Dear Raiah

I was putting highlight on my cheekbones the other day, and whenever I wear it I think of a tweet I saw once (wish I could remember who tweeted it) that said something like “oh I get it, wearing makeup is about making only the CORRECT parts of your face shiny”. When this happens I feel momentarily conflicted about makeup, but in the end, decide that a) I like wearing it, b) highlight is fun, and c) who gives a care. Even though I’m not going to stop wearing makeup any time soon, I’ve been doing some critical thinking about the way I use and think about makeup.

My usual makeup routine is pretty simple: fill in eyebrows, put on mascara, apply tinted chapstick or lipliner. Or I just forgo makeup altogether. When I have a little extra time I put on a bit of eyeliner, lipstick, and apply some highlight, when I’m feeling fancy I wear winged eyeliner, or I put gold eyeshadow onto the inner corners of my eyelids. I recently decided to wear as little cover-up, powder, and foundation as possible. This wasn’t an ideological decision, as much as it would be comforting to say so, so much as part of my Good Skin Project.

Ah, the Good Skin Project. This also started on twitter. Someone I follow posted a tweet about how she hadn’t worn powder or foundation in so long, and how she appreciated having good skin, and I thought, “Her skin is amazing. I want to have good skin like that.” And so was born the Good Skin Project. It is going okay. After some trial and error I think I’ve found a skincare combo that minimizes my acne (WHY do I have adult acne), which involves a face wash from Lush, tea tree essential oil (or a tea tree oil based serum, also from Lush), and lotion meant for babies, used in that order in the morning and the evening, and a charcoal and sugar exfoliating face wash I use about twice a week, along with every-once-in-awhile sheet masks. I’ve also included biotin in my vitamin regime even though I have basically no idea what it is.

When I say “some trial and error,” I mean that I have about five soaps and face washes in my medicine cabinet and shower that I don’t really use because they don’t work for my skin, and I have only just used up a couple tubes of lotion I originally thought to use on my face but which soon entered the ranks of body-only-face-never lotions, and I have another of these lotions sitting on my nightstand. I also mean that every time I break out, my first thought is “maybe I need to change up my skin care regime” or “maybe I need to think more about what I eat”. Basically what I’m trying to get across here is that even if I never wore makeup there’d be absolutely no reason for me to be smug about it because I put a LOT of effort into my skin.

Over Christmas I stayed at my sister’s house, and I wish I had thought about how to talk to my nieces about makeup before I went. A couple times, when I was in the downstairs bathroom doing my makeup, a niece or two would come watch me and ask questions. “What’s that, Auntie Glynis?” “What does this do, Auntie Glynis?” “Why are you putting that on your eyes, Auntie Glynis?”

I hope my response to them was good, and undamaging. Here it is, boiled down to a few key points:

  • I wear makeup because I find it fun and I like it;
  • I like the all the different colours;
  • Sometimes I feel like wearing makeup and sometimes I don’t;
  • Makeup is a creative venture; and,
  • The extreme basics of application (e.g. “this goes on my eyelids like this”).

I’ve been known to say things like “if I’ve been wearing makeup a lot and then don’t for a day, I feel like I look a bit like a ghost. My facial features disappear.” I wonder if that kind of statement goes along with the things I tell my nieces. I hope I don’t contribute to any kind of harmful thinking regarding looks and makeup in my nieces. I’m doing my best, but is my best good enough? I’m not sure, but I hope so.

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