The reason why I like makeup is the same reason I like fashion. It’s a way of codifying my experience in life. New clothes, new looks, new products, new palettes–it’s all about experimentation and trying out a new persona or telling the world–and reinforcing for myself–who I am and what I stand for.
I was a bit of a clotheshorse a couple years ago and Jan got me through it, supporting me along the way. That year of #shopthecloset was tough initially, but I loved how freeing a minimalist wardrobe turned out to be. It didn’t mean that I was confined to an identity–it meant I had to be creative in how I showed it with what I had.
I didn’t need a funky pattern print dress to prove how cool I was. The limitations of how many things I owned made me think outside the box: experimenting with new combinations and uses for the stuff I owned.
Same with beauty.
I don’t need oodles of products at my disposal to validate that I care about my appearance. I still do need the stuff though–it’s self-care for me. I just don’t need as large an array of it and I don’t need to stockpile it. I don’t need to see SK-II, NARS and MUFE on my vanity to know I was doing well for myself. Nor do you need <insert favourite brand> on your vanity to show you how far you’ve come.
Some people judge upward mobility through cars or through square footage in homes. I judge it by the brands people carry in their vanities. Or the stuff they carry in their makeup bag.
That being said, I do know what I’m about and I feel that my stash reflects that. Before I started I felt that it reflected a willingness and openminded-ness to trying new things as well as putting a premium on things that worked and were high-quality. All of those are true, but it’s reinforced all that I had forgotten: that just because I can try lots of things, doesn’t mean I have to buy a lot of things to reflect that part of my personality.
But knowing all that it’s still hard. When I chose not to buy brow powder, I felt self-conscious. My day-to-day beauty look comprises of strong full brows, minimal base and eyeliner or lipstick. Take away the brows and the look isn’t polished and put together. When my eyeliner dries up (and it will), who will I be without the option of transforming my face? Naked. Raw. Thankfully I have a ton of lipsticks, so I’ll never need to know what it feels like to go without that. As much as I think about beauty being this amazing tool that I can use to be creative and playfully transform, I’m still really reliant on it.
Daily life, I think I do okay. I’m a bit self-conscious without it but I’m relatively confident to go about my day. At an important event–networking, attending a wedding–it’s another story. I don’t want to be barefaced. I want to have my stuff on–my foundation, my lipstick, my eyes done up. Who am I without the stuff? During those situations, I’m self-conscious and that insecure kid I’m sure we all were in high school. I wonder if that reliance on beauty has always been there or if it was conditioned into me. I don’t think I’ll ever have the guts to walk into an important meeting or event without a stitch of makeup on or on a bad skin day with a high level of confidence but the awareness of my relationship with my toiletries puts it into perspective and is something I’ll ponder for a while.
I want to know: what’s the relationship with you and your beauty? Does it add something to your self-confidence and self-esteem? What is the bare minimal for you to be okay to leave your home? Do you feel safe knowing that you have a stockpile or do you feel okay when you run out and have no replacement to immediately open? Let me know in the comments below!