We wear makeup for a lot of different reasons. For a lot of women (and increasingly men), wearing makeup or not is a very personal choice. Some of us see makeup as our ‘suit of armour’ and a confidence booster. Some of us wear it to make us feel more ‘put together’ and polished. Some of us just prefer to go natural.
For those of us who do wear makeup, what are our main reasons?
Ask a lot of women and they will tell you that they wear makeup so that they feel good in themselves. Some women do wear it to get attention from men or even other women but most wear it as it simply makes them feel good.
How many times have you woke up with a big red zit on your face, or had a late night and woke up with dark circles which made you feel like an extra from Thriller? Well makeup can help with all of that and more. All it takes is a dab of concealer, a little powder and voila, perfect skin!
But we need to spread the message that we are beautiful whether we wear makeup or we choose not to. Makeup should enhance and beautify the features, not hide who you are.
The selfie generation
The need to look made up has increased in importance among some people however, as social media continues its relentless march. The growth in popularity of Instagram and Facebook and their ever increasing role in documenting our lives, has led to a need to be constantly photoready, whether we are taking a selfie or a friend is taking a group picture on a night out. We can simply not look terrible on a picture that will be put online and is there to stay forever.
We are learning advanced makeup techniques for this purpose. Try and look on Instagram for a photo where someone hasn’t used a filter or hasn’t used contouring/strobing/some other Kardashian endorsed technique to enhance how they look in a photograph.
And it’s not only the techniques we are using, our makeup products are way more advanced now. They can ‘blur’ imperfections, highlight some features and play down others. We have come a long way since we first applied our mother’s blue eyeshadow and pink lipstick!
Companies are now producing makeup products that claim to make us ‘selfie ready’. Look at foundations for instance. You can now buy ‘airbrush effect’, ‘light reflecting’ and ‘skin smoothing’ formulations.
And consumers buy these products because of how they look on camera. This trend looks set to stay, but makeup itself is nothing new, in fact, it’s been used for thousands of years to enhance how we look.
The history of makeup
Makeup has been around for millenia. The ancient Egyptians created the first ever cosmetics. Most of what they used was made from copper and iron ore. Cleopatra apparently used lipstick made from ground beetles and other women mixed coloured clays with water to add colour to their lips. The Egyptians also used kohl on their eyes, which was made from lead, copper, ash and burnt almonds. Kohl was believed to keep evil spirits away and protected the wearer’s eyes from the sun. Researchers have surmised that the lead in the kohl would protect the wearer from illnesses, as it killed bacteria. There has been no limit to what people have done over the centuries to enhance their appearance. Women would use burned out matches to define and darken their eyes, the colours from berries to add colour to their lips and even urine to make freckles fade. So many practises put their health at risk. Some women used arsenic and mercury to make their skins pale, an attribute deemed to be beautiful at the time.But cosmetics have came a long way since those days.
The beauty industry of today has to abide by strict regulations about what can and cannot be included in products. Of course you may suffer skin irritation from products but it’s more likely to be because it’s not suited to your skin type rather than that the product might contain something dangerous.
The eyes have it…
The eyes are called the windows of the soul, and they are often the first thing we notice about someone. They are a defining feature in many people, and science has even proven that biologically, we are programmed to find large, defined eyes more attractive. They are a sign of fertility and youth. We have a ring around each eye, between the iris and the whites of the eyes. This ‘limbal ring’ is a natural eyeliner, and as we age, this ring gets smaller and lighter in colour so the eyes look less defined. The defining ring around our eyes is thickest in the late 20’s. When you use eyeliner, it enhances the natural definition in the eyes.
Your eyelashes also define your eyes naturally. Like your hair, the eyelashes are healthiest and thickest when you are younger.
Using makeup on the eyes makes them appear larger, which is another feature deemed to be biologically attractive. A study demonstrated that males found certain features to be most attractive in women. These included large eyes, defined cheekbones and full lips. People with larger eyes were even rated as being more honest in research, probably because large eyes are associated with youth and innocence.
Facial symmetry is considered an attractive feature across the board. Using makeup can make features appear more symmetrical and so makes someone look more attractive. The ancient Egyptians defined their eyes, as it was believed that the products they used helped to boost their immune systems. People who wore dark eye makeup were seen as being healthier than those who didn’t.
Using makeup to define your eyes looks beautiful on eyes of any colour, and the right colour combination can really make your eye colour ‘pop’. We see so many tips for people with blue eyes, green eyes and brown eyes, but what if you have hazel eyes, a combination of so many hues? Which colours should you go for and how do you avoid a beauty disaster or wearing something unflattering?
Many people would struggle to define what colour hazel eyes actually are. Hazel eyes are quite rare, and are a mixture of a few different colours, including green and brown. There can often be large variations in the combination of colours present in the eye, and often there is a ring of colour close to the pupil of the eye and another colour around the edges. Nobody really knows how hazel eyes came about. Some researchers think that gene variations might cause one or two colours to be more prominent than the others.Hazel eyes are found less commonly than brown eyes, but they are more common than green eyes, which are only present in around 2% of the world’s population. Most people with hazel eyes are of European origin.
Eye colour can change during your life. It is quite common for babies to be born with blue eyes then have a completely different eye colour when they are older.
People with hazel eyes are prone to some eye conditions. As their eye colour is lighter, this means that they produce less melanin, which is what protects us from sun damage. Cases of rare cancers of the eye can occur for this reason.Those with lighter eyes are also more prone to more rapid degeneration of vision as they age.
But even though this might look like bad news, we can balance that with the fact that hazel eyes are pretty unique and you can experiment all you like to find what best enhances your eyes.
Makeup tips for hazel eyes
Hazel eyes can appear different colours depending on the hue of makeup you are wearing, so this is a great reason to experiment!
- Eyeshadow- you are literally spoilt for choice! Certain tones of eyeshadow will emphasize particular colours in your eyes, so you can change the whole appearance of your eyes if you want to. Doing this with eyeshadow is so much more comfortable than wearing contact lenses! For hazel eyes, steer clear of anything with a blue-grey tone and opt for purples and golds to make the green and brown in your eyes pop.
- Try coloured eyeliner – don’t feel that you have to stick to black eyeliner. Coloured liner can actually make your eyes look like they are a different colour, so keep people guessing and use different hues on your eyes to change up your look. Purple will make your eyes look more blue and gold, green or brown liner will accentuate the green in your eyes.
- Don’t forget that your lip colour plays a part- your lips may not be your best feature, but the right shade on your lips will complement your eye colour and bring a nice balance to the face. A coppery lip gloss or lipstick will complement hazel eyes which appear more brown and a pink or berry shade will match a purple based eyeshadow perfectly. Make sure your lips do not overpower your overall look however, especially if your eyes are on the pale side.
- The Midas touch- gold eyeshadow is a huge weapon in your arsenal to use to beautify your eyes. Using a shadow with a hint of a gold shimmer in will accentuate eyes with gold or green flecks in them beautifully.
- Natural sandy tones bring out green in your eyes- try using beige tones and caramel shadows together or use these colours to line your eyes to highlight the green in your eyes. If your eyes are more green than brown, look at using pinks, mauve and green tones to enhance your eyes. If using green, choose a contrasting hue to your eye colour. Think of it in the same way that an emerald would not stand out on an emerald green background. Khaki green shadow looks amazing on eyes with a green base and is a little more dramatic. Berry shades can also look elegant and add drama.
- Lavender eyeshadow enhances green- lavender and plum tones are from the purple colour family. These are the opposite to green on the colour wheel, so they make each other ‘pop’. Try variations of a smoky eye with plum and burgundy to create drama for an evening out. A smokey eye doesn’t always have to be black!
- Lashes, lashes and more lashes- as with using coloured eyeliner to enhance your eyes, you can do the same with coloured mascara. Dark brown or purple mascara is best for hazel- eyed beauties. Add a hint of coloured mascara to the tips of your lashes so that every time you blink, the light will hit the mascara and people will see a hint of colour.
- Be a bronzed beauty- skin with a hint of a tan looks amazing with hazel eyes. For a safe hint of colour, without the risk of skin cancer or premature aging, look to bronzer for a natural glow. Sweep it across your forehead and cheekbones to add warmth to your complexion. Go gently and blend, you can always add more later, orange is not a good look!
- Brown isn’t boring- some days your eyes can appear different colours. Use shades of brown on your eyes to accentuate them on the days when your eyes appear a little darker and enjoy being a colour chameleon! Brown eyes are very easy to complement and makeup for hazel eyes is almost the same as it is for brown eyes. You just need to use lighter shades of makeup. A nice tip to enhance the brown in your eyes is to use a light eyeshadow on your lid from the lashline to the brow, then line your eyes with a gold, copper or bronze eyeliner.
- Don’t use too much blue- if your eyes are more brown than green, blue tones will clash with your eye colour and don’t look very flattering. Blue on the eyes is difficult to get away with for many people,but if you love it, stick to a subtle hint of blue liner at the lash line or a touch of navy mascara on the tips of your lashes.
- To flatter pale hazel-green eyes- don’t overpower your natural eye colour. If you have this eye colour, beige, pink and champagne tones will look great on you, both to add colour and a highlight to the eye area. Light purples teamed up with these colours to create a smokey eye and add depth and drama works really well.
- Do your eyes actually appear grey?- grey eyes can look very attractive when accentuated with the right colours. Pewter shimmers look great on you, as do soft purples and pinks. Light blue is a no go for some people but you can actually get away with it without looking like a throwback to the 1980’s.
Makeup is used by billions of people across the world to enhance their features and correct imperfections. But the benefits are more than skin deep. Wearing makeup allows us to demonstrate our personality, and helps us to feel more confident. Not that we should rely on makeup to make us feel confident, but we generally do feel better and more positive when we know we look good and that we’re going to make a good first impression.
Many people argue that the invention of social media has made us vain and self-obsessed. This may be partly true. But the impression of perfection has been around in magazines, courtesy of photoshop and airbrushing for a long time. If we think about it in a balanced way, we realise that not even models look like they do in photographs in real life, and therefore, every time we see an enhanced image, we should take it with a pinch of salt.
When makeup is used to enhance our natural beauty, rather than change us into something we are not, that’s when it comes into its own. The right colour application and technique can enhance eye colour, rid us of spots, dark circles and create cheekbones where there are none. How many products can do that?
Whatever skin, hair or eye colour we have, we should embrace our individuality and uniqueness. What we dislike in ourselves someone else might love, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And we need to treat ourselves with more love. Love your hazel eyes, love your pale skin and adore your freckles. There’s only one of you, and you’re beautiful!