After a while, I noticed he had been staring at me for a few minutes. I imagined he just wanted to see how the ‘deception’ was achieved, but he had a whole other idea in mind.
As I put finishing touches on my face, he scoffed and said – “you know, I don’t like makeup. I don’t like makeup at all. So I don’t know who you are doing this for.” Was I shocked? yes. Was I offended? no. I just wondered why he would think it was for him. “What makes you think this makeup is for you? Can’t I just want to put on makeup? Does it have to be for you?” to which he replied, “Is that not what you ladies do? And the funny thing is that we don’t even care…’sha’ paint let’s be going“. I decided to ignore it and just get ready, so I don’t get irritated and not enjoy my movie.
The funny thing is…that was not the first time I’ve had that kind of conversation. It often leaves me asking if men think we wear makeup for them. I know why I apply makeup; it makes me feel good, boosts my confidence and can be very relaxing.
It also got me thinking – do other women, like me, know why they wear makeup? Or do they do it simply because it’s “what women do?” Is using makeup viewed as something as natural as having your menses? Do we think we have to wear makeup? I really wanted to find out because some women treat wearing makeup like it’s a 9-5 job they hate.
So to get my answers, I asked a few friends and acquaintances why they wear makeup. These were their answers.
1.To look better than the next girl
As much as we might hate to admit it, some women use makeup as a weapon of warfare. This came from my friend Temi. She thinks women look at makeup this way – the more defined their eyebrows, the matter the lipstick, the more highlighted the face, the better you look in comparison to the next girl.
Don’t get her wrong, it’s not for the attention of men. She thinks women do it just to show “that you’re the baddest around“. “If I’m going out with my girls, we always try to outdo each other. They’re my friends oh, but I must look the best, and they have the same mentality. So at the end of the day we come out looking all glam and ready to outshine each other. It’s healthy competition though, limbs aren’t lost or anything.”
It’s weird, but I feel like I have experienced this. You know how you would walk right past a girl and for some reason she would size you up so much that people would ask if you know her? Temi might have a point there.
2.To show you’re on trend
Every now and then there’s a new trend that everyone is in on. Busayo calls it the pure-water mentality. It could be bubble/hump nails, crop tops, sheer dresses, coloured braids, you name it; once a hot new trend hits the streets, everyone is on board.
According to Busayo – “When makeup started becoming really popular, everyone was on it. Women feel the need to show that they are in on what’s hot right now…just like how we all used to wear bandannas. They want to take a makeup selfie, they want to have before & after photos, they want to apply a lipstick and take a selfie with the bottle, and they want to blog about it. It’s almost the same as everyone wanting to be on Snapchat or have a funny Instagram handle. It’s the need to belong to the ‘in-crowd.’“
3. For your man
I have a friend who hates makeup. I remember when I would fill in my eyebrows she would ask – ‘Don’t you have normal eyebrows. What do you need this pencil for?’
But after she started dating this one guy, I noticed she was more on ‘fleek’ than I was. She now uses foundation, concealer, she highlights & contours, applies false lashes and even watches Youtube makeup tutorials.
When I asked what changed her mind she said – “Look honey, in this 2015 when there are no men around, if your man likes makeup, just do it. I mean, all his exes were makeup lovers, and he complains when I don’t use any when we go out. So here I am, blending and highlighting like a crazy woman. As long as it makes him happy, I’ll keep doing it ‘abeg’, I can’t shout.“
4. To hide imperfections
Ever since Joy discovered the wonders of concealers, she has been a fanatic and isn’t ashamed to show it. She says – “Since I was in secondary school and spots invaded my face, I have been scrubbing, exfoliating, buffering, peeling and trying everything to clear them. Nothing has worked. So since I cannot get them off my face, I will hide them until I can. When I use concealers I get to feel what other girls feel – like my skin is clear and fresh. I don’t have to feel like the lesser woman in the room just because my face isn’t clear. I use concealers everyday and I am not stoppung anytime soon.” I can definitely relate.
5. For the love of it
Shewa is one person that I know loves makeup. Right from our days in university, she was always the one with the 411 on the latest makeup tricks and trends. I partly credit her for my growing interest in beauty.
For her, makeup is the best art form there is. “You know now, me and makeup are besties for life. I just love the fact that it makes you feel better, it’s my pick-me-up any day anytime. Honestly, makeup makes me feel like I am the most beautiful and special woman in a room; and that boosts my confidence because I can be really shy. So till death do us part babe.“
6. Mama says so
Hadiza grew up with makeup. Her mom wears it, so do her older sisters and aunts; so she wears makeup. At a point it was almost like a rite of passage for her and her mom would kill her if she saw Hadiza outside without some makeup. “When I turned 13 my mom bought me a makeup set for young adults. She encouraged me to wear it and explained how it adds to your beauty and virtue as a woman. I didn’t understand that. She made it seem as though it was required of me; like I HAD to wear it. It wasn’t until I grew up and moved out that I stopped wearing it everyday. But not if she’s around, she’d kill me.“
7. To make an entrance
For Laura, it’s all about the end game. Laura is typically like a lot of friends I have – they don’t usually have a lot of makeup on, but when they are going for a party or any type of event, it’s on.
They would either go to a makeup artist to get BEAT, or pull out all their acquired skills themselves. Laura says – “I can’t stand doing all that everyday. I feel like its too much work. I would usually just use my powder, fill in my brows, use a simple lipstick and I’m out. But when my boyfriend calls me and says ‘babe, we are going out’, then I get my makeup on. You’ve seen me do it now, didn’t you see my face on IG yesterday? Wait, are you still following me?“
We all have different reasons why we apply makeup – it could be to boost your confidence, to stand out, make a lasting impression or just because MAC’s Ruby Woo is your man’s favourite. You might not even like to wear makeup at all.
But whatever the reason, make sure it is one that is true to you.
Share with me – why do you love makeup?
Photo Credit: Dreamstime/Juice Images