As a makeup artist, the most common reaction that I come across when my work is posted is “she’s beautiful, maybe makeup can make me look like that!” The problem here isn’t that the comments offend me. I just find that comments like these bring up a multitude of problems that need to be addressed by women, and they all begin with our perception of beauty. I find that often times we have this ideal of what “beautiful” is in our minds; the problem is that we never see it reflected in ourselves. So what do we do? Many of us use makeup as a mask to try to hide the fact that we are insecure in our own skin. We use it to try to look like other people we admire and think are beautiful. But that’s just not what makeup is for- not what I believe it is for anyway.
The first thing I learned in makeup school was that makeup is used to enhance a person’s natural beauty. Before I begin working on anyone, I take a step back to assess their face and find one or two features to really fall in love with. Sometimes it’s a cute nose, luscious lips or bright eyes, other times it can be as simple as soft skin. Then I focus on playing up those features that I love and really draw attention to them. I find that many women will do the opposite. They start by breaking themselves down, then use makeup to build themselves back up. Instead of tailoring their makeup to suit their facial features, many try to imitate the look of others they admire to hide the face they were born with. Remember that what works for others may not work on you. You have to maintain an awareness of your own face and how the makeup will accentuate your features as you apply it. If Nicki Minaj gave you her Apple Bottom Jeans, would you wear them without making sure they were tailored to fitting you first? Of course not. So why would you do it with your makeup?
It is time for women to embrace their beauty and to use makeup to do so as well. Stop hiding behind your makeup and use it to make yourself shine. Don’t start by thinking you want to look like Kim Kardashian. Start by thinking that you want to look like the best you possible. Makeup should make you feel empowered to be proud of how you naturally look, not ashamed of your appearance after you have taken it off. The first step to any makeup application is knowing and believing you are beautiful. Accept how you look and who you are. Only then can you proceed to the next step: Applying your makeup but never forgetting to respect your natural beauty as you do it.
Melyssa is a professional makeup artist in Edmonton, Canada. Find her on Facebook here.