You just gave the last stroke to finish highlighting your cheekbone. One look in the mirror, and all we see is a goddess with an almost perfectly sculpted face―flawless, pulchritude at its best. With different brushes and a mix of several powders in your hand, you are a certified face artist. However, what is the point of makeup? Why have women become so enamored with it? Enchanted to the end that many will not leave their homes without at least a touch-up? Is this over-reliance on makeup healthy? Alternatively, is it a sign of a deep-lying sense of insecurity?
“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” ― Coco Chanel.
While this is debatable and subject to individual opinions and interpretations, there is no doubt makeup brings out the unique essence of a woman. In a way, can we say that it is a colorful celebration of God’s works, Who remains the Greatest Sculptor of all? For those with facial defects resulting from health issues, accidents, or surgeries, making up the face is one option for managing these issues. For others, it’s just seeking to accentuate the essence of their beauty and womanhood.
According to howstuffworks.com, cosmetics’ origins are traced back to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians are mainly known to have used the Kohl (i.e., a mixture of metal, lead, copper, ash, and burnt almonds). They are known to have painted this around their eyes―for the express purpose of warding off the evil eye and dangerous evil spirits. It also served the functional purpose of deflecting the harsh rays of the desert sun. The ancient Greeks and Romans are also known to have painted their faces with powders.
Furthermore, as stipulated in howstuffworks.com, portrait photography started at the tail end of the 1800s. People saved up funds to take the one picture they may ever have of themselves. Before doing so, the makeup application became the norm for this once in a lifetime event to appear their best. In 1914, Max Factor, a wig supplier to the Hollywood studios, made makeup a pop culture phenomenon after developing a greasepaint foundation. He created lip-gloss and eyebrow pencil and popularized the word “makeup.” He is the first significant success in the cosmetic industry.
Women use these beauty products to look good. But it is arguably sometimes agreed that making up is a deceptive method to paint a different person’s picture. Many stories are supporting this perspective of makeup. One known instance is the story of a man, as reported by Gulf News, who left his newlywed wife after seeing her for the first time without makeup after the wedding. In another instance, a man filed a case against his new bride after she turned up with a ‘new’ face. It is odd to think that they had never seen the real faces of their fiancés before getting married. Funny, but quite strange, nonetheless.
Three or more years ago, with the upswing in the makeup industry, being a makeup artist has become a lucrative job. The artist is responsible for giving ‘that beat face’ that sets women apart on essential occasions. Also, makeup artists, especially if they are a Celebrity Makeup Artist, a Theatrical/Performance Makeup Artist, or Special FX Makeup Artist. In the cosmetic world, a Beauty Writer/Editor or a Makeup Product Developer has a high chance of making it big in the cosmetic industry.
Presently, most young women are becoming adept at applying their makeup themselves, to the point where almost every woman can be said to be a makeup artist. Via the art of repetition, women are perfecting their craft in making themselves up. There are DIY videos and picture illustrations littered on the Internet to guide every makeup enthusiast, increasing demand for makeup products. Many suppliers of these products have become pretty well-off via the avenue of supplying the growing demand for beauty products, as we will see later in this article.
“If she likes makeup, let her wear it. If she likes fashion, let her dress up. But if she doesn’t like either, let her be.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Is it a false reality? Is there ideally such a thing as too much makeup? Well, let’s put it this way; if you go a day without it, and an acquaintance walks past you without noticing, then there may be a problem. If you dread the very idea of stepping out of your house without dolling up, there might also be a problem. The unfortunate thing is that this situation is not entirely uncommon. The reality is most persons can’t go without having to work so hard on their faces with these chemicals. They do not feel complete or confident without it. Whenever we become dependent on any external factor to feel comfortable in our skin, it’s never a good sign. It is worthy of note that a continued obsession with one’s outward appearance is unhealthy and will lead to other issues.
Many people have spent enormous sums of money to achieve the right look. So much money is being spent that an industry has been created in beauty. For instance, Statista.com asserts that just in the United States alone, from 2002 to 2019, the cosmetic industry’s revenue is estimated to be about 49.2 billion dollars in 2019. The figure postulated above is just the cosmetic industry, which is only a part of the whole beauty industry that keeps ballooning yearly.
Edited, the retail analytics firm stipulates that the entire beauty industry is valued at 532 billion dollars. Forbes highlights some names of self-made women who have amassed a fortune via this industry, such as―Jamie Kern Lima, Toni Ko, Jamie O’Banion, to mention but a few. It is the same industry that nudged Kylie Jenner to billionaire status. We can’t forget to mention Rihanna and Emily Weiss too. They are contributing immensely to the world of cosmetics and receiving generous patronage for their products.
Many turn to plastic surgery, risking their lives to go under the knife, to ‘fix’ something that is not broken. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Americans spent more than 16.5 billion dollars on cosmetic plastic surgery and minimally invasive procedures in 2018. Some of these procedures are breast augmentation, liposuction, eyelid surgery, facelift, breast reduction, nose reshaping, wrinkle treatment injections, chemical peel, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, to mention but a few. The art of “fixing that which is not broken” is alarming, and caution must be taken, say the very least.
The concept of beauty is subjective―makeup or no makeup, it rests on the individual. The ideal regarding this subject rests on moderation. Beauty and external adornments of the womenfolk have their place but must be taken in proper perspective. There should be a sense of balance the springs from the psyche of all women. Makeup or no makeup, the bottom line is that the woman should take care of themselves. They should never be so negligent that they become shoddy. Those who push too far to the right to not advocate for no makeup should never impose their ideologies on all as a standard. Those that lean to the left of using makeup should not set their position as the “fact.” The positioning of this discourse is centrist at best and hinges heavily on moderation.
“Beauty is power, and makeup is something that really enhances that; it’s a woman’s secret.” ― Charlotte Tilbury.
As human beings, the first step in achieving healthy self-esteem is to love ourselves in our purest form. No amount of makeup or surgery can fix the aching feeling of discontent when someone does not value themselves. While applying makeup may be excellent in its own right, an attractive personality will make you more appreciated by family or friends. Beauty must first radiate from within the individual. Its characteristics must be governed by the right personality, attitudes, thoughts, and motivations that find expression via words and deeds. Those who have a problem with you for not reaching their beauty standard are not worth having as friends. So, use makeup if you must, but do not overuse it, and do not allow your self-worth to be tied to how much of it you use.