What’s with our makeup obsession?
The idea of altering or enhancing our looks with makeup is nothing new. Human history is rich with extreme examples.
For example, the ancient Egyptians might be the most famous dabblers when it comes to makeup. They’re known for their trademark kohl lined eyes, which were meant to ward off the evil eye, and the harsh desert sun. Cleopatra even wore lipstick colored with ground up carmine beetles.
But they weren’t the only ones. The ancient Greeks & Romans were known to paint their faces with ground up stones to make their skin paler. In fact, from the middle ages all the way through the 19th Century, pale skin was prized because it meant the individual was not forced to work outside doing menial labor in the hot sun. Women of the past painted up their face, neck, and chest with a compound called ceruse, which was a mix of vinegar and lead. So, With all that lead application, many suffered from muscle paralysis, or in some cases, even died. Ah, the pursuit of beauty … the lengths we humans have gone to achieve this elusive status!
Our modern makeup is much safer thanks to regulations and standards, but why are we still so obsessed with it? Honestly, I think our obsession with it has only grown stronger thanks to the powerful marketing strategies that bombard us every day.
Do you NEED makeup?
WHY do you wear makeup? I think that’s an important question to ask yourself. Do you wear it because it’s a creative outlet for you? Is it a coat of armor? Does the thought of running into someone at the grocery store without your ‘face’ on makes you anxious? Do you feel self-conscious and vulnerable, without it? Does it make you feel more worthy or more accepted?
As women, society sends us clear messages that we need to be using a million different products on our face to look our best, and that we have no right to feel confident unless we’re using all of them. It’s been estimated that an average woman’s daily hygiene and makeup routine applies 515 synthetic chemicals. EVERY DAY! Over the course of a year, that could add up to five pounds of chemicals absorbed through your skin and into your body.
If you are a mom like me, you pay special attention to the products you use on your children’s precious little bodies and delicate skin. But chances are, when it comes to yourself, you slather this stuff on without a second thought.
I want you to stop and think for a minute. What’s on your face as you read this? Moisturizer? Concealer? Foundation? Highlighter? Eyeshadow? Blush? Bronzer? Contour? Mascara? Eyebrow pencil? Setting spray? Whew!! That’s a LOT!! All for one face? Why are we doing this to ourselves?
Well Worldwide, the cosmetic industry pulls in over $40 billion a year. You can bet that they’ve got smart marketing to thank for most of that. Marketing creates a need you didn’t even know existed. Before you know it, you’re waiting in line to buy a forty dollar highlighter to bring out your cheekbones that clearly don’t ‘pop’ as much as society thinks they should.
Slathering all this stuff on our skin everyday can create more issues, leading to the need for more products. The makeup and lotions we use can actually work against our natural beauty by clogging pores, and offsetting the balance of natural bacteria on our skin which can then lead to blemishes and unsightly skin conditions. What a vicious cycle.
Well, I say, “‘F’ that nonsense!” Time to jump off that hamster wheel!!
Embrace what you've got
C’mon ladies! It’s time to woman up! We’re all freakin’ gorgeous in our natural state! If you doubt that, look at some fashion models throughout history. Many in recent times have been glorified for their unique attributes that could have been perceived as flaws. Cindy Crawford’s mole, Lauren Hutton’s gap in her teeth, Cara Delevingne’s thick eyebrows. These women flat out owned their look, they chose not to conform & embraced what made them who they are.
And, what happened? Each of them spawned droves of women to strive to look like them, ‘flaws’ and all. When we get up the courage to thrust that middle finger in the air and embrace ourselves in all our individual glory, that’s when life really begins! We get to live as our authentic selves! It’s time to celebrate what makes you unique, by not covering up your natural beauty in an attempt to blend in with everyone else.
In the history of this universe, you are the only version of you to ever exist. Celebrate that! Embrace your unique, natural traits for what they are … one of a kind! No more catering to the ideals dreamt up by marketing teams.
If you want to wear makeup because it brings you joy and gives you creative freedom, then have at it girl! But, if the thought of leaving the house in nothing less than full coverage makes you panicky because you’re not living up to some fake, commercial beauty ideals forced on us by society, then it might be time for a little soul searching. There’s a huge difference between doing something because you feel obligated, and maybe even resentful; and doing something because you truly want to.
Does Makeup Mess With Our Heads?
There’s lots of research around our obsession with makeup. A survey by the Renfrew Center reported that, when not wearing makeup, 44% of women felt unattractive & uncomfortable, 14% felt self-conscious, 14% reported feeling ‘naked’ (read: vulnerable); while a whopping 3% reported feeling more attractive without it. (woo-hoo!! Those are my people!)
A study in 2008 found a positive correlation between frequent cosmetic use and anxiety, self-consciousness, and the need to conform. Does angst cause us to reach for the concealer, or does reliance on makeup enhance those feelings of angst over time? It’s like the chicken and the egg scenario of the beauty industry! Which came first? Honestly, I’m less concerned with discovering the answer, than finding a way out of the riddle.
It can be confusing, but don’t worry. There’s good news. Women who reported wearing makeup less often tended to have higher social confidence, emotional stability, and self-esteem. The no makeup look is being embraced by women who are comfortable with themselves. (Bad-asses!) Maybe it’s a desire to be seen more authentically and to be accepted for who they truly are. Now that’s a mission I get can on board with.
The Challenge: Find Your Confidence in the Nude
We can all benefit from working on ourselves. If you’re not growing, then what’s the point? This revolution doesn’t have to be huge, it can start small. I am challenging each and every one of you beautiful creatures to embrace your unique, badass self, and spend one day in the ‘nude’. I want you to take a day off from putting a million and a half chemicals on your skin. Pay attention to how you feel. My hope is that this little experiment will help you grow your confidence out of the vulnerability you may feel. My hope is that you feel free! That you feel like yourself, like you were naturally and beautifully made to be.
Many Bella Botanicals clients have helped pioneer this mini-revolution. I’ve heard from them that their skin’s appearance has improved so much from using our natural products that they finally feel comfortable and confident, leaving the house (gasp!) naked! If they can do it, so can you! Women that have been too uncomfortable to go anywhere without a full face of makeup, are feeling better than ever in their own skin. If you’re not there yet, can you imagine the freedom? Seriously, take a second to imagine the feeling of being so confident that you can go out in the world with your best, naturally beautiful, face forward. From there, it’s only a matter of time before you take over the world!
Other articles to look at for reference