“Guys don’t like it when girls wear that much makeup.” “Don’t you want to look naturally beautiful?” “Makeup is just false advertisement.”
Makeup enthusiasts – and women, in general – have probably heard these statements over a hundred times. We don’t mean to be hyperbolic, but it’s true: everyone looks at makeup as demeaning and unnatural. (But don’t wear any and everyone thinks you’re tired – can we ever win?) However, makeup can be empowering for many individuals across the gender spectrum.
1. Fenty Beauty
If anything could be the manifestation of the 100 emoji, it would be the Fenty Beauty line by Rihanna. When she released her groundbreaking makeup brand, it was a definite win for shade inclusivity. With 40 foundation shades that finally included darker hues for women of colour, Rihanna addressed the gaping disparity in shade range that other makeup brands had been ignoring for far too long. That’s what we call black girl magic!
2. Power Faces
So you haven’t heard of this kickass series by Refinery29 yet? Well, gear up to spend a few hours glued to your screen reading about some awesome women and their makeup routines. The digital media company traversed the spectrum of beauty – from Muslim women and their relationship to makeup, to women with freckles and how makeup empowered them – and found unique stories about the complex but powerful role makeup plays in women’s everyday lives.
3. Melanie Murphy’s Defense of Makeup
In 2014, YouTuber Melanie Murphy released a video titled, ‘In Defense of Makeup.’ In this video, she told her story about struggling with acne and overcoming her insecurities. She stated, “To me, makeup is important because it empowers people. In this life, we should do anything that makes us feel happy, confident, and beautiful.” This is how Melanie highlighted one of the key aspects of makeup – it’s all about choice! Withholding the choice to wear makeup from anyone isn’t empowerment, it’s a form of subjugation.
If you’ve traversed through the makeup or beauty hashtags on Instagram, you would’ve come across one striking fact: there are people of every gender and sexuality coming together to create makeup masterpieces. And companies have started to address the makeup community’s inclusivity; From brands like Fluide Beauty that featured genderfluid Freckle in their campaign, to Jessica Blacker, who started offering lessons to trans folk in London, makeup is also about gender inclusivity and creating a space that empowers everyone.
5. The Everyday Grind
Despite all this, makeup doesn’t have to be a superhero to empower you. Makeup and its ability to help you feel positive, joyful, and fearless is about the everyday grind. Mariel Villalon, a makeup artist based in Los Angeles, said, “As a makeup artist, makeup has empowered me through empowering other women (and men!).”
Mariel meets women from all walks of life, but each session starts with an apology – “Excuse the pimple,” “Sorry about my eye bags,” “Please, make me pretty.” But she loves being the person to tell them that her services just enhance the beauty they already have. “At the end of the day when it is time to take everything off, I want my clients to feel and realise that the confidence they believed radiated from the makeup, really came from within,” she stated. Check out her Instagram here.