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from the moment i wake up, before i put on my make up…

Image: Catalina Angelinetti

Image: Catalina Angelinetti

Earlier this year, well-known Australian beauty expert, Zoe Foster, released an app as a companion to her book on makeup, hair and skincare tips, ‘Amazing Face’. Having read the book myself, I have to say I am a fan of it. Foster is witty and amusingly self-deprecating, and actually made me interested in something I don’t normally give two figs about. And anyone who helps idiots like me be better at makeup and avoid schlepping around two year old foundation is very welcome, thank you very much. I liked her book so much that I bought it for my sister as a gift, recommended it to dozens of people and have frequently used Fosters other resources online.

But here’s my gripe with the app: it currently retails at $4.99 (AUD) on iTunes. Before I purchased the app, I noted that there were a number of reviewers that seemed dissatisfied with the content, and who thought that for five dollars, they were probably entitled to a little more. After purchasing it myself, I’m inclined to agree – the content is quite basic, and while I can understand that it is only a companion to the book, I can also understand the consensus that it was generally a bit of a rip off.

One of the major components of the app is a list of Beauty Must-haves. These “essentials” are grouped into the areas of makeup, bathroom, shower and hair, as well as two lists dedicated to makeup brushes and hair brushes, and a general list of THINGS U NEED BECAUSE BEAUTY. According to Foster, ‘Here are the [beauty products and tools] you will actually use and need. And if you don’t, you should’. This is all well and good, except that all up, there are close to EIGHTY products on these essentials lists. The makeup brush section has listed specific products, and the combined price of these 13 different types of brushes amounts to ALMOST $600. The list of general must-haves is also product specific, and that list comes in at closer to $400, including a mineral mask for $110. That’s a little over $1000.

You know what else you can buy for $1000? A return airfare overseas. Five pairs of spiffy winter boots. A new couch. Christmas presents for your entire extended family. Pretty much any number of things that would rock my world more than make up brushes. I started to get really pissed off about the whole situation, which is logical because I am a makeup tightarse and pretty much everything I slap on my face each day can be found in a supermarket aisle/Chemist Warehouse. When I calmed down though, I mused that I was maybe being too critical, because I mean, whose business is it if someone likes to drop that much cash on makeup? Certainly not mine. Just because some people (i.e. me) can’t afford it, certainly doesn’t mean any number of people can.

But I do think it sucks that women are marketed these products as necessities. I don’t think investing in expensive make up is like “investing” in expensive clothes, for example. You can wear clothes over and over again, and they look cool, and people can see them and notice them and be impressed by them. The irony of good makeup is that for the most part it doesn’t even really look like make up; it just makes your face faultless. Which is pretty great, but also a reminder that as women, our value as people is still intrinsically tied to the ability to be flawlessly beautiful, 24/7. The beauty industry makes squillions of dollars from making women feel awful about how their normal face looks. And here I was thinking that all I needed to spruce up my pimples and pigmentation was some tinted moisturiser and concealer, but now I’m being told that I need THIRTEEN TYPES OF MAKEUP BRUSHES?

Given that we women earn less money than men to start with and consequently will end up with even less by the time retirement rolls around, I just can’t get behind something so needless; these products that for the most part, do not exist for men – and they seem to get by just fine without five different exfoliators. And in talking about the money women spend on the business of “being beautiful”, this doesn’t even cover all the dollars we drop having hair ripped from our genitals and legs, buying underwear that compresses the fat in our bodies or paying someone perform invasive surgery so we look perpetually younger.

I feel I should disclose that I do wear makeup – and I like it. I wish I could wear less but I currently have the skin of a hormonal 14 year old. There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to wear eyeshadow, lipstick and eyeliner, and I will strive until I can manage liquid eyeliner this flawlessly. But surely adult women, who are so much more than what they look like, deserve to no longer have product after product foisted on them, thinly veiled in shame and fancy marketing. We need only to look at the revolting social media commentary directed at Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli to understand the place of a woman in society who does not conform to what we call beautiful, and have an idea of how she can expect to be treated.

6 thoughts on “from the moment i wake up, before i put on my make up…

  1. I had to wean off makeup. I only wear mineral powder and some eye iluminator now. It actually feels… a lot better.

    I promise you that your skin is bad because you wear makeup. So I dare you to wear less. What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe someone looks at your not so perfect skin? Will they think you are less of a person? Will they never speak to you again?

    If you’re really concerned, your doctor might be able to prescribe you with a light antibiotic or a topical cream for your skin. But honestly… skin wasn’t meant to be covered in thick creams like makeup all day. So you should try to stop.

    I dare you! No makeup for a month – eat well, exercise and drink water. If it’s not better, see a doc.

    • The main thing you took away from that is the fact I have bad skin?

      Sometimes I wear make up, sometimes I don’t. Usually when I do it’s to hide pigmentation or redness.

      A doctor diagnosed my skin as hormonal so whether or not I wear make up actually has little bearing on it.

      As with most things, everyone is usuallu different.

      • I didn’t mean it that way! I was just thinking about what you wrote and how I agreed with you that there are pressures on girls to wear makeup – and usually too much makeup. I still think it’s an interesting trial to see how you feel without it, and it helped me figure out how I felt about it, that’s all. Sorry if I offended you. I really do think that thick makeup actually is bad for your skin regardless of whether it’s good or bad skin underneath, though.

      • I didn’t mean to offend you, sorry. I was just agreeing with you that there is a lot of pressure on girls to wear makeup and a lot of makeup is actually terrible for your skin. Especially stuff that’s cheap. Trialling not wearing makeup really helped me figure out how I felt about it and about my skin – I also hide redness, but I wanted to be OK with the redness, too. Anyway, sorry that I upset you, I liked your article.

        • Hey, sorry! I know it wasn’t intended offensively. I apologise for coming off brusque, it was late and I was feeling a little grumpy, I didn’t mean to sound so rude.

          I know what you mean, I wish I had flawless skin so I could wear less makeup (and the little make up I do wear feels like a chore anyway, I’m in awe of people who have the patience to stick to long, daily routines) but at present I kind of just have to suck it up, I think.

          And you’re definitely right, I should be okay with my blemishes – because I think it’s definitely one of those things that you notice way more than anyone else, because they’re so preoccupied with the state of their own skin.

          But that said, I don’t think make up is inherently bad, everyone is different but I’m sure some people would be surprised how they coped going without!

  2. If you can observe in the article that “the beauty industry makes squillions of dollars from making women feel awful about how their normal face looks,” then how can you say “I wish I had flawless skin so I could wear less makeup” in the comment thread?

    In fact, Amelia’s comment “So I dare you to wear less. What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe someone looks at your not so perfect skin? Will they think you are less of a person? Will they never speak to you again?” seems to sit very much within the sentiment of what the article is actually arguing far more than the comment in response.

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