52°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Makeup Is More Than What Meets The Eye

My mother kept her lipsticks in a golden clutch that lay atop her dresser. She had a tendency towards burgundy shades with matte finishes that would clink against one another as I pulled the zipper. It was to that golden clutch, which cast sparkles onto the wall and held tubes of red, that my chubby hands gravitated. It was that world of colorful luster and art encased in gold that first drew me to makeup.
Makeup is a term that invokes different sentiments in every person. Some see it as a burden while others as an interest. It holds a certain stigma in society, associated with insecurity and femininity. But peel back the layers of standards society has stamped and one realizes that makeup has no master. It belongs to everyone. It belongs to the confident and the insecure. It belongs to the girls and the boys. It belongs to the artists and the non-artists. It is what you want it to be. Makeup to me is expression, business, and philosophy.
It’s a world of endless possibilities. My fingers can graze over metallics mirroring nebulae, shimmers that put diamonds to shame, and bright, bold hues in one palette. I could be in Iceland and still sport a kiss from the Arabian sun. I could choose to be Nefertiti one day, modeling an eyeliner of striking chartreuse, or be Prince another, donning audacious black. I could showcase history with lapis lazuli blues of Ancient Greece, or the gemstone chroma of Persia. I could be an incandescent constellation. Makeup is a universe that abandons rules, inspires art, and encourages expression.
Aside from catering to my creativity, makeup has inspired my budding inner entrepreneur. The makeup industry is notorious for focusing products on certain demographics. People with deeper skin tones experience difficulty in finding their correct shades. I sat down and began designing drafts of my own makeup line, from eyeshadows that would suit the deepest ebony to the palest alabaster, to contour palettes allowing anyone a chance at the trend. I created lipsticks out of beetroot after noting their amazing pigment and sold them with surprising success. I formulated gossamer pigments for the sparklers. I whipped up shea butter and arrowroot to create eyeshadows for the brazen. I melded charcoal and coconut oil to create an eyeliner for the definers. Makeup made me conscious of a flair for business I never knew I possessed, while teaching me the science behind the magic. Even chemistry began to make sense. I finally understood the reason behind why I would find neon eyeshadows chalky: chromium oxide and zinc oxide are inorganic, which is why these colors are uncharacteristically opaque.
Makeup has taught me philosophy. It made me conscious of the role appearances play in perception. It encouraged me to pause and look past what the world tells you to think of someone, pushing aside prejudices society has conditioned us into forming, and instead asking for their story. Who cares if their contour is too sharp? Find out if they’ve been touched by life’s betrayals or if they’d dance in the fire with you. See if they’re capable of discovering beauty outside societal conventions, or if they’d wager their dreams for comfort. Makeup is expression indeed, but we have a responsibility to judge after hearing someone’s story. And while we’re listening to their story, ponder if determinism exists when there are Too Faced’s chocolate eyeshadows in the world.
Makeup has fueled my drive and cultivated my creativity. Through makeup, my thirst for knowledge, business acumen, and philosophies have further developed. It has taught me that my face can be a canvas of art, given me an area to focus entrepreneurship, and is an excursion into self-expression. And of course, it will always be there to aid in making an entrance, existing in the confines of a golden clutch.