The magic of makeup

Is it time for a return to the world of glamour, glitter, and sun-kissed skin tones?


Since it’s Week 8 and work ethics are dangling by their last threads, I’m finding myself spending more and more time in libraries, absent-mindedly people-watching. I suppose the ultimate hope is that I’ll miraculously transform into a No-Face from Spirited Away and inhale someone else’s work ethic. Although if I were to become a No-Face, I suppose I could simply inhale my supervisors and thus eliminate the need to write the essays in the first place, but anyhow, I digress.

The point is: after spending excessive chunks of time gazing, occasionally glaring at, and almost always gushing over someone in my eye-line, I’ve stumbled upon the realisation that makeup is a marvel that must be plopped onto a pedestal with a whole flock of fangirls flinging roses at it.

That's not to say I'm going to start smearing it on my face anytime soon. I just think the twinge of judgement with which people say "how can she be bothered to put that much makeup on at 9am?" should be exchanged for a twinge of admiration. And I was hoping a little exposé of the superpowers secretly harboured by the world of cosmetics might help.

Superpower number one: Counteracting the Cambridge effect

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It was only after meeting a sun-kissed friend from beyond the bubble that I began to notice the ghostly complexion Cambridge cultivates. This effect, it seems, can be quite fruitfully compared to that of the quintessential biology experiment involving the observation of plants as they attempt to grow in and out of sunlight.

Like the little shoots in the shade, the student body, in spending the daylight hours either in a library or tucked up in bed (depending on the strength of one’s psyche), has been stripped of sufficient sunlight and thus given a slight phantasmal hue.

I myself happen to be revelling in this development: not only does it fulfil a long-held fantasy of suddenly finding myself in the world of Twilight (yes, I'm aware that I'm one of the very *very* few still harbouring such a fantasy), but it also means I no longer have to look at irksome tan lines that I'm just itching to fill in with a paint brush.

So I'm happy to lose the tan that made me feel like an unevenly cooked biscuit anyway, and I'm usually too absorbed by my own inner monologue to care about my parade of stress-induced pimples that light up lecture halls like Rudolph’s nose did Christmas night. But if someone else would rather restore the lost colour to their cheeks and cover over their stress-ridden chin, why ever shouldn't they?

Superpower number two: Punching through the patriarchy

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To realise the idiocy of a moral suspicion towards makeup, we need only hop back into history (that being American history, although I suppose each Starbucks coffee bought with apple pay of course makes such a distinction less relevant. Again, I digress.)

It seems men of the early nineteenth century actually tossed away their powder and paint as a means of appearing honest in the business world. I guess one could say it almost sounds a little like…what was that word? Ah, yes. Manipulation. And surely feigned trustworthiness is far more unsettling than a sparkly golden eyelid clearly advertising itself as such?

Obviously it would be absurd to claim all those who don’t wear makeup have such a machiavellian agenda. Some people just feel comfortable in their own skin. Others – like me – might simply have the organisational capacity of a teaspoon and thus don’t want to pile anything else onto an already frantic morning routine. But why should either be superior to art?

Superpower number three: General dazzling

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I mean, who can actually cast their eyes over a soft glittery eyelid without wanting to curl up and fall asleep in it? And who can glance over blended blue hues without wanting to snatch up a towel and leap to the sea? (I’m aware that the answer here is highly likely to be quite a few, but to all those who relate: welcome, kindred spirits!)

And going through an entire day with artwork on your face is also no easy feat, as anyone who's ever hidden in a bathroom after an uncomfortable social exchange, lamenting "why why WHY did I have to say *that* though", and burrowing their face into their hands, only to emerge from said bathroom with dark and glittery streaks across that face, will know.

And there we have it: the magic of maquillage. It can channel the power of the sun, punch through the patriarchy like brass knuckles, and dazzle the socks off those surrounding you.

My admiration of these artsy types is of course unlikely to become imitation anytime soon – an eyelid could never be as golden as those extra minutes of sleep – but my point is that we should all be free to turn ourselves into human cakes, if we so desire, or save the extra pennies for real cakes. And we should be free to do either without judgement.