Originally, I took pictures of myself sans makeup (except drawn-on eyebrows) to write about the new skincare I've been using. See, I thought I had pretty good skin. And then I saw the pictures I took later with a full face of makeup applied, and started having doubts. There's discoloration on my cheeks and shadows under my eyes, and a scar (where did that even come from?!) on my chin, and enlarged pores on my nose. Can I tout how amazing the skincare I've been using when my skin is, while relatively unblemished, not extraordinary?
And then I paused. Wait, what? It's disturbing, this automatic train of thought. I wasn't even comparing myself to the impossibles (that are heavily photo manipulated) in the glossies. I was just looking at myself with some foundation on. What has the act of wearing makeup done to my own self image?
For me, the meaning of makeup has transformed from something I desperately needed to master to satisfy someone else's definition of "pretty" (age 19), to a consumerist obsession (age 21), to occasional artistic expression (age 22-present, when I create looks to post on Messy Wands). In "real life," I am very aware of what makeup does for me. I know that without fail, if I put on my eyebrows, redden my cheeks and lips, and paint on some lashes, I will receive more and better attention from the strangers I interact with, and I use this knowledge to my advantage. Is it sad that this is just how it is?
I'm not really sure what I'm trying to get at. I guess I was hit by the fact that I thought I had a firm grasp on how I look and how I perceive myself, and was a little shaken by my knee-jerk reaction to censor my thoughts because my natural looks didn't reach a certain (impossible) standard. The longer I stare at the unmade-up picture, the more I think I was overthinking it. I'll have to work on that skincare post.
*PS: After reading some of the comments, I feel like I should clarify that I'm actually very happy with my skin. This is why I was surprised that I had the instinctive reaction above even while being pleased, and just wanted to observe how that happened.