I came across an article the other day in local free magazine the skinny where the writer was arguing against Alicia Key’s no make up things, which she seemed to imply was about no one wearing make up ever. Not sure if this is accurate, certainly not the impression I got from not really paying attention, I thought it was mostly just pointing out how ridiculous it is that it is socially unacceptable for celebrities not to wear make up at event, which is obviously a very different thing! Anyway, it was a very sad article really. The writer has adult acne, and it’s completely controlling her life, she’s taking photos of her skin all the time and takes 45 minutes at a time to do her make up, and she seemed to feel personally attacked that this no make up movement was taking away her coping mechanism. I don’t really want to talk any more about this article, because she came across as so mentally fragile, it feels mean to take her argument apart, plus as I said, I’m not sure what Alicia Keys has and hasn’t said and what Instagram celebrities are doing with that. But it did get me thinking about make up.
See, I have adult acne too, and am now in the enviable position of being both spotty and wrinkly, and having skin that gets greasy easily but also feels tight and dry if I use a spotty skin cleanser or don’t moisturise. It’s awesome, let me tell you!
For me, make up is almost entirely about hiding the spots, and looking ‘better’ in a natural way. I understand the lure of make up purchases, I enjoy Sali Hughes’ column. I like the way people are using it as a form of creative expression, where the aim is to look interesting, not necessarily ‘good’. It’s just that the way my face works makes it pretty much impossible for me to do a make up ‘look’. Stuff just disappears into it, particularly my eyes. They’re quite deepset and round and pretty much a full smoky eye looks exactly the same as a bright colour, as nothing at all. And of course I wear glasses, so that’s just another barrier making it not really worth it doing much.
Plus, I just don’t understand how anyone ever uses up their make up. I don’t even buy eyeshadow, but I’ve acquired lots of it anyway from getting it free with skincare purchases, and I’m barely making a dent. Even foundation and mascara, which I wear a lot, lasts me about two years. I just finished some blusher I got before Milo was born 4 years ago. I’m aware you’re not supposed to keep stuff for that long, but it just seems so incredibly wasteful to throw stuff away*. If I’m to have any chance of using things up, I can’t mess about with multiples, I need to use what I’ve got over and over again. So I do. I have a small make up bag containing undereye concealer, foundation, blusher, a light eyeshadow (pointless but I’ve got it so am using), eyeliner pencil and mascara. If I’m going out, I’ll put on lipstick. That’s it. It’s all designed to cover up my spots and dark eyes, give some glow to my face and make my eyes seem open. To look good in real life, not in photos. No instagram eyebrows, contouring or glitter lips for me!
The other thing that was quite interesting in that article was that she said that you don’t get models with acne, or eczema. And it’s true, there’s plenty of fat body positive people out there, but no one ever goes ‘spots are beautiful’ the way people go ‘curves are beautiful’. Probably acceptance is all you can hope for, positivity is maybe some way off, if it would ever happen. So not wearing make up every now and then seems like a sensible step in that direction to remind the world what you look like. I don’t always wear make up at work, or during the weekends, and I’ve never noticed an adverse reaction from anyone. I don’t think you notice so much when a face is in movement. I do notice adult acne in other people, but that’s more in a ‘aw, fellow sufferer’ recognition, not as in ‘ew, horrible!’. Then again, I certainly do not volunteer to have my picture taken when I’m bare-faced, and when taking blog pictures I do make sure I’ve flattering lighting, and will use photoshop to take out big spots. Ellis also has at times really bad eczema on his right cheek, so if a lot of his weekly pictures are taken from the left, that’ll be why. So this is not an entirely consistent position.
* my acne is hormonal, not bacterial, in case you think I’m doing this to myself. I used to be able to control it through hormonal contraception, but for some reason, post-kids that’s stopped working.
Artistic make up pictures all clickable for source