I feel like my makeup journey as a teenager/young woman was different than most.
I was drawn to makeup because I loved the idea of being able to make myself look like a completely different person, it felt like I was playing dressing up – and it was exciting! Knowing that I could put some dirt on my face and create this whole other persona and identity.
As I got older and went through puberty, I realised that my facial features in particular changed drastically and this was amplified even more so as I started to wear a full face of makeup to school every day. People started to give me, an otherwise shy and timid girl, some attention for the way I looked.
They thought I was pretty, and it was nice at first to finally be noticed, to have boys express an interest in me. But after a while it became too much, if I changed any little thing about my appearance I was criticised for it and it made me insecure. Eventually it became so bad that I felt too scared to go to school without makeup, and I continued to feel this way for years up until recently.
I took a long period of self-reflection and realised that I don’t like wearing makeup anymore. I don’t like the way it feels on my skin, it doesn’t feel like I’m playing dress up anymore, it just feels like I’m doing what is expected of me as a woman. I have worked in an industry for a year that requires me to wear makeup to work, but I feel as though it is still expected of women in almost all workplaces to be deemed as a professional or to be taken seriously.
I’ve switched to makeup with natural ingredients and have a greater focus on skincare, I also wear a lot less product nowadays. On the days that I do have to work or just feel like wearing makeup, I get mixed emotions about the comments I get about my appearance, people often mention I should wear it more or even thank me for ‘putting in effort’.
I feel like my relationship with makeup overall has become a lot healthier, and I have hope for a future where women won’t be expected to wear it in the workplace.