Make up has the magical power to transform and elevate the body, mind and spirit. Looking and feeling good is priceless, and something that women all over the world have pursued throughout the ages, often at great cost.
The history of makeup began in Ancient Egypt, around 4,000 BC. It was thought that eye makeup could ward off evil spirits, and emphasising the eyes became very important - which is why we see eyeliner painted onto the art and sculptures of the time. Moving along through history, makeup was worn to denote social standing, with the Renaissance women prepared to risk their lives by wearing dangerous concoctions of cosmetics containing white lead and arsenic, to whiten their skin. Some women even went as far as blood-letting, to achieve the ghostly pale look! White skin was a status symbol for the upper classes - it showed that they were wealthy enough to relax indoors, as opposed to the lower classes who were forced to work outside, which darkened their skin.
Moving into the 20th Century, the rise of the movie industry in Hollywood was a huge influence in the popularity of makeup. With the help of Max Factor, one of the first mass market producers of colour cosmetics, women everywhere started to copy the look of their favourite movie star, and felt their own beauty emerge while emulating the magic and glamour of Hollywood through their makeup.
With the current fascination of the public with the appearance of celebrities, we often see candid shots of our favourite movie stars without makeup, and to many women, it's very comforting! They are just like us - they get blemishes and dark circles! On the other hand, though, some of their magic is lost, and there is no doubt that makeup is a huge part of their captivating aura.
Today, in our world of intense competition and stress in the work-place, there is a very special sense of escapism and delight that many women feel upon entering the cosmetics department of their favourite store. It is very easy to forget your troubles when you're standing at the Chanel counter looking at the magnificently packaged makeup and stunning array of colours. For many women, trying on makeup and surveying the effect, is as good as therapy, and much cheaper!
This lovely pastime is available to most women and girls, as makeup today is an affordable luxury. Instead of buying expensive clothes, you can get the same thrill from a sparkling new lipstick. Makeup stores are irresistible - the candy stores for grown up women. They are nearly impossible to pass by without yearning to just "take a quick look!" The colours, varieties and packaging are all so enchanting and make us feel rejuvenated with the promise of a new look, which can also signify a fresh start. How many women starting over change their hairstyle? Changing your makeup can have the same effect. If you have never tried red lipstick, for example, but have sumptuous full lips, how amazing are you going to feel when you slick on that perfect shade of red, which makes your smile even more dazzling?
As a professional makeup artist who has worked in the fashion and entertainment industries for twenty years, first in London, and now in Los Angeles, I can attest to the power, magic and importance of makeup. Whether I am working on a famous model, A-list celebrity or a stay-at home mum, the effect of the makeup is always the same. It is like a surge of feel-good energy rushing up from the inside, which results in a radiant smile. You can really feel the boost in confidence. This is why I love my job so much - making people look and feel beautiful is a thrilling experience. It really does make people happy. I definitely leave every makeup session feeling good...
One of the most valuable things that I've learned from my work, is that it's very important to have a sense of your own special and unique beauty...how you feel about your appearance affects how other people respond to you, which in turn affects your place in your world. There is no-one else like you, and you have the power to bring out your beauty if you take the time to discover it!
Whatever your age, it really is worth spending time experimenting with different colours and textures to find your ideal look. A daily makeup routine emphasising your best features, that you can finish in around ten minutes every morning before going out and facing the world, can do wonders for your confidence and self esteem.
Until the next time - unleash your inner and outer beauty with some fabulous new makeup, and I wish you all a beautiful day!
Follow Jane Cohen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/janecohenmakeup