It appears as though the popularity of makeup only seems to be growing recently, and particularly in my home as my girls embed themselves in the dreaded teens. They’ve launched a makeup revolution and dragged me with them. And why not – makeup is fun, it’s transformative and it requires skill and practice to perfect. It can change not just the way you look but the way you feel, even the way you view your surroundings. I’ve recently become obsessed with false eyelashes. I’m blaming my girls—let’s go with that. When I look out from underneath long, luxurious lashes I see a rose-colored world before me. I’m inspired to seek out beauty and loveliness wherever I can. And bat my lashes, there is definitely a lot of batting going on.
Makeup and beauty are related, but I don’t want to conflate the two—they aren’t synonymous. Beauty has different meanings across cultures, over different time periods, even from one individual to the next. Makeup, although a tool to achieve certain beauty standards, holds its own place. If you think of beauty as a city, makeup is a building in one neighborhood of that city, perhaps an adorable two-floor walk up with bay windows and excellent lighting. Using makeup is just an incredibly personal act. Anyone who does or has done it, probably remembers with a certain amount of warm, happy sentiment, learning to apply and wear it, and, like a tattoo or a keepsake, a particular beauty product carries with it an immediate recollection of certain feelings and experiences.
Our attitude about makeup and beauty changes over the course of our own lives. What we may have loved about makeup in our teens and twenties, the fact that it makes you look older, more mature or more rebellious, is no longer something that appeals to us. But the intensely personal nature of makeup, the fact that it markedly changes how we look and feel, affects our level of confidence, and how much or how little to wear is such an individualized choice, that it infuses each tube of lipstick, fluffy brush and eyeshadow pot with a deeply touching degree of meaning.
In my upcoming contemporary release, Positively Pippa, the heroine is a girly-girl, who loves makeup, fashion and everything flirty, frilly and fun. She is based on TLC’s Stacy London (host of What Not To Wear and Love, Lust or Run.) Her appreciation for aesthetics has in part inspired me to experiment with makeup. When I apply false lashes, which is by no means an easy feat and requires a steady hand and a delicate approach with the glue (that crap gets everywhere), I can’t help but think of Pippa and my time with her. When I brought her to life in the book, she appeared at my side as an exciting, bubbly BFF, inspiring me to push my boundaries and explore new parts of myself. From this point forward, whenever I put on, or even see, a pair of jaunty eyelashes in their little purple box, I’ll think of Pippa and her affect on me. The way she exhorts her “clients” to be the best version of themselves.
Famous makeup-fan Tammy Faye Baker is known for saying “Honey, I am going to my grave with my eyelashes and my makeup on.” That’s a woman who knows who she is! The way you feel and think about makeup, your relationship to it, defines who you are in so many ways. Your makeup is a narrative of your own individual, unique truth. At the end of the day when you take off your makeup and lashes, make sure that you’ve written the story you want to tell, because that’s all that matters.