All Made Up, One More Time

November 18, 2011

Two weeks ago, we chatted about make-up. I learned all about who taught you how to wear it, which products you love, and how many of you won’t leave the house without applying at least a little of it.

But there was more to our conversation, from concerns about the message wearing make-up sends to our daughters and young girls everywhere, to the lovely belief that beauty has nothing to do with cosmetics and everything to do with the radiance that comes from within. I so agree! But I still wear mascara every day; I do enjoy batting my long eyelashes at Ben Blair.

One comment has stayed with me, though: “I think the reason some women hesitate to wear make-up is that it says ‘I’m trying to look beautiful.’ It’s a risk.”

That totally resonated with me! Not necessarily the makeup part, but I’ve definitely looked longingly at fashion trends or hairstyles and thought: I love it so much. She looks great! But I don’t dare try it. And I’m not sure I even understand my fear. Am I afraid I’ll try it and fail — be more clown than cool? Do I think someone will say something rude and I’ll feel rejected? If I try to be beautiful, does that mean I can’t be smart too?

That comment is the first time I’ve ever associated beauty and risk. The whole idea has me examining my routines and trying to identify which tasks are basic grooming (washing my hair), and which are specifically to make me feel beautiful (perfume, dyeing my hair).

I’m still tossing all of this around in my head and seeking clarity on the subject. Would you help me out by sharing your own thoughts? Do you try to look beautiful? How…why…or why not? Do you associate beauty and risk-taking? Do any of you find yourselves renouncing beauty products and enhancers, taming your style, and just trying to blend in?

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{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Giulia November 18, 2011 at 6:49 am

I never thought of it this way, but very true. I’ve always been very reserved and never tried to stand out in a crowd, therefore following fashion trends in make-up and hairstyles was something I didn’t pursue to the full extent. I wear mascara, concealer and very plain eye shadow – I always feel I’m trying too hard if I wear lipstick, foundation or blush – I never wanted to be perceived as the girl that has to ‘put on a face’. I am so cautious that I normally wear my hair down and putting it in a pony tail at work just seems too risky (silly!) b/c hair down is how people know me at work and it would be trying to hard putting it up.

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2 Design Mom November 18, 2011 at 7:12 am

Oh! I love your comment, Giulia. This especially caught my attention: “hair down is how people know me at work”.

I think that’s part of it for me. I assume people think of me a certain way, and it’s scary to present myself in any other form. I remember telling my kids, when we moved from NY to Colorado, that this was a great opportunity to reinvent themselves. It can be hard to reinvent yourself among already existing friends and coworkers.

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3 Connie November 18, 2011 at 7:18 am

Interesting statement.
Back in high school, mentally I think I wore makeup to ‘hide.’ Most girls wore makeup, and I thought that by doing so, it gave cruel people one less reason to point me out as different. In that case, Makeup was a camouflage.
But now, as an adult, I wear makeup because it’s fun, and because sometimes I like ‘kicking it up a notch’ for my husband. That’s it. And I don’t care if others see me as “trying to be beautiful.” I AM beautiful. AND smart. So if they see me when I wear makeup and judge me as shallow, then they’re going to be very surprised when they speak with me and find me thoughtful and intuitive.

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4 Helen November 18, 2011 at 7:20 am

This discussion resonates with me so strongly! I’ve always worried about looking like I’m trying too hard and end up looking like I didn’t try at all. I’ve always been a “makeup looks best when you can’t tell you’re wearing it” kind of girl, but I secretly admire those who can pull off more intense looks like bright coral lipstick or tinted mascara. Lately I’ve been trying to banish the “why bother” thoughts from my mind when I style myself in the morning and trying to embrace that it’s ok to want to look good! After all, I spend so much time decorating my home. why not take a few risks when decorating me? Great post!

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5 alicia November 18, 2011 at 7:21 am

Trying anything is a risk. Trying to look beautiful, trying to speak a new language, trying to run a marathon, trying to meet new people…all risky.

I spent years as a professional ballet dancer, with long hair in a chingnon. Even after I retired I kept my hair long. I looked pretty and I felt pretty and that’s the way it’s always been. Then this January I cut all my hair off and now sport a Jean Seberg pixie cut. It took me five years to muster the courage. I get more compliments now and am frequently told I look like various movie stars (if that’s your concept of beauty) after taking the risk.

And don’t we always admire risk takers? Its why we admire Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, and even fashion icons. They took a risk to try something different. A few dollars lost a new product isn’t a major loss. Hair grows back.

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6 Marisa November 18, 2011 at 7:29 am

I try to be beautiful. I want to be beautiful! But once, as I was putting on some eyeliner—and I should say my makeup is very, very minimal—my 7yr old daughter said, “Mom, you don’t HAVE to look perfect.” Inside, I panicked. What am I showing my daughter? I told her that I honestly wasn’t trying to look perfect, just awake and less tired. That was true at the time, but there are times when I try to look more than “less tired.” How do I explain that to my daughter? That I’m just as vulnerable to cultural standards of beauty as she is? Why is it ok for me and not for her? :\

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7 Stacey H November 18, 2011 at 7:30 am

I wear make-up like a palette wears paint. Hopefully I don’t look “painted” per se but here is what I mean. I too have contemplated the “why” of make-up and I can honestly say that for me it is ART. It absolutely fulfills a creative need in me. I think this is the reason people say I seem to always reinvent myself: I get to change my canvas daily and it is always based on an expression of my inner self. Some days that means no make-up at all and on those days I wear my bare face proudly. Other days, especially if I am feeling angsty or feisty, you might find me with a black smoky eye look. My hair and wardrobe are all a part of this “art” of mine. I am a person who values authenticity very very much and I can honestly say that what I look like going out the door is my authentic portrayal of myself and make-up is not something I use to elevate myself above others or to be a pawn of society and its whims, rather it is just a tool I use to varying daily degrees to communicate with others in an artistic way.

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8 hillary November 18, 2011 at 8:36 am

I believe my attraction is artistic too. It’s nice to read that someone else feels the same. That being said, I don’t wear makeup daily, more like once or twice a week. My five year old daughter LOVES makeup and we do makeup together sometimes, during which I try to stress the fun and the creative satisfaction I receive from it.

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9 Ren Lady Of The Arts November 18, 2011 at 7:32 am

I don’t think it is a fault to try and look beautiful- as long as it is for the right people- as the only female in my house I think I get a lot of attentions for my ‘beauty’- my boys think that wearing heels makes me beautiful- whenever they hear the click all three always look up.
That is my moment to shine- not when I get to were I’m going-

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10 Chrissy October 19, 2012 at 7:36 pm

My three boys are the same way. They have a crush on me as the first woman in their life that loves them and so my beauty is a big deal to them. But it is the simplest things that are beautiful in their eyes…just like with their daddy. The tree and his three apples. They love that my hair curls in thick ringlets. They love it when I wear jewelry and dresses and cute shoes. They love it when I put on makeup…which is very rare.
As for the wearing makeup thing…I have always felt confident with a bare face, partly due to having good skin and partly due to having very pink and cream skin tones and very dark hair, lashes and brows…I already feel sort of like nature made me up. My face is pretty bold…strong bones, angular, dramatic coloring. Makeup, even professionally done in a beautiful and subtle way, seems like overkill. I do feel better when I don’t forget my moisturizer, though. :)
And beauty as a risk…yes, it is. Someone might look at me and have an opinion no matter what I do or do not do. Life is a risk. I do not consider myself beautiful, particularly…except in the eyes of those that love me. I always feel beautiful to them and it is great. No risk there!

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11 Patricia November 18, 2011 at 7:43 am

This is indeed a very fascinating subject, but I tried not to analyze it too much, It’s all part of being a woman, making yourself look beautiful, with what makes you feel beautiful, the trick is striking a balance. I love how French women don’t strive for perfection or adulation (this was the subject of a post in another blog I read (eXpress-0) whether they wear make up or not (and most do not) their confidence and beauty comes from within and it shows. American women on the other hand, need to feel perfect from head to toe to feel beautiful. It might have to do with the fact that we aim too high as a culture, we do not conform and that sips into the topography of our take on physical beauty. I confess that I love to “paint” my face, like my grandmother used to say when I was younger.

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12 Annabelle November 18, 2011 at 7:47 am

Wow, this is such a great topic. I think about it a lot as an American expat, how the women dress and present themselves in Paris. I’m more of a sneakers and jeans girl and that is definitely not flying here! I like the idea of taking risks, as long as it is still true to who you are.
The one thing I love about French women, is that no matter what age, they exude sexiness because they still feel sexy. My 60+ year old neighbor wears blue eye liner and puts together a nice outfit because she feels beautiful inside and out. There is a lot to be said for that, and a lot to be learned!

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13 Make and Do Girl November 18, 2011 at 10:01 am

True. I wish that idea was more established in the states. Instead, all we hear about is how to stop time with this or that wacky treatment. Makes older women seem disposable. The passage of time is inevitable. I wish our focus could be on making the most of it.

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14 Jaime November 18, 2011 at 7:55 am

I spent my childhood, up into my mid-late 20s actually, convinced that I wasn’t pretty or thin enough to dress nice or focus on makeup. I finally realized that I LOVE ‘girly’ things – dresses, makeup, jewelry, heels – and that’s okay. It’s totally okay for me to focus on making myself look nice. Of course, today I am an exhausted stay-at-home mom wearing old corduroys and three sweaters because I’m cold. And no makeup, wool socks and birkenstock clogs. So I guess it’s okay for me to be this person but also the one who wears dresses to every party/function because I like to look nice.

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15 {sue} November 18, 2011 at 7:58 am

Great questions! I think the same things. I am very average looking and will never be a beauty queen, which I am ok with. Combine that with being a stay-at-home mom and I do feel funny wearing lipstick or putting on something other than jeans and a cardigan because I will stand out. I do wear makeup, mostly to cover what I see as flaws, blotchy skin, small eyes. I have never used makeup for a dramatic look though. (Not that I wouldn’t love to, but I’m afraid to.)

My 11 year old daughter though is obsessed with makeup. She wants to be a makeup artist and watches YouTube makeover videos. She wants to know why I won’t allow her to wear makeup yet. It’s a hard question to answer. Because she’s 11, yes, but is it because it draws attention? Or because she’s covering up her natural beauty? It seems like a double standard. (Don’t worry, I’ll be holding that double standard until she’s in high school!)

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16 Amber B November 18, 2011 at 7:58 am

I loved reading these comments! So many different perspectives and different thoughts on this…I too like another poster, have felt that less is more. Every guy I dated and my current husband has appreciated that Im not afraid to run out the door without being “done” head to toe. I find it strange that more women dont embrace themselves with less…its definately fun to dress up for a night out, or a special occassion- but I always look at girls/women that are done up day or night( and heaven forbid makeup and hair done at the GYM!) and think….mmmm I wonder what they look like underneath all that?

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17 The BabbyMama November 18, 2011 at 8:05 am

I think it’s like fashion – the same way someone might look at the clothes on the runway and think, cool, but that’s not for real life. I have to be in an office Tue-Thur and so I thought, I’ll at least make it fun by dressing up. I’m the only one who does, and sometimes my clothes are weird or a flop, but who cares. Same for makeup and hair. Sometimes it doesn’t work or I feel too costumey, but it’s just one day, and it’s fun to experiment. I want to look at least put together, if that makes sense.

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18 DQB November 18, 2011 at 8:05 am

Last month there was an article in the New York Times about a study done by Harvard & Boston U, Dana Farber that showed that people view women who wear a moderate amount of make up as more competent, more likable and trustworthy. It was funded by a pharmaceutical company so the results may be taken with grain of salt. Now if only I could make my made up look last all day while I’m at work!

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19 brandy November 18, 2011 at 8:10 am

Wow, I’m not alone after all! I have always felt, even in high school, that wearing the current trend or style would make me look like I was “trying too hard.” I know this stemmed from a low-self confidence that still plagues me today. At age 33, and mother of four, I still worry about putting too much effort into myself (makeup or fashion)…for fear of looking like a fool for trying something and failing at it.
As the mother of two girls, I want to teach them cleanliness and confidence with regard to their physical appearance. I will not (and am in no place to) encourage fashion and makeup, but I don’t want them to fear it as I have. No one will leave my house looking like a clown, but I think a little mascara is every woman’s right. :)

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20 Heather November 18, 2011 at 8:12 am

Interesting questions! I was thinking about this recently because I met THE MOST beautiful 16 year old girl I’ve ever seen. Tall, thin, perfect skin, perfect everything BUT she didn’t smile, and didn’t speak, and was actually quite rude. Such a complete shame! If she smiled, she could rule the world. On the other hand, another friend’s daughter is the same age, and much less “beautiful”, a little gawky, and she is amazing…so full of life, interest and personality, and POLITE. To me, that girl has it hands down in the beauty department. That said, to me, make-up, hair, whatever is just a personal preference and if it gives you confidence, then great. BUT, if you can’t smile and be enthusiastic and polite, it doesn’t matter what you look like. (Long thoughts, I know!)

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21 Amy G. November 18, 2011 at 9:40 am

Well said! I agree completely.

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22 Mary November 18, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Excellent point; “if you can’t smile and be enthusiastic and polite, it doesn’t matter what you look like” — kindness, politeness and genuine concern for others enhances ones beauty, to neglect these virtues is to choose to be ugly. My dad used to say tell us, “beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes straight to the bone.”

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23 Alyssa November 18, 2011 at 8:12 am

Great topic. I spent a lot of time thinking about this through high school and college. I was so self concious then that I didn’t want to look like I cared too much about anything and so makeup and fashion trends seemed too risky.

Now that I’m solidly in my 30s and staying home with my kids, I have a much healthier self image and see makeup as entirely unnecessary. Once in a while when I do wear makeup (weddings, etc.) my husband gives me a funny look and asks why I feel like I have to “cover [my] pretty face like that?”. I love him for this and am so glad that he prefers the real and natural me.

Overall, I think that wearing makeup for yourself is healthy, but that wearing it for others is not. There is a subtle distinction.

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24 elz November 18, 2011 at 8:22 am

I use make-up and fashion because I like to look pretty-for myself. The societal benefits of looking nice are also hard to deny- a better first impression, more assumed power behind what you are saying, etc. While I teach my girls about make-up, I do so saying that all girls are beautful as they are. I continually remind them to be their own person and have faith in their abilities.

I don’t think self-confidence has a connection to your external look. Certainly, people who are confident may be more risk takers. But, who is to say what the risk is? For example, you might think that a pixie haircut and wild eyeshadow, punk hair is a risk. Then, what is a risk for those who dress like that? More conservative attire? Less make-up?

Risk is a feeling and a mind-set, not what you’re wearing. At least that’s what I think.

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25 melissa November 18, 2011 at 8:25 am

What an interesting topic. I agree that we as women can go overboard in the make-up and hair department. If we’re not careful, we can feel as if it (makeup, hair, fashion) defines us. I always think it’s crazy when women shut themselves off from the world if they don’t have their face made up or their hair just so. But, it’s crazy when women don’t shower and clean up and stay in pajamas days upon end (post partum or sickness is different!). I think it’s all about maintaining a balance.

I love to take my mother-in-law’s advice, “When you take the time to care for yourself first thing in the morning (i.e. showering, doing hair, some makeup) then you feel confident and can then turn your energies outward.” I love that. I feel like there is something different about how a woman carries herself when she’s made an effort.

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26 Angela A December 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I like your mother-in-law’s advice. I find that on the weekends I get more accomplished and I feel better when I get up and shower and get ready just like on a weekday.

I love wearing and trying new make-up and I love having days when I give my face and hair a break. Make-up and hair done are part of my working uniform. I don’t wear a ton of make-up, but I don’t feel professional without some concealer, powder, and eye make-up.

On weekends or vacations, I am much more relaxed about my hair and make-up just like my wardrobe is more relaxed. For me it is part of my overall look.

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27 Belky November 18, 2011 at 8:31 am

Where I grew up all the girls always wear makeup and are “dressed up” when they go out. It was very natural for me, but when I moved to the US and saw that most people were more “plain” (PJ’s at the airport?!!!) I started to feel more like I was trying too hard to be noticed, so I toned it down a lot.

I do love makeup but I don’t wear it all the time, pretty much when I feel like it. My girls think that makeup is like a pair of fun shoes, they don’t determine who you are, they just add to the fun.

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28 Fran @ youfrillme November 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I like that: “makeup is like a pair of fun shoes…”

That’s what it is for me, mostly. But I also value taking those few moments for myself, to make a little effort, even if all I do is cover up my under-eye circles and put a coat of mascara – just for me. I think that what you do in that regard reflects, to some extent, how you think of yourself. I think of myself as a clear-complexioned, bright-eyed individual, and I want that image to look back at me in the mirror, even if sometimes I’m a tired Mama who’s been up with a teething baby, or have a premenstrual blemish .

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29 Michelle May 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Love it! “makeup is like a pair of fun shoes, they don’t determine who you are, they just add to the fun.”
Well said! Thanks for sharing!

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30 Kristen E November 18, 2011 at 8:32 am

It is definitely a risk! It’s scary to put yourself out there, what you feel is your best version of yourself, and risk rejection or people thinking you look like an idiot. I’ve always been kind of on the “other side” from most of the comments I’m reading here. I hide in certain ways, sure, but how I look is NOT one of them. I’ve always worn crazy outfits (not necessarily “cool,” mind you) and had crazy hair (blue, purple, pink, orange) because I enjoy standing out in that way. I still want to look pretty, but somehow my idea of pretty is different from the norm. I feel pretty when I wear combat boots and a skirt, or when my tattoos show, or when I get a new, bright color in my hair. (I do also feel pretty when I look more “feminine” but I prefer to feel pretty and DIFFERENT.)

I don’t wear makeup most of the time. I’m lazy and I hate the way my skin feels with makeup on it. But when I do, I LOVE the looks I get! It helps, too, that my husband prefers me without makeup. He says makeup forces him to look at certain parts of my face differently than he normally would, which makes sense, since that’s the whole goal of wearing it – getting people to look at certain areas of your face and ignoring others. Bottom line: I think of makeup as an accessory, not a necessity, and as long as we teach our daughters that, we should be ok. Stand up and be who you are!

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31 juliagblair November 18, 2011 at 8:34 am

I’m always mildly shocked when I see a photo of myself. The lady in the
mirror is much prettier! Reminds me that our bodies (esp our faces) do
age. Experience and time both do their good work. I’m grateful for a little make-up but also for the experience and wisdom that the wrinkles and “whitening” hopefully indicate! I don’t feel dressed without a little facial color!

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32 Frivolous Mom November 18, 2011 at 8:43 am

This is an interesting topic, and since I have two daughters, I think about often. The balance (and it is a balance) between recognizing real beauty and just trying to look pretty can be difficult at times. But, like everything else in life I look at it as making sure there is moderation in all things. At 41 I realize that there is nothing wrong with embracing those things about us that we like or think makes us feel pretty. After all, when we feel pretty, we are more confident. Confidence is good, no? As long as there are healthy discussions with my daughters I don’t fear that they will place too much emphasis on the cosmetic side. Make up can be FUN and that is how I view it. Makes me look pretty and its fun, but being beautiful is what’s important. ;-)

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33 Jenny also November 18, 2011 at 8:44 am

Yes, putting the extra effort into “looking good” is much riskier than sporting the “I’m too busy/I don’t care look.”

I think staying true to one’s own sense of what works for you’re life and body is a good way to take some of the risk out. For example’ I LOVE all the adorable dresses out there and there are lots of great plus size options out there for me to try. But the truth is for my body type (big tummy) two pieces is just more flattering than one. Buying a “cute” dress that makes me feel like I look pregnancy is just not “cute.” So for me I focus on cute accessories (especially shoes!) to feel “on trend.”

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34 Michelle May 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I like what you said. Trying to look good is riskier than stating that you don’t care.

And that can go two ways. It can be “I don’t care because there are all these other things about me that are worth liking.” or it could be “I don’t want to care because I don’t like what I have to work with.” I’ve seen girls who live both ways. The first set are so much more enjoyable as people because they are confident in who they are. The second can end up being obsessed about how much they don’t like who they are. And that’s no fun to be around.

For me, I think taking the risk is a little pleasure. A little thrill to keep me feeling young and spontaneous. If I worry to much about my makeup or clothes or whatever, then I’ve gone too far. The point should just be that I’m having fun and that’s that. Everyone else can take it or leave it. But for me… it’s a little something that makes me feel alive.

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35 Sarah November 18, 2011 at 8:46 am

I completely understand the risk aspect of beauty. I was always a tomboy growing up, and it took me a while to let my “girly” side out–wearing ruffled cami’s under a cardigan, for example. When I did for the first few times, a couple of people made comments, but I just kept doing it, and now it’s as much a part of my wardrobe to wear a frilly, girly blouse, a pencil skirt and stilettos as it is to wear a t-shirt, jeans, and flip-flops.
Another thing that took me a long time to embrace was eyeliner. I think we have perceptions of ourselves that we see as “normal” and if we deviate from that self-imposed norm, we feel like a phony or a wanna be (or we CAN feel that way). The first dozen or so times I wore eyeliner, I felt like I looked like a hooker. But no one else thought that (and believe me, I asked EVERYONE whose opinion I trusted). The same thing applied to big dangly earrings, but after some trial and error with both, I can now wear eyeliner and big earring (often together-gasp!) and be totally comfortable.

So, I guess what it boils down to is this: Try the things that intrigue you, ask the opinion of someone you trust who knows their way around fashion/makeup, etc. and who WON’T sugar coat their answer, and eventually you’ll find your happy place where you can balance trial and error with knowledge that you may feel foolish the first time (or ten), but that doesn’t actually make you foolish.

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36 NY Mom November 18, 2011 at 8:59 am

My make-up parameters are held in check by budget, a philosophical desire for simplicity, and the context in which I live and work – rural, stay-at-home, self-employed, mom to 4 (boys) and now a grandmother. Now that I’m over 50 I am actually wearing more makeup daily than I did in my 30′s and 40′s. In fact, I disdained it then. But as I’ve aged, my skin and hair need more attention, more TLC . When I was preparing for my sons’ weddings, I broke down and went to the Lancome makeup counter at Macy’s , sat down and nearly wept as this very talented older woman listened to me, carefully taught me what to do, and supported my preferences. I had so lost perspective about what looks good and how to get it and desperately needed a tutorial. Best money I ever spent.

It’s a sad fact that as we age we need to spend more time making ourselves fit for the public eye. It’s not vanity anymore – it’s an act of charity! (so I don’t scare the grandkids with what I ACTUALLY look like in the a.m.) I’ve found that the DNC catalog, the Lancome line and CVS for basic tools are more than plenty for me. I stick to a variety of moisturizers, cover-ups, some good foundation, blush and mascara. Just enough to mask the bad parts and lightly enhance what’s salvageable. It’s a form of caring for what God gave me, and showing at least a little respect for myself.

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37 NY Mom November 18, 2011 at 9:07 am

p.s. Re: risk-taking – my husband and sons are my reality checks. It is important to me that they are not uncomfortable with what I’m wearing or how I look. I also look at it from the perspective of how I am modelling a behavior or “look” that is at once beautiful but not ridiculous or intimidating. My role as wife, mother and grandmother has an inherent dignity and authority in it, so I think of adjectives that I want to promote or emulate – “warm”, “approachable”, “touchable”, “ready to get my hands dirty”, “and yet also “clean”! If the “risk” of a garment or makeup style is in conflict with those values, then it’s not for me.

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38 This girl loves to talk November 19, 2011 at 3:28 am

oooh love that! effortless style can still be pulled off while being warm and approachable and touchable! a mantra mothers should live by

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39 Michelle May 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm

I love this: “If the “risk” of a garment or makeup style is in conflict with those values, then it’s not for me.” What a great way to approach any choice of wardrobe, lifestyle, etc.

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40 Jodi November 18, 2011 at 9:14 am

Here’s something I’ve always thought: If you were to buy a beautiful painting- you would likely get a frame that compliments it nicely but doesn’t draw your attention from the artwork , take good care of it, and place it somewhere that it will be noticed and enjoyed. I believe each of us are God’s beautiful works of art. Each of us may choose to “frame” ourselves differently (i.e. wear makeup, dress well, etc.), it doesn’t really matter, but I do think it’s important to take care of ourselves. I see it as simply enhancing our beauty, but should avoid going over the top. I don’t like to stick out, but I also don’t want to just go unnoticed.

I didn’t have time to read through what everyone has said, hopefully I wasn’t just repeating. I think that it’s important to do whatever makes you feel beautiful, and in addition, it probably should be something you enjoy. If you hate wearing makeup but do it because you feel like you have to, then maybe you can figure something else out. But I really don’t think we should frown on women who choose to wear makeup, or those who like wearing very bold makeup if that’s their style (just hopefully not over the top!)

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41 Stacey H November 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

I love the way you put it. I love seeing how different women “frame” themselves too. All variations of made up or made under have their individual beauty.

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42 KellyB November 18, 2011 at 9:14 am

What a thoughtful post!

When I was in my 20′s, I wore full makeup, every day, and wouldn’t step out of the house without it on…..foundation, powder, eyes done up, brows, mascara, etc. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more conservative in what I wear for many reasons….mostly, I’m a lot more comfortable in my own skin. I don’t need to wear a full face of makeup to Starbucks on Sunday morning in Lincoln Park just because that’s what everybody else does….I’m out to run an errand not win a beauty award. I’ve also learned through the years that the better I’ve taken care of my skin through using quality products and hydration and sleeping and quitting smoking and cutting out a lot of alcohol (excessiveness, that is), my skin looks much better with a lot less work.

When I quit the legal profession to keep my sanity, the days of wearing daily eye makeup went out the window too. Most days, I find I’ll wear a foundation and light powder to even out what I perceive as uneven skin tones (nobody else backs me up on it) and call it a day. Fancy occasions I like to fancy it up and wear eye makeup and experiment.

About a year ago, though, I really wanted to learn how to do a good looking smoky eye and other eyeliner techniques properly so I didn’t look like Helen Keller when doing it — through a friend I met the National Training Lead at Nars who actually sat down with for a few hours and showed me the ins and outs of doing good makeup, that less is more and how to do the eye tricks. She confirmed what my husband had been telling me, which is my skin is pretty good and that I don’t need a lot for a simple look.

As for trying new things, with hair or makeup — just do it is my motto. I’m the totally carefree girl who will go into her stylist and ask to chop off 15″ of hair — it’ll grow back — or play with color — I can always dye it back:)

Do what makes YOU feel comfortable and your inner beauty becomes your outer beauty.

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43 Zoe - SlowMama November 18, 2011 at 9:16 am

Great topic!

Yes, tying to be/feel more beautiful or stylish and then being rejected in some way for it is hard.

As an adult, I’ve never cared about standing out , but I do tend to keep in mind what the ramifications could be of how I present myself. If I know I’m going to be with a group of women that don’t know me, I think a lot about what I should wear and how I look. I suppose I do the same with men, but for different reasons. It’s a balance for me — being myself and feeling confident, but being aware of what judgements or assumptions people will make by first impressions.

I wear little or no make-up unless I’m going out — for me it’s part of the fun of “dressing up” and doing something special. I think enhancing what you have is great — we’re all drawn to beauty and want to be appealing. What I try to be careful about is to not spend so much time on my looks that it becomes the over-riding thing from which I derive meaning.

The most beautiful people I know are not the physically perfect ones, but the ones who have a unique style and a special light shining through.

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44 Sarah Heat November 18, 2011 at 9:22 am

I think that we should just be happy with what makes us happy. I don’t wear makeup, and I feel comfortable and confident (almost every day)! But, there are still societal norms that make me question myself. I mean, if I wear something different than everyone else, or don’t wear makeup, I do feel judged sometimes (the same way that I mentally judge others), and wouldn’t it be great to get to a point individually where we can be open to the idea that we are happy and confident and others must be too?

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45 Jenny November 18, 2011 at 9:23 am

Makeup definitely gives me the I feel beautiful boost! I think of makeup as a fast, relatively cheap, non committal way to feel fancy or try something new. If it’s really out of my comfort zone, like the first time I ever put mascara on my super blond bottom lashes, or the first time I ever wore red lipstick, I’ll go to a makeup counter and have it done and then wear it around the house or try it out on some friends until I’m ready to go own the look in public.

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46 Jenny November 18, 2011 at 9:42 am

I don’t wear makeup every day, mostly due to the fact that I have very sensitive skin that gets easily irritated by too much product. However, I do like to glam up every now and then. One day I was going to volunteer in my daughter’s class (she was probably in 2nd grade at the time) and she asked me if I was going to dress up for the occasion. I told her that I would wear something nice. She then told me that when I “dress up”, do my hair, put on some make-up, and I’m not wearing my glasses that I look really pretty. Too funny!! The funniest part is that I wear glasses all the time because contacts just don’t work with my severely dry eyes. All in all, it reminded me that I should dress up more often for my kids too, not just my husband for the sporadic date night!!

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47 Sarah November 18, 2011 at 9:47 am

I think of makeup as only being positive..you get to have fun buying it, putting it on, playing with different colors and looks…but it also makes you look good, feel good about yourself etc. Sometimes when I’m putting it on and my daughter is watching me I think about some of the things you’re saying, like what kind of message I’m sending. But I like the quote circling on pinterest..”i think everything in life is art. what you do. how you dress. the way you love someone, and how you talk…” Everything we do is art, I think it would be hypocritical of me to choose to single out makeup as the one thing I won’t do to express myself. But now if you don’t enjoy it or it’s out of your comfort zone I understand that completely too!

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48 Kelsey November 18, 2011 at 9:53 am

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately too! More the balance between fashion and wearing things that make you feel “on your game”, well-groomed, and express your personality vs. dressing to be who you were meant to be and serve that day, not to be focused on garnering attention for looks and style points. I think it’s perfectly o.k. to “risk” wearing something just because you think it’s particularly beautiful–who cares if you are as naturally gorgeous as the peacock feather you want to wear in your hair! But it feels like you are doing yourself and God injustice if you are hunting for admiration and compliments and that’s the motivation behind your beauty routine. Unless of course the admiration comes from your husband, which in that case, hunt away!

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49 hyzen November 18, 2011 at 10:04 am

I think most people really look more beautiful without makeup, or at least without much makeup. I feel most beautiful when I’m well rested and I’ve just finished a run or come in out of the cold, and I feel healthy and vibrant and my face has a natural glow from within. Using heavy makeup feels very stiff and unattractive to me, both in appearance and in how it affects my behavior, worrying about whether something has gotten smudged, trying to remember not to touch this or that, etc. Skin should be clean and touchable. My husband feels very strongly the same way. I am always trying to convince my mom, who does a nice job with her makeup, but looks so striking and fresh and really, more youthful, when her hair is not perfectly coiffed and her eyes and lips aren’t made up–but I guess we will all do whatever makes us happy. I almost never get enough sleep (full time job, young kids, etc.), so most mornings I put some concealer around my eyes to cover the dark circles, and then some light blush to take away the ghostly pale effect from the concealer. Ideally, I wouldn’t even do that, but I don’t like coming into work and having people tell me I look tired. I also wonder about the messages I am sending my young daughter when she sees me paint my face in the morning. Obviously my husband does not spend time in front of the mirror, applying concealer or color, plucking his eyebrows just so, or whatever–does my daughter get the message that he is fine in his natural state, while women/girls must alter themselves to be acceptable to the world?

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50 Anne November 18, 2011 at 10:32 am

This doesn’t really answer the question, but: I love makeup. I love painting my nails silly colors and then looking down at them while I type during the day. I love the way lipgloss feels and how powder brushes tickle my skin. So, I guess it’s just a fun part of my routine, like taking a warm shower. I like “girly” things, I like shiny things, I love bright colors, and I always have. For me, makeup and pretty clothes are not about trying to make myself look better so much as they are things that I appreciate by themselves.

As far as whether it’s OK to be attracted to useless stuff…well, I figure as long as I put important things above material things, it’s OK.

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51 sarah November 18, 2011 at 10:34 am

this is such an interesting post. i couldn’t wait to wear make up and had to wait til i was 22ish…..i now wear it mostly when i feel like taking the extra 5 minutes (yes, i can do my makeup in 5 minutes). i have gone most places with out it, except for church and date nights. it makes me feel dressed up, so i love doing it then.
i wear my hair a different way all the time, curly–straight–longer–shorter, and everyone knows me as me!! i am happy with who i am and enjoy “getting fancy” once or twice a week!!

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52 R. November 18, 2011 at 10:36 am

This topic reminds me of a Coco-Chanel quote I saw on flickr… which I love:
“It’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” – Coco Chanel
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mysmallville/6238309624/in/photostream

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53 Alicia W. November 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

Great topic! My husband actually doesn’t have a preference of whether I wear makeup or not…usually I wear just enough to look polished, trying to accentuate what I’ve got. There are some things that I avoid for various reasons…foundation (makes me itch), lipstick (don’t like the feeling of lipstick…give me chapstick any day), but I do choose to wear powder, eye shadow, mascara and blush. I tend to play it safe, though.

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54 tara November 18, 2011 at 10:46 am

i love this topic! and i love trying to look pretty. i am an art director, and fashion has always been an extension of my creativity – another creative outlet for me. i also love makeup, although it wasn’t until the past 5 years or so that i really got interested in it. which is funny, because i am in the last year of my 30′s! i have 2 little boys and always wondered what would happen to my personal style once i became a mom; turns out i still love it, maybe more than ever, to look my best every day. it makes me feel good about myself, and it makes me feel creative. more importantly, it makes me feel confident, and confidence is one of the most important things i can teach my boys. so i hope i continue to try, every day, to look AND FEEL my best!

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55 kristin November 18, 2011 at 11:46 am

this is an interesting post. my mom didn’t wear much make-up (save for a special event) and i’ve always thought her natural look was so beautiful. since i feel like i look similar to her, i have discovered that i’m not really into wearing much either. mostly it’s because i don’t recognize myself when i do (unless it’s a fun thing, but concealer and foundation are out because my face isn’t supposed to be one shade in my mind). i’ve tried to wear make-up a few times- since having four kids makes me think ‘i should be a grown up!.’ i associate being grown up with make-up, apparently. i wear my hair up most days, because i’m not a fan of it in my face, nor do i want little hands getting tangled in it. i do plan on wearing it down more once the last baby is able to put on their shoes (4m now… so we have a ways to go…). mostly, i love that God gave me this body, and i like how it generally looks. yes, i would like to fill the shoes of what i think a ‘woman’ looks like, but i’m feel most ‘me’ when i just have moisturizer on my face.

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56 Kelly November 18, 2011 at 11:48 am

As a stay at home mom in suburban California, I would fit right in if I wore flip-flops and shorts almost every day. However, I really enjoy clothes and accessories, cute flats and boots. It does send the message that I’m putting some effort & thought into my routine, and I find some women feel threatened (or even resentful) of this. I often get asked, “where are you going, so dressed up?” I’m not dressed up, but I might be wearing jeans, boots and a cute necklace. Obviously I won’t wear that for a day of staying home and cleaning, but if I’m out & about around town, I like to look put-together. And ditto for make-up, too. But I hardly expect everyone to do that — it’s simply what makes me feel happy and confident on the inside, and is another (fun!) form of self-expression.

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57 britta November 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I do enjoy getting dressed up and looking nice, but I find I feel self conscious that I am over-dressed when whoever I am with is in much more casual clothes, hair and make-up. And then again, if I go more casual and someone else dresses up then I wish I had something nice to change into!

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58 Elisabeth November 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm

What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness. —Leo Tolstoy

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59 Tricia November 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

“I think the reason some women hesitate to wear make-up is that it says ‘I’m trying to look beautiful.’ It’s a risk.”

This is so true! If I dress like a frump and don’t do my hair and skip the makeup — well, I may not look very good. But at least I’m not trying and failing, because that would somehow be so much worse.

This is inspiring me to “try” a little bit more often and not worry about “failing.”

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60 the emily November 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I have naturally curly hair, but not like yours. Mine is more frizzy than curly, so I’ve round-brushed and then straightened it for all of my adult life. Every time I try and do it curly, I feel like I’m trying to be somebody I’m not. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Also, I “do my make-up” for church or other events, but for every day I rarely wear make-up. Not because I’m afraid to be beautiful (and when I wear make-up, I do feel pretty) but because it’s too much work. I’m not going anywhere but the school drop-off and the grocery store, why would I dress up for that? Since I hit 30 I’ve been breaking out like crazy so I do wear Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer most days to try and cover up my hideousness (heh) but other than that, no make-up. I like the way I feel when I wear make-up but I don’t need to feel that way when I’m wrestling my kids at home.

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61 K November 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I pretty much didn’t wear any make-up until I graduated from high school. I suppose a lot of it had to do with the fact that my mom never wears any (until very recently she didn’t even own any). No one ever said I wasn’t allowed to and all my friends wore make-up daily (and sometimes made terrible errors in judgement), but despite not being too happy with my looks, I didn’t paint my face every day. I simply felt I didn’t need to deceive anyone- “what you see is what you get”. It wasn’t really a conscious decision. I didn’t think of myself as a rebel or feminist, nor was I trying to prove a point or make a statement- I was simply content with what I looked like (now, I’m not saying I was all zen or anything- I had a really troubled adolescence and I was bullied because of my darker skin color- I’m not black, but simply really “tan” in a country where the majority of the population is fair-skined and blonde).

Once I went to college, however, I started wearing make-up daily. My world has been falling apart around me and my soul is drowning in depression so I feel as if the only way I can face the outside world is with my face&hair carefully done and a meticulously put together outfit. I even found myself wearing bright red lipstick when going out (that is something (young)people here don’t do very often & with my unique features and skin-color it is really a statement) and by doing so, I feel as if I am trying to make people look at me. Not as a cry for help but rather a disguise- I guess I want people to see the “me” I paint on and put out there- not the one inside. I know I look a lot prettier with make up, so perhaps instead of trying to make people see how beautiful I am on the inside, I now want them to focus on what’s on the surface because I don’t find the inside exactly pretty anymore. It’s always a sobering moment (and beautiful in a poetic way) when that carefully painted face is dissolving in tears at the end of the day.

so yes- make up can be many things- a risk, a way to express yourself, a way to boost your confidence&energy, a way to highlight the beauty God has given you and also on the other end of the spectrum- a disguise- a security blanket.

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62 Erin S. November 18, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Thank you for sharing what many would not, and in such an elegant way. I, too, tend to think of full make up as a disguise (thinking back to teenage years). I hope you are able to find some peace and love of yourself. I’m quite certain you are more beautiful inside than you realize.

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63 prg November 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm

wow, this comment could be me (although I started wearing makeup at quite a young age) from the skin color bullying (I am South Asian aka brown but grew up in a 96% white area) to the depression in later years.

“It’s always a sobering moment (and beautiful in a poetic way) when that carefully painted face is dissolving in tears at the end of the day. ”
This line hit me…

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64 Moriah November 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Interesting. I don’t really do too much with my makeup, but I do envy people who can pull things off that I for some reason assume I can’t. I guess I think of it this way: I don’t want people thinking I am trying to hard (unsuccessfully). I want things to look natural and I fear the “who does she think she is” thoughts that may come from others. Not really sure why I should care what others think, but I do.

This is a great topic. Kind of makes me do a little soul searching. Thanks!

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65 Alice November 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I don’t use make-up, and I think it is partly because of the ‘clown or cool’ statement you mentioned.

My first experiences with it were when friends started to try it out; almost all of them overused it and made themselves look foolish to my eye, and on the days that they went without, sometimes I could hardly recognise them. Now, because of those years spent with their masks on, many wouldn’t dare be seen without it. I think it’s that loss of identity that makes me so hesitant.

That said, I can’t deny that there’s something about it that constantly draws me in. I’m a designer at heart, and I’ll notice certain aspects of other people’s make-up, I’ll see potential in certain products, and I’ll still shyly flick through magazines in waiting rooms and linger over the pretty advertisements and glossy photographs. Sometimes I want to try it, just to use that canvas I’ve never tried, or to see the reactions I’ve never received.

Perhaps sometime in the future I will use it day to day, but that will certainly be a while in coming. Reason being; another hesitancy for me is that I prefer to go against the grain in terms of personal image. I don’t want to back up the stereotype of my age group – I’m seventeen, among the eldest of my peers – even if I am the only girl in my year who goes without make-up for it. I’m not always proud of my generation – with all their prejudice against each other and their false appearances depending on ‘coolness’ – and if my lack of make-up, while I retain as much modest confidence as anyone else, makes any person less self conscious about their own natural appearance, then I’ll be glad I’ve allowed them the comfort.

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66 Cynthia November 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I believe that when you’re very young, part of the drive behind wearing makeup and up-to-the minute fashions, is a need to fit in or a bid for popularity. Somewhere in my md-20′s, I decided to strive for a more natural look, using makeup only to enhance my appearance. Now that I’m in my 50′s, I still do that. I’ve never liked lipstick and only wear it occasionally – I definitely want to stay away from that ‘old lady’ clown effect that I sometimes see on older women. I don’t care about trendy fashions, and stick to more timeless things with more modern accents, since I don’t want my clothing to be hopelessly out of date. I really believe that when it’s all said and done, no one (except you) cares what you wear as long as you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Today’s trendy fashions aren’t going to get you a job (unless you’re in the fashion industry), real friends, love or money. Somehow, when you’re young, you may think it does. But age educates you.

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67 Michelle Glauser November 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I’m fine with women wearing makeup, but there are definitely limits and I also do the “I don’t think I can pull it off” thing. I think compared to the general female population, I’m pretty casual and frumpy. The problem is that I see love watching women and when I see cute or beautiful styles I think, “I’d love to have that look,” but as soon as I get home, I think, “That’s too much work.” Though five minutes isn’t quite enough, I never have the patience to blow dry my hair for longer. I always go out with eye liner and usually some kind of cover up or base for my imperfect skin, but going farther than that is a stretch. I think some heels look great, but I don’t own a single pair because of comfort. I’m also a huge cheapskate who doesn’t like to do a lot of shopping. I have a $10 shirt rule, and skirts and pants and sweaters have to be less than $20. Dresses, no more than $30. So that can be limiting. As for my hair, it’s super fine and has no curl whatsoever, which leaves me frustrated when I look at other women’s hair. Since I really don’t think anything will work well with my hair, I’ve kept it long and without bangs for the last six or so years (I think bangs will end up being stringy and greasy with my kind of hair).

So I guess my styles get limited by time and comfort and indecision and price.

That being said, there are days when I really do want to get gussied up, and I really enjoy the feeling I have then. I have realized recently that I’m glad I don’t go all out on makeup and getting ready every day because otherwise I wouldn’t look and feel special when there’s a special occasion.

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68 This girl loves to talk November 19, 2011 at 3:35 am

oh this is totally me! you’ve summed it all up – cheap, comfort, indecision! I also dont want to trip in heels and kill my children that I always have dangling from my hips…

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69 Nancy Barnes November 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Makeup and hair used to be about being beautiful. Now, makeup and hair and everything that goes with it is strictly for myself.

I recently decided to let my hair go natural; I’ll be totally gray within the next few years. I was tired of the pressure that dying put on me to keep my roots covered. I have times when I want to color my hair again but usually if I go get a haircut – the urge goes away.

I used to be the girl that would not leave the house without makeup or earrings. And I had to be absolutley ill if I was not wearing my signature Eternity fragrance. These days, my hubbie will fall all over himself to tell me how good I look if I’m wearing makeup or how good I smell if I’m wearing a fragrance. And he automatically thinks it “means” something and I’m doing it for him. And it irritates me when he doesn’t understand that I simply did it for myself.

The clothes I wear, etc. is done strictly for me – my comfort. my sense of well being. And I am very proud of the fact that my son does not look at girls/women with eyes geared towards outward beauty alone. It is very amusing when we are out and he looks at me and says, “Mom, I wish these girls would put some clothes on!”

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70 Cecilia Madden November 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I love that we’re revisiting this. I think the concept of beauty being associated with risk is so interesting! I don’t think of makeup this way (you may remember my comment before about how I wear makeup daily but strive for an effortless look), but I do think of fashion this way. Makeup is a comfort zone, but fashion is a risk for me. To wear something outside of my regular look (which I’m not sure how I would define it), seems extremely risky to me!

I’m so intrigued by the comment thread. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? It all comes down to perceptions. I think the way we present ourselves and the way we think about presenting ourselves is such a pressurized situation because of this. Add to that the fact that our sense of perception is toyed with all the time, by men, by fellow women, by the media, etc. ..Yikes!

I’m so grateful, reading everyone’s sincere remarks.

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71 Camila November 18, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I agree! I’m scarred the trendy look will not look good on me, yet I do feel prettier and more presentable when I wear make up and get my hair done. I think that, without overdoing it, women should make an effort to look presentable, especially if you work and even if you don’t work, look as if you are looking after yourself. I don’t think it’s bad at all to teach girls how to put makeup on to enhance their natural beauty! Bobbi Brown has a wonderful approach to makeup.
I wear natural makeup: concealer, powder, nude eyeshadow, blush and mascara…EVERY DAY!

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72 Angie November 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm

It’s so strange that you posted this today. A friend and I are taking a class this weekend that teaches how to do 40s hair and makeup. As the date got closer we began to get nervous about entering the lion’s den of beautiful women, being the novices that we are. I wrote this email to my friend this morning.

So here’s the deal.  You and I both grew up tomboys.  Neither of us had hair and makeup training from our mothers, our grandmothers, aunts, or sisters – nobody – because we both thought it was stupid. We thought it was fake and for silly girls who chase boys.  Then, at some point down the line, it actually looked fun to get all dolled up, to create a look, to feel foxy and catch the eye of our fellas. Unfortunately, there is an art, a skill, and a learning curve to doing hair and makeup.  

I’m just now starting to accept myself which is actually what freed me up to attempt hair and makeup techniques. I think I always feared that if I tried to look pretty people might think:
“who does she think she is?”
“who are you trying to impress?”
“who are you trying to fool?”
“does she really think she’s pretty because…not so much.”

Or that by getting gussied up, I might attract attention and people would judge that I don’t have the personality to back it up.  It was easier to just pretend I didn’t care and say “nothing to see here, folks.” Better to be defensive and say, “this is who I am if you don’t like it, you don’t have to be here.” If I don’t make physical claims to being “worth it” then people will either look past me and I don’t have to deal with them or they’ll be pleasantly surprised if they do happen to talk to me.  

But creating a look is fun and makes me feel good.  I like feeling put together.  It’s like a being in a clean house or having an organized desk but even better because you get to pretend to be someone beautiful, someone glamorous and graceful.  I don’t care anymore if I’m not.  I can look one way and be another.  In fact, it’s all the better to have a bit of contradiction to spice things up. And if I just keep practicing, wearing makeup and doing my hair, it will become normal.

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73 Katielee November 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Wearing make-up as risk-taking is such an interesting notion! And I definitely get it. After becoming a SAHM 5+ years ago, I stopped wearing makeup, doing much with my hair, and taking much care with what I wore (my attention was definitely elsewhere!) I turned 40 earlier this year, and as a gift to myself, decided to take more care with my appearance. I went to sephora and learned about makeup, and have been slowly bolstering my wardrobe with nicer pieces. I really love how I look and feel when I dress nicely, wear makeup and do my hair. I feel good!! That said… it has made me nervous/scared about how others perceive me. It IS interesting!

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74 Kaila November 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I battle over this so much, even thought I know I’m reading too much into it. After I had my second child, the thought occurred to me that my looks were “as good as they were going to get,” so I put up effort every day to look my best. Now that my daughter is reaching an age where she notices everything, I’ve started worrying about the message I’m conveying to her–if I’m uncomfortable going outside without makeup, will she worry about her looks because she sees me worrying? Because of family issues with eating disorders, this is a very real concern for me. I want my daughter to always know that she’s good enough the way she is, but I can’t have a double standard, right? In any case, I decided a few months ago that I wanted to get comfortable in my own skin, so other than church and date night with my husband, I really don’t wear any make-up. It’s been interesting to see how my perception of myself has changed. I used to see my naked face and think I looked so bad, or at the very least, so tired. Now, I just see my face, and it’s not bad.

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75 ap November 18, 2011 at 6:52 pm

It’s so interesting that you mentioned taming your style in order to blend in, because I’ve felt the need to do the opposite at college.

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76 Rachel in AK November 18, 2011 at 6:53 pm

I thought it was more risky not wearing any make-up and being comfortable in your own skin. Years ago, a man told me that only truly beautiful women looked good without makeup and that there were only one or two women that he had ever seen who looked good without makeup. Apparently, I was not one of them in his eyes; however, I feel beautiful with or without makeup and don’t think it changes who I am. Occasionally, I do wear make-up, but it completes the look–its not something that I would ever wear to the gym or skiing. I wish more women were comfortable in their own skin with or without make-up.

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77 Mother Knows Best November 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm

This resonates with me, too. As a teenager, I was afraid of what people would think if I made an effort. What if the best I could look wasn’t that good? I don’t know how the middle-parted frizzball hairdo and transparent eyelashes seemed like a better option, but I wandered round with low self esteem all of high school. When I finally started styling my hair, applying makeup and wearing flattering clothes, I looked as beautiful as anyone! The tables turned and I became unable to leave the house not looking beautiful. I’ve mellowed out now… I do the best that I can with the time available each morning before leaving the house, but I am comfortable enough in my own skin that I can face the day however I look! I am even secure enough that I have declared hayfever season ‘no makeup month’s :)

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78 Mary November 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Interesting question. At my age it is riskier NOT to wear make-up. :) But, as with everything, balance is key. And, for certain, I appreciate it when someone, man or woman, has taken the time to groom and put their best foot forward.

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79 Amber L. November 18, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I used to think of makeup as something to “hide the ugly”….but as I’ve gotten older I feel I’ve learned to just enhance my own unique features. That sounds so cliche but it’s true!

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80 Lindsey November 18, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I live in a small town, unfortunately also the one I grew up in (after a five year absence). I view much of beauty (and fashion) as art, but it is very hard to experiment here because it is taken as “What, you’re too good to look like the rest of us?” Also, I experiment less because I teach high school, and they are not shy about pointing out when things are different. Instead of running the risk of one or two people saying something that makes you uncomfortable – it’s more like 200!

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81 Joscelyn November 19, 2011 at 12:10 am

For me the risky part of beauty or rather fashion is in varying levels of modesty.

That being said I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I need to take more care in my appearance. I’ve never been one to wear make up or do anything with my hair beyond a ponytail on a daily basis but the older I get the more I see the need to take a little extra time in the morning in how I look. I feel better when I take a few more minutes on my hair and have a more put together look. It’s not so much how I appear to others but it’s about feeling good.

I think it’s coming to the mentality now that I’m in my late twenties and no longer in college that appearances really do make a difference.

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82 Michelle November 19, 2011 at 4:30 am

This is such an interesting thread! I’m not a usual commenter, but I couldn’t resist. I think that for me, the risk in putting too much of a make-up face or looking like I’m trying hard is the fear of being perceived as someone who is shallow or who equates physical beauty with worth. That being said, I do love to dress up once in a while. Honestly, I am probably fearful of this perception because I have at times judged people (not harshly or to the point of not befriending them, but yes, I have judged them) for spending too much time or money on their appearances. When $5 can educate a girl for a year in another country, or $1 can provide life saving medicine for a child, or the $500 spent on a designer bag could provide a handful of microloans, the amount of money Westerners spend on beauty seems nearly sinful in comparison. Not all of us, but so many of us are wrapped up in ourselves rather than others. Though I think women are entitled to express their personalities through artful display of their appearances, and I absolutely believe in the practice and promotion of creativity, I think a balanced perspective and priorities are helpful to keep in mind when “practicing” beauty. Who is more beautiful than a woman with an absolutely open heart?

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83 Lonneke November 19, 2011 at 8:23 am

Wow, this really resonates with the work I do as personal stylist and image consultant. A great post! So many women dream of looking fabulous and are just too scared to take the risk of being beautiful. Lack of confidence, low self-esteem and unawareness of their own beauty and self-image make many women stay in their safe space (to fit in, not to stand out), desperately dreaming of a better self. What holds them back? Negative feelings of being not good enough, not pretty enough, not XYZ enough… Enhancing one’s best assets through make-up and clothing is much more than just the outside package. It makes us feel good, strong, confident, sexy and powerful. It is pure psychology. Positive psychology! Be grateful. Embrace your beauty and use it, it feels good!

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84 sarah November 19, 2011 at 8:49 am

I love what my Mom always says to me about spending time on yourself to look/feel beautiful… she says, It is wonderful to spend time a bit of time looking your best, but once you step away from the mirror, your focus must be on others. I love it- my goal is to uplift, love, cultivate my little ones minds, and live deeply with and for others. But, I do find it so uplifting to spend time “getting ready” in the morning and then shifting my focus. Looking beautiful is such a risk and a choice.

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85 Daria November 19, 2011 at 9:57 am

I see what you’ve done here.
The way you look represents your personality, right?
But the make-up helps us to look (and feel) unique. You can apply bright eyeshadow and people will be more likely to notice you, that’s the fact. And the pretty is not always dumb, come on!
Why not to try to play with the idea of beauty? If you feel comfortable in what you wear – that’s our thing, you should go out and not care what other people think.
I believe that makeup helps to emphasize who you are.

Of course sometimes we do not apply makeup simply because we’re tired/sick/feeling blue and that’s the thing – it mirrors your inner world.

Love, D.

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86 Carly November 19, 2011 at 10:08 am

The first time I tried putting on makeup was to go to church when I was around 7 or 8 years old. My mom said I looked like a “hussy.” I’ve always felt like I look “slutty” if I wear brightly colored lipstick or heavy eye makeup. I avoid a lot of trends in apparel because I worry/know they won’t flatter my shape. I also try to fit in while adding a little something subtle that is “me.” However, I’ve never tried to avoid looking beautiful. I feel more powerful in many ways if I feel beautiful. I apply makeup to my taste, I wear clothes that I think will flatter me. I rue that heels are too damned uncomfortable for me to wear for extended periods of time. I’ve never felt that beauty and brains were mutually exclusive and perhaps naively, I’ve never feared that others did.

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87 Natalie November 19, 2011 at 10:18 am

You are right on Gabby. A few months ago, before I cut 18″ off my long, thick hair, I took a half hour to style it wavy and shiny (I dye it blonde so shiny is always tricky). The minute I stepped out the door, I felt I looked wonderful. And five seconds later, I thought, “I look like im trying too hard”. In retrospect, I could kick myself. Now if we look pretty it’s still not good enough because we may be judged for that too. We are our own worst enemies. Its sad and I refuse to have my daughter feel this way. I’m not sure how to change but I need to start trying. Beginning with growing back all that lush hair I cut off.

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88 teresa November 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Truly I have never really thought much about why I wear makeup- it’s kind of like putting on a pair of shoes or dress….I just do…Started wearing makeup in the early 70′s I like how it helps me to look fresh and polished and ready to meet the world, I like to change things up a bit all the time….so I’m always trying new things…It has never been something I did for others ie. the world…… I guess the skinny of it is I like it and it’s fun. My daughter wears makeup most days but says she has no problem not wearing it….we have talked about this subject…she told me the first time she knew women were uncomfortable about their looks was when she was in her last year of high school and in collage….
I/we have never really stressed about it.
Maybe I’m a little weird. Now wrinkles on the other hand…not so fun. =)

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89 Heidi November 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I am not a big make up person, but I think a little mascara and a little color on my cheeks makes a world of difference. My husband prefers no make up (I don’t get it) but I feel much prettier when I have mascara on. If I could only have one make up item it’d be my eye lash curler. I have dark eyelashes but they are so straight they practically point down…I have to say that sometimes I hesitate to try new things because I won’t be able to wear it with confidence. I usually leave my hair natural, but I recently did loose curls to a wedding. I felt so awkward all night, like others could *tell* I never wore my hair that way. So dumb.

p.s. I served with one of your sis-in-laws (KB) in a church calling a couple of years ago. I had followed you back then and I had no idea you two were related!

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90 Jillian November 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm

I thought this post (and all of the comments) was really interesting and it totally resonated with me. I would say I’m average looking. My freshman year of college, a guy friend told me I was cute but not pretty. Now, that I’m in my 30s, I’m okay with that, but it really hurt at the time. It was like he said no matter how hard I tried, I would never be pretty. I recently cut my hair short, and it was a huge risk that I’m still not comfortable with. Every woman I know has complimented me on it and told me how much it flatters me, but my boyfriend hates it and thinks girls should have long hair . Ugh.

I’ve worn makeup since high school, but it’s always been in a fairly natural way. When I wear makeup, I feel more put together and confident. I’m comfortable with my routine because I feel it looks pretty natural. I never want to look like I’m trying too hard or that I’m over done, and I frequently ask myself what a Parisian would do if I’m debating an outfit. But, I do wish I had the confidence to pull off more daring fashion choices – something beyond boots and jeans and sweaters.

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91 Tina Z November 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm

One of the best things about living in the American Deep South has been a liberation from the pressure to ‘masculinize’. Hear me out… I’m an academic, but I think this applies to women in the corporate world, as well. Everywhere else I’ve lived (northeast, midwest) and traveled, myself and friends have felt this weird pressure, externally and internally, against being too feminine. And wearing colorful makeup or flashy jewelry are sure-fire ways to look just that. But then I moved to Alabama and discovered that femininity is valued here, and almost expected, all the way up the academic and corporate ladder. Women who are powerful are also free to be feminine and sexy. It made me wonder if this is how women in Paris and other places known for carefree sexy styles feel everyday.

I wonder if this is because the American South’s problems with race (yes, still today) has superseded their concerns about gender, at least in the post-1950s world. Who knows. But I know that now I wear large chandelier earrings, bright coral lipstick, rosy blush, trendy clothes, and heels with abandon like never before. And I don’t give a damn what ‘message’ it sends. It took me living in a place that was open to this, though, in order for me to develop this attitude. And I sheepishly wonder what would have happened if I did that before I moved here, if it would not have mattered then, either.

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92 miggy November 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm

I’ve had a similar thought. Whenever I watched a make over show, like on Oprah or even the show What Not To Wear, it seems like often what people really needed was permission. Permission to change, permission to try and look different, etc. Sometimes people say things like “I could never get away with that…” and I think they might be afraid that other people will think they’re trying too hard or “who does she think she is getting all fancy!” Or something. That’s why I think make over shows, programs, etc are so successful…if someone else is telling you to change, showing you how to change…it makes it OK. It was someone else’s idea, not theirs.

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93 Valerie November 20, 2011 at 2:31 am

Me exactly: hate for anyone to see the vulnerability in _trying_.

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94 Maike November 20, 2011 at 6:12 am

I think I have a different feel about makeup and that is: using it means i am not okay as I am.
I don’t like the thought and I never saw a woman who looks better with make up than without. I didn’t like when I was a little girl and I saw my mum putting on mascara. I remember me thinking: she doesn’t need that.

when I was a teenager and I fell for all that I stopped quickly again because I was a lively girl. I was often laughing until I had tears in my eyes. I was rubbing my face. When I smiled, my lips turned to the inside and I had lipstick on my teeth. I didn’t like going to the bathroom all the time and checking my face. Is the concealer still there? My eyes look okay?
And I quickly realised that the boys I liked, liked the girls that were confident and low maintenance, they just always liked me as I am.
Makeup made me feel less confident.
It was putting me into a diferent game where I say, I am not okay as I am and I need to check that all the time or don’t touch my face or or or.

All my friends are using make up, I would never criticize them for that.
I just don’t like it for myself, same as heels, cause I like to walk a lot, or skirts without leggings so i always have to think about how I am sitting.
I’ve always been popular with men and I am a performer, I earn my living with being on stage and singing and I made it happily through the last 34 years without makeup.
So sometimes when I watch beauty shows or make up commercials I wonder what all the fuzz is about.
It makes me sad, when women or girls think, they NEED all that. As long a s it is fun though I can’t see anything wrong with it.
It’s just nor for me.

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95 Miss Britt November 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I’d never thought of it this way either – but yes. Making ourselves beautiful dares to tell the world we think we’re worth it. It says we aren’t afraid to call attention to ourselves, that we deserve to be looked at and praised.

Ironically, that’s contrary to what most women are taught is paramount to being a “good woman.” we’re supposed to look beautiful without trying or noticing.

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96 Kristin November 21, 2011 at 5:35 am

I think it is about confidence and self worth. I think we tell ourselves that the “beautiful” girls look that way with no effort, which I think other than for the supermodels, is not true. I have definitely found myself limiting myself on what I “should” do. I haven’t worn nailpolish on my fingernails in years (although I love wild colors on my toes), and one day I said “why not?, why am I limiting myself? If I want to wear taupe nailpolish on my fingernails, why not?” I felt like such a rebel – it’s so silly. I think that many of the ladies in these comments are confusing good grooming with hooker makeup. I think even “average” looking women look more polished with a good haircut, groomed eyebrows, a bit of mascara and neutral eyeliner and a bit of concealer and powder to even out the skintone. Wearing makeup doesn’t have to mean red lips, blue eyeshadow and tons of foundation. We need to give ourselves permission to look pretty. I struggled with that for years – having naturally curly hair and feeling like I “had” to wear it natural – why can’t I relax it, blow it out, color it if I want to? When my older boys were young, I had gotten stuck in the mom uniform of ponytail and not trying clothes. I finally said to myself, why can’t I look cute too? I enjoy looking put together – Just something as simple as wearing a cardigan over a t shirt, flattering jeans, cute shoes, one cute piece of costume jewelry, mascara, brown eyeliner, mascara, powder and lip balm and I am done! 5 minutes to get ready!

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97 Design Mom November 21, 2011 at 6:17 am

This discussion has kept me grinning all weekend! I LOVE your comments. I’m amazed at how thoughtful and considerate each one is. I wish I could respond to every single one.

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98 Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes November 21, 2011 at 6:46 am

I wear make-up to bring out the natural beauty in me, to make myself look a tiny bit better. I have several looks:
Weekend: just some foundation (or not, depends on the amount of sleep) , blush and mascara.
Office: foundation, mascara, blush, eyepowder
Going out: the shabang.
I like wearing make-up. Making myself beautifull makes me feel better.

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99 annabel November 21, 2011 at 10:44 am

I definitely know that I have this bashful feeling like if I wear a bit of make up, people will think I think I’m pretty or something and so will judge me or something. It’s weird. This comment rings very true for me: ” though: “I think the reason some women hesitate to wear make-up is that it says ‘I’m trying to look beautiful.’ It’s a risk.”

So, on the rare occasions where I am all dolled up in a dress and heels and my hair is nice, THEN I enjoy putting make up on, because I do think I look pretty. Day to day in my jeans and messy hair? Not so much.

Of course – the stupidest thing is that when I do put a lick of mascara and eyeliner on, I look in the mirror all through the day because I do look so much less tired, and more “done”. Nobody would look at me and think “that stupid girl thinks she’s pretty and she’s ugly”. You know?

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100 Sandy November 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I have never once thought of makeup as a risk, but it is! And I think that’s why I collect so much of it but never wear it! I’m a brave person! I’m gonna start TODAY!

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101 Danielle November 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Like so many others have said, this is a really interesting subject! I wear makeup every day and have since high school, altho I started wearing blush to school when I was in 8th grade (a major no-no at my Catholic school). I have to give my 13 year old self some credit for decent application – I was never caught!

I do wear makeup to enhance my beauty – I don’t think it makes me look beautiful, but it helps make my eyes look less small and like another someone wrote in an earlier comment, ‘less tired’. It also makes me feel more polished and put together.

I honestly don’t worry about what anyone else will think of my makeup. I could probably use some new tricks, but I think I do a pretty good job, in general and I’m confident that the colors I choose work for me and my skin tone.

That being said, it never ceases to make me laugh when I wear a bright red lipstick and am asked what the occasion is. Isn’t today a good enough reason? If it makes me feel happy, then why wait for a ‘special’ day??

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102 LH November 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Personally I get sorta annoyed that something that is expensive and irritates my skin and eyes is so ubiquitous. I avoid makeup unless I feel etiquette demands it, like at a wedding. I don’t think it’s bad for people to enjoy expressing themselves with makeup, but I do hate that it is so expected. Most days I don’t wear any at all; when I “dress up” I usually do foundation, sparkly eye shadow, and lipgloss. I ocassionally do mascara if I won’t be out long because it bothers my eyes a ton (even good brands like Clinique). I never wear eyeliner-I did once earlier in our marriage and my husband said I looked like a racoon and he thinks I’m much prettier with no makeup :)

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103 Kate The Great November 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I’ve thought about this post on and off again all week, trying to figure out my feelings on this topic.

I don’t wear makeup regularly. It’s a conscious choice, and it has to do with the following points:

-my husband thinks I’m gorgeous with or without makeup. He knows that makeup just enhances my beauty, but he really isn’t turned off if I go without it.
-Women who don’t wear makeup nowadays stand out from women who do. Not having it on, among faces in the crowd, makes me appear more honest, more unusual, more innocent, and younger. Since I look young anyway, and since I’m not getting any younger and don’t ever want to use artificial techniques, I’m just in the habit of going without.
-I’m a mom, and right now, I have a little control of when I get up every morning. I prefer a little extra sleep to a little extra beauty. A grouchy but gorgeous mom isn’t as appealing to my kid.
-I have makeup, and when I do use it, it packs more of a punch than if I were to use it every day. Because I use it so rarely, I save money on makeup.

In other words, your everyday face is whatever you choose. I make a clear choice. I’m now off to read the comments of what everyone else said.

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104 Heather November 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm

I’ve always thought that makeup and fashion should enhance who I am (I wear mascara, concealer, eye pencil, and light eye shadow), not cover up or change who I am. I probably got this concept from my mother, though I’m not sure we ever really discussed it; I think I probably learned more from watching her and the way she wore her makeup and hair than anything else. I feel like I’m not being honest to myself if I don’t really look like myself. Maybe that’s because I’m risk-averse, but I think it’s more because I don’t want to be pressured into being something I’m really not just because bright, heavy eyeshadow and huge, bold eyelashes are the current trend. I hope my daughter will understand that makeup is a beauty enhancer, not a beauty creator.

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105 Kelli K November 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

Does looking good make you vulnerable! Yes! Especially as a single woman, because if you’re looking your best and you still get rejected, who would want you at all? I like to dress up and look classically feminine, but I hate admiting that I’m doing it to impress. It creates competition.
About makeup- I laughed a bit when I read the first post. I started wearing make up for dance recitals about age 10. I come from a conservative family, so I didn’t wear everyday make up until high school, and very light compared to the trends. Still today, I sometimes feel like I don’t know the middle ground. I know full-blown stage makeup and then nothing. I wonder if I still look a little clownish somedays. That or I look myself in the face after applying my moderate eyeliner and shadow and think, “Why did I just paint over my natural beauty?

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106 A November 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm

To tag along with Kate the Great’s post above where she said: “I don’t wear makeup regularly. It’s a conscious choice,” I too consciously don’t wear much makeup. For me, life is just too short to spend the time, money and thought on my appearance. I think this outlook is the reason I have more self-confidence than most women I know, even the ones who are prettier than I am. The amount of energy and worry some friends spend on their appearance sounds exhausting – they find wrinkles where they don’t exist and “flab” on their bodies which objectively is just skin. When I overhear these things, it actually deepens my conviction that I’ve chosen the right mindset for myself. It seems that the more one thinks about one’s appearance, the more one focuses on the flaws? I could be wrong, since I don’t think about it :) Would love to know your opinion on this since it’s an offshoot from the makeup topic.

My mom always preached that the motto for living life is just “Balance”! Find balance and you’ll be happy. For me, that balance includes not spending time on makeup or fashion. But I’m sure that balance lands at a different spot for everyone. I just wish more of us would check in with ourselves to make sure our actions really are taken with a goal of reaching balance. Like Oprah always says, “live life with intention.”

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107 julia November 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I have so many thoughts on this topic. I’ll start with this these:
When I was younger (in high school) I never wanted to be a girl who’s makeup you noticed first… and I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t wear makeup until I felt comfortable with my face as-is. At 33 I wear some makeup on most days (mascara, bronzer, lipstick…eyeliner if I don’t have a child tugging on my leg).
….
It can be risky. For Christmas this year I’m buying myself a red Red lipstick. and I’m going to wear it. Because I finally have the confidence to.

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108 Lola December 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I like things around me to be beautiful, and I like to make myself more beautiful, too – so I often wear make up, although I don’t have any qualms about quickly popping out to the supermarket without it on. And perhaps I’m being naive, but I don’t think for me it’s a manifestation of low self-esteem at all: self-esteem isn’t about thinking you’re the cleverest, most beautiful, most perfect, it’s about thinking you’re fantastic enough that NOT being all of those things doesn’t matter. Ergo, I don’t have to think I’m a natural Audrey Hepburn (although there are some things I love about my appearance) to be happy with myself.

Oh, and I’m a massive attention seeker – so all those crazy fashion trends and red lipstick? I do :)

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109 Michelle May 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I love this: “self-esteem isn’t about thinking you’re the cleverest, most beautiful, most perfect, it’s about thinking you’re fantastic enough that NOT being all of those things doesn’t matter.”
Self-esteem is as much about humility as it is confidence. It’s ok not to be the absolute best at everything… because I am still loved for what I am!
Thank you for sharing!

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110 Adrienne April 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Hi Gabby,

This is such a great article! I love makeup, but didn’t start wearing it till my mid-20s – for me while I feel beautiful with it on – it is more a form of self expression and having fun. When I look at fashion magazines I think, that would be SO fun to try. Maybe that is why my hair never is the same for longer than a year and my makeup routine changes so variably. I don’t feel like I am on the quest for beauty, instead I feel like I am exploring uncharted territory. What’s the worst that could happen? Bad hair? Grow it out or dye it a different color. Bad makeup day? Wash it off. To me it is the greatest fun with the least amount of permanence.

I let my daughter play with makeup – she is 5. People that don’t understand me or know me think I’m making her grow up too fast. I like to think of it as a way for her to learn about her face, explore her creativity and gain confidence. Sometimes she walks out to play with black eyes. While it looks hideous, I am happy that she has the confidence to try something out without the beauty fear that is thrown to many influenceable young women (and older women) by magazines and media. I think many people place “makeup” wearing women in the category of vain and prideful women. I think of it as a divine right to be called woman. While my appearance isn’t my main focus in life, its nice to feel feminine and not be discriminated for it.

Right now my makeups routine/bag consists of smokey black kohl and an eyebrow pencil with matte lip gloss, light powder foundation for the winter months. Sometimes I swap out the Kohl for a gold shimmer crayon liner or hop to my bobbi brown rainbow of eyeshadows to mix it up. Next month? Who knows!

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111 Michelle May 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I love this discussion! As a young mom of girls I think about things like this all the time. I worry that my wearing makeup will teach my daughters they’re not beautiful as they are. I worry that I’m teaching them to conform to “standards” about beauty set out by some mythical “culture.” I worry about seeming fake. And I worry about making it seem like fake is more desirable than normal. I worry that because I wear makeup they’re going to turn into crazy teenagers who request plastic surgery for graduation presents.
But I also think makeup is fun. And I usually wear makeup whenever I go out. And here’s why. I love makeup. I love the routine. I don’t feel “ready” for the day until I’ve done my makeup. And I go for the whole shebang… primer, foundation, powder, blush, bronzer, eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara.
But the funny thing is that I usually trade off by never doing my hair. As in ever. It’s always thrown back in a messy bun. But I do like to wear pretty clothes and makeup.
In all of my worries I know that this is true: whether I wear makeup or not has no real value. My husband and friends and family all still love me regardless. They love me because I am smart and kind and I love them. The rest is just for fun, so why not? I don’t really do it for anybody but me.
And that is what I want to impress upon my daughters: I will love them if they wear nothing but pajamas for the rest of their lives. I will love them because they have beautiful souls. I will love them because they are sweet and intelligent and wonderful. The rest is just for fun. And girls should have a little fun… in whatever way they want.

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112 MAC, MAWCampbell October 10, 2012 at 3:39 am

I found your page on BYU Alimni. I don’t know your story but it is so nice to hear what you have to say. You have a way with words & it is inspiring to me.
Growing up I would not have left the House without being done up. I would run at night so that I would not be seen. I had an early Morning Job that I chose to go an hour early to so no one would see me before I was ready. That was then & 6 kids later, I walked out my front door today without even a curl in my hair. Never really feeling ready.
I was glad to read about your blog because it helped me look at life through different eyes & know that there is more to my story.
It is funny how a few words can help you.
{When life seems hard start by putting on a smile.} {or help someone find theirs}
Thanks
People help one another step out of there box into the light & see there is so much more that can be done.

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113 Meagan September 27, 2013 at 10:55 pm

I completely felt that when I was in middle/high school. I would’t even paint my nails or wear dresses even though I really wanted to. I started wearing makeup and being girly AFTER I felt pretty.

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