Confessions of a Cake-Face

It’s been about eight years since I winged my eyeliner for the first time and I still don’t really know what to say when people ask me why I care about my makeup so much.

One answer might come off as snide or rude, while another could make me sound downright vain. What if brushing it off seems avoidant or being proud is too braggy? That question poses a constant game of “guess what the other person expects you to say,” and as trivial as my morning routine is to me, I find myself wanting to give a good answer. The closest thing to that, I think, is an honest one:

Because it makes me feel good.

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I grew up in the world of competition dance. That meant getting shoved into sparkly costumes that left sequins on every part of my body, dousing myself in gallons of sticky hairspray, and constantly trying to master the art of flawless stage makeup. Playing with feather-soft brushes, vivid lipsticks, and extravagantly shiny things to put on your face honestly made me feel like a princess. I could pull off contour and a cut-crease by ten years old (granted, it was bright blue eyeshadow because we all thought it was the cutest thing ever, but nobody’s perfect). Now that I’m in college I don’t spend my weekends getting all dolled-up for the competition stage, but putting on makeup in the morning still excites me just as much as when I was a little girl. 

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Every day, I show up to class with a full face of makeup on. Even at 8 A.M. I’ll be sitting at my desk with sleepy eyes half-closed and eyeliner carefully winged. Yeah I woke up at 6:00 A.M. to have enough time for all of this, so what? If I’m going to face the day it should be with a face I’m proud to show the world. Don’t worry about me losing sleep over this; I’ve got my usual over-caffeinated latte in hand, complete with a tan-colored smudge of foundation in the center of the lid where my nose hits the plastic.

Freshman year a friend gave me some words I’ve come to live by: “If you look good you feel good, and when you feel good you do good.”

Now, I intend to do good as much as I can. For me, that means when I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a window on the way to class I’d like it to be a boost of confidence rather than an excuse to keep my head down and hide my face for the rest of the day.

I confess, I place a lot of importance on my appearance (I can’t help it, I’m a Libra). I also confess that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. If what makes me happy is evening out my skin tone and putting a little sparkle on my eyelids, then who am I hurting? Finding yourself naturally beautiful is one of the most special things in the world, but finding yourself beautiful at all is more important. We’re all perfect, no matter how much or how little we choose to adorn ourselves with some extra flair.

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I don’t need a special occasion to highlight my cheekbones, I’ll do it whenever I please. There’s some kind of notion out there that we want to look good to impress other people. No offense, but are you freaking kidding me? Spending that kind of time or money on anyone but myself is highly doubtful. When I step outside with a fresh face courtesy of MAC, Urban Decay, and Anastasia Beverly Hills, you’d better believe it’s not a plea for attention. Like most women, and everyone at some point, I’ve struggled with immense insecurity for years upon years, hating to look at the face peering out at me from every reflective surface and wondering when I'd ever feel good enough and worthy of being seen.

So please excuse me for “faking” it with makeup, but I must confess, I think I deserve this little thing for myself.

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