March 29, Saturday of the 3rd Week of Lent.
I've gained a sizable collection of little makeup tips and tricks over the years and come back every now and again to the idea of publishing them here, to keep a record for myself and to pass the knowledge along to others. As I got down to writing, however, it became apparent that I would first need to set out a philosophy of makeup, at least for me personally, because makeup-wearing covers a great expanse of tastes and purposes. It's also highly personal and subjective. Like in art and parenting, learning the rules is just the first step toward breaking them. There is no one right way to wear makeup.
So here is a little breakdown of where I'm coming from when I recommend or write about makeup on this blog. (It can also apply to fashion.)
One of the most flattering comments I ever received was from a friend who said she liked how I wore makeup. I can't remember her wording exactly, but the gist of it was that she saw how it improved my appearance, and it didn't look like I wasn't wearing any makeup, but it didn't look like my makeup was hiding me either. I liked that a lot because it is exactly my makeup philosophy.
Makeup serves two main purposes: (1) to decorate and (2) to beautify. These purposes don't have to be mutually exclusive, but I think when the decorating takes away from, distracts, or frustrates one's God-given beauty, it's a shame. Except in the case of costuming, such as during Halloween or a stage production or festival, my rule of thumb is to use makeup to decorate in a beauty-enhancing way. I think some women who are afraid of wearing makeup have been scared away by the misuse of decorating-type makeup.
Let us illustrate the two purposes with the following:
sources here and here
In the first photo, the eyeliner is soft and smudgy. If you were to take several steps back, so you weren't, you know, staring this poor stranger in the eyes at an uncomfortably close distance, then the definition of the makeup marks would become less and less clear, 'til it blended in with her lashes, making them look thick, full, and numerous--traits commonly considered attractive in the human female. In the second photo, if you were to step back, the definition of the eyeliner would remain clear for a much greater distance; the line is solidly defined, and the colors and luster are not naturally found on the human face. See the difference?
There are all sorts of variations on these two styles above, and as many variations for each part of the face, and even for each makeup product. I have both purposes for wearing makeup; my daily routine aims to beautify, but every now and again I like a smudge of red lipstick or colorful eye-shadow.
What is your makeup philosophy? Do you wear makeup, and why or why not? What is your main purpose in wearing makeup?
(Also, if you're interested, there's some thoughtful Lenten discussions on modesty going on here.)