Today’s post is a long road to a quick product recommendation, but before I get to that I really want to talk about our agency and control when it comes to wearing makeup (bear with me, it’s worth it!).
First, do you use makeup? I love makeup–like, it’s a hoarding problem. When I first started using makeup, I was young and did it just because it’s what I thought that girls did. As I grew older, I became attached to the routine and thrill of new products. But I felt guilty because I felt that by using makeup I was perpetuating the idea that wearing makeup is something women “must” do. In essence, I was conforming to standards that I hadn’t gotten to decide for myself. Obviously, wearing makeup is a choice, but it is a reality that women are judged harshly and may lose opportunities if we don’t wear makeup. When someone is bare-faced they’re eschewing the standards set by people in power and saying, “no, I won’t conform.” I really admire that, and try to do that in other areas whenever I can. But then I find myself in a hard spot because I really enjoy using cosmetics!
I finally came to terms with my decision to embrace makeup, after breaking up with a guy who was all about women being “natural.” He abhorred makeup and I really scaled back while with him. It sucked. I didn’t feel like myself and didn’t like not using it–and like, who was he to dictate what kind of woman I would be? We broke up, obviously.
Once I went back to my makeup routine, I realized that wearing it wasn’t about pleasing or impressing others (like it had been when I was younger), and it wasn’t about me not liking how I looked, but rather it was something I just enjoyed to do for myself. I decided it was something I would continue to use regardless of how anyone felt about “natural” looks or makeup in general.
I know it may seem silly to analyze wearing makeup, like omg just wear it or don’t, but I’m all about encouraging everyone to make active decisions and getting to the root of why you do or don’t do something–especially when related to social norms. Knowing the answer to”why,” is the quickest way to gain assurance in our decisions, and self-assurance tends to trickle into other aspects of our life. For me, it’s vital for women to have agency over our behavior–even something as seemingly small as wearing makeup because undoing the harm of patriarchy is a big endeavor. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
So if you don’t wear it, great! If you do, great! Do you know why? I hope it’s because you just love it like I do.
If you do love it–have you tried Maybelline’s The Nudes?! I have a ton of neutral brown shadows and lately this has been a surprising favorite. The quality is great, it’s super affordable, and color options are very comparable to Urban Decay’s Naked palettes. It goes on better with a good primer, but other than that I really recommend it if you’re in the market for work-appropriate colors that are affordable and good quality. The size is also super compact so it’s not too clunky to take in a travel or gym bag. My favorite reason why this is great for work is because it has a lot of matte options (hallelujah!) and the shimmer shadows are very light on shine, so it doesn’t look like overwhelmingly glittery.
Have you tried it? What are your favorite go-to makeup products for work?