My makeup wearing habits aren't actually so deep or complex. I love to wear it sometimes, but I feel absolutely fine without it, too. When I do wear makeup, it's not in an attempt to "fix" or "cover" things, but more of embodying different characters, or experimenting with different "vibes." One of the most reassuring things I've been told was by my very clever academic aunt, who said my relationship to "all that stuff" was "extremely healthy." But I do worry that my love for all things cosmetic can't be doing such great things for my brain. How can I be an interesting, clever and all around top girl if, secretly, my biggest interest is coloring in my lips?
What worries me about constantly writing and thinking about makeup is that a lot of women are using makeup not to feel amazing, but to feel acceptable. As soon as doing this bizarre, gross thing ceases to make you feel excited and powerful, and starts to be needed to make you feel normal, that's where we have a problem. I can't see an issue reconciling wearing makeup with being a feminist: I am, in fact, over that whole debate. I think everybody should be able to make herself look exactly how they want to -- I believe that is a very positive thing, in fact. But I don't like the waters to get muddied with negativity and insecurity. I don't like anyone telling anyone that they have to do anything. In this case, it's the women ruling a dictatorship over themselves, which is really depressing. You need to be on your own side, or who else is going to be?
The way I reconcile naked-me with made-up-me is wearing makeup in a way which doesn't make me feel like a total p.o.s. when I remove it. That is a one way ticket to not being at peace with your bare naked face, which is going to make you feel distinctly un-amazing at least half of your life. Don't feel things need to be "fixed" with makeup. Don't try to change the fundamentals of your face in a way which will be psychologically damaging when they have to be cleansed off every day. By all means make your face look like how you want your face to look, but keep the language distinct in your head: this is not how your face "should" look. And if you're doing it for any reason outside of pleasing yourself, then that's a red flag.
I know I'm almost certainly over-intellectualizing it. For most people, makeup is probably an automatic, even meditative process that they just do and don't even think about. That's fine, and I bet the thoughts they have for the rest of the day are no less valuable because of the fact they're coming out of a head which is covered in makeup. I just can't help thinking about it. Why am I finding certain aesthetics appealing? Is it all me or is it society tricking me? I don't want anything I say to make anyone else feel bad about themselves, even if what I'm saying is as fatuous as "wearing grey lipstick is cool." The balance between being a makeup obsessive, a feminist, an anxious person, a confident person is hard to strike, but I think I'm getting pretty ok at it.
My cousin, aged 4, came downstairs to tell her mother she was very beautiful that day. Her mother asked who had told her so, and she replied, "The mirror." Why this would be a ridiculous thing for a grown woman to say is stupid to me. If you're doing things to change your face, you should certainly be allowed to admit that you like the way it is making your face look. You should be allowed to do exactly what you want to your face, but try to make sure what you want is truly coming from you. The mirror should be telling you you're beautiful every day, with all of the obliviousness and naiveté of a 4-year-old.