I rarely wear any make-up. Most days, I simply can't be bothered. I don't like to overload my skin and I like to be able to rub my eyes when I please. (A few years ago, leaving the house without my face on was utterly unthinkable. The way I saw it, I didn't want to offend anyone.) But when I do, I go all out. I cannot do without red lipstick. Or eyeliner. Or mascara... The fierceness of my flicks and punchiness of my pout usually indicate the occasion or what kind of mood I'm in. Does a face full of slap make a difference to my self-esteem? Do I feel "better" with make-up on? No. Not anymore. With or without it, I'm still me.
I often hear people talking about the fact that wearing make-up means you have no self-confidence. I have to say, I disagree with that. It can of course be said that some use cosmetics to cover themselves up to a degree. I know, because I used to do it. In my early teens, I saw so many photos of stereotypically "perfect" women with pore-less, spotless skin evocative of porcelain that I tried desperately hard to create a make-up mask. But for me, at this point in my life, make-up is fun. It is not used to disguise myself but to accentuate my personality. It adds edge and even more charisma to an outfit and is part of my unique style.
My bare face is no less fun. I have come to accept and even appreciate my natural form in recent years. You know why? Because there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Sure, I have dark circles under my eyes and skin paler than pale. But I actually like it. Without it, I wouldn't look like me. It wasn't me who labelled these things "flaws" in the first place, anyway. Quite frankly, I don't see why I personally should have to apologise for my characterising features. Is it my fault that the majority of adverts I see are Photoshopped so heavily, that I probably wouldn't recognise the people in them if I walked past them on the street? The next time you see an advert for mascara, I urge you to stop and think about whether you've ever had a magic wand that made your lashes look like that. I mean, can we really blame people for going a bit overboard with their cosmetic bag when we're surrounded by images so unattainable, the very models who feature in them don't even look like that themselves?
And do we think that bitching about how much make-up someone is wearing is going to make them feel any better about themselves? I highly doubt that they'll ask you to hand them the remover, take it all off there and then and suddenly feel completely gorgeous bare faced whilst strutting off after some mild degradation.
Whether or not someone is using make-up as a literal cover up, calling them out on it in a derogatory way is not going to improve the situation. I'm almost 100% sure that if instead of repeatedly telling me that I "wore too much make-up", someone put their arm around me and whispered "I totally understand why you like to wear a lot of make-up. I used to do it too! You're beautiful as you are. You look lovely with it and without it." I would have been more likely to stop sleeping with a face literally caked with foundation, removed it, taken a long hard look at myself in the mirror and been more likely to feel less compelled to put as much back on.
How about, when we see someone with a lot of make-up on, instead of scorning them and reiterating how "ridiculous" they look - probably enhancing their insecurities - just saying - we exercise some compassion, empathy and understanding. Perhaps that person is very young and impressionable, just like I was, and thinks that a lot of slap will help them fit in or get ahead in life. Perhaps they're very insecure, bombarded with copious amounts of superiority in every single direction they look. Perhaps they feel anxious about growing older and again, thanks to our lovely friend Mr Airbrush, have been coerced into believing that youth is the only time in your life that you will be deemed attractive. And maybe they just damn well LIKE wearing a lot of make-up. Who are we to tell them to stop it?
Wearing make-up is not the be all and end all. You can wear none and be beautiful and confident. Equally, you can wear lots, be just as dazzling and courageous, and be equally as happy without it. Don't get hung up on what other people say you should and shouldn't do; focus on what makes you happy. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone and you are allowed to enjoy your gorgeous face, regardless of how much make-up it's wearing.