When I was in high school, I hesitated to wear mascara because I didn’t want people to think I was “trying too hard.” I didn’t dare try a bright lip because it would attract a lot of attention and girls might think I thought I was something. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was conceited or into my looks.
Fast forward to now- I love mascara more than what people might say. I love a bright lip and it loves me back. Doing makeup on myself, and on others especially, has given me greater joy than I ever knew. I have parlayed that true love into a makeup and beauty blog and, despite my initial hesitation, YouTube tutorials. I am only here because I love it so much I can’t stay away. I want to talk about makeup and beauty more than anything else.
I have been so genuinely touched and surprised at the sincere support people have shown me and my blog. I never expected other women to be so kind and to cheer me on so enthusiastically. It validates what I do. It makes me realize I’ve found my place in the world. It makes the hours and hours of work worth it and minimal sleep feel better.
Below are all actual comments I’ve received on posts I’ve written or been featured in alongside others.
But even if you love something like crazy, and even start to feel even a little bit confident, there will always be someone that doesn’t love what you do, or how you do it. Someone that disagrees or offers unsolicited criticism via online comment. In our instantaneous world, someone can comment on a blog post, a YouTube video or an Instagram photo and in just seconds, ruin your day. You know that pit in your stomach you get when you read something that just doesn’t make you feel good?
You can be the most self-assured, confident woman, but sometimes these insults wrapped in “just sayin’” and tied with a “in my opinion” bow just don’t feel very good. Even if a comment is 100% inaccurate, if I said negative comments didn’t bother me whatsoevs, I would be lying and not human.
Some of the most exciting exposure I’ve had has, in turn, led to some of the comments that were most concerning. When a friend shared that my before and after highlight and contour photo was featured on Buzzfeed, my heart sank. While I was thrilled to be on a site that I, and many others visit daily, I knew how big of an audience it is. Buzzfeed isn’t my little corner of the internet but rather a site that receives 130 million unique visitors per month. I knew that with that many people viewing my face, the chance for unkind comments just skyrocketed. What resulted was my first taste of “makeup shaming”.
When I participated in the Allure Beauty Blogger Awards, likely the biggest thing I’ve done thus far, I read some YouTube comments that didn’t make me feel super great. It was disheartening because until then, I had been really, truly proud of everything I’d created for the contest. It made me feel stupid that I was now second-guessing myself. It made me feel petty to be letting internet commenters tell me what I wasn’t good at. It made me feel confused, as though maybe it was only me who thought I’d done a nice job. There’s always that part of you, no matter who you are, that thinks, “but what if they’re right?”
More Than Makeup
When I worked at Sephora, I had the beautiful experience of learning that it is often so much more than just makeup.
A military service woman came in and asked if I could show her how to fill in her eyebrows. When I complimented her on her already great brows, she shared that she would miss them when she started chemotherapy in a week. For her, an eyebrow pencil was a safety blanket, a preemptive confidence boost. Her only weapon against treatment. She told me after I showed her how to fill in her brows that she was already feeling better. She was excited to buy her brow pencil and my coworkers and I thanked her for her service to our country. After she left, I broke down and cried. It was the first time I remember thinking, “this is about so much more than makeup.”
Another client that made an impression on me was a young girl with lupus. She apologized profusely for her scab-covered skin and told me that if I was grossed out that I didn’t have to apply makeup to her skin. It was like an arrow through my heart that she even felt the need to issue such a disclaimer. I told her that if I was grossed out, that I shouldn’t even be working there and that nothing bothered me. Watching her see herself and say “I’ve never seen my skin so smooth!” gave my heart a special kind of joy I hadn’t felt before. Not because I was patting myself on the back, but because what I was doing had real value. It wasn’t about impressing people for this girl, but just impressing herself so she could face the world a little easier. It was about more than makeup for her.
My Makeup Manifesto
So what has come out of all of this for me? This is my personal makeup manifesto, and I encourage you to write your own, be it for makeup, or anything else.
-I don’t wear makeup to impress men. That’s hilarious. I am married to someone who has the pleasure of seeing me with a bad breakout and greasy hair as well as glammed up and contoured and confident. That’s the beauty of truly knowing and loving someone. And it adds variety. I am super crazy blessed to have found someone who is proud of me, and supports my my makeup madness. I’m so very lucky to have someone who knows I’m more than the makeup I wear and when he tells me I look pretty? Freaking love that. I’ve been told a handful of times that men don’t like girls who wear makeup. Well thank goodness I’m already married then, or I’d have no hope! HA! 😛
-It doesn’t make me a superficial or unhappy person if I don’t feel most beautiful makeup-free. I learned a long time ago that I absolutely loved the way makeup made me feel. I like the way I feel inside when I’m wearing makeup on the outside. When I’m stressed out or nervous, doing makeup calms me. When I’m feeling uninspired, makeup makes me excited again.
-I don’t wear makeup to look feminine or because women are “supposed” to. Sometimes I don’t want to look girly and feminine. Sometimes I want to look like a boss bitch. Sometimes, I want to look soft and romantic. Sometimes I want to look like JLo. Sometimes I want to look like the 60’s and sometimes I want to look like New York Fashion Week.
-I wear makeup because it is art and my favorite kind to do at that. When I was learning about color theory and proportion, I didn’t know it would come into play in a makeup way but I couldn’t be more stoked that it is.
-I don’t think I’m ugly without makeup. I don’t think I look wicked hot either. I do leave the house without makeup. Mostly to Target. My Redcard is pretty much all the confidence I need. But if I’m going out to dinner or even to a baseball game, I do put effort into my makeup. I do this because I’ve met women who are getting married, tell me they like my makeup, ask if I do makeup, I tell them I do and I end up doing their wedding makeup. Sometimes it literally pays to try.
-I’m not shallow because I film myself doing makeup and take pictures of my face. I’m excited to teach. I’m interested in finding the best ways to explain things. If that means I take pictures of my eyeballs a lot, well hey, I’m the only model available 24 hours a day, 365.
-I feel good about myself because I’ve figured out what looks best for my face. I feel confident when I make the makeup work for me, and not in spite of me.
-I love makeup and that doesn’t mean I don’t love me. I’m 30 years old. 30 years I’ve been pimpin’ this earth and I really like me and it’s about time.
-I do makeup for me and no one else. If anyone thinks that I’m doing it for society, men or anyone else, well they just haven’t seen my makeup room 🙂
If you don’t like makeup, it’s not a requirement of life. I would never tell you have “have” to wear it. I can tell you how I’ve seen it work best, from all of the ages, skin types, and skin tones I’ve had the pleasure of working on, but even then, you don’t have to heed my advice. If makeup makes you feel as euphorically good as it makes me feel, awesome! We are sisters in beauty. If it doesn’t, and you hate spending time on it or how it feels, please don’t do it. Nothing is as unsatisfying as doing what you are “supposed” to do for the sake of obligation.
If you dig my makeup stuff, I love you. But if you don’t, and maybe you’ve even left one of those comments, and you’re about to leave another below, I love you too. Because I’m happy and thankful and blessed beyond all belief and that, my sisters, is #RealBloggerBeauty. <3
Now it’s time for you to read the other bloggers’ stories at the link up over at Charmingly Styled. I think you’ll really enjoy reading the struggles and the challenges others have faced and hopefully you can relate and feel some comfort in knowing that no one is perfect. Myself being far from it 🙂