Anyone who says that being a modern woman is easy is just straight-up LYING.
We’re expected to be perfect mothers and amazing employees, smart and wholesome but also spectacular in the bedroom, sweet and accommodating but also fierce, fiery, and far-from-basic. Not only that, we have to constantly tweak our looks. I’m sure you ladies know all too well how infuriating it can be to walk that fine line between sexy and slutty, modest and frumpy, stylish and vain. OK, wait, that’s actually three lines. No wonder we’re overwhelmed! We’re constantly trying to fine-tune our looks to be just the right mix of gorgeous and understated, and the process is exhausting.
Which is why people who rag on experimenting with and indulging in makeup make me wanna climb up onto my soapbox. Especially since it seems like so many of those people don’t actually wear makeup themselves! So first there’s the whole “don’t knock it till you’ve tried it” thing. But there’s also the fact that makeup does so much more for us than make us look pretty. Makeup is so much more than a set of potions we slap on to tweak our looks.
Makeup can be an important self-care ritual. If you truly worship at the altar of Sephora, applying a perfect smoky eye or learning a new lip-lining technique can be downright meditative. It might be the only 10 minutes each day that you get all to yourself, and using it to do something slow and meticulous and relaxing can keep you from losing your mind.
Makeup can help us be less self-conscious. If you suffer from insomnia, makeup can help you look more rested. If you have acne or rosacea, makeup can help downplay those things so you don’t have to deal with people staring. If you overplucked your eyebrows as a teen or have a scar you’d rather not discuss or want to draw attention to certain features and downplay others, makeup can help. In so many ways.
Makeup can boost our confidence. They call it “war paint” for a reason, girls! Wearing a bold lip or some catty eyeliner can make us feel bolder, braver, and more Beyonce-like. Learning to contour or strobe can make us feel less like overworked moms and more like sassy supermodels. Sure, some of it is a little make-believe-y, but if it helps us get through the day with heads held high, what’s wrong with that?
Makeup can help us heal. Whether it’s physical healing from the sun or passage of time, or emotional healing from a rough breakup or lousy week, applying makeup with care and love can make our bodies and souls feel calmer and cooler.
Makeup is expressive. I mean, right? Think about how much you can tell about a woman by her nails or eyeshadow application or flawless-looking skin. When you see a girl rocking hot pink mascara, you know she’s got the fire in her. When you see an older woman with a meticulously applied nude lip, you know she’s a class act. Just like fashion, cosmetics give us a way to tell people who we are without ever saying a word.
We modern women most definitely have it better and easier than our moms and grandmas. No two ways about that. But we also face daily challenges and roadblocks, stare down judgment and criticism at nearly every turn. Makeup can be one of our secret weapons, a quick, simple, relatively inexpensive way to helps us feel strong and smart and sure of ourselves. It won’t solve our problems, but it helps us feel more capable when we face our problems. It’s our armor, our artistry, our wonderfully affordable confidence-booster. Yes, makeup helps us look pretty. But it also helps us reach beyond pretty, toward self-care, self-confidence, and self-awareness.
Makeup changes how we look so that we can focus on how we feel.