Anyone who’s stepped into a Sephora, Ulta or up to a department store beauty counter knows the allure.
The perfect shade of lip gloss.
A palette that has enough colors, shimmers and mattes for a complete look.
Foundation that can either make you glow, or not depending on your preference.
Nail polish that makes you feel like a goddess – like lightning bolts are about to shoot out of your finger tips!
Liquid eyeliner that makes doing a winged liner a piece of cake.
People often wonder why we wear makeup in the first place. It takes effort, it costs money. It often can end up looking like this …
And often, women are critiziced for wearing makeup. We hear things like, “it’s fake,” “you don’t need it,” “it’s a waste of time/money,” and “that’s vain.”
Yet, people often don’t really know what makeup actually does. This is from a Beauty YouTuber, Makeup Game on Point (she’s hilarious!!), and it’s very, very true.
So why do we do it? Why do we wear makeup and spend the time to research products, watch tutorials, apply it every morning?
Buzzfeed came out with a listicle of real ladies explaining why they wear makeup. Most of their answers were: “because it’s fun,” or “I like how I look when I wear it,” or “I don’t feel like me with out it.” Some even said, “it’s none of your business;” true and funny.
I understand all of these reasons. I get that it’s a ritual. That it’s “me time.”
And yet, I’d like to add another handful of reasons why I personally wear makeup and probably always will. I wear makeup because:
- It’s transformative. The face you put forward in the world, with a light or heavy application of makeup, can change how you engage with the world. For me, it’s always been about red lips and red nails. Wearing my favorite color makes me like I can do anything. I’m ready. It might sound silly, but if something so silly can have such a potent effect, why not use it?
Here’s an extreme version of how cosmetics can transform people:
- We live in an imperfect, out of control world. From stop-and-go traffic to people who let their toddlers scream in public with out even trying to soothe or stop them – there are so many things that I can’t fix. I can’t stop smokers from tossing their cigarette butts out on the pavement. I can’t go around and force every person who uses a shopping cart to return the darn things to the little cart corral. I can’t make wind and solar energy financially stable. And so I certainly can’t solve the problems in the Middle East or cure cancer!
But I can present a polished front when I go out to solve the problems that are within my ability to solve. I can perfect my eyeliner so that when I look someone in the eye, they know I’m a confident person to be taken seriously. I can rock a red manicure that commands attention when I give a firm handshake before getting down to business.
Women tend to be more detail-oriented then men. We see the little stray hairs, the smear of a lip gloss, the lint fuzz on your left sleeve and we itch to solve every problem not matter how small, vain or inconsequential. Makeup is merely a weapon in our arsenal to make the world as we think it ought to be.
- My cosmetic habits support a $60 Billion industry. More than 56,000 people in the United States alone have jobs because I like to wear makeup. If people stopped wearing makeup, started making their own clothes, and carried around paper sacks instead of leather handbags, how many people would be out of work?
And by the way, that doesn’t count the people who work in retail shops like Sephora and Ulta, or the advertisers and PR folks like me that are hired by cosmetic companies to spread the word about new products. Having worked on beauty brands before (Bare Minerals, Bath & Body Work & Ulta Beauty), I owe part of my livelihood to cosmetics.
As a libertarian capitalist, I love the free market. I love that there is a market with products in demand providing for income and livelihoods for so many people. I will gladly spend $7 on a tube of mascara for that!
So – why do you wear makeup?