I have found myself bristling lately. Everywhere you go someone is screaming out the importance of self-care. Healthy minds are de rigeur – and rightly so. You can only function if the walking, moving talking bit is lined up with the thinking, feeling bit. Yet on Instagram I’ve seen a bashing for those mums who are ‘all made up’; those who slop on the slap for a selfie.
I need to clear something up. I am one of those mums. I trowel on the make for insta, for pram group, for tescos – hell for a wander in the woods in wellies. But it’s not for insta, the other mums, lovely Yenny and Tom who work all the hours in our Tesco Metro. It’s not even for the squirrels. It’s for me.
Call it a mask. Call it war paint. Call it a facial uniform. I just feel better when I have a face on. Since discovering Rimmel’s ‘Heather Shimmer’ and mocha eyeshadow spread liberally on my lids as a teen, I’ve never looked back. There were no YouTube tutorials back then, so my technique was reliant on the step-by-step guides from the pages of Just Seventeen magazine. Admittedly my style and the quality of my products may have changed over the years, but my passion for a strong eye and a nude lip have not dampened!
So who has the issue here? Is it the make-up ne’sayers of insta or is it me with my refusal to go au natural? To be fair, we both need to learn some acceptance. I should be more comfortable in my own skin. The face I wake up with, that my husband loves, that my baby boy adores – that face is enough. Yet it’s only in the last few years that I have ever dreamed of showing my bare visage.
I remember there was a Facebook phase of tagging friends to ‘challenge them’ to share a make-up free selfie. I’d just got together with Chris. I’d finally felt that someone wanted to be with me – the whole me. Yet I was horrified when a uni friend tagged me. Deep breath. Photo taken. Photo posted. The world kept turning on its axis. People were not screaming in the streets.
I’ve always been about finish. I love accessories. Shoes match clothes, match bag, match coat. To me, make-up is about a polished me – presenting my best self to the world. I’m sure there are underlying, deep-rooted insecurities there that I’m only just breaking in my forties with my ability to post a bare-faced selfie to the hundreds of people who have been kind enough to follow this blog. But genuinely, I enjoy the process of going from tired, forty-two year old mama to a toddler, to a slightly fresher and less battered version.
Those who choose to present their natural self and are comfortable in doing so – I applaud you. Genuinely. I applaud your self-confidence and self-acceptance. I envy the time you save in the morning. I love that you show the unedited you without battering an eyelid. But be kind to those who choose to modify their presentation to the world. Just as you shouldn’t judge someone for what they choose to wear or how they do their hair, it’s about personal choice. And please don’t assume that all masks are just down to make-up.
We all wear masks in different ways. Some pretend all is fabulous in their world. Some snapshot the peripheries to pick out the good bits. Some are all tits and teeth, when behind the lens it’s tantrums and tears. Isn’t that all just a little touch up; a filter for the world to witness us through. I’ve been guilty of this but I like to think my words tell my truth – warts and all – I just like to share them with a defined brow, fuller lashes and highlighted cheekbones. And let’s be fair, with limited sleep and coffee consumption issues, I’m far too partial to some under-eye restoration in the form of YSL touché eclat – or my recent discovery, Aldi’s “Lacura” knock off version. Amen to that!
My version of self-care might not resemble yours. You may be the yoga, hot bath, hair masque and series on Netflix kind of carer. I’m more your go for a run, read a book and paint on your face kinda gal. But whether you medicate, meditate or mediate your way to good mental health – it’s the outcome that is the important bit. If it makes someone happy – then let them be!
Which camp do you fall in to? Are you ‘make-up free’ or ‘make-up please!’
Dads – what are your views? Do you envy your other half the socially accepted opportunity to freshen their face or have you been known to dig in to a bit of under-eye concealer after a tough, teethy night?
I know this is an emotive one so please share your opinion!
This post is dedicated to Lucy Rose – who is to blame for my addiction to Dior, Bobbi Brown and YSL. You showed me the good stuff honey! Life was so much cheaper when it was all about Rimmel, No17 and Max Factor!