I hopped on Pinterest today because, you know, I'm a blogger. I gotta be on all the social media. And on all of my social media accounts I follow other makeup artists, bloggers, and brands. It helps me to be inspired, to try new things, to see what other people are doing in the industry.
And today, when I hopped on Pinterest, these are the photos I saw as I scrolled:
It's becoming increasingly obvious that this is the "standard" for beauty on social media these days. Just scroll through any makeup-related hashtag on Instagram and you'll have thousands of photos of women looking like this — or loading on seven layers of makeup and trying to look like this.
Now, I'm a makeup artist. I understand and appreciate the time and place for this kind of makeup. Makeup is an incredibly transformative experience, and there's so much it can do! It's clearly beautiful! It's amazingly expressive, and I will never tell a woman that she's not allowed to do her makeup like this. But since when are we taking stage & photography makeup techniques and telling women this is what they should look like every day? When did we decide that inhuman perfection is what's required for beauty?
Don't get me wrong: I don't think that any makeup artist or Instagram/YouTube beauty guru is actually telling their followers that they should look like this. But what kind of message does it send when this is what women are pummeled with every day on social media? It's certainly no different from all of the media that created the unattainable ideas of what a body should look like. If skinny models are all that you put in your ads, you create a standard and unattainable image of what a "beautiful body" looks like. The same goes for faces.
What happened to using makeup to subtly enhance your features? What happened to still being able to see your skin? What happened to still looking like yourself? What happened to looking the way a human being naturally looks?
Believe me, I've done my makeup like this, too. I've loaded it on, contoured the heck out of my face, put 5 different eyeshadows on my eyes, piled on the false lashes. I still do sometimes. I won't sit here and pretend that I haven't had the desire to look like this.
But then I realized that I'm actually prettier without all of that. Yes, it's an incredibly fun and creative experience to go wild with makeup. But when I wear it like that on a daily basis, nobody's looking at me with all that makeup and thinking, "Wow, she's pretty." They're thinking, "Wow, she wears a lot of makeup." They can't see me!
Because let's get down to it: you can defend up and down your right to wear as much makeup as you want, and you do have the right to do whatever you want with your face. But there is a part of you that wears makeup the way you do because of how you look to others. And when you're looking like those pictures up there every single day, you have think: isn't there a part of you that feels even a little bit like you have to? Like you look better that way? Like you're not acceptable without it?
And yet, look how incredibly beautiful these women are:
These women are all wearing makeup, and it is, in my opinion, a THOUSAND times more beautiful than the photos at the top of this post. You don't have to have heavily contoured skin. You don't have to have perfectly defined and ombre'd brows. You just need to look like you.
Because you are gorgeous. No matter what you look like, you are so beautiful because you are YOU. You are unique. We don't look at trees and criticize them for their knots or their wild branches or their peeling bark — they just are what they are, because they grew that way. So did you! You're beautiful simply because you exist. Let me see you!