I have been so tired of doing my makeup lately. Anyone else? I would say that my average beauty routine takes me about 25 minutes to do a full glam face. 15 without eye makeup and less than 10 to look respectfully put together as I walk out the door. I am totally comfortable being in public without makeup but my dear friend, Coco Chanel would be so disappointed in a woman who “can leave the house without fixing herself up a little, if only out of politeness.” Really though, I’ve been thinking about where this exhaustion comes from towards doing my makeup because doing so is something I typically enjoy.
The evolution of beauty and makeup has come a long way. The earliest historical records of cosmetics comes from the 1st Dynasty of Egypt (c.3100-2907 BC), in which men and women would use a substance called “Unguent” as a skin hydrating method and also to avoid wrinkles from the dry heat. Some of the earth’s most natural substances were extensively used as cosmetics in the beginnings of time. For example, kohl and soot to outline the eyes, chalk for whitening the complexion, pumice to clean the teeth, rouge worn on the cheeks for color, and even blood to stain the lips. This goes for the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and during the Italian Renaissance, lead pain and mercury was used to lighten the face, as pale skin was a sign of wealth. Some of these methods of course had spiritual practices behind them, as Persian women used henna dyes to stain their hair and faces with the belief that these dyes enabled them to summon the majesty of the earth. Yet of course naturally, majority of these beauty regimens became health threats, more dangerous, and consequently deathly.
Fun fact, the real evolution of makeup began in the 1910’s where women used petroleum jelly and hot wax, putting it on the tips of their lashes as the first ever form of mascara. A man named T.L. Williams, created an official formula from this method and named it after his sister, Mabel. This form of mascara has now grown into one of our favorite drug store brands of today, Maybelline.
Now, what people had to do back in the day may seem like drastic measures to achieve a certain look but believe it or not, we’re doing the exact same thing today. When it comes to measuring the effort people are taking to look a certain way, in my opinion, it’s all still a bit ridiculous and it’s all still the same.
Let’s take a look at some of our generation’s most popular and influential beauty trends. Extreme contouring, “brows on fleek,” Kylie Jenner lips, lash extensions, “baking,” and although not for the face, waist training, and brazilian butt lifts. All of these to achieve on our own take a ridiculous amount of effort, product, and not to mention, concentration. The most liked pictures that we’ll see on Instagram is a girl who has ALL of these, is she not? In the year of 2016, everything listed above is what mainstream social media has shaped as the perfect image of beauty. All of these things come with tedious methods and techniques all to what? To make an impression? Girl, I’m always one to preach for you to simply “do you” but I just hope that impression or feeling of satisfaction is all for yourself. The prices for makeup have sky rocketed but not because of the demand for the product but the demand to fit in. As a beauty geek myself, my hand is currently raised pleading guilty into participating in some of these trends but what I’ve come to is that we all need to be reminded that we don’t need to!
The other day, I was in no mood to do a full face so I channeled back to how I used to do my makeup when I was in 7th grade (scary, I know.) Light foundation, all over bronzer, mascara, clear gloss, and filled in the brows a bit. If that isn’t the definition of simply “enhancing” your features, I don’t know what is. Not gonna lie, I had a “mirror, mirror, on the wall” moment that I haven’t had in a long time. The most iconic women of the 20th century, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe had a beauty routine as simple as that. Pleasantly surprised with what I saw, I realized how far in my own lifetime my techniques of applying makeup have evolved. Just thinking about all the brushes, palettes, and products I own, felt exhausting and completely unnecessary. Less really is more, people. Less is more.
Tutorials after tutorials, I have seen spoons, I have seen knives, I have seen tape, I’ve even seen toilet bowl cleaners TO BLEND. Now these may be the most extreme of the extreme but the ridiculousness in towards achieving the current trend and the pressure to be “perfect” has not changed. The Europeans had to make due with what they had and innovation was necessary but allow me to keep this as blunt as possible, a spoon is for eating, not for getting your eyeliner straight. A shot glass is for turning up, NOT to make your lips the size of a cow’s and a toilet bowl cleaner is for…YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S FOR. *exhale*
Anyways, by no means did I write this post to bash any type of makeup trends, historical or current day. The craft of makeup artistry will continue to be innovative and new products and techniques will continue to evolve but as this happens I can’t help but question if whether or not these techniques are actually making it easier for us or if we’re all just trying to be a part of the new trend. If it’s exhausting, expensive, or difficult – you don’t have to do it! Do your makeup how you like to do it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the phenomenons of it all and forgetting how you do it yourself and even how you like to look!
I just think we all need to be reminded that true beauty is effortless. Our naked face is more beautiful without the Naked Palette. All tools and products aside, the pressure we have today to look a certain way is still the same. The Queens of Egypt and the Goddesses of Rome, may have had to take some drastic measures to show their hierarchy and prove their wealth but know that you don’t. True beauty comes from within and whichever way you like to apply your makeup to make you feel beautiful, leave it to the world to wonder because maybe its Maybelline or maybe its just you. 🙂