How To Host A #Feminist-Makeupping Event

Publish date:
November 18, 2014
How-To, social media, feminist makeupping, event planning, femininity, hosting events

Editor's Note: Last month, Morgan wrote about how #feminist-makeupping went from Tumblr hashtag to makeup meet-up (read that story here). Now, since you asked, she's telling you how to host your own event.

So you want to host your own #feminist-makeupping event? Awesome! When my co-host Vee and I were organizing an event where we live, in Wellington, New Zealand, we had no idea what we were doing. Here are some things I learned along the way to help you run something similar in your own city.

1. When To Start Planning & How To Find A Venue

We decided on our date two months out, giving us one month of preparation and one month to get the word around. We figured most people would be available (and/or able to arrange for child care) on a Sunday afternoon.

You’ll need this much lead time, if not more, if you’re booking a venue. We found a dance studio at a local community arts center.

The dance studio’s floor-to-ceiling mirrors were perfect for makeup application and group selfies.

Lighting is also something to consider: our space had excellent natural light, which is ideal, but fluorescents are OK, too. Try to avoid venues with bulbs that cast a very yellow light.

It’s also important to think about accessibility. Is there wheelchair access? We had exclusive access to the restrooms, as no one else was using the building that afternoon, so we designated them gender neutral.

2. Spreading The Word On Social Media

To be honest, telling people about it was the most nerve-wracking aspect. What if they thought it was a stupid idea? What if no one wanted to come?

Social media really was our best friend when promoting our #feminist-makeupping event. We commissioned promotional art from a local artist, who provided formats suitable for a poster, a Facebook event header, and Instagram. The event had decent reach across these platforms, plus Twitter and Tumblr, the birthplace of #feminist-makeupping.

In the end, we had the opposite problem to our fears, with over 100 people RSVPing to our Facebook event for a space that comfortably fit 30.

Luckily, people are generally over-zealous when accepting Facebook event invites. It’s a tricky thing to plan for, and if you don’t have a lot of available space you may need to restrict numbers.

3. The Actual Makeup: What You'll Need

You can ask people to bring their own makeup, but it’s good to have a selection ready. Vee’s a makeup artist so she brought her kit that included foundation shades for all skin tones. (If you know any makeup artists, definitely try and get them onboard!) Likewise, make sure you have cosmetics that are vegan and cruelty-free.

In addition, I brought pretty much all the makeup I own, which is a lot. Probably too much. In fact, I ended up giving away a number of products to people who would use them and love them more than I did.

But of course there's the issue of hygiene. Bottom line: if you’re uncomfortable about other people using your makeup, you should probably leave it at home.

We supplied cotton rounds, Q-tips, disposable mascara wands, makeup remover, and liters of isopropyl alcohol, but the reality is that you can’t keep an eye on everything all the time.

This is also the case when it comes to mixed up stashes or, sadly, sticky fingers. I only lost one thing (my favorite brow brush), and while I’m sure it accidentally went home with someone, there’s always the risk that someone will take a liking to something of yours. Leave those Chantecaille palettes and limited edition treasures at home.

4. Snacks, Supplies, Etc.

For energy, Vee supplied us with vegan cookies, muffins, and plenty of dairy- and gluten-free goodness. You could also have the event catered or try partnering with a local food or coffee spot.

Some great ideas came up in the comments of my last piece, such as adding a clothing swap or zine workshop. Having a guest speaker might be nice, too. Just be careful not to veer into stuffy conference territory.

It is a good idea to prepare discussion questions beforehand. Some of ours:

  • What was your relationship with makeup as a child/teen/young adult?
  • Who taught you about makeup?
  • Who taught you what it means to be "pretty" or "beautiful"?
  • When did you start wearing makeup?
  • Why do you wear makeup?
  • How does the way you wear your makeup conform to or subvert standards of "pretty," and of the beauty industry?
  • Do you identify with the ideas of "makeup as resistance" or "makeup as armor"?
  • Do you use makeup to feel powerful? If so, how?

I was planning on taking photos to document the event but, in true Morgan style, I left my memory card behind. However, we did end up having someone along to shoot footage, and she filmed a mini documentary, which is awesome!

  • Have I inspired you to host a #feminist-makeupping event? I hope so!
  • Do you have any other questions?
  • How/where would you host your event? What other questions would you ask? And what other elements might you add?