Why do many young girls and women from ancient Egypt to modern times get fascinated by this world full of colors and shimmer we put on our faces?
I can’t speak for all the women out there but speaking from personal experience, putting makeup on was fun and playful. Just the touch of black eyeliner on my lash lines can make me instantly look more expressive and charismatic. I loved exploring how makeup can enhance my features or sometimes alter them making it look like I have a narrow, high-bridged nose that I don’t intrinsically have. It made me feel like I can hide away my natural facial features that I was insecure about. Well, not until it was already affecting my punctuality and the overall value I put out in the world and for myself.
A few facts
Makeup belongs under the umbrella of the cosmetic industry. The cosmetic market’s main products are skin care, hair care, color cosmetics, personal care, perfumes, and over-the-counter products. The cosmetic industry continued to keep earning more revenue in the past years before the pandemic changed consumer behaviors.
According to Statista, the global growth rate of the cosmetics market has increased from 2.9% in 2008 to 5.25% in 2019. The top highest-earning beauty manufacturer L’Oreal has a revenue of 33.4 billion USD in 2019.
I started to grow more aware of my consuming habits because I want to live my life with sustainable, healthiest, and most conscious practices.
Those who are feminine at heart or just have the passion for makeup continually consume makeup, sampling out different brands, marketing A brand to be better than B brand. With this unending prevalence and buzz towards beauty products, I wonder if any of us, consumers, question the means of how makeup products were produced, what they contain and the consequences they bring to both ends of production and consumption aside from the profits, glitz and glam.
In 2019, I came across a short documentary from Refinery29 about how cosmetic industries garner their particular ingredient called mica. Mica is from a type of mineral that comes in a wide range of colors. They’re shiny and could be turned into powder. A key ingredient that is used in many cosmetic products to give us that glow, Instagram-deserving, uploadable look.
Apparently, most of the mica productions are unregulated and dangerous. Mining, as we all know, is the major culprit behind deforestation. If we let the mining industry in lawlessness, imagine the exploitation money-hoarders would do to take advantage of this. I mean, just look it up, you don’t need to imagine. The consequences were already paid through below minimum wage, child labor, death and stripping off lands.
Children as young as five years old are put into labor so cosmetic industries earn their profit and so consumers flaunt that glimmering shiny look. When I learned about this, I had to take a look at the beauty products I had then. (Mica mining is a source of livelihood from these locals in India, unregulated or not. That’s for another topic so please let it be for now.)
What makeup actually did to me
- I already mentioned the pleasure I found in putting makeup on. I didn’t put it excessively but I developed in my system that I can’t go outside without it. I had to apply my pink blush, and mascara and cover my blemishes before I got to ABC place. I felt compelled to draw on my eyebrows so I could look acceptable according to rule #4758 of the social standards. When I didn’t have them, I got stares and a question “where’re your eyebrows?”
I got triggered not because of the reaction people had towards my bare face or what makeup brought to me. It’s the unhealthy attitude and dependence I developed with makeup.
The more I saw myself in the mirror covered with powder and concealer, the further I was forgetting to embrace my natural bare face.
- Putting on makeup meant I had to keep a few items in my bag wherever I went. I had them during my first hike in the mountains. I know. Why would I need a touch-up when I’m drenched in sweat and covered with dirt, in the mountains?
So over time, makeup brought me a deeper awareness of the stuff I actually need in my daily life. When I finally looked at my items I wanted to get rid of, makeup was one of them. I, then, wanted to spend more time nourishing my body through yoga exercises before I head out. That extra time I could spend on other things aside from applying makeup has become more precious as time went by.
- Reducing what I generally consumed aligns with my values towards sustainability and preserving mother earth. Less products, less waste. I only buy what I need.
At the moment
I still don’t wear any makeup except for big academic, professional and social events. (Not that I attended any in the past years) It started gradually in 2016 and I’m really happy about being comfortable being seen without it. (Not that I really care about other people’s opinions nowadays)
I won’t say I’ll go extreme and completely not wear any makeup like Alicia Keys going on national TV and red carpet without anything at all on her face except probably moisturizer. I truly admire her for going all the way though!
If I have baggy eyes, I won’t try to hide them with a concealer. Maybe I just need proper nutrition, a systematic schedule, and a good night’s sleep!
I still own a drugstore-brought eyebrow pencil and a new lip-cheek tint that my best friend sent me a few days ago that actually inspired this article! (Inspiration does spring from many places like a small item from a mail package!)
I won’t deny the power that makeup brings to many girls and those who enjoy glamour and dressing-up. I’m talking about my experience. Going bare-face means I have nothing to hide. It’s the same as putting my heart and soul on this blog site. I am gradually letting the world know I’m imperfect but I strive to love my flaws and make them work out for me.
Through inquiries and going deep under the surface of shallow waters and being receptive to what we could discover, we’re going to be more aware of our actions and decisions that eventually would transform our well-being and the world. We create the ripple effect ourselves so why not make it an astounding and instrumental one?
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See what I wrote about embracing all facets of my being here
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Until next time!