Telling someone that they have great, natural skin is a compliment, but commenting on their choice in makeup because “natural is better” is flat-out annoying. You should feel entitled to create the look that best suits you, whether your morning routine consists of splashing cold water on your face, throwing your hair up into a messy top bun and calling it a day, or if you have a whole procedure involving a counter full of scented soaps, creams, liquids and colorful powders.
Makeup, as a form of body modification, isn’t for everyone. Lately, there has been a lot of girl-on-girl crime and even guy-on-girl crime revolving around the “too much makeup” dilemma. If you wear too much makeup, people call you “cake face,” and if you don’t wear enough makeup you may be judged for the scars or acne on your face. Makeup is no different from other forms of body modification like visible tattoos, piercings and brightly colored hair.
Our society is currently cradling a stigma about individuals who decide to partake in body modification, whether that be a sweep of the eyeshadow brush or a visible tattoo. Society tells us that those who decide not to present themselves in the most “natural” way possible should be devalued and scrutinized.
One major problem with judging body modification is that we decide to police some modifications while others are treated as cultural norms. People tend to roll their eyes at overly blushed cheeks, fake eyelashes and eyebrow piercings, but those same people wouldn’t think twice about painting their nails, shaving their legs or plucking their eyebrows. Somehow, hair removal, especially as it applies to women, is a standard expectation, but the presence of tattoos on certain parts of a woman’s body results in slut-shaming.
We all participate in some form of body modification, either consciously or subconsciously. The choices we make about our clothing, accessories, health and fitness routines, tattoos and piercings all display our personal tastes. A person’s decision to partake in body modifications should be treated like a choice of sweater. We may disagree with its appeal, but it doesn’t need an infinitely long lecture of why someone would be a better person without it. Some people think that excessive body modifications deter individuals from being their “genuine” self. But they shouldn’t be labeled any more ingenuine than other style choices.
Makeup is probably one of the easiest and safest forms of body modification other than investing in a new wardrobe. Both women and men wear makeup for all kinds of reasons. Some cosmetics are literally designed to cover up blemishes or uneven skin tones, and even tattoos can be strategically placed to cover scars or enhance areas that the individual is otherwise unconfident about. Yet why do we feel so inclined to take that away from a person? It shouldn’t offend us that some people need an extra boost to feel fabulous. In fact, we all probably require that same fix, one way or another, whether that be hearing our favorite song or a long run at the gym. If you would rather spend 15 minutes in front of the mirror than go on a 15-minute jog to find a new sense of confidence, then more power to you.
Some think makeup brands and names such as Too Faced Cosmetics or Urban Decay’s Naked eyeshadow palette were ironic. However, Too Faced doesn’t mean two-faced, and although they sound the same, Too Faced Cosmetics was founded by two men whose vision was to empower women. Co-founder and creative director of Too Faced Jerrod Blandino “recognized that makeup is so much more than a little color on a woman’s face — it is an instant mood booster, a best friend, a powerful ally and a personal set of lady balls.”
The next time you overhear a snide comment about your bright lipstick, glide on another layer and just remember that you bought that shade of lipstick because it looks good on you. Beauty is and always will be subjective. There is no such thing as natural beauty because beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. In all seriousness, the word beauty is defined as the qualities or characteristics such as color, texture, shape and form that please the aesthetic senses. You shouldn’t wear anything to please anyone but yourself, and you shouldn’t be forbidden to do or wear what makes you happy to please someone else.