Most women, whether they like it or not, own makeup. Many jobs require women to wear makeup to maintain a “professional appearance.” Women in the media are scrutinized for wearing “too little” or “too much” makeup. In middle school, I started to feel these societal pressures and began my makeup journey. Like most middle school girls, I wasn’t good at it. I compared myself to other girls who used more makeup products than me and who actually seemed to enjoy doing it. The moment that boys started to make fun of my nonexistent eyebrows, I realized I’d be doing makeup for the rest of my life.
I did makeup every day, hoping my eyebrows would escape criticism. From the start, doing my makeup was a chore that woke me up extra early on already early school mornings. As I became an upperclassman in high school, I noticed that more and more people enjoyed doing their makeup. One time, a thought crossed my mind. “If other people like doing makeup and I don’t, that must mean I’m not a makeup person.” This realization, though random, was quite freeing. I cut back on the makeup and started dying my eyebrows instead of drawing them on. Rubbing my eyes without fear of smudging my mascara made me feel sure of my shift away from makeup.
After a few years of dialed back makeup, I began college. Here, I no longer have time constraints or pressures like I did in middle school. Natural makeup trends eased me back into the world of makeup, and, with that, I found a new hobby. Using makeup as an outlet for creativity, I began trying different styles of eyeliner and eyeshadows in neutrals, then colors. Trends like freckles or soap brows became fun activities rather than societal pressures to adhere to. Now, my relationship with makeup is better than ever before. I have a Pinterest board filled to the brim with makeup inspiration, and I don’t compare my talents to others; instead, I appreciate it and aspire to improve. I feel secure in my casual love of makeup, as I now view makeup as a hobby, not a necessity. This concept is important for all women to adopt, as we can’t accept societal pressures as normal or fair. Whether makeup is your career, hobby, or something unrelated to you at all, we must not let others negate what we choose to do with our bodies, as self-expression is a means of freedom for women everywhere.