To date, I have put on makeup (or rather, had makeup put on me) exactly twice -- once at high school graduation and once for my senior portrait. To those of you who wake up at 6 AM every morning to put on makeup and groom yourself, that may be shocking. But why is makeup a part of your life?
Makeup has always seemed like a mask to me -- a mask to hide personal flaws instead of accepting them. That's why I've never truly respected makeup. It signaled weakness, lack of self acceptance. This summer, however, I met someone who changed my mind.
Sarah Chey is a fellow sophomore at Stanford, and she embodies (to me and many others) the Goddess of Eye Makeup -- she even has an awesome Youtube channel for it. Frankly, I've never met anyone in my life like her, and that's precisely why she's given me a whole new perspective. As I sat next to her one day, watching her dab various brushes into an assortment of hues, I got the sense that she was painting herself. Painting not as in creating a persona, as I had thought before, but painting as in painting her personality, creating her personal masterpiece. I remarked, "Wow, it looks like you're creating art..."
And that's when I realized, maybe makeup is an art.
However, that's not to say that makeup is never a mask in people's lives. I don't believe I was totally wrong in my assumptions. I've witnessed too many people who rely on their concealer to conceal themselves, people who hide behind the powder and blush.
Sure, makeup can benefit you -- you might seem more attractive to others, you might look more professional at interviews, you might start the day off with more spring in your step. Makeup can just be a natural part of your daily routine, just as you'd wash your face in the morning and put on sunscreen.
If makeup is a part of your daily routine, I ask you to ask yourself not only "Why?" but also "For whom?" Is makeup something you do "just because?" Is it a means through which you express your identity, paint your masterpiece? Or is it something you hide behind, something you rely on for others to accept you, something that you wish would replace your need to love yourself and accept yourself for who you are in and out?
Sometimes, I ask myself, "If I were alone in this world, if there were no one around to judge me, would I do what I'm about to do?" But the reality of it is, we're surrounded by countless people and they judge and we judge. We all judge, judge, judge. Even if we hate it. But when we're alone in our rooms, alone in the restroom, alone in ourselves even when we're surrounded in the physical world, who is it that envelops our minds and leaves the rest of the world in darkness? Ourselves.
Makeup can cover, but it can also represent. Beneath or above the makeup, at the end of the day, you're facing you.