t help but stare at my own reflection, peering at me from the mirror. A little color did work wonders. Evidently, I had been missing out. Feeling pangs of envy, I asked my colleague if she could teach me to use makeup. She agreed and my secret office-loo makeup classes began in earnest.
Makeup As Self-love
Little by little, these sessions made me more confident about my makeup skills and I began to improve my skill set by using various products. It was a completely different journey for me, I learned that ‘baking’ was a makeup technique and not something I would do in my kitchen. I was no longer limited to my sunscreen-kajal-lip balm routine. I began to experiment with new looks. Instead of a hurried 5-minute check-in at the mirror, I took a good half-an-hour to get ready. Strangely, these 30-minute sessions were not so much about beautifying as much as they were about self-love. I fell in love with my own face. I began to appreciate the features of my face, highlighting them by playing with colors. All my life, I had never thought of myself as a beautiful girl, I realized that was because I never really looked at myself. Makeup helped me discover my own self; it taught me to be myself.
Respecting The Body And Healing The Soul
Learning to use makeup made me feel more comfortable in my own skin. I would no longer deny myself the right to get decked up by claiming makeup was an artifice. After all, there is no way I could have golden eyelids naturally. I realized it was not an artifice, it was art. I did not use makeup to hide my blemishes; instead, I used it to celebrate my natural flaws. The missing Cupid’s bow, the plump cheeks — every little flaw was unapologetically owned and celebrated. It also helped me take care of my body better. I would pay attention to my skin and identify the signs of tiredness and exhaustion. I made a concentrated effort to eat better and sleep better. I tried everything — Korean skin masks to mud packs. Whatever the latest trend was, you name it and I had it. I became more attuned to the inner workings of my body and developed a deep respect for nature. After all, it was nature which helped me put up with years of neglect.
Makeup Made Me A Better Feminist
Sounds weird but it is true. For the self-proclaimed feminist that I am, I often engaged in heated debates about equal pay, maternity benefits, and sexual harassment, claiming to be a member of the progressive youth brigade. However, I never noticed how I was co-opted by the same patriarchal society against which I aggressively campaigned. This rather startling discovery was made when I noticed the terms I used to describe makeup. So, red lipstick was not ‘lady-like’, fuchsia was too ‘girlish’. Chocolate colored lip color wasn’t ‘sober’. The inherent judgment in these words had somehow managed to escape my notice. After venturing into the world of makeup, I realized that it was an amazing, empowering tool. And not just for women, but for people who did not identify with the gender binary. It allowed them to be themselves. Makeup opened a door to a hidden treasure for me, a world which ended up making me a better person.
Wearing makeup every day changed the way I lived my life, it gave me a chance to be truly me. Largely thought of as a cosmetic tool, makeup inspired a spiritual change in my life and I am thankful for it. So, the next time you are in a washroom in a mall, looking at all those women refining their makeup, revel in the fact that it is an expression of art and maybe a tiny bit of vanity too!
The post Here’s What Happened When I Started Wearing Makeup Every Day appeared first on Living Well With Oliver.