By Reyam Jamaleddine, January 30 2024—
I find myself beating a dead horse when thinking about makeup. The obscurity of desiring to paint my own face with black inks and red magical liquids is something that I cannot bring to understanding. Societal standards aside, whoever first thought to beautify themselves using paints on their face? Why do people wear makeup? The vain purpose of wanting to feel beautiful, to look beautiful and present as such to the world is not enough to encompass the act of painting one’s face.
As I mature, the more defined and established my makeup routine becomes. Every single day, every single morning — the world must stop for the brief twenty minutes that I choose to put my lashes on, my lipstick and my ready-to-go face on. With my powdered face and lengthened lashes, I can feel myself standing up taller. Perhaps it’s all of our misplaced insecurity, submission to the patriarchy or so-called desperation for attention, but this is not certain — at least that is what I think. What is certain is that there is nothing like my Charlotte Tilbury powder that can get me out of my house feeling prepared and ready to face yet another day.
Makeup is a contentious topic, it is consistently debated. It is a topic that disregards women to their vanity by others. Makeup is vain, but it is my vanity. When I stand up taller and I walk with my head held high, it is not for the discussion of others but for the approval of myself. As I change as a person, as I become better — the distinction in my character growth is proven by me through vanity.
Still, makeup does not make any sense. Why it makes me feel confident, why I love it for vanity purposes and why society is so debilitated about it are probably questions that I can hold for the rest of my life. Yet, scrolling through old photos in my camera roll, I come across ugly photo after ugly photo. Frustrated and angered that I wore a shade of blush that didn’t match my skin tone or wore my lashes too far away from my natural lash — the bottom line is that it’s an ever-encompassing embarrassment. I recall feeling content and confident with the way I was applying my makeup, doing my hair and dressing the way I did. But as time went on and my milestones did too, I changed the way I do my daily routine, I changed the shade of blush and the raggedy shade of lipstick that did not suit my skin tone. I can look back on my face and see all the details that I decided to brush on. Each detail is carefully thought out from the products I use to the manner in which I apply them.
It is an extraordinary piece of physical evidence for my milestones. I can see that I have changed from an era where I barely knew how to put my mascara on to an era where I now feel as if I have everything held together. Makeup and milestones are not causation or hard-core fact that I have grown as a person, but evidence that every time I look back on myself I can see my growth through my mechanisms of vanity. I am certain, a few months from now I will scroll through my camera roll and see the horrendous style of makeup that I am doing as of this moment — a certainty that I will grow, I will change and I will be better.
So, if the question is if I wear makeup for the attention of others, or out of my misplaced insecurity — I can confidently say that it is not. Standing up a little taller with shoulders a little broader, I can continue slaying the day away with my extra lengthy lashes and glossed lips.
This article is a part of our Voices section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.