Some of us entered the makeup game “later” than other people. While the awkward stage in middle school was the warm introduction to makeup for curious pre-teens, some of us didn’t pick up blush until much much later. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it can definitely be overwhelming and frustrating to start at square 1 when it feels like everyone else has become their own little makeup artists.
Personally, I didn’t start playing with makeup until the end of my college years, and my mom didn’t start until well into her late 40’s. Age doesn’t matter, but sometimes our brains make it seem like it does.
There are several reasons why some of us haven’t tried makeup while we were young like our peers. It can stem from a rejection of femininity, growing up in a strict household, or genuine disinterest.
In my case, it was a combination of all three.
As someone growing up during the early 2000’s, there was a strong “I’m not like other girls” attitude that was pretty popular among teen girls. I paraded around with a bare face, and internally declared that makeup and beauty was for “girly girls”- not me! This rejection of makeup made me feel like I was someone original, someone who didn’t need to feel validated through winged liner and harsh lipsticks. It was a false sense of superiority that I had over other girls who did wear makeup. The truth was I was incredibly insecure because I didn’t know how to wear makeup, nor was I even allowed to. This led to me adapting the infamous “I’m not like other girls” mentality to cope with my feelings of inferiority.
Many parents and schools don’t allow makeup to be worn. So when some young women can finally get their hands on some eyeshadow, it can lead them feeling incompetent when it’s difficult to apply. It reminds me of my college friend who bought a huge Morphe eyeshadow palette, then cursed her past 13 year old self for not trying makeup earlier. She swore that her past self definitely sabotaged her night out look.
It can feel disheartening when you’re so clumsy with makeup while there are 11 year olds on youtube teaching you how to get the perfect winged liner. While we can chant that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, it can still be discouraging.
Plus, if you’re not used to having makeup on, the people around you definitely won’t be used to it either. This can also be a reason why some are reluctant to try makeup. We think that some people are going to make those comments. You know, the slightly uncomfortable, not necessarily insulting, but kind of weirdly condescending comments. “Oh, wow are you wearing eyeliner? That’s…different.” You feel like people will feel shocked if you suddenly decide to put makeup on! No one wants to deal with that.
Or maybe you think experimenting with makeup will feel like it means you’re not satisfied with how you look. Maybe you feel like you’re throwing away your natural self, and giving into the trap the capitalistic beauty industry has set up! If I cover my face, doesn’t that mean I don’t truly love myself, and I’m ultimately falling into the false narrative that the beauty companies are painting?
There can be a lot of conversations, debates, and discussions that go in our heads when we want to try makeup but have our doubts and fears.
Don’t worry, if you simply want to try makeup- then that’s it. You want to try makeup.
There’s nothing wrong with that!
Just as others like to experiment with their fashion, shoes, or electronics, you just want to explore a different part of yourself! It can be used as a form of self expression.
The truth is, other people won’t really care what you do with yourself. Or, even if they do make comments, it’s important to remember their opinions don’t hold any value if it’s not constructive. They have the right to their opinions, just as you have the right to your own actions. Basically, it doesn’t matter what other people may think, it’s your life and it’s your right to have fun!
Once you get the confidence to try and get started, it can be intimidating when there are so many different brands, makeup brushes, techniques, and shades. When I first started it seemed like it would be impossible to learn everything and narrow down the beauty items that would work for me when the internet suggests so many different products. Even searching “Basic Makeup products” can be overwhelming in 2020! Don’t worry, over time you’ll get in tune with what you like.
The best thing to do is start one by one! You need to build your confidence, and use your curiosity to your benefit. There has to be a reason why you want to try makeup in the first place. Maybe you saw a picture of someone eyeshadow on instagram and really wanted to try it. Or maybe you saw a beautiful glowy look on a t.v. show you were watching and would like to have that for yourself!
Rather than fearing what you don’t know, use your inspiration as a starting point and try to re-create that look in your own way!
Also, don’t do too much makeup research. That can be absolutely draining. At first, I would try to list all of the lipsticks, blushes, palette’s that beauty guru’s on youtube recommended. Honestly, everyone prefers different things, and the best way to get to know what you like is to bite the bullet and pick something.
I would start with drugstore items, and once you feel comfortable handling those makeup items then go ahead and try higher end products.
Some basic makeup items to have on hand:
Mascara (Maybeline, L’oreal, and NYX have a great selection)
Eyeshadow (WetnWild and colourpop have great palettes to sample)
Eyeliner (NYX, Elf)
Blush (ELF, WetnWild)
Highlighter (WetnWild & colourpop)
Lipstick (honestly this one is a fun one! Go wild and just pick shades from any brands! Colourpop is a favorite but it’s hard choosing shades online)
Foundation (a little tougher, so sample any drugstore shades and finishes that work. It may take a lot of experimenting, but hey that’s the fun of it!)
Brushes/Makeup tools: (Ecotools, Real Techniques brushes)
And remember, if you start experimenting with makeup, there will be a learning curve. There will be a lot of experimentation necessary to see what you like. For some reason, the makeup that looks good on other people won’t suit your personal preferences, and that’s when you have to hunt around for different shades, and types of makeup. Don’t be frustrated if the look you’re going for is not the look that you’ve painted on your face. It’s okay, like with all things you need to start somewhere and practice to get great at it.
As you start and go through with your makeup journey, remember to have fun and don’t give up immediately. Trying makeup does not have to be scary. It’s a form of self-expression! Do what makes you happy, and do what feeds your curiosity.
Eventually, you’ll find that one lipstick shade that makes you feel like you can crush the world! Or figure out which shade of blush can make you look in the mirror and sing!
Even if you’ve started “later” than other people, doesn’t mean you can’t start at all!