The other day I was googling 2016 holiday collection previews for Sephora. I wanted to see what sets and cool new releases would be coming out in the next few weeks. I had some luck but knew I should turn to Instagram, where there are accounts completely dedicated to this stuff- girls who get the scoop before the company is even ready to post about it, sometimes.
But… I couldn’t remember any of their account names. Because I had unfollowed them all.
I have loved makeup for years. I’m a classic girly girl (I cried when my grandmother bought me jeans and a tee shirt one time- I only wore dresses. I got in trouble in gym class because of my dresses-only lifestyle, until bike shorts were discovered) and feel completely comfortable in an Ulta or Sephora. I started this site as a makeup review blog. I have frequented all of the makeup subreddits on Reddit for years and lived for the Limecrime scandal, popular user Sssssamanthaaaa becoming a YouTube star, and all of the years of hyped collections, collabs, and new releases in the makeup world.
Recently, however, I wonder if I still own the title makeup addict, which used to be in my Instagram profile and used to be my favorite subreddit (I’m sorry for ignoring you, /r/makeupaddiction). I haven’t actually bought any new makeup in months, and although I’m aware of new releases (like the NikkieTutorials Too Faced palette, which was, hello, just like their Vegas Nay collab palette from last year) I never feel the urge to buy any. The next makeup purchase I’ll be making is another tube of mascara during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty Sale, because who can resist Tarte mascara for $10?
When I began thinking about the consumerism of makeup, the marketing, the complications with brand owners, cruelty to animals, and women’s relationship to makeup and gender roles that can be harmful (like how outside of clothing, generally/stereotypically, women have to wear high heels and makeup to impress higher ups at work especially in a corporate or political field, unlike men who can shave and slip on flat shoes and be good to impress anyone) (this is also related to how women have to perform emotional labor but men are often not expected to in the same way)… It makes me less eager to add to my collection. I have what I need to do my makeup, and keeping my collection bare bones helps me feel better about the world of makeup. I can look at it more critically and engage with it more thoughtfully when I am not also immersed in buying all the cutest, pinkest, newest, hottest releases companies can throw at me. I do understand the temptation, of course, and have been there myself, counting down days until something is released and swatching it eagerly in stores.
I don’t think someone who holds my position and has lost her Ulta Platinum status can still be a makeup addict. There isn’t really a word for someone who still watches YouTube beauty gurus (love Carli Bybel and Stephanie Nicole), still wears makeup, and is weary of that whole world. Yet that is how I would have to classify myself at this point, whatever that may be.
Other things to consider:
Needing makeup to cover things you’re self conscious about vs. wearing it for fun/because you want to; conventionally attractive people being the ones who get successful wearing makeup they don’t technically “need” on YouTube; Class Status, as the decision to be a “makeup addict” already implying you have the income to maintain purchasing new makeup; companies preying on those who purchase everything including limited releases that aren’t really limited at all; buying makeup to fill some kind of emotional hole; makeup as the easiest entryway to shopping addiction, as it doesn’t matter what you weigh or where you work, etc., and it is much cheaper than clothes or accessories and there’s always something new to add to your cart; fourteen year olds on Instagram commenting everywhere to check them out because they’re aspiring Make Up Artists, although they have no idea what an overflowing and difficult industry that is to crack…
A lot of that seems kind of problematic. But it’s just makeup! Until it’s not.
Thoughts? Is anyone else out there a former makeup addict? Is this my sociology degree getting to me again?