I didn’t buy my own foundation until I was 22.
Is that a super first world problem/white girl thing to say? Not a whole lot of 16 year old African mothers sipping on Grande Mocha’s in their sweatpants thinking about when they bought their first face coloured face paint.
When I was growing up we had some pan sticks floating around the house thanks to the musical theatre my mum and I participated in. And once when I went back to Hong Kong for the summer holidays I remember my mother tried to buy me some tinted moisturizer and I was like “kaykay but can I have some money for vodka and sprite? “(I’m classy like dat).
For the most part I thought going-out makeup was just lipstick and mascara, because thats what I saw my mum using. When people try to tell me that the fact that I have TWO gay siblings is because of “Nurture” I just laugh and laugh. Man I wish some of that gay femininity floating around our house had rubbed off on me.
When I was 22 I went to Canada with my friend Alex, arguably a fashion conscious, feminine LADY, with nice nails, teeth and hair. We went to work at a summer camp, and while I packed tatty denim shorts and breast busting bikini tops, Alex had a whole bag of nice clothes and woweeee, a makeup bag full of creams and concealers and lions and tigers and brushes oh-my.
I have blotchy red skin and have had my whole life. Yay genetics! Whether I walk 2 or 2000 metres, my face likes to go nice and red.
Alex showed me that I could slather that redness in beige and people would stop saying things to me like “Oh wow somebody got sunburned on holiday!” – (an actual thing a makeup woman said to me when I went in barefaced to get my makeup done on just a normal day, in winter.) Make up made me look nice I thought.
As my age has slipped from early twenties, to mid twenties and now to late twenties, I’ve found that more and more products are needed before I’m comfortable leaving the house. I NEVER used to think about it, and now I do.
And I don’t even have that much make up because a) I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on things and b) I don’t even know what those things are. It seems like every time I go to a makeup store, I learn about products to change things I didn’t even think needed changing.
There’s a sliding scale of how much time I have to spend putting shit on my face:
-Staying at home: Zero minutes
-Staying at home and I feel like shit: 5 minutes
-Staying at home but I might want to go to the shops: 10 minutes
-Going out to see friends: 20 minutes
-Going out to for an interview: 25 minutes
-Going out to see a boy: 30-40 minutes
-Going to a wedding/event: 45 – 60 minutes
I’d say an average day is 20 minutes. Twenty minutes of a clueless chick (me) trying to copy people on the internet who seem to be like: “Step one apply this thing, Step 100 PERFECTION!” With none of the steps in between making ANY sense.
The worst part is that makeup used to be a fun novelty thing I did once a week on a friday night, and now it feels like a necessity before I can leave the house, like wearing a bra and opening your eyes (actually do you think I could go a whole day without a bra and my sight…? Maybe it could be like a cool art house instillation and people will think WOW Paris is really fighting the patriarchy one droopy tit and face-plant at a time). God I am such an amazing feminist.
Is this how plastic surgery becomes such a slippery slope? You see an amazing looking older woman who then goes and does things to her face that make her look like a stretched condom pulled taut over an oven baked ham? Because she felt like without the plastic poison in her face she couldn’t leave the house?
There’s no doubt that I look better with a more even skin tone. And I know that there is a science about having red lips and big eyes, something sex related, fertility, blah blah.
But come on.
I have insecurities just like you, just like everyone does. But getting ready today I felt truly pissed off at how disgusting I felt right out of the shower, and that for me to look “normal” I had to fiddle with pots of green stuff, and palettes of coloured nonsense, while my boyfriend threw a hat on, brushed his teeth and called it a day.
I am grateful to Alex and the other women who have taught me about make-up, and I know that we should all accept our natural beauty etc. But when I see the 13 year old girls at the High School near our house and their makeup is on point I want to grab them and say NO NO! Don’t worry about how on fleek your eyebrows look. I can’t help but remember this Amy Schumer sketch making fun of all those boy band songs about “how beautiful you are without makeup” but then realizing that oh no what we meant was a “natural” amount of makeup.
What a world we as women live in, where we are constantly empowered to be our best self, to love our inner beauty and strength, while makeup brands keep selling us goo for our faces.
Get the London look?
I wouldn’t know how.