B-E-A-You-Tiful!

1 Jun

Disclaimer: To my male readers – you might want to come back next time :)

Define beauty.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yet beauty is only skin deep.

Even the Oxford dictionary is confused by the meaning of such a simple word:

A combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight.

A combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense.

So if you can’t seek help in the dictionary, where do you go to define such an innocuous word and make heads or tails of the mixed messages that society throws at us?

I’m in no way a feminist. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the equality of women and men, but I still think that it’s nice every now and again to be treated like a lady. Offer to carry my bag, hold the door open for me – it doesn’t go unappreciated, but I do baulk at the messages that the press feed us on how we should look, what is deemed ‘normal’ and who we should aspire to be like. I don’t believe that we ‘pretty’ ourselves for men, but I do find it interesting that we all seem to follow the norms of society like lambs to the slaughter.

This message was recently highlighted in the press when the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, Mike Jeffries, was reported as having said about his brand:

Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.’

As a kid, I was awkward. And that’s a total understatement. I went through senior school hiding behind my glasses and keeping quiet. It was a mission to get what I needed out of it, do my time and get the hell out of there, and I think I did it pretty well. But in my experience, the kids that had a lot of friends rarely had a great attitude, and peaked at senior school. The kids that were intent on making everyone’s life a misery didn’t get much further, and that shows ‘ you grow into your personality. You learn your skills, you begin to believe in yourself and you shine. Just perhaps not in the way that you are expected to shine at school; fastest runner, most popular, and in some cases, shortest skirt.

Now, as a big sister, a cousin and a Godmother to girls of different ages, the marketing for fashion and beauty products by retailers still bothers me, not to mention the blatant judging attitudes of gossip magazines across the world. Too ‘fat’? Let’s stick a variety of unflattering images of women in bikinis on the beach, and let the general public know why that’s wrong. Too ‘skinny’? They have that covered too. Weekly gossip magazines featuring stick thin shots of people also grace the magazine aisles. Can we win? Of course we can’t. Whatever the shape or size of a person it’s deemed to be wrong and there is nothing that you can do except ignore and be comfortable in who you are.

Not so easy for a 14 year old just about to take on high school, is it?

Perfection. Its non-existent, like unicorns and elves. It’s a nice thought, but not something that is tangible.

The condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.

So I thought I’d step out of my comfort zone and try something a little different. My name is Laura and I’m a cosmetics addict. I have 3 years of working for a high end beauty brand under my belt, plus a solid devotion to finding the next mascara that will do wonders for my lashes, or the next skin cream that will get rid of dryness and make me look as fresh faced and bright as the day I turned 18. Which, if I’m totally honest, would be no mean feat.

Today was the first day I have visited the supermarket sans makeup in a long time, and I would never go to work without it, for fear of being asked (again) if I was ill. Nope, it’s not for me.

So how do I feel about putting my bare face out there for the world? Since I started growing old gracefully, I’m actually pretty OK with it.

Image

Eek! OK,  here goes…..

What does it all do for us? What does the slapping on fake tan and the dying our hair (plus the majority of the bathroom) do? How does that time spent in the morning applying layers of foundation, lashings of mascara and a swipe of lip colour change us?

The truth is, I don’t think it makes that much of a difference. I conducted a scientific* experiment where I analysed myself in the cold light of day, with the gloop, and without all the gloop. If you have a nervous disposition or are slightly fainthearted, please look away now. (Just kidding, even I was surprised at how little feelings of terror swept over me).

Image

Three stages – fully made up ready to leave the house (OK, slightly more makeup than I would wear on a normal day), left half makeup free, right half still caked in cosmetics, and totally makeup free.

In all honesty, I don’t see much difference. Sure I look a little tired in the final image, and my eyes don’t stand out as much as they do when they are framed in eyeliner and weighed down with mascara, but on the whole I’m fairly comfortable with the overall result. The overwhelming thought that I am left with is why do we spend so much money on this stuff? (And that I need to sort out one of my eyebrows!)

So I learnt something today. I’m not going to go back to my roots and throw the lot away, but I feel a bit happier that I could survive a weekend without makeup, and can have a bit of a product cull.

How do you feel about going bare faced and makeup free?

* I have no scientific knowledge to back this up, but i did it in the bathroom where its fairly white, and therefore clinical.

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Celebs without makeup

 

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14 Responses to “B-E-A-You-Tiful!”

  1. louloubelle87 June 1, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    I loved this post Laura, it’s strange as I have got older I also have less of an urge to wear make up out, I think the not working on a high end beauty counter has made me rebel! Great piece xxx

  2. visitingmissouri June 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Actually, I am a man and I did read the whole thing. To be honest, in your three stage photo, the biggest change I see is in the way you look. The first one has your mirror face (you know, the face one pulls when looking into a mirror and does not resemble your daily expression one bit; mine makes me look like a sexy 21st century John Travolta when he was young), but that also fades with the make-up. I think you’re a beautiful girl. Honestly, I don’t see much make up in real life. Sometimes, I see the border line in the neck, that’s when I realize how much some girls wear. I think beauty is more in being yourself than any water-based product could make you believe.

    I leave the house without make up every day, but there still has to be a first day where I go to class without doing my hair. I think hair product’s are a man’s make up.

  3. frustratedreader June 1, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    Beautifully put!

  4. Johnny Ojanpera June 1, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

    I felt like the disclaimer was the hook, so I read it too. I don’t mind moderate makeup, but there is definitely a limit. If I can smell it, it is too much. I scrolled past the pictures because I felt like that was the part that men weren’t invited to. ;)

    • tinkerbelle86 June 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      If you can SMELL IT? I feel like there’s a story in there somewhere!

      • Johnny Ojanpera June 3, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

        There is, but I’ll give the short one here; not blogging it. Years ago, I went on a date with a girl who didn’t need makeup. She wore it anyway, and lots. I had been smelling it the whole evening. At the drop off time, I really didn’t want to kiss her because the smell was about to gag me from two feet away. I was too nice though, and I kissed her anyway. At this point, the makeup smell faded and (this is what I didn’t say before) and the taste of lipstick swallowed my senses horribly. I never took her out again. I have since learned that the taste and smell of makeup is less offensive the higher the quality, but that date left a permanent mark. My wife doesn’t wear it very often, but not because of me. She came like that. Just one of many reasons…

  5. prenin June 1, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    Oh hun you are GORGEOUS!!! :)

    If you need war paint to look good, believe me it’s not for lack of what momma nature gave you!!! :)

    Love and squishy hugs!

    Prenin.

  6. mamanne June 2, 2013 at 12:37 am #

    I’ve never worn a lot of makeup, mostly a bit of smudgy eyeliner and some mascara, because my lashes are super blond, and without it I look like I haven’t got lashes at all! And my blue eyes are my favorite feature so I like them to stand out. However – I’m with you 100% on the way ‘beauty’ is treated in our world! My daughter is 15 and it’s crazy hard to be that age, because I don’t think any of them think they are good enough, no matter how lovely they are.

  7. 1stpeaksteve June 2, 2013 at 6:48 am #

    And another comment from one of those man types!

    A light amount of make up is alright but I really do not care for women with tons of makeup on. In my opinion, perhaps one of the worst times to see women overdo the makeup is at the more important social events for women. That would be at the prom or their wedding.

    Good point about High School. Many of the popular types seem to peak out to early. The reunion is a wonderful time to see how many late bloomers there are. I am one myself! I found a site dedicated to my old home town and my elementary and junior high schools and no one seems to remember me. They keep asking if I was on the sports teams…I was far from it!

  8. twindaddy June 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    I have ALWAYS preferred a woman’s natural beauty over cosmetic beauty. In my opinion, make up is fake and another way to pretend to be something you’re not. I don’t like it at all.

  9. Jocelyn June 3, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    I personally don’t wear make-up on a regular basis. The last time I did was last Christmas, and even then it was just very light. I prefer to let my skin breathe. And wow, Kim Kardashian actually looks pretty without make-up!

  10. Marvin the Martian June 11, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    Reading posts like these make me very happy that I was assigned a male body for my mission here. There’s so much societal pressure (from both women and men) to keep up appearances, to be beautiful. But the most beautiful women I have ever met are the ones who are in no way “beautiful” by mathematical measurements and ratios and careful application of gunk, but instead they let their sunny dispositions and confidence shine forth. They never seem to lack male attention, and it’s because they project their beauty from the inside. A confident, smiling, barefaced woman in a t-shirt and jeans is often more attractive to men than the carefully-made-up, put-together fashion maven.

  11. Shandra June 23, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    Love it! I always post a warning to friends, neighbors and unwary passersby when it’s to be a “minimal makeup day” ! Shandra

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