Conforming to contouring?

Conformity is something everyone faces every single day. The pressure to change the way you look to come across a certain way, to give a ‘good’ first impression or to seem ‘normal’ to society. 

We all know the ‘look’: perfectly glowing skin, a dash of highlighter, rosy pink cheeks, perfectly defined brows and a killer matte lipstick, the makeup look constantly painted all over our social feeds. The dubbed “Instagram face” seems to be the look to achieve to meet societies expectations. The unhealthy reality of people’s stance on beauty ideals, has all stemmed from advertisements from makeup brands encouraging us ‘cover-up” our imperfections.

Makeup brands have moved away from overtly promoting unrealistic beauty standards to now urging customers to buy their products as a way of self-expression. Yes, makeup can definitely be used in a self-expressive manner to create art and colour however, it can also emphasise the need to meet this beauty ideal of how a certain person should look. If makeup was acceptable as a type of self-expression why do so many feel the need to cover up scarring and acne for work or for college? Potentially it can make a person feel more confident, but it can also help hide their imperfections from the judgement from peers. Is this a healthy way to deal with self-esteem issues?

Makeup is seen as a necessary step in a women’s routine where we all follow the same procedure: primer, foundation, concealer, powder and so on. If we were to go ‘bare’ faced would it be frowned upon in your workplace? Instead, we opt for a ‘fresh-faced’ looked achieved with using multiple ‘light’ makeup products to achieve that ‘glow’.

It’s time to start asking who is setting the agenda for what’s acceptable? Who is setting the definition of beauty for ‘Generation Z’. It points to the Youtubers, the Instagrammers who have a sense of ownership of what beauty looks like now. The paid partnerships with beauty brands let them dictate what we need to ‘cover-up’ or ’emphasis’ when it comes to makeup and our beauty regime.

The question is now, what is the next Instagram phase look like? Will beauty brands jump on the ‘bare-all’ mentality and promote skincare over makeup. Audiences are getting fed up of photoshopped images and exclusivity and are craving for a sense of acceptance. Tatler’s recent cover with Roz Purcell displayed a ‘bare-faced’ Roz who embraced her natural skin instead of covering her blemishes. This is the type of directions influencers, brands and YouTubers.

The makeup industry profits off women’s insecurities and promotes “covering-up” scarring to fit in. What if the social norm became the ‘bare’ face? We would save on plastics, and it would prevent us from putting chemicals onto our face on the daily, a win-win really.

Lorna Lawless

Image Credit: Rachel Halpin