"Why do you wear so much makeup?" a skinny, greasy haired boy asked, "Are you really that ugly underneath all that stuff?" My heart rate quickened, my face heated up; I was fuming with anger and embarrassment.
He was the third person that day to comment on my makeup.
Just like many other teenage girls, I wear makeup. In fact, I've actually been wearing makeup since sixth grade. Back then, covering up acne and dark under-eye circles had quickly become a regular routine as I entered into this thing called 'puberty'. And when I started wearing makeup back then, my eleven-year-old self thought nothing of it. It was just a way for me to look more normal when I went to school. With everyone around me displaying a face of perfect skin, makeup had become a way for me to fit in; Despite my breakouts.
However, as the years passed, the reasoning behind why I wear makeup, shifted. With less acne, I no longer needed to put it on, but I continued to anyway. Waking up early every day, I started to put makeup on to gain confidence and feel better about myself. And for a while, that was the case. I walked into school every day with a high self esteem and a smile on my face. Looking pretty made me feel empowered, like I was on top of the world.
And I know it sounds weird, that all that makeup had the power to make me feel so confident, but it's true. Wearing makeup has made me feel strong and self reliant.
Yet, at one point in time, makeup has also had the ability to over-power me.
In my freshman year of high school, I received a lot of criticism for the makeup that I wore. Almost every day, someone would comment on it, saying that I wore too much product or that I didn't blend well enough. And although I didn't let the comments get to me at first, the more people talked about it, the more I let their opinions in. Sitting for hours just staring at my makeup, I had began a new routine of trying to fix all the mistakes and issues that people pointed out. With the continuos opinions that came my way, my mentality had shifted completely. What once was a thing I did to make me feel empowered, was now making me hate the way I looked.
The obsession that makeup had become, turned me into a perfectionist that I didn't want to be. And for a while, I had actually given up wearing makeup completely. In doing this, friends and family all encouraged me that it was a great choice, and exclaimed how proud of me they were. But in the end, I was just happy to give my head a break from all the negative talk it was doing.
(And although I have gone back to wearing makeup again, I've been doing so in moderation; In hopes that I won't end up down that path of insecurity again.)
Sitting here now, I can tell you that makeup has the power to do one of two things. The first being that makeup can have the power to increase your self esteem and confidence. I know from experience that putting it on can make you feel complete and ready to take on the day. But on the other hand, makeup also has the power to make you want to point out every single flaw on your face and make you feel completely insecure. As you compare yourself to the models of the social media world, you start to drown in doubt and the fear that you won't ever be as beautiful as a photoshopped face. But in any case, you have to remember that ultimately you are the one to decide how to use it. You are the one to decide how makeup will impact you.