The beauty world is full of rules. My press book has over 100 pages of interviews from magazines, websites, and blogs. I’ve tried to share useful tips and tricks, but for the past 12 years that I’ve worked as a makeup artist, I’ve tried to avoid giving women rules on how they should wear makeup. I try to offer techniques, tricks, and ideas, but rules are another thing altogether. I think it’s time that all of us come up with a new way of thinking about rules.
When I first started working with celebrity clients, I carried a clear gloss, a pink gloss and a pack of lip pencils in case someone wanted to go a little crazy and wear a red lip (which looked beautiful applied when lined and filled-in). The makeup “rules” in that era were pretty specific. Everyone wanted the same version of a smoky eye, and a nude lip. It started as a trend, but became a uniform. An obligation to neutrality.
Things are very different today. Just search #makeup on Instagram, and you’ll see that anything goes. I love the declaration of freedom that comes when people say “rules are meant to be broken,” but if too many rules stifle our individuality, and too few rules spell a makeup disaster, what are we to do? What if instead of following makeup rules we ask ourselves the question, “What does my makeup say about me?"
In theater, everything from the costumes, the set, the lights, and the makeup has been carefully designed to help tell the story. Any choice can be “right” as long as is helps say something about what’s happening to the characters. The same creativity can be applied to makeup.
What if you choose a bright pink, glossy lip? Maybe the message is “I love being a girl.” Vintage winged eyeliner? It could say “I’m classic and chic.” Heavy smokey eyes? “All eyes on me!” Shimmery lids? “Life’s a party, and a short one.” Perfect foundation, and beautifully blended concealer? “I’m rested, and ready to tackle this day!” What if you choose to wear no makeup at all? That’s a makeup choice too. Maybe the message that moment is, “I love my beautiful, bare skin,” Rock on!
There are millions of different interpretations to any makeup look. Most of the time, people won’t know the backstory of why you chose matte burgundy lipstick, or black liner on the inner eye, but it doesn’t matter. Did I know why Lorde went on stage for the Grammy’s with blackened fingertips? No, but it got me thinking. Was she evoking the worn hands of a coal miner, creating a stark contrast of the champagne sipping royals she references in her music? Was she breaking down the flawless makeup and manicure she had that night as a rejection of perfection? Was she inspired by the idea of finger gloves melting off her hands? It doesn’t matter. It was beautiful in it’s own unique way.
Every day, presents us a million opportunities to tell our story. Every Facebook post is an opportunity to share a part of who you are, or a piece of an issue that matters to you. Every conversation you have with a waiter, or your co-worker is an opportunity to show up as the person you want to be. Every time you look in your makeup mirror is the chance to tell a bit of the story of your life. The point is, you’re beautifully unique, and now is your chance to show us how. Be creative. Try something new.
Even on your worst day, with the worst outlook, you have beauty within you. It’s there, and if you tell your story, your beauty shows. Even just from that bit of brown sugar lip scrub that makes your lips look healthier and cared for, there’s an opportunity to see something beautiful about yourself. Let that be a reminder to yourself to see the beauty in others.
At my cousin’s wedding, I got to put a little lipstick and blush on my 90-something year old grandmother. Did she have a primer to hide the wrinkles she earned while raising 10 kids? Did she need concealer to cover the sunspots that developed while gardening and feeding the quails under the Tucson sun in her later years? No. Those products are awesome, and I use them regularly, but her makeup moment that day was about an old woman wearing a lace dress and her nice pearls, who was so very proud to see another one of her granddaughters getting married. Her makeup was simple and pretty, and that day, so was her story. So again, I ask the question, what does your makeup say about you?