I have been thinking about makeup a lot recently. I decided to write this post having seen a video of a woman whom I respect greatly, who does not normally wear makeup, giving a presentation fully made up and “coiffed.” She looked amazing, but I was bothered by the fact that in order to attract people to listen to her, it was necessary to do this.
I rarely wear makeup and when I do, I don’t wear very much, preferring to go for the natural look. When I was younger and wanted to wear makeup, my mother always told me, “You don’t need makeup – you’re beautiful enough without it!” Her mantra obviously worked because I don’t feel a need to paint my face before venturing out of the house in the morning.
I have several issues with makeup – ranging from practical (how do those women who I see dropping their children at school, fully made up and wearing sheitels and jewellery, manage to do all that by 8:30 in the morning??), to curious ( why would they want to do all that by 8:30 in the morning??) “feminist” ( why should I feel obliged to paint my face and conceal what I really look like before facing the world?) and philosophical (isn’t it a bit dishonest to go out looking so different from your natural appearance?)
Perhaps those women are more organised than I am, but I prefer to make the lunches fresh and sometimes bake muffins for breakfast, rather than spend the time putting on makeup. Anyway it wouldn’t work – I can talk to the children and keep an eye on what is going on while making their lunch, but if I tried to get the necessary privacy and quiet to put on makeup first thing in the morning, who knows what would happen?
It probably isn’t dishonest to wear makeup – it’s permitted by halacha, so it must be OK and really people know that you are wearing it and can make their own assessment of what you might look like underneath.
I think the bottom line is that I am uncomfortable with the idea that I need to look like someone else’s beauty ideal before I can go out. I am disturbed by the thought that some women do not have enough self esteem or a positive enough self-image to go out without makeup. There are those who say that a person’s face is public property and one should make an effort to look pleasant for other people, but I think this can be effected just as well with fresh skin and a nice smile. Some of the most attractive women I have met wear very little, if any makeup, but let their inner beauty shine through – that is an aspiration to which I can relate, and encourage my daughters to do likewise.