I wish girls would stop picking on how some of us do our makeup. They talk so much about how people contour, or highlight, or do their lashes. But can’t they just see that she’s hiding her face from the rest of the world? That the makeup is there to block what she doesn’t want everyone to see?
I asked a bunch of students in a workshop I was teaching to write down what was on their mind.
That’s what one student said.
Let’s read it again: I wish girls would stop picking on how some of us do our makeup. They talk so much about how people contour, or highlight, or do their lashes. But can’t they just see that she’s hiding her face from the rest of the world? That the makeup is there to block what she doesn’t want everyone around her to see?
She’s twelve years old.
And once I got over the fact that a 12-year-old student was worried about contouring, (I mean, I still don’t know how to contour properly), I let the hurt within her words rest on my heart. And they stung, and they hurt, and they got me thinking — how did something that’s supposed to be there for fun, and to enhance our natural beauty, become something to hide behind?
And why does a child want to hide their face?
I have a birthmark. It’s a port wine stain. It’s red and purple and definitely sticks out on my olive skin. It gets darker and more pronounced when I stand in the sunshine. And it’s something I wanted to hide my whole entire life.
As the years’ pass, I am better about letting it shine through my makeup. There are even some days where I don’t worry about covering it up as much, either. But that’s because I’m stronger in my own skin. That’s because I’m able to look at myself in the mirror, and like what I see. That’s because makeup has become something I enjoy, not something I hide behind.
I couldn’t do that when I was twelve.
It wasn’t because I wasn’t loved. It wasn’t because my parents didn’t tell me I was pretty. Truthfully, I don’t know what it stemmed from. Perhaps it was because I didn’t see pictures of beautiful women with birthmarks splashed on the glossy pages of a magazine. When I went seeking for the symbol of what beauty was, I didn’t see anyone who had a mark like me.
I think we’re getting better at that, at holding up all different pictures of beauty. But I think that we can be better. I think we can always be better.
So, to my students, and girls and women everywhere, hear me when I say this: you are beautiful. You are enough. You do not need to contour your face, or obsess about highlighter, or cover your blemishes or birthmarks if you don’t want to.
There is nothing about you that you need to cover up. There is nothing about you that you need to hide. Makeup is simply a tool to enhance the beauty that you already have.
And I hope you hear me when I say, you already have it.