I love makeup, there aren’t many days I go bare. I love finding new products and being girly, but I am most definitely a ‘less is more, girl next door’ kinda gal’.
Putting on makeup every morning is part of my routine and I enjoy it; it doesn’t take me long, ten minutes tops and I’m done. I don’t ever want to be a slave to it, I’ve got three kids, I don’t have the time!
But one morning I caught my twelve year old watching me from my bedroom doorway. This, my twelve year old that I try so hard to instill in her the importance of being natural, beauty is within, that a smile makes a face so much more beautiful than a load of makeup.
“Why do you put makeup on everyday Mum?” Came the question from the doorway. Such an innocent, loaded, question. How on earth do I answer that without sounding totally hypocrytical? “Because I have dark circles darling, and it helps my skin look brighter, my skin isn’t as fresh and radiant as yours is anymore.” I blag, why do they throw these question bombs at us when we are totally unprepared? I want to duck and cover, but I can’t, she’s asked me a valid question and it deserves a decent response.
It did get me thinking though, the influences and pressures that our growing generation are put under. Music videos, (don’t get me started on those, Little Mix?! Who are their target audience now? The tweens or the Dads?) Adverts, youtubers even down to the girls on programmes like Take Me Out. There is so much pressure to look a certain way.
When did the world become so superficial and self absorbed?
I do try and teach my children that they can’t believe all the pictures they see. I show them clips of photoshop being used, the before and after pictures. Finding photos of celebrities looking ‘normal’ to show them that these perfect looking role models, underneath it all, are just as perfectly imperfect as us all.
We all have imperfections, but these are things that other people probably don’t even notice, or see as endearing features, but they are things that we may feel self-conscious about (my ears, they are a bit sticky-outy!) Are these not the things that make us, us though, unique?
Why do we all have to look the same? Why do we try to hide them or alter the way we look?
My daughter has also asked me when she can get a contouring set. What? Never! Why do we need to fake it? Why are we being encouraged not to love ourselves for what we are? Pointing out our slightly wonky noses or lack of cheekbones as a bad thing? Cashing in on breaking down our self esteem.
I was waiting to be served in a coffee shop earlier when some girls behind me and the barista started complimenting each other on their drawn on eyebrows, talking about all the tutorials they’d followed. What? Sure, keep them groomed, but come on folks, lets get some perspective.
It makes me so sad. Our young people are looking in the mirror and seeing what they want to change, seeing what they don’t like about themselves. Instead of being happy and comfortable with the face that’s looking back at them.
How do we stop this? Surely true beauty comes with self confidence and self respect?
We can enjoy a bit of makeup without it being used as a mask to change or define us, or to hide our lack of confidence behind.
So, back to my daughters question. How can I show her the difference between applying a bit of makeup everyday and being happy and confident in her own skin?
I know she is trying to establish her identity, separate from the family, looking for approval from her peers by conforming.
I always try to talk positively about myself in front of them, rather than point out the bits I’m not so happy with, to try and inforce being kind to yourself, so hopefully their behaviour will reflect this.
We all need to compliment each other more, build each others confidence and self worth. We are all uniquely beautiful and we should be embracing this, not trying to be something else.
So I challenge you, compliment someone everyday and watch for the response. Lets help build the self confidence of those around us, friends and strangers. ‘You look well today’, ‘I love your dress, you look great in it.’
And equally, the next time you look in the mirror, be kind, you are beautiful, tell yourself and believe it.
So lets start a change! Show our children, our growing generation, that we don’t have to pretend to be something we’re not. That we are all different, all perfectly, beautifully, unique.