“Beauty” and “makeup” are two words often used interchangeably. However, I believe that they are not the same. Since creating this blog and trying to figure out an overall goal and path to follow, I have taken these two words pretty seriously. This has allowed me to see even the most subliminal flaws in the beauty and makeup world. But that isn’t what this post is about. This post will attempt to share what beauty and makeup mean to me as an individual.
I haven’t really been a big fan of makeup. To be honest, I’m still not. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup as a child and I didn’t have a lot of older women who wore makeup around me. Having a big sister or mom or aunt whose makeup you could play in was something I heard of but never experienced. So makeup wasn’t really a thing for me. My first major experience with makeup was when I was 15. I wore an eyeliner for the first time and it was a pretty big deal at home. Prior to that, my idea of makeup was brushing my super bushy and wild eyebrows to give it a defined shape and applying lip gloss. Other than that, there was nothing.
In retrospect, one of the main reasons why makeup was never my thing even as I approached my 20’s and became more exposed to the makeup world was due to the general assumption that makeup was intended to cover skin imperfections. The prevalence of foundations, highlighting and contouring didn’t help either as it was evident that a lot of people went all out with these in order to change or adjust certain facial features. I have had pretty clear skin even through my teenage years when most people experience crazy breakouts, so, I haven’t needed makeup to cover up anything.
Now as an adult, some of my perceptions and assumptions about makeup are changing. I used to give the side eye to people who wore “intense” makeup and would feel a certain way when I saw transformation videos and photos. But then I had to ask myself why. I realized that I really cannot judge anyone who “transforms” with makeup. It’s easy for me to feel a certain way about people “transforming” and covering up scars and imperfections when I do not know the struggle of trying to hide acne scars with foundations or disliking the shape of my nose and needing to contour it to give it some sort of illusion.
“You’re altogether beautiful, there is no flaw in you”-Songs of Solomon 4:7
What I have noticed up until this point is that there is an interesting idea behind all of these. We often use “beauty’ and “makeup” interchangeably; one would think both are the same. I caught myself doing this when I realized a category in this blog was named “beauty and skincare”. Did beauty in this sense mean “makeup”? So I changed it; making beauty a stand alone and skincare, a subcategory of it. To me, little observations like these change perspective.
What I also find interesting is that the minute we think of beauty, we attribute it solely to the physical aspect. But beauty is more than just the physicality. Though relative, beauty is more. Beauty is not what how well I apply my makeup (because I suck at that). It is not how perfect my smile lines are or how my eyes and nose align when I smile. Beauty is internal. It radiates from the inside. Beauty is my bravery in embracing the unknown. It is joy and it is the confidence I have in myself and in my abilities and beliefs. While I am on this part of constantly revising what beauty and makeup mean to me, I have to be understanding and respectful of what it means to other people.
I may have my “off days”- those days when I don’t always feel beautiful- I try to remember that not feeling pretty doesn’t change the fact that I am beautiful and possess an incredible beauty within me. Moreover, the things I see as flaws are not necessarily negative. They are part of what makes me beautiful. They make me unique, they make me, me. Accepting this has made a tremendous difference in how I see myself, and how I define beauty and makeup.
Now, I see makeup as an adornment. When I apply makeup, I understand that I am adorning what it already beautiful. As a Christin, a lot of verses in the Bible supports this for me. Like these two:
- “Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” – 1 peter 3:3-4
- “I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. “I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Ezekiel 16: 11-12
And so, even as I constantly revise what I know as beauty, I’m learning to find beauty and meaning in everything and not just in the physical things. Although makeup makes me feel less pretty and more insecure, I absolutely enjoy seeing others in it. this explains why I can spend hours watching youtube tutorials in awe!
I’d like to know: What does beauty mean to you? How has this changed since your teenage years?