A Facebook post from Julia Roberts shared by a friend prompted me to write this blog post. The beautiful actress recently wrote,
“Perfection is a disease of a nation. We overlay our faces with tons of make-up. We get botoxs and even starve ourselves to become that perfect size. We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see. It’s the soul that needs the surgery. It’s time that we take a stand. How can you expect someone else to love you if you don’t love yourself? You have to be happy with yourself. It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, it’s whats on the inside that counts. Today, I want to put up a makeup-free photo. I know I have wrinkles on my skin but today I want you to see beyond that. I want to embrace the real me and I want you to embrace who you are, the way you are, and love yourself just the way you are.”
And with it, she posted a picture of herself looking beautiful and radiant sans make up. But she’s Julia Roberts. She has great genes, and is naturally and commercially beautiful without help from Charlotte Tilbury. Magic Foundation, how I covet thee!!
I completely agree with what she is saying. Everyone needs more of that juicy self-loving. But …
Look. The love and respect I have for my makeup-free self is unconditional. Took a load of work, many tears, therapy and taking a whole lot of responsibility for my thoughts and not blaming the parents to be at a place where I can look at myself in the mirror in the morning and say with complete convition, “I love you. Warts/wrinkles/spots/fill in the blanks and all, I love you!”. No cringing, just plain old love directed at me.
However, that doesn’t mean I have to love or like the way I sometimes look in the morning without the smooth skin filters that make up provides. No siree. Do you always love or like your family members at all times? If you do, you’re a better person than me. So it goes without saying that you should not have to “love” your appearance in order to be a loveable/socially acceptable/normal/non vain and narcissistic person. Appearance isn’t everything and it shouldn’t be, but I care about how I look. If that makes me vain, so be it. Sometimes the odd hormonal break out, fatigue and poor dietary choices results in a face I don’t want to present to the world. A face that I don’t particularly care for when I look in the mirror.
Make up and the millions of ways you can recreate looks by the simple application of eyeliner and mascara, or blush and concealer is something that I’m grateful for. I don’t make my face up for anyone but myself. If it were up to Mr B, I wouldn’t spend any more cents on make up as he prefers me bare faced. I don’t do it for him. To present my husband with a dolled up version of me to keep him happy in his marital choice in having me as his wife is not why I spend a crazy lot of money on make up. I do it for me. I love the magical way it transforms a tired looking and feeling, three decades and more year old woman into someone who is wider-eyed and more refreshed. It gives me a small confidence boost especially when I’m feeling sick, sad and lonely (although those moments are, touch wood, not that frequent). It gives me ten minutes in the morning to myself. And bonus, it saves me from having surgical procedures done, like double eyelid or eye widening surgery. The power of the eyeliner and the v-eyeshadow blending technique has given me more appreciation and love for my Asian monolids and features than surgery would have to look more Western. I would have bigger eyes, more Western eyes, but let’s face facts. I’m of Korean Heritage and I don’t want to look like I’m from Sweden or a Manga doll. I have small eyes and accept them. I don’t crave perfection in my appearance the way Julia Roberts describes how obsessed people can be in their aesthetic. I just love to see a more polished version of myself when I look in the mirror. And what I love even more is how I feel when I’ve spent a few minutes highlighting this or evening out that.
And as much as loving the ‘underneath the surface you’ is important, it’s also important to love the way you feel about how you look on the outside. I have a few loved ones who have experienced either chronic acne, psoriasis or other so called and perceived un-beautiful physical features. It can be a major cause of anxiety, depression and dampening of the soul. Just Youtube ‘acne covering make up’ and you’ll see dozens of vloggers sharing their stories and experiences with acne. You’ll realise just how traumatising something so benign can be (first world probs and all that), but you’ll also see the magnificent transformational effects that make up can have not just physically but also emotionally and soulfully. I’ve learned a lot from many vloggers and make up professionals who are so passionate about making people feel amazing through make up. For them (Frmheadtotoe, Wayne Goss, Charlotte Tilbury, Lisa Eldrige), I am and will be forever grateful.
Some people say make up is anti-feminist. I wholeheartedly disagree. Think about what feminism is actually about. It’s about choice. That and being able to make the decision to wear a bit of lippy without people assuming you’re either a slut, want to cater to a man’s desires, have really low self esteem or all of the above. In any case, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what ‘they’ say. What matters is how I feel. I feel good and have fun with my high street and high end beautifiers. I love myself before I slap on the slap. And I love my appearance more when I’ve finished curling my eyelashes. That’s why I do make up.