Makeup: Empowering or Damaging?

March 26, 2019

Makeup Empowers People

For some, makeup is just makeup. But for others it’s a source of strength, creativity, and expression. So why do people wear makeup? Is it the fascination of the pretty lip colors and gorgeous palettes? Or is it a feeling of empowerment?

Makeup can be empowering on so many levels; a dab of concealer and a swipe of red lipstick can cheer you up, boost confidence, and put everything in perspective. Makeup is a confidence builder, especially when people give compliments about how beautiful you look. Putting makeup on is also a time for yourself, a personal pamper time. Making the effort to look good can be empowering for women and men.

The truth is that beauty isn’t just about shopping and product hunting. Sure, feeling good about your appearance can give you confidence, but beauty routines provide a creative, fun outlet for self-expression that can lift a person through tough times. Makeup isn’t just meant for hiding imperfections or changing the way someone looks. Makeup is an art form that can empower and transform a person into whatever they want.

“I don’t wear makeup to impress,” says SFHS student Kayla Perez. “I wear makeup to express who I am. Most of the time I’ll just do my makeup for fun, even on days that I’m not going out anywhere, and I love how creative you can be with makeup. It’s cool.”

“Makeup makes me feel awake and ready for the day,” says SFHS student Nancy Avitia.

We’re constantly faced with people telling us what we should and shouldn’t do in terms of how we look, think, and act, from the way we dress to how we do our jobs, to what we’re entitled to do with our bodies. Saying how much makeup we should and shouldn’t wear is a form of shaming.

There are people out there who choose to shame people who spend hours primping in front of a mirror. The internet is filled with memes joking about how “You can’t trust a girl who wears too much makeup.” Makeup shaming is something that happens both when someone wears makeup and doesn’t.

“It’s annoying when someone assumes something from seeing your appearance when they don’t even know you,” said SFHS student Lauren Diaz. “I think no one should be able to say how much or how little makeup you should wear. It is not their business.”

“I think makeup has really taken on a life of its own. It’s not just about making yourself ‘prettier’ or making yourself look ‘better.’ Honestly, it’s an art form; it’s fun,” says actress Zendaya in an interview with Fashionista. “I enjoy the process of putting on makeup. To me it’s like a hobby. I think that’s what it has become for a lot of people, and it’s become more accessible for everybody. It’s not just for women. It’s for men too! It’s for everybody. I wear my highlight for myself. I don’t think that some guy is going to notice how popping my highlight is. I know my highlight is popping.”

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    Beauty Has An Ugly Side

    A survey that SkinStore ran throughout National Self-Improvement Month shows that 60 percent of women describe their natural beauty as “fairly average and nothing special.” Only 2 percent said they would describe themselves as “gorgeous” without makeup.

    The results show a huge problem of low self-confidence in American women. This could be brought on by social media and its pristine celebrities, constant comparison to others, or the increasing number of treatments and products made to enhance women’s beauty. Women are becoming more and more reliant on cosmetics to feel attractive and confident. According to SkinStore’s website, one in three women don’t leave the house without makeup, and especially not without foundation. Over half of women say they need an entire full face of makeup to go to work.

    When asked what women really despise about themselves, the results showed that their nose was the most hated part of their body and second was their teeth, presumably because these features cannot be enhanced with cosmetics. Over 70 percent of women’s most loved feature was their eyes, but more than 50 percent said they didn’t feel confident giving eye contact to others unless they were wearing eye makeup.

    “After I started wearing makeup, I realized I had more imperfections than I thought and it made me more self-conscious,” says SFHS student Claire Lucero.

    While some people experience few side effects from wearing cosmetics, the chemicals found in many products can cause adverse reactions that actually lessen a person’s natural beauty and slowly damage the skin with every application. Makeup can cause acne when it’s not properly removed, which is a common problem. If a person already has blemishes, it can make them flare up and worsen. When people wear foundations and powders that are constantly clogging their pores, it will aggravate their acne.

    According to Livestrong.com, some makeup ingredients, such as fragrances and preservatives, can trigger allergic reactions, including contact dermatitis. Preservatives include parabens, which have been detected in cancer cells. Formaldehyde — mostly known for preserving corpses — can irritate eyes and skin.

    Societal expectations influence girls and women into feeling like they have to wear makeup. They feel pressured to look certain ways in various situations, and women often vary their beauty routine to match the situations they will be in during each specific day. According to SkinStore, people who routinely wear makeup are often less confident without it.

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