Oh, don't pretend like you don't have one!
It feels like every time I turn around, I'm being accosted by another set of beauty "rules." Every day, we're being told what we MUST do in order to fit a very narrow standard of beauty and acceptability, and I don't know about you guys, but I'm sick to death of it.
I am not a fan of rules. I'm also not a fan of allowing other people's opinions dictating what I do or don't do, especially when it comes to how I look and behave. And most of these beauty "rules" are 100% outdated, discriminatory, judgmental crap.
Makeup and hair is for expressing who YOU are and who YOU want to be, not who someone else thinks you should be. So to that end, I've put together a list of some of the stupidest beauty "rules" out there, along with how--and why--you should break them.
1. All (BLANK) people shouldn’t wear (BLANK TYPE/COLOR OF MAKEUP).
Horse crap, all of it, always. Allow me (and the xo family) to bust some myths:
“Redheads shouldn’t wear red lipstick.”
Etcetera. This is by no means a complete list.
These pernicious, hurtful (often racist) rules tell us that the way we are is somehow already “wrong” for something we like. That is garbage. Beauty--whether it’s makeup or hair--needs to be right for you. You don’t need to be right for beauty.
The way you want to look is more important than what anyone else says you “should” do. Anyone can wear any color if they find the right shade; anyone can use any beauty technique if they learn how to execute it well. Life is way too short to deny yourself the pleasure of wearing an amazing lipstick in a color you love because someone said they don’t think it suits you IN THEORY. That’s their opinion, and it’s not more important than your own.
2. Don’t wear lip gloss after 30.
Or what? My face will collapse in on itself? I’ll cause the earth to hurtle into the sun with the force of my own elegance? What’s going to happen if this hideous old crone of 30 dares to wear something shiny on her own lips, a style choice that affects no one except possibly the people she kisses?
Oh wait, I’ll just look cool as hell. AS YOU WERE.
3. Wearing mascara or eyeliner on your lower lashes/lash line is “slutty.”
I was unaware of this “rule” until recently, but once I was, I nearly had a feminist rage-stroke. This is one of those outdated baloney parades on par with Aunt Pittypat telling Scarlett that rouge will make her look “fast.” It's judgmental and shame-y, and it makes me sad that so many parents tell their kids stuff like this. This rule and others like it should be KILLED WITH FIRE AND THE ASHES SALTED SO NOTHING CAN GROW THERE AGAIN.
First: mascara on your lower lashes is an awesome look, and eyeliner under your eyes is amazing.
Second: “slutty” isn’t a thing, because the term “slut” is meaningless.
Third: makeup has nothing to do with how much or what type of sex you want to have, and telling women that it does reinforces some messed-up ideas about our sexuality.
Mascara makes your eyelashes dark. Eyeliner makes your eyes look bigger and more open, and that’s it. “Slutty” makeup is not a thing.
4. Don’t do a bold lip and a bold eye.
In makeup, as in everything, it’s all about balance. Generally, it’s easier to put the focus on ONE feature--strong eyes and neutral lips, or bright lips and simple eyes. But if your blending game is strong, there’s no reason why you can’t wear both at the same time! CONFIDENCE is really what carries off big looks like this.
The easiest iteration of this is dark smoky eyes in neutral colors and bright lips. These have equal “weights” on your face so that balance is achieved.
Obviously dark eyes and red lips were made for each other, but you can use any lip color that makes you feel fabulous. Just watch your eye shadow proportions and make sure your lip liner is precise--sloppiness is the enemy of big looks.
5. Don’t mix your colors.
BORING. Why are there so many colors of makeup around if not to wear them?
If you want to go nuts on your brights but aren't sure where to start, choose colors that work well together so that they harmonize, rather than compete. Shades that are in the same color family are a great way to start out: eye shadows in yellow, orange, gold, and bronze will look amazing with warm red lipsticks, and cool-toned pink lip colors will go beautifully with green, purple, and blue eye makeup.
As you get more comfortable mixing your colors, you can experiment with warm-cool pairings; this is just a place to start.
6. Women shouldn’t have long hair after 40.
Connie Britton’s hair would like to have a serious word with you.
Just saying. Short hair is great, but not being pressured into a style based on your age is EVEN BETTER.
7. Never leave the house without your makeup.
I’m all for the transformative powers of beauty, and god knows I like to look good. But sometimes you have a hangover or you’re sick or you just don’t feel like fussing. Makeup is not mandatory--it’s fun! You don’t opt out of being a person if you skip it.
Anyway, if you HAD to wear makeup whenever you left the house, big sunglasses wouldn't have been invented. That's a fact.
8. ONLY wear warm or cool colors, depending on your skin tone.
Nope. Look, it's fine if you prefer warm or cool colors, or if one group looks better on you than the other. But this skin tone-matching idea is not a LAW. We are not Bridget Jones' mother, and we do not need everyone to get their colors done.
For one thing, establishing the relative warmth or coolness of your skin tone is a difficult task. Opinion has a lot to do with it, and it varies wildly between brands. While this can be helpful for finding concealers and foundations, when it comes to eye shadow, blush, and lipstick, your best guide is what you like. Again, anyone can wear any color if they find the right shade! From there, it’s trial and error.
And really, doesn’t that make sense? What looks good on you depends on so many variables that reducing it down to ONE is reductive in the extreme.
So basically: all of these beauty "rules" are crap. I’d like to erase all of them and replace them with just two:
1. Wear what makes you happy, and 2. BLEND WELL.
Now isn't that better?
Let's talk, everyone: which beauty "rules" did you internalize growing up? What's your favorite one to break on the regular? What would YOU add to my list of two actually good rules? Tell me all about it in the comments!