Sure, this is easy for me to say, because I am pretty much a goddess.
But women. Please. Makeup. It is gross. Please stop wearing it.
I was raised by a strong and admirable feminist mother. She did not believe in high heels or lipstick and she actively detested gender roles and assumptions. My mother's feminist backbone is tough as steel.
I never learned how to apply makeup properly - my mum wasn't going to introduce me to it, and makeup just wasn't a bonding activity between my friends. It's not like I actively rejected it, not at first. But as my teenage years passed, makeup became more and more obligatory for girls my age, until it became weird that I did not wear it.
And I realised my mother and I were of one mind: makeup is pointless.
Women use it to hide blemishes on their skin that are caused from wearing makeup every day and clogging up their damned pores. Women use it to change the colours of their skin because their lips need to be darker because their mascara is black and otherwise they will look washed out. Makeup is a need that creates itself.
A few days ago, I responded to a Reddit thread that invited women to share their beauty secrets ("beauty lifehacks" was the term used, I believe). This was on the r/TwoXChromosomes board, which is dedicated to women's topics. The responses were all to do with this cosmetic or that product, this chemical glop or that fabulous natural ingredient which would solve all your allergic reaction problems.
My contribution? Something like: "I wash my hair regularly with shampoo and conditioner. I wear lip balm when my lips are dry in winter. I am beautiful without makeup."
I got downvoted so much I deleted my comment.
Yes, I'm upset nobody appreciated my contribution, but how damned sad is that? What is wrong with saying I find makeup unnecessary? I'm no goddess, and I never claimed to be. (Oh wait.) But I don't need makeup. If I don't change the colour of my hair, my lips don't look washed out. If I don't conceal the tiny freckles and blemishes on my cheeks, I don't look plastic, so I don't need to cover it over again with blush tones. If I don't coat my eyelashes with black goop, I don't have to dye my eyebrows to make them visible again.
I've used my "I'm a chick too" card, so now I'm going to use the "I'm attracted to chicks" card.
(And don't think that because I'm a lesbian, I'm looking for women who look like men. I like women. My criteria for physical loveliness in a woman has nothing to do with skirts or self-presentation. It has everything to do with the way a woman is shaped, how she feels to touch, how she speaks and carries herself. Wear whatever you wanna wear - it's you that makes the difference.)
I've been with a couple of girls who used gel in their hair. It. Was. Gross. It feels wrong and icky and stiff and foreign. I simply detest the way it feels in my hands. I like hair that is soft - whether long or short, I like hair you can run your hand through. Makeup is the same. Makeup is a layer of fake crap between you and the other person. Lipstick? Dyed grease. Mascara? Black grease. Eyeshadow? Sparkly dust that shouldn't be there and is usually the wrong colour as well. I'm sorry, ladies, but makeup is horrid.
I've spoken only words of opinion so far, but I would now like to refer you to a recent study for some authoritative backup. Environmental Defence, a greenie group in Toronto, tested 49 common cosmetic products for a variety of harmful metals which are officially illegal to use in makeup.
96% of those products contained lead.
51% contained cadmium.
20% contained arsenic.
Although they don't list these illegal, toxic ingredients on their labels, the cosmetic companies aren't liable here. They can argue that these metals are found in the products because they were present in water or rock used during the processing of the products.
Nevertheless, not cool. If these ingredients aren't listed on the label, and don't have to be listed, you don't know what you're putting on your face in the mornings.
It's true that mineral makeup has less risk of this kind of dishonest rubbish. It contains less ingredients and tends not to seep into the pores like most liquid makeup. But don't be fooled into believing that it's the "natural alternative". It's still a product, and it's still processed. The most common complaint about mineral makeup is that it often contains a key ingredient that causes acne: bismuth oxychloride. According to a whole lot of Google results, up to 75% of people are allergic to this stuff. And typically, it is not created naturally, but is a by-product of lead and copper refining. Ew.
Quite frankly, my idea of a natural alternative is to go au naturel. Which is what I do. My skin is healthy and nobody ever doesn't notice my eyes. Please believe me, you are more lovely without makeup on. It might be hard to believe it at first if you wear makeup every day and you struggle to present yourself without it. If you take out the concealer stick, you can never stop at just one blemish. But you're the only one who ever looks that closely. That spot, that discoloration, that surface vein - you can only see it because your face is two inches away from the mirror.
Step back and look again. See the whole picture. It's beautiful.
Thanks to Morning Quickie for the lead on this story!