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Why I Hate Social Media Makeup

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Everybody does their makeup differently. Over the years, the combination of watching youtube videos, learning from professional makeup artists, and personal experience gives everyone a slightly different angle on makeup and the industry as a whole.

It fascinates me how we can learn so much about a person by simply asking them how they do their makeup. And I am not limiting my view to just young adults and teenagers, because makeup has been around for decades - and you'd be surprised how much makeup styles differ from generation to generation.

I am sure some of you may have heard your older relatives say "why do you wear so much makeup", "you don't need all that" and hopefully "you're already beautiful enough".

What is 'social media makeup'

I feel like so many of us have only been exposed to one side of the makeup industry. Yes, I am speaking about all the beauty guru makeup, which I like to call "social media makeup".

Social media makeup is the type of makeup where your foundation is full coverage, contoured for the Gods, and eyebrows are 'on fleek'.

I totally understand; you've watched some youtube videos of popular beauty gurus for entertainment purposes, and subconsciously, you've picked up how they do their makeup - they look great on camera, so you decide that's how you should do your makeup from this day forward.

Trying to replicate social media makeup

If you have ever tried to re-make their makeup routine in front of your own mirror, you're likely to have come across the following:

  1. You did not have all the products they have used.

  2. You did not have all the brushes and tools that they had.

  3. Your makeup looked nothing like the beauty guru's.

Given these circumstances, you've made a logical assumption that your makeup looked nothing like the beauty guru's because of points one and two.

So, you take your makeup off, and to avoid point three from happening again, you make sure you have exactly the same products, and the exact same tools that the beauty guru had in the video.

What can go wrong now? Okay, admittedly you may not be experienced with makeup - so you practice the makeup look over and over.

But it still doesn't look right - yeah, on the photo you took for your instagram it looks flawless, but that doesn't change the fact that it seems like you're wearing a mask in real life.

...and you're left to wonder. What am I doing wrong?

My issue with social media makeup

I'm a fan of everything aesthetically please, and this is definitely not pleasing in any way, shape, or form.

My issues with social media makeup doesn't come from the amount of product it uses, how expensive it is, or even how long it takes...

It's the fact that you think you look like an absolute goddess, and then you step outside - and it seems like Van Gogh had a seizure painting your face.

Lighting is everything

One factor that a lot of people getting into makeup don't understand, is that lighting is everything! Natural light is the least forgiving light for makeup, and even celebrities can look busted in it.

You're not a baker, stop applying a cake every morning

Furthermore, these is nothing natural about social media makeup. Of course, everybody has different tastes in makeup - and I love a very natural look. But I think most people can agree, the type of makeup young girls are wearing around the streets is just unnecessary. However, if that's when you feel the most confident, then so be it.

My main concern is that young people believe that they need to apply kilograms of makeup to look pretty.

There is a time and place for social media makeup

Even I can't deny that 'social media makeup' does look good in some scenarios.

For example:

  1. Theatre and performances

  2. Social media

  3. TV

Why heavy makeup works for theatre and performances

Take drag performances as an example. Drag Kings/Queens are putting on a show, playing a character which is far from what they naturally look like. They are likely to use heavy makeup, contour, and excessive lashes - because they're trying to play a character.

This does work, because we know that these characters are not real people, and it looks good as a story telling technique.

Trixie Mattel is one drag artist who has perfected the 'back of the room' makeup, for which she is famous for.

Why heavy makeup can work for social media

With social media, it is extremely curated. You only see what the creator wants you to show, and most of the time - they are in control of the lighting.

And if anything goes wrong, there is always photoshop and facetune.

Please don't trust everything you see on social media to be true. Take it with a grain of salt and know that the people that you are following want you to perceive them in that light.

Why heavy makeup works for TV (most of the time)

Let's take a look at the show "Keeping up with The Kardashians". This family is well known for their makeup - having two beauty brands and a fragrance line in the family, you can tell they know their way around the industry. And you must admit, they do look great on the show.

However, the show is most commonly filmed indoors, in a car, or with extra lighting supporting the picture.

The family looks amazing in their 'glam makeup' during their interviews, on the red carpet, and at social events. This is because they have mastered the relationship between makeup and lighting.

Please note, lighting can be easily manipulated in these scenarios. Whereas when you walk outside into the natural light - you have no control whatsoever, and the light varies every day, every hour.

Why we believe we need so much makeup

The makeup and cosmetics industry is making billions each year, purely from our beliefs that we aren't pretty enough.

For an industry to do well, it needs to provide a solution to a problem which many people face. A solution which the makeup industry provides is one which promises to make you look better. But why would you need to look better if you already think you're good enough?

That's why I hate social media makeup.

It suggests that everything you were naturally given is not good enough, and you need makeup to change that.

Your brows aren't thick enough - eyebrow pencil.

Your skin isn't perfect - foundation.

Your lips aren't full enough - lip pencil and lipstick.

The beauty industry has now gone as far as to suggest that even your bone structure isn't good enough. So, their 'solution' is contouring.

What I'd like you to take away

I know it's easy to give into the beauty industry's ideals of beauty - but there are so many strong influencers out there who encourage natural beauty, and most importantly, loving yourself for who you are.

I will say this once, and once only:

You don't need that much makeup

You are beautiful as you are

Don't let others dictate your beauty

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