The power of makeup

Natalie Cerf

https://vimeo.com/260651579A makeup routine can people time to have morning minutes to themselves. Although some people can’t imagine spending over 10 minutes getting ready, for some to intricately applying eyeshadow before rushing into a busy day allows time to relax and reflect on the day to come. Spending that amount of time getting ready could eat into their precious sleeping hours, a time of relaxation. However, for senior Jemima Dominguez and junior Anna O’Brien, they sacrifice their sleep to relax through a different method: makeup.

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Anna O’Brien doing her mascara.

Makeup gives them a time to unwind while also indulging in an activity they love. O’Brien and Dominguez see makeup as more than just foundation, mascara, lip liner or eyeshadow. It is expression and creativity, coverage and confidence. Makeup is an expansion of oneself, how one views themself, how one views others. It has the potential to ignite a confidence in someone through the touch of a makeup brush. It also has the ability to spark comparisons and competitions between people who feel that they will never look as good as the next person.
According to a recent Bark survey, 68 percent of girls self-reported that they wear makeup. Both Dominguez and O’Brien consider their makeup routines to play a big role in their day-to-day lives.
Each of their individual infatuations with makeup stemmed from a young age, both learning and observing from others before fully embracing the art of makeup themselves.
Dominguez had the opportunity to learn firsthand from makeup artists when she was five years old in a television studio where her mother worked as a show host.
“My mom was on a TV show and before she would film we would go sit in the green room and watch the makeup artists do everyone’s makeup and I thought it was really interesting,” Dominguez said.

Jemima Dominguez doing her eyeshadow.
Jemima Dominguez doing her eyeshadow.

This early introduction to the makeup industry jump-started her current love for makeup. To Dominguez, there is more to makeup than simply a little mascara here and concealer there. In the hour or so it takes for her to put on her full face of makeup, she uses the time as a “therapy” session for herself.
“I find it really therapeutic. That is one of the reasons I wear makeup to school, because I feel like waking up early and sitting down and making myself do my makeup gives me motivation for the whole day,” Dominguez said.
A big part of makeup is security. Putting on a layer of foundation on your face each morning before you walk out into the world can encourage self-love among people who may not always feel it otherwise, according to both Dominguez and O’Brien. While others advocate for natural beauty and the ‘no makeup makeup look’ is trending, many use makeup to boost their confidence.
O’Brien said that makeup gives anyone a chance to look the way they want to look.
“A lot of people use it to feel confident which is really great. I think that is an important tool for them and if it makes you feel confident, I think you should wear it and people shouldn’t point it out,” O’Brien said.
Dominguez said she enjoys wearing makeup but doesn’t find it necessary. However, what it does it do is make her feel more like herself, like the person she feels comfortable presenting to the world. Despite the popular opinion that makeup is used as a way to hide your true self, Dominguez uses makeup as a tool to enhance her confidence and allow her personality to shine.
“It is one of those things where I’m fine going out without wearing makeup but I just feel so much better when I have it on and I feel like I look more like myself and who I think I look like,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez looking int he mirror.
Dominguez looking in the mirror.

Junior Marisa Phipps is a part of the 57 percent of Redwood students who don’t wear makeup. To her, makeup has the opposite effect.
“I definitely feel better when I’m not wearing makeup than when I am. I feel more confident when I’m wearing no makeup. It’s a different kind of confidence,” Phipps said.
The absence of makeup is what empowers Phipps. She notices a change in how she views herself when she wears or doesn’t wear makeup.
“Not wearing it definitely makes me feel more confident in general just because I don’t have to [cover up]. I feel good about my skin,” Phipps said.
Trends have surfaced recently, telling women they don’t need to wear makeup to feel confident, or shouldn’t need to wear makeup to feel confident. Celebrities have been praised for wearing the “no makeup makeup look” which encourages the idea that women should feel better when they aren’t wearing makeup. While these messages seem to have good intentions, Dominguez said they are flawed. Needing makeup is very different than wanting makeup, and these lines tend to get blurred.

O'Brien with her eyes closed after applying her makeup.
O’Brien with her eyes closed after applying her makeup.

“I get upset when people say that women need to not wear makeup to feel empowered,” Dominguez said. “It’s interesting because people say they feel empowered when they are not wearing makeup a lot of the time, but I definitely do feel like I’m in a better mood and have a better energy about me when I have my makeup on. I would definitely say I do feel empowered when I have it on.”
Evidently, there are two different sides to the story. Suggesting that makeup is used purely out of necessity is wrong, as use of makeup is more than a need to conceal flaws, according to Dominguez.
O’Brien, for example, said that makeup allows her to express creativity in her own unique way.
“It is the same as dancing; it is a creative thing except people see it on your face every single day. Clothing is a way of expression, art is a way of expression. [Makeup is] just a different form of expression that is not always viewed the same,” O’Brien said.
Similarly, Dominguez compares makeup to any other type of artistic expression.
“With all the techniques, it is just like painting.For art, a lot of time, it would be weird to carry it around and show people it, but the thing with makeup is it is on your face and it becomes a part of you and I think that’s a really fun part of the whole process—just being able to wear what you just spent so much time on,” Dominguez said.
Instead of makeup, Phipps expresses her creativity through other outlets.
“I do different forms of showing my creativity. I’m in music at school. I spend more time on my outfits, even though I don’t try that hard all the time. I would spend more time doing my hair or picking out an outfit than I would doing my makeup,” Phipps said.
Not only can makeup be used as a form of individual expression, but O’Brien also said that makeup gives her stability in her life. It is a constant that she can always revert back to in times of chaos or stress.
“If you find something that makes you happy, it just calms you down. You don’t think about [problems], you think about blending your eyeshadow. It’s just a time you reflect and give your mind a break from everything else that is happening in the world, or school or work for a lot of people or family issues. You are in your own space, you get to close your door and put on music and that is all you want to think about,” O’Brien said.

O'Brien looking in the mirror.
O’Brien looking in the mirror.

O’Brien believes that makeup gives her control in how she presents herself. Among other crazy things happening in the world, it is comforting for O’Brien to know that her makeup routine will always remain a constant.
“I think that it makes you feel that you have control over the way you look. There are a lot of things that I can’t control. I can’t control my family life, I can’t control a lot of what happens at school, I can’t control the bomb threat. This world is getting really crazy and it is empowering to know I have some sort of control over one thing in the morning,” O’Brien said.
Empowerment can stem from many aspects of the makeup process. For Dominguez, her empowerment derives from doing makeup for other people.
“When I’m doing other people’s makeup I do feel really powerful and [it’s] a good feeling to make others feel more confident,” Dominguez said. “It does make me really happy to know that I can make people feel that confident, and that is probably my favorite part about wearing makeup.”

Dominguez's eyes with her full face of makeup on.
Dominguez’s eyes with her full face of makeup on.

However, this doesn’t stop people from being discouraged by the use of makeup. According to a recent self-reported Bark survey, 18 percent of students think that makeup-wearers are trying too hard, 11 percent of students dislike it and 26 percent think it is unnecessary.
To someone who spends lots of time doing their makeup and even considers it to be an art form, it can be quite discouraging to be judged for their choice to wear it. Dominguez has had experiences where she was judged based on the amount of makeup she chose to wear.
“I have definitely had people say things that are kind of condescending like ‘oh you don’t need makeup’ [and] stuff like that. I know people are trying to say it as a compliment but I always feel kind of strange when people say stuff like that,” Dominguez said. “It is not something that anybody else should be worried about. If someone decides to do their makeup some way or dress some way, then it really shouldn’t bother anyone else because it is not affecting them.”
While makeup means a lot to people who use it as a form of expression, at the end of the day, it’s not permanent.

“The thing about makeup is it washes off at the end of the day. It’s not that deep, so I don’t understand why people have such a hard time with what other people are doing to their faces,” Dominguez said.