Andrea Mara

Official website

In defence of make-up

The barefaced selfies that are sweeping through Facebook and Twitter have generated much debate – some have questioned the whole idea, citing vanity as an objection, but it has raised hundreds of thousands of euro for the Irish Cancer Society so it’s hard to see how it can be bad thing. If in doubt, read this excellent piece by cancer survivor Emma Hannigan.

Some other online rumblings have been about the wearing of make-up at all. Why do people wear make-up anyway, what’s the big deal about posting a photo with no make-up, sure aren’t we all more beautiful without it.

I for one, can stand up tall(ish), hand on heart and say no. Not in any corner of the universe, not in any tiny figment of my imagination, not even with my eyes scrunched up and all the lights off, while a little bit drunk could I ever look better without make-up.

It just is what it is, as they say. For some of us anyway. I know, I know; in a perfect world, it would be true to say that we all look better unadorned by a chemical filled, man-made liquid in various beigey colours, with names like “biscuit” and “nude” or just “01 Fair”. I mean, cave-women didn’t have make-up and sure weren’t they fine. And natural beauty in nature is something to be celebrated, so shouldn’t humans reflect this too. But, the reality is, some of us just look better with a little bit of help.

For me, having make-up on means I don’t have to think about it anymore. I can do a presentation at work, I can give my opinion at a meeting, I can chat to my boss, without worrying about how I look. It’s not vanity, it’s self-preservation. I know that if I didn’t have my cosmetic armour, I’d be self-conscious and distracted. And I do understand that some people will read this and think it’s ridiculous to be self-conscious or that a layer of Clinique can be the difference between confidence and no confidence.

But others will read and understand. People like me who don’t leave the house without at the very least some tinted moisturiser or some BB cream (isn’t BB cream great!). People who maybe took a few discarded barefaced selfies before capturing an image that wasn’t going to break Facebook.

And more than that – some women, including me, enjoy wearing make-up. It’s not just a defensive barrier – it’s like putting on a nice top or some lovely shoes. Especially when going out at night – when there’s a chance to dress up, to try something new, to feel even a tiny bit glamorous. Or shopping for make-up – not the functional stuff that you buy because the bottle has run out – the fun stuff, like a new blusher or a gorgeous eye-shadow palette in one of the swish ground floor make-up emporiums of the fancier department stores. A Benefit highlighter or a Smashbox primer or a gorgeous Chanel lipstick.

So in a way, this post is my barefaced selfie – I wear make-up, I rarely leave the house without it, I enjoy buying make-up and I’m unapologetic. Well unapologetic with a pinch of defensiveness 🙂

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