My Problems with Makeup and Beauty Culture

Get ready for some opinions because I have a lot.

I was not allowed to wear makeup growing up. My mom always told me how wearing makeup ages you, it’s not good for my youthful skin, and how once I’m eighteen I can do whatever the hell I want to my face. This was annoying as a former failed goth and former emo kid. I remember walking to CVS after school, buying the worst black eyeliner pencil one could ever imagine, sneaking into the bathroom before class would start, and running home so I could wash it off before my mom got home. I would always just use soap and water to try to get rid of my emo evidence. I would end up looking like a raccoon and my mom would find out anyway. In high school there were the rare occasions and my mom would give me permission to slap some eyeliner and red lipstick on my face. Finally my eighteenth birthday came. I saved up some money plus received some money for my birthday and bought a lot of makeup. This is probably around the time beauty gurus became more popular on Youtube. I never had any loyalty to any Youtuber or brand. I would just see an eyeshadow palette that I liked and if I had enough money I would buy it. In all honestly I learned how to do makeup by watching RuPaul’s Drag Race. I was and am inspired by a lot of drag queens. In all honesty, I’m really happy my mom didn’t let me wear makeup as a kid. I wasn’t wearing makeup because I felt insecure about acne scars, how short my eyelashes are, or to make myself look more appealing. I was and still continue to wear makeup because I think it’s fun. I like wearing bright, bold colors. I love experimenting with makeup and different styles or aesthetics. I think it is partially because I only wear makeup once a week. I don’t view it as a chore or a part of my morning routine. I wear it when I want, how I want to, and damn straight I’m going to slap purple glitter on my eyelids.

Photo by Mihai Stefan Photography on

However, as someone who does like makeup, I understand the toxic side of the makeup industry. The makeup industry profits off of insecurities. Yes, makeup can be worn by any gender, but it does profit off the insecurities of young girls and women. There is a constant pressure for women to constantly look appealing, presentable, and polished. It’s also how you do your makeup. You have to appear as though you’re not wearing makeup, but also cover up any blemishes, redness, wrinkles, under eye circles, etc.

Different women feel differently about makeup. I would never spend the extra twenty to thirty minutes of makeup in the morning before work, because that means I lose twenty to thirty minutes of sleep. Some women feel better about their appearance and more confident after they apply their makeup. I don’t want to shame or come off as a bully to women who prefer wearing makeup on a daily basis or feel the need to wear makeup everyday. However, from my own interactions there are two women I know who do feel the need to wear makeup everyday. Both have stated as older women they find it necessary to wear makeup to conceal their problem areas. They claim that they no longer have their youthful skin and need to wear it in order to feel confident. Personally, I don’t ever want to feel like makeup is necessary and I don’t want to feel like I have to achieve “youthful” skin as I get older. Online and in the social media world, there is constant preaching about how “You’re beautiful no matter what”. I just want to destroy that mentality. I don’t want to view blemishes, under eye circles, wrinkles, stretch marks, or cellulite as beautiful. I don’t want to view them as ugly. They are just things on our skin and body. I want to think about them the same way I think about my elbow. I never think about my elbow nor do I know anyone who does.

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Going along with destroying the idea of beauty and being beautiful, I really don’t like Instagram or beauty gurus. Yes it’s great that Youtube or Instagram is this accessible platform where you can watch makeup tutorials, learn about different makeup products, and so on. I’m only just tired of seeing the same contour, highlighted, and smoky eyeshadow face. Makeup should be fun and creative. Which is why I think I like watching a variety of different people apply different styles of makeup vs. seeing what is trendy. I also don’t like how it’s expected to be a pro at applying makeup. If someone applies their contour messy, maybe they’re learning and practicing. I probably just spend way too much time on the internet, but it really does bother me when I scroll through comments and it’s all criticisms about how bad someone’s makeup looks.

Finally, my last and probably most important point is how I feel about beauty gurus and their young viewers. I grew up in a pre-beauty guru world. I don’t really care about their drama, but what I do care about is the young kids watching them. I honestly can’t imagine growing up nowadays. With Youtube, Instagram, and other social media sites there is so much emphasis on appearance and building a brand. Maybe kids are more aware, but it would just affect my self esteem. I just remember looking at Hayley Williams and Amy Lee and thinking, “Why don’t I look like that?” It’s because you’re twelve and not a woman in their twenties. Again, there’s this added pressure of trying to attain beauty standards that are just not possible for kids. On top of these beauty standards, makeup is also being target towards children. A very long time ago, I went to the mall and James Charles was there because he came out with an eyeshadow palette. The line began at one end at the mall and ended on the other side of the mall. I just remember thinking, “There is no one on that line that’s older than seventeen.” Except for maybe their mom or dad. Again, maybe kids are more aware nowadays. They’re not using makeup to cover up any insecurities they might think they have, but there is just something icky and deceiving about it. I have just always thought about it like, “You’re beautiful just the way you are, but also purchase my makeup”. This also isn’t a personal dig at James Charles, he was just at the mall on that particular day. It could’ve been any other beauty guru and I would’ve had the same thoughts.

I love makeup, I really do. I know we can’t ever really escape from beauty standards. I just think it’s important to talk about the good and the bad of makeup and beauty culture. Do you guys have any strong opinions, positive or negative? Let me know in the comments!

Published by notesfromadork

Hey everyone! Thanks for checking out my website. Like most people I'm really into pop culture and I can be a bit of a dork about it. I like TV shows, movies, the internet, and other nouns.

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