Why I'm Glad I Grew Into Make Up
I've written a lot in the past month or so about my new found admiration for makeup, because that's exactly what it is. When all my friends started wearing makeup for the first time, I just wasn't interested - and that was okay. I never felt pressured into wearing make-up, but was happily content to watch from the side lines. It gave me a strangely unique perspective: I saw all their first attempts and learned from their mistakes. I learned how important it was that the colour of your foundation matched your skin tone, and the easiest ways of applying things.
But like it says in Perks; "Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor."
I'm seventeen now, and in all honesty I need makeup. I’m not one of those girls who can just roll out of bed, dab on some moisturiser, and navigate the world with effortless confidence. I don’t think that this makes me inherently ugly, nor do I cringe when I see myself in the mirror when I’m just hanging out at home. But I am able to recognise the truth: I have always had problem skin, I am prone to redness and random break outs, and I have puffy little bags under my eyes regardless of how tired I actually am. Makeup isn’t exclusively an issue of “making me look prettier,” it’s “eliminating the impulse in others to ask if I am sick or tired,” which is fine. My success in life is not entirely dependent on my use of makeup, but it certainly helps, and I don’t have a problem with that.
Despite all this, though, investing in good beauty products and routines was never going to be my forte. I recognise my need for improved skin, shapely eyebrows, and a general glow of health, but the last thing I want to do is spend 100 quid at an upscale makeup store on products that only stand a 30 percent chance of working. One thing I did learn from the side-lines is the importance of investing time properly googling things. I would watch my friends simply stumble on something that looked good while out shopping, maybe give a cursory ask to the salesgirl who is bound to say that everything is 'the best product ever', and buy it.
But when you have problem skin that is extremely sensitive, (eg me) you cannot afford to just try stuff out on a whim. One mistake and you can send your face into a purgatory of dried-out inflammation for a few days, and unless you take the time to perfectly match a product to your tone and texture, you are destined to look like the signature Oompa Loompa that we have all grown up fearing. Maybe the flawless, aspirational-bone-structure beauty vloggers can afford to try out anything, but my wee face cannot. And looking back, it’s pretty obvious that my friend's problems were largely due to the fact that they were just spending, not really investing.
So I started researching. Makeup Alley has become my friend, as they have collections of hundreds of honest, real-life reviews. I read more beauty blogs these days than I ever have. Yet while investment products are important, so are the things that can come and go with the trends, such as crazy eye-shadow, lip balm, fun nail polishes (I will one day own the entire Kiko collection), and colours you’re experimenting with. But I did two makeup sessions this month — and let me tell you, it was a revelation.
First of all, if you’re in need of new makeup anyway, there is no reason not to cash in on the free makeover/consultation that comes with it for a certain amount spent. Second of all, having a professional sit you down and go through your face in a comprehensive, custom way is something everyone who has trouble with their skin/makeup should experience. The (drugstore recommended) products I got from both of them are incredible so far. I’ve gotten nothing but compliments, but never “I love your makeup.” It’s always “you look nice,” “your skin is glowing,” and who doesn't want to hear that? I've fallen in love with Rimmel and using my fav bb-cream is enough to make me look and feel totally glowy and put-together with no effort. I've also learned recently that putting on a bold lipstick changes the way the entire world perceives you.
I don’t think that everyone needs to spend hundreds of pounds every few months on maintaining their “made-up” look. But I do think that if investing in your beauty — in presenting a version of yourself that will be treated better by our shallow, appearance-obsessed society — is important to you, there are certain things you should really do well. You should only put products on your skin that will take care of it, improve it, and make it look its best while on. You should take the time to get a consultation from a professional who can save you years of unnecessary trial and error when it comes to the fundamental things you wear everyday. You should — as former makeup artist Jeremy Renner once said — frame the face with products that fit you perfectly and can be relied on to do the bulk of the work.
See, in the past few years how I present myself has changed dramatically. Gone is the girl who couldn't care less and whose effort extended only as far as to pulling her hair into a ridiculous looking low ponytail everyday. The girl writing this today cares a little bit more, and her effort extends a little bit more everyday too. And most importantly- that effort is for her and her alone, because she's old enough to realise that if you love how you look, its much more likely that other people will too. I'm glad for it too. I wasn't ready for makeup before now, nor did I really need it. But as we grow older so does our skin, and growing into makeup instead of with it, is probably one of the things I will be eternally thankful for.
At the end of the day, a YouTube tutorial can’t know you. And cycling through endless recommendations to find the perfect daily routine is bound to leave you frustrated and, in the end, not having saved that much money. While there are going to be things that you find you can get away with being thrifty on, if you’re anything like me, one Clarisonic will be worth a thousand exfoliating face washes. And one bottle of excellent bb-cream that actually leaves your skin better than it found it forgives years of terrible forays into cakey, orange foundations.
Again, if you are one of those blessed people who can get away with not really thinking about what goes on your face, more power to you. But if you are one of the many who go from “did you not get any sleep last night?” to “you look great ” with a little concealer, it’s worth it to invest. Always.