Funnily enough, our friendship was founded by “covering up” with make up; we met on a styled photoshoot and we’ve both gone on a similar journey in terms of our feelings about using make up. Makeup was Gina’s career of choice for almost eight years and Lea spent a number of years working the beauty counter at a well known retailer, in addition to having a few modelling gigs. We both recently discovered that our relationships with makeup had become toxic and, like all toxic relationships, they need to be removed.
Have you been feeling the dark side to makeup?
Providing a makeup service for women, in order for them to feel truly beautiful, felt like perpetuating women’s seemingly downhill struggle of ever feeling good enough. Most of us feel we don’t fit into the narrow and unrealistic box which society labels ‘correct’, ‘worthy’, ‘beautiful’. If we are ever lucky enough to feel as if we have reached an “I’m beautiful enough” point, we are instantly labelled with other words such as ‘vain’, ‘egotistical’, ‘dumb’ and ‘shallow’.
It’s incredibly saddening that we live in a culture that demands all women aspire to look identical; with matching brows, contour, cheekbones, cupid bows and lashes. We’re all supposed to have that “Insta Worthy” look. We increasingly feel the need to strive for a certain image, to be deemed beautiful not only by others, but also by ourselves. Simultaneously, being told that if we do happen to get it right, then we are too much, too self absorbed… too everything.
We are constantly trying to find that balance between not enough and too much.
We do recognise that, makeup can be an art form in its own right, and it can be a wonderful tool for self expression as well as a creative outlet; makeup does have its purpose. The damage is caused when we start feeling the pressure to look a certain way in order to be deemed ‘enough’. Not just by others – but by ourselves too.
What happens when you choose to unveil your true face to the world?
At the start of this year, we both made the choice to get to know our true faces again. Having gone such a long time wearing makeup every single day, this was a pretty big deal. Did we truly hate our faces when they were bare, naked and our real selves?
After actively choosing to break this cycle, it was around six weeks with not a single trace of makeup touching our faces that it was possible to look in the mirror and start to see something different. The bare, naked woman looking back was not the face we had become so used to meeting. Our made up faces had become so deeply ingrained as our ‘normal’ face, that when looking in the mirror without it, all that was there was non- existent features and a general plain, bland nothingness.
“Social media isn’t to blame for this, culture isn’t to blame for this. The slow disconnect to my own face that I have been witnessing, is makeup’s fault… the real me actually became the imposter.”Gina
It’s been exposure to makeup from our most vulnerable and influential, teenage years. The years we are meant to learn to love our new, changing bodies have become the years we learn to cover up and adjust them.
Over the course of the six weeks, I started seeing a different me; dare I say a better me.
My eyebrows don’t look so pale and blonde any more, they look fuller and darker, despite nothing changing. My eyes don’t look tiny and insignificant, they look bigger and brighter, despite nothing changing. I noticed the birthmark on my forehead again, not because it was red but because it’s who I am. I’ve noticed the real shape of my eyes without the accentuated flick making them look cartoon-like. I began liking what I saw because I started liking me.
Makeup made me disconnect to my own face because my bare face was no longer my normal. All makeup did in the long run, was make me insecure. It didn’t make me feel more beautiful in any way. I was in constant competition with myself and other women, just to be enough.
So why do we spend so much of our lives this way? Why are we not instead taking the time to see and genuinely appreciate our own natural beauty? Why are we not teaching our young women that what they see in the mirror, doesn’t define them and is always, always enough?
Our days of everyday makeup are over, we choose our real faces instead because we are enough and so are you. Not too much, not too little, we are perfect exactly how we are.