Outfit Post: Kiss and make-up - what's your relationship with cosmetics?

Weeks ago, I embarked on a trip to the mall to replace my beloved MAC Viva Glam lipstick (whose loss I lamented here.) I'd planned to breeze into the MAC store, grab my desired lipstick, whip out my debit card, and leave. But somehow, in between my lipstick and the cash register, I got distracted by the glorious display of cosmetics. Oh, pretty pretty eyeshadows! Oh, sparkly lip glosses! And eeew, Lady Gaga's lipstick (which, I'm sorry, looks like foundation, and why in God name would ANYBODY want to slather foundation on their LIPS??) A "helpful" sales associate informed me that I absolutely needed lip liner to accompany my Viva Glam. And as long as I was there, I might as well pick up some foundation - see those little crow's lines around my eyes? And pressed powder would help set the foundation...need that too. And blush, because the foundation made me look kind of washed out. By the time I left I was $120 poorer and so heavily painted I could hardly recognize myself.

Back in January, a study of 3,000 women conducted by Superdrug found that one in three women refuse to go out in public without wearing makeup. As in, they can't even run out to the grocery store or to pick up their kid without makeup on. Nearly half of all women say they prefer to wear cosmetics than to show their bare face. But what's the most shocking of all: one in ten women polled said they would never ever let their partner see them without a full face of makeup on.

Here's some other interesting results of the study:
  • The average woman waits 2.5 months before going makeup-less in front of her partner.
  • 14% of women get out of bed early to put on makeup before their partner wakes up.
  • Six in 10 women will not go to work without makeup.
  • Nearly 25% believe they would be ignored for a promotion if they didn't wear makeup.
  • 37% think their managers would assume they didn’t take care of themselves if they didn't wear makeup.

I was never really into wearing make-up. In high school, when girls  traditionally become infatuated by things like multi-colored eye shadows and bright pink blush, I stuck to the rare swipe of Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers, preferably in a sugary artificial flavor like bubble gum. In my eyes, cosmetics seemed reserved for grown-up, adult women, the kind that got bi-weekly blow-outs and never, ever had runs in their tights. I was fascinated by these woman, whom I quietly observed during my commute into Manhattan. In their glossy red lipstick, they were utterly sophisticated and glamorous. I imagined they lived in full-floor penthouses and spent their free time perusing antique furniture, drinking espresso and hosting elaborate dinner parties where they ate canapes and discussed surrealistic art.

But there were other women who wore so much makeup that they looked embalmed. One of those was my own mother. Her sharp, spidery lashes, coated by sticky layers of mascara and aggressively contoured cheeks, frightened me. And her cosmetics collection - overflowing bags of shadows and polishes and lipsticks - would have easily classified her as a hoarder. So, in fear of becoming like her, I stuck to my lip gloss. But eventually I married, turned thirty, and started wearing mascara, which was my gateway drug to lipstick, eyeliner and eyeshadow, and finally wound my way to foundation and blush. And now, I am one of those women who will not leave the house without my face on (as my mother was fond of saying.)

Sara Wolverson of Superdrug told the Daily Mail: "For many women, putting their makeup on is animportant part of their day, and the thought of people seeing them without can be horrifying. We know that when it comes to cutting back, cosmetics are seen as an essential. Wearing and buying cosmetics is not about vanity. It’s about giving a woman confidence to succeed in every area of their life."

I confess that in my Nars' Orgasm blush (which I swear I do not buy solely based on name) I feel pretty. Better yet, putting on make-up is a fun activity. I like trying out new lipsticks, and blending eye shadows to create a smoky eye, and experimenting with different colors of liner. The artistry of applying cosmetics is appealing, as is the playing of color and technique. But I don't feel like I have to be "done" all the time, and I certainly don't believe that I'm "horrifying" without my mascara. I have a few Urban Decay shadow palettes, one MAC lipstick, two Maybelline eye liners, a Dior Show mascara, a MAC foundation, and the aforementioned Nars blush, and that's it. Compared to this video featuring a woman in one years' worth of cosmetics, I'm under-performing. 

So what do you think about this study? How much makeup do you wear on a daily basis? When did you start experimenting with cosmetics? Do you regularly leave the house without makeup on? Are you self-conscious without it? 

Thrifted vintage top; thrifted vintage skirt; Michael Kors espadrille platforms; thrifted belt; Charming Charlie bracelets; Forever 21 hoops; Michael Kors rose gold watch


  1. I guess I am a member of the minute minority who doesn't put stock in makeup. I have, like most, gone through an experimental phase in high school which was moderate to say the least. Over the years I have accumulated a fair share of products which I never ever used. It took me almost two years to train myself to walk straight past the make up display without as much as a flinch.
    I frequently venture out into public without as much as a mascara and I don't feel the least bit self conscious about it. However I didn't swear off makeup forever, I occasionally wear it when I go out in the evenings and I always wear it to formal events.

  2. I work from home, so I usually don't wear makeup. If we are going out to dinner, or if I have a long day out shopping or with friends I'll put some on. I feel like I look friendlier, more approachable with makeup on. But it's just a little mascara, shadow and eyeliner for the most part, maybe a little tinted Burts Bees on my lips.

  3. I was raised in a southern Christian family. Big discussions if 1/2 inch heels were appropriate for 11 year old. But when I turned 12 my mom pulled me aside and told me it was ok to now wear make up. Weird, I hadn't even thought about it. Still defies logic she did that. I'm 41 and still try to achieve a natural look. I don't like looking super made up. I go to the gym everyday without make up and am SHOCKED, when women can make it through a boot camp class with hair intact and red lipstick solidly in place (seriously how do they do that?). I don't mind the stuff, kind of like it really, but it never had a very firm grasp in my life.

  4. first off, adoring this outfit. i love how you're mixing three prints, but it feels more like two because the print on the skirt is so tiny. and the way the shoes work with the belt? a wonderful creation of an outfit I tell ya.

    as for makeup, I was always fascinated with it, and remember watching my mom apply it as a child. she's the type that doesn't feel pretty without it, but will go to the gym, run errands, etc. without it. But to work? fogeddaboutit. she's also pretty amazing at makeup... not considering herself artistic, but she definitely is with her face.

    it's interesting... living in the bay area and working with medical providers, nurses, researches and academics, it seems like makeup isn't really a big deal. the fact that I wear it most of the time (and get kinda funky with it) is kinda rare... and sometimes I worry I won't be taken as seriously or as professionally because of my eyeliner.

    but I go makeup free when I'm running short on time, or just don't feel like it. even though it feels nice to be bare faced and be able to rub my eyes whenever, I do get self-conscious, especially if I'm sleep deprived... cause it shows. I've had under eye circles since I was a kid, a genetic thing that gets dramatically worse when I've had too little sleep. and so I'll feel great, then catch myself in the florescent lights in the bathroom and start to feel a bit self-conscious.

    but I'm working on that. because that's just part of my face, man! I do go bare faced (or just a bright lip or a swipe of mascara) for the most part on the weekends.

  5. I don't really like wearing make-up because my skin is very clear and evenly toned; but, it's also very sensitive. Most make-ups cause an itchy, blotchy rash to break out over my entire face. I certainly leave the house without make-up and go to work without it on, too. When I do wear make-up, I love Coty's translucent powder for sensitive skin, light mauve blush, OPI's nail envy polish, Maybelline's clear mascara for my eyebrows, Almay's hypoallergenic mascara in brown black, and Merle Norman's eyeshadow in Sunbeam. I prefer the naturally polished look to the caked-on look. But, I agree that in a professional office atmosphere, make-up is a necessity.

  6. Great post. Again! I have no compunction about going out of the house without make-up. But I'm kind of expected to wear it for work and performing of course. Also, I'm so pale that I tend to wash out so there's that. I always felt if people or even if I get used to seeing me without make-up then I won't feel like I HAVE to wear it to be acceptable. I do LOVE MAC LIPSTICK THOUGH. Ps I just wear this tinted moisturizer from the drugstore that adjusts to your skincolor and LOVE it.

  7. On a day to day basis I don't wear makeup. My dad once joked that seeing a distant relative without her usual face full of heavily applied product was horrifying. I decided I never want people to think that I look plain or ugly without my makeup so everyone gets to see me without it.

    That said I was recently contacted to make an appearance on the morning news so I grabbed a beauty blogger friend and we hit up some makeup studios and beauty counters so I can look my best on camera. The cosmetics boutique we went to did a full face of makeup for me and I felt so damn pretty and instead of looking like a colorful freak fest I just felt like a better version of me. I can definitely see why women become somewhat addicted to makeup, whether or not I start wearing it everyday is up for debate but I feel better about slapping some on after having been told the proper way to do it.

  8. As I have gotten older I find my complexion has not done well. I'm using the make up base, a L'Oreal product, to even out my skin tone. I have tiny eyes with blond lashes. Tiny lips. Round face. Thank goodness I can improve some on nature with makeup.

  9. Less is more for me.

    On a regular work or weekend day : Nars orgasm is a winner and other than that, it's just mascara, maybe a smudge of eyeliner + lip gloss. 3 minutes is all my make-up "routine" usually gets.
    The most important part being moisturizer.

    For a dressier occasion, I will take time with some eyeliner + lipstick and maybe a touch of eyeshadow.

    IMHO, heavy make-up is only suited for photography - moving or still.

    + I would wager that our partners prefer a clean, naturally clear skinned fresh face to heavy make-up. Smudges of color/product on clothing, bedding, glassware, etc = no bueno.

  10. I'm not going to lie, moving to a place with such extreme seasons has made me care less and less about my makeup. I may put some powder on to reduce the glare, but I sweat too much for foundation to stay put very long. I adore my mascara, and I carry lip gloss for important moments, but in the summer I sweat and in the winter, my scarf tends to take off any makeup when wrapped around my face. I've grown to accept that this is the way it is and love my face... though I did freak out in the bathroom at work when I thought my face was dirty. It turned out to be freckles. Ha - love it!

  11. Yes, the makeup conundrum. Fun to put on, as you so ably describe, and a big fat pain to take off, especially the mascara and eyeliner. But since I found a cheap lip "shimmer" with very faint color that actually prevents chapping, I have worn it every day and some nights.

    Since I found white hairs in my eyebrows, I have applied powder daily, and I usually use dark mascara and some smudgy eyeliner to bring out my eyes.

    In my youth, I wore blush, but it seems to look contrived now; I find that even tinted moisturizer, the closest thing to foundation I was willing to try, brings out every wrinkle I own, so I skip it completely.

    And I envy my Swedish friend, who must be 70, and who never wears a speck of makeup and looks simply radiant whenever I see her. Her and her silver hair (I look awful with salt-and-pepper, so I continue to dye . . . reluctantly) and her sometimes shiny, always glowing complexion. Of course, she is usually smiling and enjoying herself, too.

  12. Great post! Love reading everyone's comments too. I almost always wear makeup (except when working out). Clear, even skin has never been a part of my life--I'm envious of those of you who already have it without foundation! Most of my friends don't wear foundation, but I wear it every day. I strive to wear makeup in such a way that you wouldn't realize I am even wearing it. I very often go without eye shadow, and I could take or leave mascara on any given day. But foundation? Gotta have it. On the rare occasion I'm not wearing it, it's because I'm having a miraculous good skin day, which is once in a blue moon. I wear it because I think it's helps people focus on ME, and not my bad skin. P.S. I feel the need to add that my husband likes it best when I don't wear makeup...so I'm certain some of this is due to my own insecurities (we all have them!)

  13. I wear makeup every day. If I am in a hurry and have to leave the house without time to apply makeup, I just throw on a pair of sunglasses and some red clear lipgloss - no one would guess I didn't have a full face on! For work, I wear a fully made-up face - foundation, powder, blush, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, lipstick or gloss. I can apply in about 7 minutes total. On the weekends, depending on what I'm doing, I might wear a full face or just lots of mascara and lipgloss. My lashes are dark but thin, and I love the way mascara emphasizes my eyes. I think makeup should be about enhancing your features, not covering them up. Even though I use quite a few products, the end result is pretty natural because I use a light hand and colors close to my natural tones. My favorite lipcolors are those closest to my own lips, but with a little shine. I use mostly Clinique products for face, Kat Von D shadows, L'oreal eyeliners, and Bare Escentuals Buxom mascara. Lipglosses -anything and everything.

  14. i'll leave the house without makeup with no problem, but i get weird about going to work without foundation, blush, mascara, etc. i have perpetual dark circles under my eyes & i don't want to look tired and frumpy around my coworkers.

    i'm of two minds when it comes to makeup. i really love the artsy side of it, but i also have a tendency to become too dependent upon it to "fix my flaws". i'm constantly trying to find the right balance.

  15. the leopard belt makes your outfit. I wear very little besides moisturizer. I think I would shock people if I wore makeup!

  16. Funny you wrote this, because I wrote a post on makeup the same day! (http://foreveroutofplace.blogspot.com/2011/07/about-makeup.html). It was sparkled my Sal at Already pretty post, which I cite.
    It took me quite some time to reach some kind of equilibrium. The problem is,the industry try to push you to buy an entire set of stuff every season, but if you look well you can do with what you already have. Plus, I bet lots of what people buy is left unused...

  17. I think most studies are fucking stupid. There's lies, damn lies, statistics and stupid studies.

    I run errands and go to the gym without applying MAC's Lasting Lust lip color, but when I want to kick ASS, I wear it. So there.

  18. I'm not an avid makeup wearer anymore, but the one thing I cannot go with out wearing and reapplying throughout the day is my cherry Chapstick. In high school I went through my phase of "putting on my face" every day before school, sometimes being too liberal with the foundation and looking like I had a mask on. By my senior year I had given up on liquid foundation (too heavy) and stuck to powder. The brief times after high school I tried liquid foundation was not pretty. I think that now after years of experimenting I found my own perfect balance in makeup...Aveeno tinted moisturizer (MUCH lighter than liquid foundation IMO), Covergirl blush, and my Chapstick. I'm not a fan of lipstick and it's very rare that I'll wear mascara.
    I only wear makeup when I actually have somewhere to go and if I'll be out all day. And if I'm not feeling too lazy to put it on. Sometimes when I go out I'll just put on my blush and Chapstick. Back when I used to wear makeup everyday it did feel weird to leave the house without it, but after going without it for awhile I didn't think twice about it.
    As far as the study goes, I'm surprised that there are women who will wake up early to put on their makeup, just so their husband doesn't see them barefaced. No judgement or anything, I'm just too damn lazy to get up that early to put makeup on!

  19. Thanks for featuring Charming Charlie in your blog!! We have added your blog to our blog mentions page on our website. It’s a page we created exclusively for showcasing Charming Charlie blog mentions!

  20. I don't have a problem going to work without make up, or going out, or anywhere else. If I donn't feel like it, I don't wear make up for days, and don't think I'm less attractive. Actually I don't even think about it:)
    Usually I put my lipstick and blush on.


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