Why Do We Wear Make Up?

Last night I watched a show on BBC One, Connie Fisher On Make Up. It brought a lot of things to mind and really got me thinking so I was inspired to write this post. The show spoke about a lot of different factors, so definitely give it a watch! This post is mostly going to be about the factors I feel they missed out or brushed over too quickly.

The show looked at why us girls wear make up and spoke to a number of different people from make up artists to a women who refuses to wear any. I found the show really interesting as it feels like we never really think or talk about make up in terms of why. And I’m pretty sure there hasn’t been many programs about it either.

Why do we wear make up? Is it our choice or are we pressured by society?

How does it effect us and what would it be like if we didn’t?

In the show Connie spoke to a woman who had refused to wear make up her whole life. She felt like she’d be wearing a mask and wouldn’t be herself. When she was younger she had appeared on University Challenge, a TV quiz show, alongside 3 men. They were all taken to hair and make up where the men where simply powdered to stop the shine, but looked the same as before, while she was given a full makeover. She says she looked completely different so washed it all off before getting in trouble with the show. But why was she made to wear a load of make up just to appear on TV? If she doesn’t want to she shouldn’t have to.

A great point made in the show was that wearing make up has become the norm. If you decide not to wear make up you are considered brave and courageous. Being natural shouldn’t be brave, it should be the norm. This really hit me. It’s true. How is it that being natural isn’t normal? I think the answer to that question is simply, make up has just become too popular. Being able to control how you look and give yourself that feeling of looking more attractive is just too hard to ignore. It’s almost like a drug, once you’ve tried it you just crave that confident feeling again. Add to this the fact it’s near impossible to grow up without coming into contact with cosmetics, it’s near impossible to avoid being sucked in.

The show concluded that girls simply wear make up because they want to and that it acts as a great confidence booster and pamper session to make us feel good about ourselves. (Please watch the show to find out more about this as I’m not going to mention in too much in this post.) But I feel like it missed a big, more negative point. The pressure there is to wear it.

Personally I definitely feel a pressure to wear make up. Sure sometimes I want to but those times I’m feeling a bit lazy and can’t really be bothered, I do feel like I should. So more times than not I will. I’ll quickly cover my face with some make up so that I fit in better and won’t feel judged.

Being a girl and having spent most my teenage years in a girls school, I’ve spent a lot of time around girls overhearing conversations. I have heard for myself girls bitch and laugh at the girl who isn’t wearing make up. The girl who’s eyebrows aren’t perfect. The girl who’s contouring is slightly off. Or who’s new foundation isn’t quite the right colour. The girl who’s eyeshadow is too bright. And I’ve got to say this does make me slightly paranoid even when I do wear make up. I’m by no means an expert, far from it, so I’m sure my make up is not always on point! And I mean, who’s is?! Stop judging girls!

Before getting eczema, the only real issue I had with how I looked was the dark circles under my eyes. My face also refuses to tan even though my body loves to. This leads to an awful lot of people commenting on how ill I look if I’m not wearing any make up. I don’t see the point in these comments. It usually just makes it awkward as I’m obviously not ill or I would have mentioned it. But comments like this, that generally come from friends and family, also put on the pressure to wear make up.

I have applied for retail jobs in the past which state that girls must wear make up and be presentable. Not too much but you are supposed to take pride in your appearance, as if make up is the only way to do this. A bare face is considered lazy and unkempt. Why? Why can’t a natural face be acceptable?

You would think that peer pressure gets less as you get older, that you gain confidence and start doing your own thing. But I have found the opposite. I feel much more pressure from adult life and adults. As a teenager I never really cared, but once you start working it matters. You are expected to wear make up in work. Yet men are expected not to. The show brushed on the fact that men a judged on their skills while women on their looks while at work. You wouldn’t easily find a successful woman who doesn’t wear any make up. Make up has become part of the look, part of the smart suit a business woman will wear. You can’t have one without the other.

The BBC One show made a lot of interesting points but seemed to focus on all the positive, only slightly brushing over the more negative side. I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling the pressure. I’d definitely recommend giving the show a watch on iplayer to get the other side as I’ve only really talked about what I felt they had missed out.

I’d love to hear some more opinions on why you think you wear make up, so please feel free to leave comments!

Rhi x


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1 Comment

  1. Corinne March 31, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    I don’t really feel pressure to wear makeup, I just feel better with it. I can go without foundations pretty easily it’s eye makeup that I don’t like going without! I went the longest time without wearing any makeup though and I don’t wear loads now. I think it’s a personal choice really!

    Corinne x

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