The Make-Up Thread

Here is your semi-regular make-up thread, to discuss all things make-up.

Do you have a make-up product you'd recommend? Are you looking for the perfect foundation which has remained frustratingly elusive? Need or want to offer make-up tips? Searching for hypoallergenic products? Want to grouse about how you hate make-up? Want to gush about how you love it?

Whatever you like—have at it!

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Instead of the usual pic of MAH FACE, I thought I'd instead share this piece by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett: "Why do girls wear makeup?" Which starts out pretty terrific—"Ask a group of women why they wear makeup and you'll receive myriad responses. Some will say it makes them feel more confident, that they don't feel completely 'done' without it; others will say they love experimenting with looks and colours as a way of expressing themselves, that there's a fun, theatrical element to face paint that allows them to channel different personalities and aesthetics. 'After 20 years working as a makeup artist I can say quite confidently that women wear makeup for themselves,' Lisa Eldridge, the author of Face Paint: The Story of Makeup, tells me.—and then rapidly devolves to a bunch of heterocentrist evo psych claptrap and a pretty appalling concluding paragraph:
Perhaps, then, when it comes to makeup, we are our own worst enemies, believing that the world wants to see us in a certain way when in actual fact we're fine the way we are. Why do women wear makeup? You could say it's a pinch of patriarchy, a dusting of sex, a smattering of fun, and a whole, caked-on layer of misplaced insecurity.
Good grief.

There are indeed myriad reasons why women wear make-up. Some of us feel compelled to wear it, in some or all situations, for different reasons. Some of us don't have any professional obligation to wear it, but enjoy wearing it all the same for the creative outlet it provides. Many of us don't wear make-up for the same reason every time we wear it!

As for me, as I've said before, part of the reason I didn't enjoy make-up for much of my life was because I always resented the idea of make-up as a cover-up of one's flaws. I didn't want to feel obliged to cover parts of myself that others perceived as flaws.

But, in the last few years, partly because of the freedom afforded by no longer working in an environment in which I have to conform to a limited definition of "professional appearance," I've started to enjoy playing with make-up. I resent utterly "make-up so I look like you want me to look," but love "make-up so I look like I want me to look."

I will never like make-up as obliged cover-up (which is distinct from someone who personally wants to use make-up as cover-up—a choice I do not judge), but it turns out I like it a whole lot as self-expression.


I recently encountered a thought, pushing back on the heterocentrist narrative that women wear make-up for men, that I absolutely adored. I wish I could remember where I read/heard/saw it (maybe one of you will recognize it, and can tell me in comments!), and I can't find it now. But it was essentially: I don't own eleventy thousand shades of pink lipstick to impress men who can't even tell the difference between them. LOL! Fact.

So: What's up with you? Tried any new products you want to recommend? Looking for suggestions? Want to share why you wear—or don't wear—make-up? Have at it in comments!

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Please note, as always, that advice should be not be offered to an individual person unless they solicit it. Further: This thread is open to everyone—women, men, genderqueer folks. People who are make-up experts, and people who are make-up newbies. Also, because there is a lot of racist language used in discussions of make-up, and in make-up names, please be aware to avoid turns of phrase that are alienating to women of color, like "nude" or "flesh tone" when referring to a peachy or beige color. I realize some recommended products may have names that use these words, so please be considerate about content noting for white supremacist (and/or Orientalist) product naming.

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