The makeup world of today is very different than even the makeup world of ten years ago. While makeup has been around for most of history, the market and industry of it has recently gone through a giant change, thanks to social media. Makeup brands not only have social media pages that are full of perfected influencer looks, the huge industry that is beauty oriented YouTube channels and videos is now even more marketable and mainstream than it was in previous years. Beauty gurus rack up not only millions of views on their channels, but millions of dollars’ worth of products and sponsorships as well. In a world where the makeup industry is more mainstream and dynamic than ever, it’s unsurprising that the relationship women have with the products are also more dynamic and changing as well. 

Everyone now has an opinion of women’s use of makeup. Feminist sites are quick to call makeup a benefit of the “patriarchy” that is only used for men’s opinion and sake in mind. On the complete other side of the spectrum, many men on social media are quick to call out women for putting out “false advertisement” for their use of wearing makeup because of how different women can look when the products are taken off. Apparently no one ever informed these men that women’s eyelids aren’t naturally a shimmery gold or our lips naturally bright red. Women judge other women snidely on social media, posting about how they don’t wear makeup because unlike others they aren’t “insecure” and “fake.”

Many of these opinion pieces and posts completely miss the mark though. Women’s relationship with makeup isn’t so easily summarized and definitely shouldn’t be so easily judged either. My own relationship with makeup hasn’t always been the easiest thing to understand or summarize. Throughout high school and most of college, my relationship with makeup was mostly negative. I saw it as something that was supposed to mask the many flaws I saw in myself and make other people’s opinion of me, both men and women, better. When I continued to dislike these flaws in myself in the mirror even when using makeup, I quickly grew to hate it and stopped wearing it. In the moment, I thought that makeup was just never going to be for me. In reality, I just hadn’t found the right relationship with it. 

Over the past year, having watched beauty gurus on YouTube talk about makeup as a fun and creative outlet, I have found a whole new love for it. For myself, with my own self-esteem issues, using makeup for the singular use of fixing flaws didn’t work. I wasn’t happy with my appearance back then. No amount of makeup was going to change that. For me to enjoy it and use it, I had to find a new way to look at it. Looking at makeup as a way to combine colors, create fun eye looks, and as a ritual and routine to do each day, made me fall in love with it. 

The highlighter brushed onto the tip of my nose and the almost straight line of black eyeliner on my eyelid is now less about covering up my insecurities and more about the enjoyment it brings me. All the different colors and finishes of products in front of me are a sea of creative possibilities that I know I’ll be able to explore each day. 

While I am now happy with that understanding of makeup, I’m sure there are plenty of women who find their relationship with makeup different. Some women look at themselves in the mirror and feel better about their day knowing that the flaw or two that they notice the most about themselves are now less noticeable under a swipe of concealer. What is wrong with that? We all want to feel confident and beautiful every day. For some women that confidence comes from the cutest pair of shoes we just got at the outlets, for some it comes from the funny saying on our t-shirt that shows off our personality, and for some it comes from wearing makeup. Who are we to judge what brings someone else confidence?

There are many women out there who simply do not like makeup. They don’t like the feel of it on their skin, they don’t like how they look with it on, they don’t see it as something worth their time. That is okay. Just because I’ve found joy in makeup doesn’t mean that every woman needs to be like me. Similarly, the fact that they don’t wear makeup doesn’t’ mean these women are better or worse than someone who does, like me. Leave the judgement out of it. We can enjoy the things we do without hurting someone else. 

At the end of the day, every woman’s use of makeup and the reasoning behind it is hers and hers alone. No so called feminist, no mean girl, and no man can tell someone they are right or wrong in their self-esteem, personal appearance, and creative outlet. If your reason for wearing makeup is singularly to cover up that pimple, girl we all understand and respect that. If you wear neon green eye-shadow with a gold shimmer on top because you just want to experiment, we understand and respect that too. No doubt makeup will continue to evolve and change as the market for it continues to expand and grow with the help of social media. Even as much as the industry and society’s view of it changes, women should always be welcome to view it however they wish without being shamed or judged by anyone else. 

Stormi R