How make-up can evolve our confidence
“There’s more to life than sitting on a pink cloud, painting nails and thinking about fluffy kittens, Chloe!”
Being told that, at 10 years old by my primary school teacher certainly didn’t have the effect I think she hoped it might. It’s shocking to look back and see how just 15 years ago, a professional woman of authority could happily look down on a child and try to belittle and patronize me because I wasn’t really that interested in academic subjects. I wasn’t bad at them as such, just didn’t really try as hard as perhaps I could have. I knew that I wanted to go into make-up even at that age, but back in 2002, the beauty industry was still seen as a laughable, brain dead, waste bin. And apparently, not a route to encourage and support as somebody’s dream career.
Colour has always been such a huge inspiration to me. In fact, the teacher’s previous comment was left to me, I vividly remember, as I started painting the back of my hand with a molten silver poster paint that sat on a paper plate, winking at me from the middle of the desk. The curiosity killed me… What would that look like on my skin? How would it feel to adorn myself in dripping metal? I had to try it. So, I did. And you know what? It felt fantastic. I didn’t care that she just tried belittling me in front of my whole class, I felt like actual magic. Invincible. And I wanted more, more colour’s to splash against my skin. Cold and glowing. How would other colours make me feel? And that is where my fascination really began.
My mother was a make-up artist too, so I was lucky enough to be able to watch and learn about new products from a young age. When I started high school, mum took me to Boots and let me have my very first mascara. I chose the brightest electric blue. I’d always been allowed lip gloss and lipsticks, but this was the first time I was allowed to wear the serious stuff, and even then, only for important events. You know, karaoke parties and shopping trips to Tammy Girl.
I didn’t wear make-up to school at all in the beginning, but at the age of 14 I began to realizing how much better I felt wearing just the tiniest bit of war paint and how much it improved my confidence as a teenager. For me it wasn’t about piling on mounds of make-up, I just used enough to feel like I looked a little more twinkly and fresh. Some girls felt as though they didn’t want to wear any at all and their confidence shone through just as much. I’ve always believed it’s a very personal thing. It’s amazing if you don’t need it to lift your mood but it’s also an absolute life saver for those of us who feel like we need an extra boost of panache. Make-up is just as much about how you feel on the inside as how you look on the outside and through working in the industry now for 8 years, it’s become apparent that that’s exactly why most other people wear it too. It’s not to impress anyone but ourselves.
The better you feel on the outside, the better you feel and perform on the inside.
There has always been so much negativity and judgment about make-up through the ages (something I’d like to go into a little further another time) but it looks as though finally, it’s getting the heroic recognition that it deserves. There have been some very recognizable and historical make-up eras, but now it seems that trends are dying down, our confidence in our individual appearance is stepping up, and hundreds of different looks and styles are becoming more and more accepted. There is no longer such a thing as “normal”. This is such an excellent breakthrough in the world, for both men and women. No one should feel pressure to wear something someone else tells them they should, firstly to wear or not to wear make-up at all.
And secondly, I honestly don’t believe in wearing only what someone else feels may suit you, or suits your complexion. As I mentioned before, make-up is such a personal thing and the development of self-confidence starts with the product YOU choose, the colour YOU choose, that makes YOU feel the best and, most importantly, however YOU personally choose to apply it. There is absolutely no right or wrong way to put on make-up, and self-expression is the key to feeling at home in your own skin; I found that the minute I realized I should be listening to my own wants (I just really love blue lipstick, bright eyeshadows… more abstract colours I suppose) rather than pandering to media and commercial publicity. My confidence improved dramatically. Stuff the neutral pinks and blush nudes, if that blue lipstick is drawing you in… WEAR THE BLUE LIPSTICK. If it’s that kick ass red you’ve secretly always wanted to rock, then you can rock it just as hard, if not harder than Dita Von Teese. Trust me, when you stop worrying about what you supposedly should be wearing and just do it, in all that fabulously slayin’ glory of yours, you will feel so much lighter and happier in yourself.
Working on counter taught me so much about the crazy world of cosmetics, and fortunately enabled me to meet so many unique and individual people. One of the best things about it is, the customers taught me just as much as the brands themselves. The people that fascinated me are the ones who inspired me to stop taking notice of what others thought I should look like. In other words, the ones who told me to wear the blue lipstick and the ones who made me realize that its ok to be a little bit different. Sometimes confidence comes from fitting in with a certain crowd, and that’s ok. Sometimes confidence comes from not wearing any make-up at all, and that’s also ok. Sometimes though, confidence comes from not really feeling like you belong with a crowd, but just riding your own waves of colour and contour as much glitter as you can physically fit on your face. And guess what? That is totally OK too. I really feel that Cosmetic empowerment is such an incredible tool to use. It helps boost confidence mentally, giving you a sacred time to spend on yourself and completely control of how others perceive you. Most importantly, it can help us harmonise our own mentality with our physicality.
There’s this tribe of super wise, uber cool mamas I know, and I was really interested in what their views of ‘Cosmetic Empowerment’ are, if any at all. Here is what just a few of them had to say:
“Lipstick makes me happy! Miserable day, drab office clothes but a slick of bright lipstick is instant happy.”
– Jenna Connon
“I was never one to make a fuss over make-up and have found in the past that no make-up days were more empowering. But since my anxiety got worse, doing my make-up helps calm me down”
– Irina Popescu Smith
“For me, make-up is something deeply individual. Just like empowerment. To use or not to use make-up can be a huge reflection of your inner mind. Personally, I use make-up in different ways which is really reflective of my mood”
– Heather Boom Edwards
“I enjoy drawing, makes sense that I’d also like drawing on my face!... It makes my day just that bit better if I’m glum I do a perfect wing”
- Laura Adair
“Make-up for me is an extension of myself and my personality. I love that it gives me the sense that I’m ready to take on the world beyond the safety of my front door”
- Kelsey Gauci
So, you’ve heard it from me, and you’ve heard it from them. Make-up really can evolve our confidence over time. It’s just up to you to get out there and find your way to wear it. If that’s not enough motivation to get your brushes out, I don’t know what is.