We asked eight women how makeup influences their confidence in a culture surrounded by a constant pressure to look perfect. We discovered there was no wrong way to feel beautiful.
"It started in preschool, when I would wear lipstick every day to school. I always watched my mom put on hers, so I wanted to as well. Then, I stopped wearing makeup for awhile until I got to middle school, and that’s when I started getting acne. Guys started to call me “acne face” and people would come up to my boyfriend at the time and say, “Why do you like her, she has acne all over her forehead?” So that’s when I started wearing makeup every day to school and I felt like if I didn’t wear makeup, then I knew I was going to get made fun of. So makeup eventually became a hobby and obsession of mine. I would watch makeup videos every day to know how to apply it and from that point on, I had a love for it. But ever since coming to college, I feel more comfortable not wearing makeup around people, because I feel more accepted here."
“I think for me personally, I would like to wear makeup more. But, I don’t really know how to, and it is a tedious process where I’d rather sleep then wake up an extra hour early just to feel pretty. For me, I think because I don’t wear makeup, I have to do something else to make myself feel feminine. I have to dress up a little bit more. I think confidence wise, it could go either way. If I’m like “oh, I feel pretty today without makeup” or “wow my eyebrows look nice” or my hair looks nice, then obviously I feel a little bit better about myself. I think for especially girls there is a societal pressure in the magazines and stuff like that to wear makeup. Or even if you’re in the journalism profession, people are always dressed up and wearing it, so then I obviously feel the pressure to wear it as well. I feel like you sometimes “have” to wear it in order to feel pretty.”
Rae Harris (Left)
“I’ve always struggled with my skin so I constantly wore makeup, but lately I’ve been feeling more confident both with or without it. I’m getting used to seeing my natural face and feeling beautiful. Makeup is fun, but sometimes it’s nice to look in the mirror, recognize your “flaws” and realize they are not a bad thing.”
Melanie De Lima (Right)
“I was a person who never really used to wear makeup a lot, I remember around middle school or eighth grade girls started wearing eyeliner and mascara and I was just always the type of person that was half lazy and half didn’t really care. So I always said to myself, “You know, I don’t really need eyeliner to go to school.” In my mind, we were only thirteen so we didn’t really need to do that. I never really got deep into the process of all the steps of powder, foundation, so it was something that just didn’t interest me. Now I try a little harder, it’s one of those situations where you kind of want to stand out a bit and you want to feel even more confident. On the weekends I actually sit down in front of the mirror and do all the extra steps, but on a day to day basis, I don’t really think I need it.”
Sophia Pitti (Right)
“I consider myself a makeup wearer, because makeup got me through a very tough time in my life. And I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s really true. For about five years, I struggled with a hair pulling mental illness called “trichotillomania,” where I would compulsively pull the hair out of my eyebrows. Makeup allowed me to cover that, so I can go about everyday life as if I was just a normal person with eyebrows. It really let me have the power to talk about it when I wanted to talk about it, as opposed to other people seeing me without eyebrows and approaching me about it. So, that’s why I wear makeup.”
Maggie Gorman (above)
“I think when I was younger, like in high school, I felt a lot more pressure to wear makeup and now that I’m at college I see a lot of people who are confidently themselves and their individuality shines through whatever they want. So, seeing other people do that has kind of helped me figure out what’s comfortable and for me it’s kind of a little bit of makeup to help boost my confidence for the day but it’s not as much as I may wear to a formal event.”
Reesa Hylton (Left)
“I never wear makeup. I guess I got that from my mom, because I don’t even think she owns any makeup. I feel pretty confident without it, I feel like I’m more myself. And I’m also not that great at makeup, it’s probably because I don’t practice but I do definitely sometimes feel the pressure to wear makeup for different things like journalism or if I’m going to be seen by a lot of people. I think society kind of puts pressure on you to wear makeup so you look better, even though I don’t necessarily think we should even say people look “better” with makeup, because I think everyone looks great with however they feel comfortable.”
Alexis Morillo (Right)
“When I was younger, I wasn’t into makeup at all. I was such a tomboy and then once I started really getting into it, I just went full force. I don’t do it all the time, but when I do I have to do the full beat of my face. I think it really completes an outfit. I always say, “makeup is the clothes for the face,” so I can’t wear an outfit and feel like the outfit is complete if my face isn’t. But if I wake up late, I’ll still go to class with a bare face, but I just prefer makeup because I think it’s fun and I think it’s a “look good, feel good” method.”