I have had an interest in makeup for as long as I can remember. One of my favourite things as a tiny kid was getting my mum to put on my makeup like hers. I was too little to actually have products applied so she would trace the lines of my face with her finger explaining what imaginary makeover was taking place.
Whilst I waited to be old enough to have my very own makeup I spent much of my time observing the women in my life; my mum has always had at least one lipstick in her handbag, my nan wouldn’t think of even answering the door without her face done, my auntie Melanie always wore vibrant blue eyeliner and my Auntie Arlene smelled of luxurious Chanel. As I watched them I wondered what my signature beauty style would be when I was grown up.
As I got older every birthday and Christmas I begged for more makeup and I still clearly remember when it was decided I was old enough to wear mascara, and the first time when I opened up black box with the Mac logo printed across it. These may seem like trivial moments, but for me they were my gateway into the creative outlet I had admired for so long.
It was not just the beauty aspect of makeup which fascinated me; special effects, sci-fi movies and hospital dramas were big in my household and I loved nothing more than trying to work out how they had created such real looking fantasy makeup. I spent hours smearing eyeshadow and lipstick all over my face to look like a car crash victim or an alien.
My relationship with makeup began to change as a teenager and instead of being fun I strived for perfection. Despite this shift my enthusiasm didn’t waver, I still loved to experiment with new looks but it also became a mask for me to hide behind at a time when I felt very insecure. Once you build such a thick layer of protection it is hard to simply wipe it off and accept what is underneath.
I didn’t realise that makeup had become such a big part of me until two years ago when the no makeup selfie dominated social media. I was nominated multiple times, but the anxiety of putting my bare face online hit hard. I took at least 50 pictures and cried, feeling the pressure of posting something I was not comfortable with. Never being one to do something I don’t want to, I posted on Facebook my reason for not joining in with the campaign and though people were understanding, I felt like a failure.
For me this was a turning point, I did not realise how reliant I was on the makeup I applied daily. The products that were once a source of fun had become a dependancy.
This was just one of many walls I had put up and I knew that being so insular was not making me happy. The no makeup selfie came and went like most internet fads but it was a catalyst for me and was one of the first steps in making my blog public. The more I wrote, and engaged with people, my confidence grew and in the past 18 months I have gone from covering my face in photographs to filming with no makeup on.
It was not an overnight transformation, and though makeup is something I have a passion for, I doubted whether anyone would want to hear about it from me. I didn’t think my looks or knowledge could match up to the traditional beauty blogger aesthetic but then I thought fuck it my blog is about my life and makeup is a large part of that so even if only one person watched them then it was something I wanted to share.
Making beauty videos may seem vain and pointless to many people, but seeing myself on camera weekly has made me realise what my face actually looks like. I know this sounds incredibly weird as this has been my face for over 20 years however when you have body dysmorphia or low self esteem you don’t see yourself in the same way as others do and learning to accept yourself is a long process.
Not only has filming beauty videos been a huge learning curve but I have also enjoyed finding the fun in makeup once more, and instead of sticking to a routine I have been branching out with different products and looks.
I think that it is easy to judge beauty bloggers, selfie takers and YouTubers as self obsessed, but for me delving into the world of beauty has been nothing but a positive form of self expression and though I won’t be popping even as far as the corner shop without makeup on anytime soon I now have an outlet which has allowed me to build my confidence.