“I never go anywhere without makeup,” my friend said as she touched up her lip gloss at the café. I could tell she was internally judging me for only having a bit of mascara on while working on our class project together. Since then, I have been ruminating over that phrase often.
What is makeup anyways? To one girl it may be a confidence booster that accentuates her features but is used infrequently. To another it may be a necessity that she cannot live without. In my experience, applying makeup regularly as a teenage girl seems to be a societal norm.
When I was a young girl even in middle school, my friends were starting to become interested in makeup. As for me, I had absolutely no desire to wear it at all. It is fair to say I was a carefree and sporty girl not impacted by female social norms—until later in my teenage life of course. As years passed, more and more of my friends started to wear makeup and I became the odd one out. When I reached high school, this was when everything became “foreign territory” to me. Everywhere I looked, all the girls were wearing makeup (and some even way too much makeup). I felt disconnected, like I had missed the memo. I could tell the girls around me judged my lack of participation in the area of makeup as well.
I noticed something interesting, however. Those girls who I knew in middle school without makeup were just as beautiful to me as they were when wearing it. To them, they cringe at old photos of them without makeup and say how thankful they are to have something to hide their “imperfections.” But these “imperfections” actually make you beautiful. Trying to be “perfect” is simply unattainable and quite frankly not beautiful—but that’s a whole different story for another time.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my makeup now that I’m older, but it was not until the middle of the eleventh grade that I began to use it (and even then quite minimally). After doing so, I started to get more recognition from potential friends and felt as if I fit in more, but that is not why I wear makeup and should not be a reason for any girl to. I wear makeup because it helps me feel extra confident and put-together, and I honestly enjoy the process of applying it and feel accomplished once it’s finished.
Nevertheless, its completely okay if you are a girl who simply doesn’t like makeup or choose to wear it. You absolutely don’t need to in order to feel and/or be beautiful. Be your own kind of beautiful, whatever that may be. Be a sporty, carefree girl who enjoys coding in Python and wears minimal to no makeup. Be an intelligent mathematician who loves wearing fancy dresses while attending math forums. Be a devout history major who wears makeup everyday because you love it. That is beautiful. The things you are passionate about and the qualities you posses are what make you beautiful—not makeup.