I have been wanting to address this topic for awhile now but I was not sure how to describe it. Then I noticed it had been given a name, ‘makeup shaming’. It has been bothering me that people who are used to expressing themselves through the art of makeup are being made to feel guilty. For any of you who are thinking…’Huh? What did I miss?’ I came across this article which explains it quite clearly, MAKEUP SHAMING by Huff Post.
In my early twenties I became very sick. Until that point, I had felt pretty invincible. So I kept expecting to wake up one day and feel myself again, the way you do after suffering from the flu. Instead, I had to take a leave of absence from my career and I spent the next decade in and out of the hospital, often in debilitating pain. I was used to being the person people could count on. Even though it took patience and a lot of prayer, I was eventually able to get my health back, but the experience changed me. Makeup had always been a passion, but in those quiet days of solitude, makeup became a lifeline for me. It kept me sane. It gave me something to look forward to. It was like therapy.
A few years ago I heard about a makeup artist named Talia, who had been diagnosed with cancer. Doing makeup for her seemed to be like breathing, it was a natural outlet. It saddened me to see her becoming more sick. I knew of that place she went to when she did makeup. It was an escape from the doctors and medicine and pain. Talia passed away in 2013 but I still think about her often. I was never able to meet her face to face but through her art I saw her beautiful soul. Even though she was only thirteen when she passed away, she accomplished a lot in her life. She reminded me to seize the moment and to focus on what I am passionate about.
These days, I often feel more like a makeup ‘naturopath’ than a makeup artist. On a weekly basis I have clients and friends who need makeup and skincare advice after being scarred from a serious skin condition, disfigured from an accident, or because they are recovering from cancer. They are not trying to use makeup to be someone else, they just want to get back to feeling more like themselves again.
You might be wondering what this has to do with ‘makeup shaming’. That is just it. From my point of view, it doesn’t really make any sense. Yes, there are some people out there who wear their makeup as a mask and hide behind it. But you cannot put everyone into that same category. And if someone has deeper issues, I don’t believe that ‘makeup shaming’ is going to bring about any kind of positive results. We need to lead with empathy and encourage young people to express themselves, not the opposite. I think if you can see makeup as a form of art, you will understand that we are all creative artists. What is the shame in that?
I want to extend my gratitude to all of you who put yourselves out there by sharing your story. Below is a photo from a beautiful client and friend from New York who, like each of us, has become her own artist. She is a cancer survivor, and although she has regained her health, her skin has changed and it has become part of her story. If there is anyone out there who is looking for full coverage makeup that is also healing for skin, we would love to help. Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.