I was never a confident teenager. I always felt my appearance was plain; I wasn’t ugly and I wasn’t pretty. At least, not pretty like the girls in magazines or in my classes.
I’d spend hours flicking through glossy pages, reading about the latest trends in fashion and makeup, reading how to get flawless skin and which mascaras to use. It was pretty and creative.
I was inspired, I was intrigued and I loved the world makeup inhabited.
I started using makeup in the 8th grade. I was 14 and my skin was breaking out. I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable going to school. I knew it was normal, but I couldn’t shake the feeling.
With my mums help, I began to use concealer and powder. My face wasn’t flawless, it was still hormone filled teenage skin, but I felt better about it. Soon after, I began using mascara and then eye-shadow after receiving some as a gift. I used pink or gold eye shadow daily because it looked natural and made my eyes pop.
Using makeup made me feel good and more confident in my skin. I didn’t talk much in high school, I was shy and would often clam up when asked questions in class. Applying that little bit of colour in the morning helped me be a little braver.
I brought my first expensive eye-shadow palette in college. My best friend introduced me to the world of high-end makeup and we would ooh and ahh over the pretty pictures. Soon we had the Urban Deacy Naked 3 Palette in hand after getting a friend to buy it in Melbourne. From there, my love for makeup only grew and so did my collection. I began to use liquid foundation, bronzer, blush, immersing myself into the world of makeup.
I would experiment with looks and colours, matching my makeup to my outfit and my mood. It became a way to relax in the morning and prepare for the day, a way to feel good when I felt flat and a way to be creative.
College was the first time I really felt pretty and it was because I could express and be myself.
My makeup was never perfectly blended, I’d never re-apply my lipstick and I never looked flawless but that didn’t matter. My self esteem was boosted and protected and with that help, my confidence grew.
Now, I wear makeup less. I’m happy to say I’m comfortable in my own skin even when the flaws are exposed. Using makeup helped me develop my confidence and because of that I can walk out of the house with no makeup on; something that wouldn’t have happened five years ago.
Author Courtney Summers once wrote “My dad used to say makeup was a shallow girls sport, but it’s not. It’s armour.”
There’s a stereotype surrounding makeup lovers; that they’re fake, vain or superficial. The truth is, we’re none of those things. We’re just people looking to express ourselves, be ourselves. It’s calming, it’s relaxing, it’s helping anxiety. Makeup is an art form. It’s applying armour to protect yourself and get through the day. It’s confidence in a bottle.
Love, Erin xx