As a child, I often saw my mother carry a round black plastic case that was small enough to fit into the palm of her hand. When it was unlatched, her reflection shun in a mirror which was secured inside the cases cover. On the bottom half of the case was a soft sponge which lay in the midst of a brown powder. After she took an informative look at her face in the small mirror, she would dab the sponge in the powder and then softly pat it against her face. One day, out of curiosity, I asked her why she often applied the powder. She said that it gave her face a shine free look. Her face powder was the only makeup that I ever saw at home. Though at that age, I didn’t understand the significance of makeup, her answer made me realize that shiny faces were deemed unattractive.

My parents never seemed to concern themselves with makeup. At church and school, women were encouraged to stay as natural as possible without makeup and jewellery. Parents were especially encouraged to avoid using extensions and relaxers in their daughter’s hair. As a result, I grew up with little to no interest in any of those products. My mother relaxed my hair when I was in my second year of high school because she couldn’t manage my natural hair any longer. Though I was attending an all-girl high school where makeup, clothes, hair and boys were the constant talk, I still had no interest in makeup and attended my prom with a bare face although I suffered from acne.

In college, I found myself in a class with majority female classmates. It was then I began to feel insecure to the point where I felt I may have required makeup. On the days before graduation, my older sister encouraged me to use some for the ceremony so that I could hide my flaws. Though we all grew up with the same principles, she had a different perspective and found product enhancement necessary. I rejected her proposal and only went as far as wearing braids and getting my eyebrows done (for the second time….ever). I later purchased the Butterfly Lash Macara by L’Oreal Paris but I could never use it for more than two hours before feeling the need to wash it off due to smudging.

Now, the pressure is greater than ever. I am in my 20’s and am aware that it is inappropriate, unattractive and in some places, unprofessional to attend events without a little product enhancement. At this point, makeup tutorials are as relevant as hair and cooking tutorials and just about everyone who can wield a powder brush consider themselves to be professional makeup artists. Some men encourage and go as far as to demand their mate to wear makeup whenever they are in public. At work, the men would rather make passes and give complements to a woman with rosy red lips and pink cheeks than a woman without and among themselves, the women seem to challenge each other with their various looks.

It is almost impossible to feel confident in this world where looking like yourself is seen as ugly especially if you never had much self-confidence to begin with. Almost. I have battled through countless insecurities and am still not completely confident in myself. But with each stage, I tried to find ways to combat doubt and feel more comfortable in my own skin. For me, it is necessary that I learn to love and appreciate my true self instead of hiding and falling in love with the opposite.

Surround yourself with people who love you more than your products and love yourself even more than them. It is easier for a group of women to replicate the look in a makeup tutorial than it is for them to replicate a person’s natural facial features.

Is makeup a part of your daily routine or do you save it for special occasions?