Note: So I’ll be doing regular features on my blog, some on fashion and some on beauty. The “Before and After” feature will be some of the makeup looks I’ve created with an individual story to tell for each look. ———————————
People talk about the makeup industry. A lot. Some talk about it with excitement as they’re complete beginners. Some think it’s essential. Others think they’re practically a pro simply because they’ve watched YouTube videos on contouring and know all the shade names for their favourite brand. Some think the makeup industry is superficial and only for the superficial. I was one of those.
Some time ago, I used to be a qualified social worker. Yes, it was a completely different industry. As much as I loved my job, I started enjoying makeup the older I got and started to appreciate the benefits it made to my face. Hallelujah! It gave me confidence in a way I couldn’t have imagined and suddenly I felt crippled if I didn’t leave the house with a decent black ink liner (a la Alexa Chung, not Amy Winehouse) and some kind of base.
After a few years of working in social work, I decided to risk it and take up a career in makeup. After all, why not do it when I was relatively a young spring chick! So, I took up two makeup courses and before long, I was working as an agency worker for a big beauty cooperation going from brand to brand within the company. Within a few months, I was asked to work for one of the brands exclusively and I agreed as I love the products and their ethos so much! *insert heart emoji*
Alas, it was not what I had thought would be a glamorous lifestyle. In many ways, I had rose (gold) tinted glasses on and thought it would be all about the ‘artistry’ and being ‘creative’ (I imagined doing intense makeup sessions with makeup brushes sticking out of my hair in different angles) but it was a lot more business and money driven… obviously. At one point, I became so disenchanted I started wondering whether I had done the right thing and whether I was suited to this industry in the slightest… cue: quarter life crisis!
But then something changed. I grew balls (metaphorically) and I thought “no, I’m going to prove everyone I can do this”. So I did. One year later, I went from part time makeup artist to assistant studio manager and then half a year later, I became studio manager. I am now more in love with my job than I ever have been and love how my perception has changed.
Makeup can be superficial but it’s not. At least not for the brand I work for, that encourages everyone, all women to embrace who they are. I have firsthand seen what makeup can do for a woman’s confidence. Women who are often so selfless… carers, mothers, teachers, nurses etc who dedicate more time to others than themselves. I’ve encountered a nurse who had forgotten to “look pretty” in her own words. She was too busy doing long gruelling shifts and looking after patients. She just wanted to look natural but a better version so using some basic essential products, I helped her to achieve a natural, healthy look to enhance her best features. I will never forget how after the makeup session, looking into the mirror, she teared up thanking me and telling me that she felt “human” for the first time… in a long time. That… is the difference makeup can make to someone’s confidence.
There are countless cancer sufferers. As women we often take our hair for granted. We complain it’s too long, short, curly, straight, dry, oily etc… but with people going through chemotherapy, they lose of all that. They lose their confidence and sense of being feminine. They not only lose their hair but eyebrow hairs and eyelashes. They just don’t feel like a woman anymore. But the difference we can make by applying makeup to emphasise their lovely features and using products to mimic eyebrow hairs and eyeliner/ tight lining the eyes to make it appear they have eyelashes (or using false ones)… oh the difference it can make. A woman stating that she was too ashamed to leave the house for a long time because she felt ugly, now felt the confidence to be seen in public and feel *gasp* sexy; hair or no hair.
I honestly don’t care at all for the contouring videos online or certain celebrities who promote drawing ridiculous white and brown stripes down their face to resemble cast members of the Lion King musical. I just don’t care about people who are trying to look like one another, like robots and clones. I think there is something so empowering in encouraging a woman to embrace her natural features and to love herself.
Next time someone tells me the makeup industry is superficial or cosmetics aren’t necessary, I’d tell them “good for you but to others, it’s a powerful tool to achieve confidence and make them feel alive”