the muddled meaning of makeup

cosmetics aren’t worn to hide perceived flaws


Stephanie Kontopanos, Assistant Editor

I was one of those people who did their makeup often during quarantine. Whether it was for a confidence boost before my AP Test, a pre-zoom-call-ritual, or a way to satisfy the boredom, I was almost always wearing at least one makeup product. So, naturally, when one of my guy friends boldly assumed that women only wear makeup because they’re insecure, it sparked a fierce debate. Throughout my makeup routine, from the first stroke of the brow pencil to the last spritz of setting spray, there was no one I thought of besides myself.

Many makeup artists are in agreement, as they believe that the purpose of makeup should never be to change someone’s features, only to enhance what is already there.

Makeup artist Bobbi Brown said “makeunders are all about making subtle changes and drawing out each girl’s own natural beauty.”

The emergence of this makeup mindset is growing more popular. The “no-makeup” makeup trend had that exact purpose of showing natural beauty.

Brands such as e.l.f, Glossier and Milk Makeup are growing in popularity. One thing they all have in common is that they all put makeup on their models in a way that doesn’t take away from the models’ raw beauty by letting freckles, moles, untamed eyebrows, and under-eye bags remain visible.

For the first time in a while, the makeup industry is urging its consumers to use makeup for positive reasons.

The same thing goes for makeup that is more extravagant. For some, makeup isn’t just part of a routine. It’s a colorful art form. Wearing a full face of makeup is how they present that art. That’s why many have continued doing their makeup throughout quarantine or put on lipstick under their mask, despite the fact that no one will see it.

For others, makeup is just fun. For school dances and parties, many students get dressed up and do their makeup with their friends just because it’s exciting and traditional.

Others do makeup simply because it’s part of their routine every morning to get ready for the day.

Although the purpose of makeup isn’t to cover insecurities, it’s inevitable that many use it for that purpose. While that isn’t ideal, it certainly is understandable. Especially in high school, it’s typical to want to hide imperfections in the easiest way possible- a dab of color-corrector on a zit, a face of foundation when acne flares up, a swipe of concealer after an all-nighter. However, the goal should be to reach a point in life where we feel confident regardless of whether we’ve spent one hour or one second fixing up our appearance.

Whatever the reason may be, people don’t always wear makeup because they’re insecure or because they want attention from someone else.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who frequently wears a bold, red lipstick, is an example of this. In a Vogue video, Ocasio-Cortez said, “If I’m going to spend an hour in the morning doing my glam, it’s not going to be because I’m afraid of what some…photo is going to look like. If I’m going to do an hour doing my glam, it’s because I feel like it.”