My Makeup Story

The first time I painted my face, I was twelve years old. I used pale green eyeshadow and weirdly colored mascara. I tried to sneak it past my mother but she, of course, noticed.

Middle school I wore little makeup, brushing my lids with the pastel colored shadows I received as gifts.  My most rebellious look was painting my nails black. I bought my first foundation in a shade far too dark for my pale skin.  

Freshman year of high school I discovered the power of makeup. I joined the theatre makeup crew and learned that while makeup could make you beautiful, it could also make you terrifying.  I learned about latex, fake blood, prosthetics and colored contacts, and marveled at what I could create. 

I began to wear makeup everyday, experimenting with brightly colored eyeliners. I discovered the beauties of Sephora and would leave covered in swatches. All my money went towards high-end products. My makeup teacher and close friend bought me my first MAC lipstick. It was called Plumful, and I adored it.

Sophomore year I moved and makeup was my confidence. I took pride in doing my face everyday and creating looks for parties.

But slowly, my world turned to grey and the appeal of makeup faded away. Most days I could barely stand to put on mascara. The effort seemed too great and I retreated into a world of dirty hair, jeans in the heat, and uncovered dark circles. Whenever I put makeup on, it felt like a lie.

Junior year, I returned home and makeup became my armor. I refused to leave the house barefaced even to go the grocery store and I did not allow pictures unless I was fully done up. Makeup helped cover up the wounds I had suffered and allowed me to shield myself. But as my comfort level returned, the barriers began to slip away. 

Senior year, makeup became my love. I designed a Haunted House that featured characters and faces of my design and showcased my skill in what I adored. I loved demonstrating my abilities whether it was in theatre, for special occasions or just every day. And I gradually became comfortable only wearing a little bit of makeup or going barefaced in public. I let photos be taken and laughed freely regardless of how much product was on my face.  

Now, freshman year of college, makeup is my old friend. I love wearing makeup, having learned what worked for my face and owning a mix of high-end and drugstore products. I have my staples, but I still experiment. I wear makeup when I want to, but I am confident leaving without it. If I feel down, makeup can lift my spirits, but it is no longer my protection. It is a world I know well but not one I require.  

Makeup is what you make it and for me, that has been many things. But most importantly, it has taught me to be happy with my face, whether I’m wearing false eyelashes and red lipstick or I just woke up in the morning.