Ever since I was in grammar school, my mother would powder me up and add blush to my cheeks before walking to school. She would say, “This is so you won’t look so pale. Que linda. (How pretty).” I looked in the mirror and felt beautiful with my Cover Girl-covered face. There I was, a bilingual kid with an accent who wanted acceptance more than anything else in the world. If my mother told me that makeup made me look prettier-I believed her. What I was unaware of was how those early years would mark my relationship with makeup and its relation to beauty as an adult.
When I think about not wearing make-up publicly now, a voice inside of me is saying, ‘no just some under-eye concealer, mascara and lip gloss please!’ I should be able to walk around barefaced from time to time, but why don’t I feel comfortable? I don’t lack inner beauty or self-confidence. So what is the problem here? After reading a women’s magazine blog post, I sent an email out to some of my close girlfriends asking them to challenge that voice along with me and not wear makeup in public. No one wanted to join my made up makeup revolution.
As a Latina, a lot of my earliest life lessons with beauty and makeup were cultural. We take pride in looking good for ourselves and others. It is ingrained in us from the time we are able to walk, but the bigger picture is also society’s view on the ‘power of beauty’. We are living in a society that teaches little girls that looks are a part of who we are and sometimes, that looks are everything. Ad campaigns, magazines, and reality television shows don’t help the idea either.
After taking the challenge on my own, I realized that the voice or idea that we can’t be beautiful without makeup is conditioned. It runs deep and normally it takes looking in the mirror and talking to that little girl with the Cover Girl-covered face. There is nothing wrong with makeup. It sparks our creativity and makes us feel good, but when we become dependent on it, then we need to have a little makeup challenge–even if it means just going to the grocery store without anything (and I mean anything) on. I challenge you to do the same.