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What Beauty ISN’T, and Why makeup Can’t “FIX” it.

My Friend Matt Frends from Frends Beauty Supply-(I buy some yummy pro stuff here) recently made this awesome post on their fb page-here  (you can see all the comments)  it goes a little something like this-

“This is a Public Service Announcement. Several minutes ago, I was on Instagram reading comments on a severely photoshopped picture posted by a popular Instagram makeup guru. Many comments were asking how to achieve this look. The obvious answer is photoshop. But then it went downhill. I noticed many, far too many impressionable young women comparing their real selves, to what amounts to a cartoon. A hand drawn caricature of beauty.

Some went to far as total self-deprication, saying things like “When I put on my makeup this morning I thought I looked good, but seeing this makes me realize how ugly I really am.”

That…is disgusting. That…is terrifying. That…is absolutely sad, and wrong. Now let me make something clear. Right now there is a lot of drama between the Instagram makeup guru crowd, and the more traditional professional makeup artist crowd. In this, I am Switzerland. I am personal friends with tons of them on both sides, and they each do their own thing and I respect it. But at some point, with a large following comes the social responsibility to steer those followers in the right direction.

No young woman should be comparing herself to what is overtly not real. Yes…we sell makeup, and yes some people use makeup to mask their looks and try to be someone different. But this usually does not work. Makeup should be used to enhance inner and outer beauty, and increase confidence. As someone who is looked up to as a makeup artist, you have a responsibility to keep it real with the people who make your work popular. Together we need to make sure that we hold this responsibility sacred, because people’s well being truly does hang in the balance. If ‘your thing’ is cartoonish perfection via photoshop…cool, just let people know so they aren’t trying to compare themselves to it. Young people are impressionable, and the best way to help mold young girls into strong women is to instill a sense of confidence in them…not smash it to pieces.”

Firstly- Bravo Matt xoxo- you are a studly, soldier hero! (ladies he’s cute, a soldier, AND he sells makeup for a living- um, perfect man much?)

There were lots of responses you can read them at the link above. One stuck with me and I did need to respond a bit more. It was a comment that girls/women were responsible for their own self- esteem, and that it comes from within. While that is Technically true- hence the “self”  in self-esteem- it is decidedly more complex than that.

Only psychopaths listen to their own internal voice to the exclusion of all others. and since most of us aren’t, or don’t want to be, or raise a physchopath, but rather a productive member of society, who can relate with others, but still seek their own path and happiness; well a baalnce of internal and external influence is kind of necessary.

So, my initial response was- “Young girls are impressonable- and are sent messages ALL the time about what is beautiful or successful- usually only related to the physical. (CARL Jr’s recent ads are just 1 small bite of that big fat ugly pie!) Yes they need to find their own self worth- and everyone (Men and women) around them should make it their MISSION to help them find their REAL voice- and to not be drowned out by the external, crappy voices always telling them where they are not measuring up. BUT, when society doesn’t reinforce that- but rather shows superficial beauty as the be all end all of success for a woman- then it’s HARD to ignore. Again- see the OBITUARY of Australian author Colleen McCullough.

It is so ingrained in culture that it actually hard to see, hard to step back and say- “wow that is wrong”. Its not overt mysogony- that’s EASY to spot- it’s the subtleties that undermine a girls own inner feelings of worth, like water that wore away the grand canyon.”

ok that was my response- (notice I DID NOT link the Carl’s ads- nor will I – I will Not give them ANY press, or Seo building. If you want to see it, you’ll have to google it yourselves my pretties.) I have to tell you the obituary HER OBITUARY PEOPLE!- focused not on her best selling, still renowned today, book, but on her attractiveness and allure to men!? Are you KIDDING me? This is the summation of a person’s life! Frankly, I’m STILL appalled as I write this.

The “Self Worth” person then responded with it being the parents responsibility to nourish self worth in young girls. Again, I agree, but only to a point. My response:

“Of course parents have a responsibility- But our voice is often weaker than their peers voices, or tv, or media- especially during teenage years when kids start to reject their parents teachings- and of course think- ‘well of course they say I’m beautiful, smart, great etc I’m their kid’  I believe in this case it is “The Village” that has the responsibility. What Matt is saying is that what they are seeing is FOOLING them- because it’s not the truth- they need the TRUTH to make accurate decisions.”

and that’s really the nugget- right there- The Truth-

the Truth is makeup can’t, nor should it, CHANGE you- it can’t cover all flaws- period- it can’t.  Yes, makeup can be a disguise but that’s not real either. That’s Halloween. Reality is the face, personality, gifts, talents, skills, you walk out the door with everyday. Anytime you feel the need, or worse, are told, to hide one of those, whether under a mask of makeup, or under the guise of being dumb “cause boys don’t like girls who are smarter than them” well then THAT is part of the problem.

Bridget, a fellow, mua has experienced it as well. I have girls come into the store I work in and ask for full coverage foundation and then after I’ve applied it they say “Do you have makeup that’s full coverage and takes the bumps away?” No honey, that’s your skins texture, nothing will change that but photoshop.”

Another Mua shared a story on fb about a young girl with lots of lovely  freckles. Her  parents bring her for a makeup lesson- The girls asks for all her freckles to be completely hidden, that she hates them. First the mua shows her makeup with her gorgeous skin not covering freckles, but overall enhancing her individual beauty.  Girl insists she still wants them covered. It broke the mua’s heart, it broke the parents’ hearts. My mua friend did as she asked, knowing she looked more beautiful as her authentic self. But, even as we adults lament that girl’s rejection of her gorgeous freckled skin,  I know my mua friend planted that seed- showing the girl her beauty, without covering her up. It may be planted deep- she may never even see it bloom,  but the seed is there. That is being a village.

When we celebrate a girl’s accomplishments more than you do her looks, that is being a village.

When a girl tries and fails, and you praise her for trying and help her learn the lesson, rather than tell her she never should have even made the attempt, that is being a village.

When men- any men, or boys, in a girls life acknowledges her as an equal- or maybe even an expert, or BETTER at something than them. That’s being a village.

Giving her the tools she needs to solve her own problems, stand up for herself, speak her own mind, have her own opinions, likes and dislikes. That’s being a village.

Like in this video where, I met Simone doing, Hair and makeup for this video series.

Another post in a completely different setting came up the same day- I saw the theme so decided to run with it.

An amazing coach, mentor, and author- Rachel Simmons, and Simone’s co-founder of Girls’ Leadership Insitute, who I also met when doing mua/h for more of these videos for parents. (which you can find being released in sessions on their youtube channel)

She wrote “I interviewed a student at one of America’s most elite universities. She told me how she and her peers criticize themselves for freaking out about stress by just saying they “need more confidence.” But as I look at older adolescent girls and the crushing pressures they experience to be smart, hardworking, beautiful, athletic, and sexy, I think it’s not a “confidence” issue. It’s that the whole structure they’re working in is flawed and toxic. We — and especially I– need to be careful not to frame young women’s challenges as only a matter of needing more confidence…that’s what I’m learning right now.”

My response to what she wrote was:

“It’s true, though I will say, it’s not confidence, so much as trusting themselves to KNOW what they like, value, want, are good at, and conversely, what they DON’T. They get to set priorities for themselves. Because we cannot snap our fingers and change how women in general are treated/ perceived/ and portrayed- anyone who had a girl/young woman they influence can change the microcosm they live in by encouraging them to make decisions, ( even if we disagree sometimes) and even mistakes they can learn from, and applaud them for success, and even failures that they grow from. That’s true confidence- not a false veneer you wear as courage, but rather understanding yourself enough to make choices and even live with consequences. If they make a mistake, they  know the world won’t end, and that a loving support system is still cheering them on. I think when girls have this they can drown out some of the “voices” of society.

What’s the moral of the story from a person who’s entire career is both applying AND selling makeup? That makeup is a tool, it’s just one in your tool belt. It should be good for you, and it should Help you look and feel your best without any Attempt to CHANGE you, but rather HIGHLIGHT you- and YOUR personal beauty! If you’re a woman reading this right now- go to the mirror and find 3 things thst you find beautiful about yourself, go on, do it- it’s harder for us than we realize. We too point out our flaws, and what’s more we tend to apologize for them! It’s like a first instinct, whether to be modest and self deprecating, to not appear vain, maybe?

But when we’ve done it enough times- we stop even being able to SEE our own beauty. Another makeup artist gave a great Ted Talk on just this topic, and makes a very powerful point!

Anyone who’s had a makeup lesson with me- Do her words sound familiar? Obviously, she and I share a makeup philosophy, and “tread in the deep end of a shallow pool” called makeup artistry.  I laughed when I first saw this video, and thought ” Oh My God, I say that to my clients too”  and “Yes, you tell, them sister!” and “Oh, man, I am my worst critic too.”

I haven’t met a women in my chair yet, that I havent been able to see the beauty she possess, a beautiful brow, amazing bone structure, great skin, amazing eye color, gorgeous lip, sometimes it’s simply the  life I see in her eyes. Makeup’s sole job is to draw attention to THAT- to the beauty you already possess! It’s ok to downplay dark circles, red blemishes, etc- that’s fine, we’re not saying flaws don’t exist, or you can’t diminish them. But we’re not just talking a bit of concealer here- we’re talking the complete eradication of anything deemed “unbeautiful” to the point of artificiality. That is what the younger girls on Instagram and other social sites are seeing, and comparing themselves too, selfies that are blurred, shopped and filtered beyond recognition. Often paired with makeup that is extremely thick, and heavy, & usually too starkly precise to ever look natural. When we, and they, cannot see ourselves as beautiful, unless we are literally made flawless- it’s gone too far. 

Now every week on this blog, I announce a “product of the week” that is a sample I include in every full sized order. Honestly- I am Not announcing it. Of course, I will still include something- but I DON’T want this post to be about the makeup- I really want it to be about the idea of beauty beyond the products, and keeping makeup in it’s rightful place- in our toolbelt.


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One Response to What Beauty ISN’T, and Why makeup Can’t “FIX” it.

  1. Denise Barnes February 18, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    Beautiful, eloquent post Karrie! My motto printed on my business cards from my very first days as a makeup artist ” Bringing out the beauty in every woman”.

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