On Wednesday I was sent home from work because I looked ‘exhausted’. I also wasn’t wearing makeup and I can’t help but think that these two things are related.
Sure, I was exhausted but this isn’t the first time all year, but the lack of makeup meant that the ‘bags’ the skin tone the ‘I can’t even be bothered’ was all on show.
This experience has made me pretty reflective about the reason that we undertake beauty rituals in the first place. It seems that they are instilled in my day to fend off any unwanted pimples, greasiness and, to be frank, body odour. Last Wednesday I didn’t not wear makeup because I thought I would look good regardless, I didn’t wear it because I didn’t care, and, with that, didn’t care who knew it. I don’t have the I dress to feel empowered nature of looking and feeling my best. At the moment it’s as if clothes are my shield and makeup is my war paint.
I used to love this process, sitting on the bathroom floor all my makeup around me, deciding how I was going to look. But then it felt somewhat pea-cocky. I remember hearing the line ‘took 45 minutes to get all dressed up’ in Beyonce’s Partition* and feeling somewhat relieved that sometimes that all that could be done was done, even for Queen Bey.
YouTube is a funny addition to this space because it documents this process. Countless ‘Get Ready With Me’s’ sit beside ‘A Day In The Life’ vlogs which can over simplify a process that sometimes, is a pain in the ass because you accidently poked your eye with the tip of a liquid eyeliner pen. What about those days where you spend all this time getting ready to feel no different than you did before, or love your outfit but feel incredibly uncomfortable in it the next, or worse, be aware that you have a wedgie all day.
Then there’s the time it takes. I recently counted the amount of products it took me to get ready in the morning, I got up to 15 and hadn’t even washed my hair that day. Unlike the super speedy time-lapse nature of the aforementioned videos leaving for work early means I start the routine the night before, clothes are out, lunch is made and hair is washed. It’s not a process of self-love, it’s a process of time management and minisming disruption. And yeah it works, but it also means that you dress for how you’re feeling at whatever time the night before as to how you feel and what you need that day.
It is also important to acknowledge the practical side of said beauty ritual; the idea that you wash to prevent yourself from smelling or that some things just aren’t a good look.
Perhaps I should turn my attitude around, moisturise my legs because they walked all day and literally kept me standing, or cut back on the coffee, not because I live in fear the amount of caffeine I’ll consume will give me heart palpitations but it makes me feel shaky as fuck and as a result a bit paranoid so I’m not that great at getting shit done you know?
* Whether Beyonce actually takes 45 minutes to get ready is a whole other issue.