Growing up, I discovered make up a little later than my friends. I wasn’t really interested in the girly mags that gave away a free eye shadow with every issue. I was more likely to be found with my nose in a trashy novel or a copy of Empire magazine, so make up and boys just whooshed right by me. I went to an all girls school where you were either in the cool gang or you weren’t but everyone just got on with getting by. Make up was for those girls who had boyfriends from the local grammar school and went to socials and pubs (if the could steal their older sibling’s ID). Not me.
So make up has never been about impressing boys (honest) or hiding flaws for me (or so I thought). I used make up like a weapon; a self-taught camouflage. It was all panto-larks and nonsense fun for me when I whipped out an eye liner pencil. I went to gigs as often as I could in my late teens and it was just part of the glamour of going out. Make up was part of the character I was playing for the night and I loved it. I basically kept Barry M in business with my love of colour.
It was in the last few years that I realised I was using make up like a comfort blanket. It was my barrier against the world so they couldn’t see the ‘real me’. It took a few years but now, I barely wear make up. Maybe a little cover up when I’ve got a spot or some eye liner for special evenings out but aside from that; nothing.
It’s a revelation. I felt awful at first. Like a wino who had been told to knock the bottle on the head but I can’t believe I didn’t stop sooner. I’ve always had terrible issues with how I look and how I think the world sees me and the make up was just adding to that. Now, I feel like I can trust when people pay me a compliment and that they are really seeing me smile, not just the layers of gloss and glitter. I’ve even had my make up done by a professional at MAC to see how I should be doing it ‘properly’ but I still think I’m better with less slap on.
I know it’s not for everyone but having a day or two off in the week can really do you the world of good. Plus your skin will probably be thanking you too! Yes, I have blemishes, scars and dark marks but I’m lighter in my head now.