Why Do you Wear Makeup?

We’re getting ready to announce another challenge, but in the meantime we want to do a little crowdsourcing and I’d like to indulge in a bit of an overshare. Because thinking about makeup really got me…thinking about makeup. Specifically my relationship to it, and how that’s changed in the last, oh, four days.

So the other night I was faced with a bit of a social conundrum. I was feeling like garbage, but it was one of my dearest friends’ birthdays and he was getting people together for drinks. I obviously wanted to be there, but I felt so blah and my closet was full of stuff I all of a sudden hated. It was just one of those nights, and if I was going to get out the door, I was going to have to do some serious rallying.

I’ve always marveled at women who have a playful relationship with makeup and talk about the “transformative power” of a great bold eye or a blood-red lip (hyperbole above). But I’m more into the transformative power of a concealer that makes spots disappear, or a mascara that makes my blondish lashes show up on my pale face. My relationship to makeup has, in other words, always been rather functional. And while I do wear some makeup almost every day, and yes, I’ve had a brief romance with lipstick, there’s just no whimsy to what I do! No fun! And definitely no risks.

But that’s because I have some hangups. Like in my head, it’s okay for me to correct things I think of as flaws, but if I really go for it, I’m crossing some invisible line into abject fakery. It’s probably the same reason I’ve never worn pushup bras. It’s a not a feeling that extends to other women, mind you; I love seeing other girls in makeup and dressed to the bustiest nines. It’s a personal thing that probably has something to do with my rather late embracement of my own femininity, and I’ll stop there because I’m not paying you all by the hour to listen to me wax psychological.

But the other night, for whatever reason, I decided to totally do my face. I’m talking heavy blended liner, smoky shadows, luminizer, darkened eyebrows, matte skin and a bright red lip, courtesy of Chanel.* I slicked my hair into a high ponytail and for the first time maybe ever, I thought the person in the mirror looked alarmingly not like the me that woke up this morning. I felt…transformed!

I was surprised to find that with my fancy new face came a fancy new mood. It was a dramatic shift that I can really only attribute to, um, eye makeup. I can’t wait to do it again.

So we now have a question for you.

Why do you wear makeup? Like, do you wear it to correct things you think of as “flaws”? Do you wear it because it’s fun? Do you wear it because you feel more powerful/prettier/sexier/more feminine?

We know a lot of you don’t wear makeup, and we know a lot of you who do are more than willing to go without sometimes (yay!). But right now we want to hear from those of you who do paint your faces—even if you only use very little. So get crazy in the comments. We can’t wait to hear…. And we’ll announce the new challenge soon!

*Yes, yes I still have an old Chanel lipstick—don’t stone me! It’s probably gone off because it’s that old, and no, it’s not clean at all by our standards, but boy is it pretty…. Everything else I used was clean as a whistle, though.

Crazy Swan face via

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52 Responses to “Why Do you Wear Makeup?”
  1. bryn says:

    I don’t really know why I wear makeup, it just makes me feel like I belong and that there is nothing wrong with me after I wear, but after I listened to certain song it flipped upside down. The song is “Try” by Colbie Calleit

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