The moral rights and wrongs concerning makeup is a topic that can be debated for hours on end. However, every question asked finds its way home to the same answer – looking beautiful. Makeup gives women the freedom to look whatever way they want, to pile on confidence as they pile on foundation and to create shapes and shades that were never there before. Have modern times lead women to believe they can buy beauty in a bottle? Where do these deep rooted urges to transform their faces come from, and how far will some women go?
In modern times, the motto for makeup has gone from minimalist to extremist. Instead of less is more it’s now more, more, and more. Gluing on false eyelashes made from synthetic fibres to flies legs, drawing on thick black eyebrows and beauty marks, applying diamonds and glitter to wherever there’s space and wearing eyeliner so thick – above and below their eyes – you can’t see the colour of their pupils. The reason for wearing makeup has been lost in all this craziness, and it’s not just about looking pretty anymore. Women now want to make a statement, draw attention and be praised and followed for their boldness. Clarissa Johnson (20), a part time glamour model living in London, who does shoots both in Ireland and England, had this to say on the topic: “Yes sometimes I think it [makeup] is too much, such as the extremely long eyelash extensions and tattooed eyebrows, or permanent make up as it’s called.”
People may wonder what has happened in the beauty industry to make women reach these heights. It’s not the beauty industry that’s to blame, they make and sell these products but they don’t create the trends. It’s the celebrities. Stars from Audrey Hepburn to Ke$ha are the ones that influence the public and create these styles that change through time. These people are the beauty role models for women everywhere, the only worry being which are good and which are bad. Personally, I miss the days of Marilyn Monroe’s touch of foundation, bare look. The glamorous 50’s in Hollywood spawned idols like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, who embraced the dewy natural glow with just a hint of makeup. Thanks to these megastars, women learnt to embrace the glow off their skin, the arch in their eyebrows, the tint on their cheeks and the plump in their lips. Compared to the face paint of our time, the 50’s embraced the woman behind the makeup. Nobody had to be perfect not even the celebrities, according to Marilyn Monroe herself: “Imperfection is beauty.”
Nowadays it’s a completely different story, since were influenced by so many extreme radical celebrities. Women now crave for the next trend; they follow these crazes religiously so as to look bold and daring to the world. Anything they see on TV, in the movies or on magazines to go with what’s current. Lady Gaga herself is known for pushing the envelope with her makeup. However, when it comes to being a role model she must be questioned, since she is never without makeup and I stress the never. People magazine asked her how often she went to bed with her makeup on and she replied: “Seven. That is not good for your skin, but I’m blessed with good genes.” There’s a very clear answer for which era had the better role models.
The makeup industry itself can also be to blame for women’s perceptions of themselves. They claim that they sell beauty; they give women confidence and freedom with their cosmetics. However, they only want to enhance their face and not their personality. The founder of the cosmetic giant and famous brand Yves Saint Laurent gave his take on makeup for women: “The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” Implying makeup can be a quick fix for beauty, that if you’re not born with it then you can buy it. When asked on the topic, part time glamour model Clarissa argued, “The media portrays make up as the ultimate beauty factor.” Most call the creation of makeup a combination of art and science, but to me you can’t beat Mother Nature.
Do girls really need to wear so much fake cosmetics on their face to look and feel pretty? All a woman needs is her personality to show her beauty, and no illusions. From the words of Audrey Hepburn, “For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.”