My Relationship with Make Up

As a young teenager, I was a massive tomboy. For well over five years I tied my hair up in a ponytail every single day; at school I wore trousers when everyone else was in a skirt; and at home I was wearing wide ‘boyfriend’ style jeans or what I liked to call ‘sporty-shorties’ (three-quarter length jogging bottoms). Any sort of make up – even nail varnish really – was very far from my mind. At the time when everyone was getting their ears pierced I was way more concerned with whether my one pair of trainers would last another season because I really didn’t want to go shopping for more.

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Aged 15 – looking as much like a boy as possible.

I didn’t own any make-up at all until my year 11 prom, when me and my mum went shopping for a little brown mascara, a pink lipstick and a brown pencil eyeliner. I had no idea what I was doing with this stuff but I felt like I should look a little made-up to go to prom! It was quite an ordeal at the time finding a dress and working out what to do with my hair, as I was still not a very girly-girl! People had been being told off at school for wearing too much make-up and having their skirts too short for years, and all of a sudden on this night it felt like something I could do – I could totally dress up like everyone else!

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Aged 16 – at prom

For the next two years, things stayed more or less the same. I wore hardly any make-up – even on stage – and for our second prom in year 13 I asked a friend to help me with some eyeshadow because I had no idea what to do. Finally at the end of my gap year I decided that I needed to head to university with a larger collection, and have been adding to it slowly since then. I still don’t wear make-up everyday, but for nights out and going on stage etc, when I want to look a bit smarter I’ll spend some time applying some concealer, eye make-up, powder etc. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I have come to the conclusion that not many people do! Youtube is very helpful though!!!

I count myself very lucky that I haven’t felt very self-conscious about my appearance or skin through my teenage years. Of course there are things I would want to change or fix when I look in the mirror, who doesn’t?! But I have always worn clothes that I wanted to and not really cared about what other people think. For a lot of people, make-up makes them feel more confident in their own skin, but I felt more conscious when I was wearing it. I didn’t know what I was doing with it and felt kind of silly. I could never understand why people spent hours getting ready or wanted to spend money on it, it just wasn’t my bag.

But now that I wear it more often, I actually really enjoy putting it on. The act of dressing up and the whole process getting ready to go out is fun; putting on some showtunes and having a jam in the bathroom, its all part of the evening itself. I no longer feel self-conscious about wearing make-up because I just put on as much as I want to on that day. Sometimes I do go out without make-up because I don’t have time or whatever: it’s going to be dark in there and no-one will really care. I like to put it on for myself not for anyone else, so I wear what I feel comfortable in at that moment.

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Aged 20 – I was pretty proud of my eyeliner!

I guess my message is that if you can you should wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. You should be able to present yourself to the world in the way that you want to, not based on what anyone else thinks. In my opinion, everyone is way more concerned with what they themselves look like that what you are wearing anyway. I know that that is a much easier thing to say than to do, and that I have been lucky in that my insecurities haven’t really been centred around my appearance, but I felt like telling this story might be food for thought.

We are all very individual people, so present yourself that way, in whatever makes you feel the most like you.

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