Perceptions of Makeup

More stories from Megan Lee

April 28, 2016
Perceptions of Makeup

I was scrolling down on my Facebook news feed one day when I came across this controversial split image: one side was a woman with makeup and the other was her without it. The caption read, “And this is why I have trust issues.” After seeing the photo I quickly thought to myself, what has society done to influence the meaning of makeup?

It seems as though women who wear makeup today are perceived as “fake” or have low self-esteem. We’ve all heard these sayings to describe women: “She wears too much makeup” or “She’s not natural.” The concept of wearing makeup has become synonymous with the idea of trying to impress others or becoming someone you’re not. But what really comes to mind when you think about makeup? Is it fashion, media, enhancements? Well I’ll tell you the real answer: it’s ART.

Makeup has always been an art form, from the beginning. Many people don’t see that this form of expression is also a form of art. Imagine your face as a blank canvas. Instead of using paint you use these different mediums: liquid foundation, powder, glitter, even neon green eyeshadow. It doesn’t matter what you’re applying to your face, these are all forms and ways of expression. If you’re feeling bold and confident one day, wear a red lip color. It’s just like being a painter. If you want to paint a “calm” picture use neutral colors and if you want your image to make a “bold” statement use vibrant colors.

The cost of makeup can range from one dollar to well over two hundred dollars. It’s believed that the average woman can spend over $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime. (Now that is a lot of money you could use to spend on alternative items.) Women who wear makeup don’t buy it solely to impress others. I highly doubt someone would buy a $50 eyeshadow palette just to impress someone else. Just like you didn’t buy the shirt you’re wearing right now to impress the person next to you.

Makeup is no different than the clothes you wear. It’s no different than the hairstyle you choose to have to,  even the food you choose to eat. There are no rules when it comes to makeup—it’s a form of expression, and it’s a representation of your personality. By wearing makeup you can learn how to embrace and emphasize your favorite features. You can even learn to love yourself more.

So next time you see someone with a winged eyeliner or bold lips, tell that person, “Your makeup is on fleek.”