Are You Wearing Makeup For Yourself Or For Others?

Stevi Incremona
Stevi graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama. When she's not auditioning and running around New York, she's escaping to her original home at the Jersey Shore and most definitely lying on a beach somewhere equidistant between the ocean and tiki bar. She's a coffee snob, craft beer enthusiast, technology nerd, and obviously (most importantly) has a very real addiction to buying and trying affordable beauty products.

I was forwarded a BuzzFeed article recently by an incredulous member of the opposite sex (read: a shocked dude) wherein various makeup artists were posting selfies of just half of their faces heavily made over. Looking at girls with half their faces covered in false lashes, red lips, and winged liner, while the other half was kept completely bare left him feelin’ like he was being tricked.





He isn’t someone who usually can even tell whether or not a girl is wearing makeup, but after looking at these extreme shots, he expressed that he found treating your face like an art project and changing your skin tone or creating “fake eyes” to be totally unnecessary (aw).

Upon taking a gander at these pictures, I was kind of shocked myself. Obviously I have previously seen before and after photos, and am no stranger to what you can do with makeup, but something about these pics was super jarring. The point of these selfies was to show “the power of makeup” and to act as a kind of “F-You” to people who said these women hid behind too much color correcting and enhancing. These women were calling their love of makeup a form of expression and letting us know that their choice to wear it was powerful because it was strictly for them.


I feel like every other day I come across another article about women defending their use of cosmetics. Beautifying your face has become this power move that you’re only allowed to enjoy if the end result of you looking in the mirror and feeling better about yourself is purely “for you” – not the reaction you get from other people. Whether or not it’s intended, the tone of the articles has actually found a way to make me feel ashamed for maybe not wearing makeup purely for myself.

While I support the sentiment that you shouldn’t feel like you need to change anything about yourself to be beautiful, does that mean it’s necessarily weak in choosing to change something about yourself for the benefit of other humans?


Personally speaking, I’m a fan of makeup and when I do dramatic looks like bold lips, smokey eyes, or winged liner, I am definitely partially doing it for myself because it makes me feel badass. It’s sometimes the easiest and fastest way that I can change my view of myself if I’m having a particularly self loathe-y day. However, that confidence booster is necessary because it allows me to handle myself differently in the presence of other people. If I feel more confident, I’m going to put forward my most fun and flirty self. ~hair flip~

You better believe that I’m not doing anything to my face if I’ve planned on sitting at home, hibernating, and not seeing anyone all day. Ergo – in some way I’m definitely doing it for the benefit of other people.

On the regular, when I’m throwing some simpler products on my face to give me a “naturally made-up” look (lol whut) it’s not so that I can say “damn I look alive!” when I look in the mirror. It’s more so because I’m aware that I closely resemble a gremlin when I wake up in the morning and do not want to be asked “Are you feeling alright?” by every new person I encounter that day.


I suppose that maybe the reason that I feel like I’m getting the judgmental side-eye from these articles is because I am envious of the women that can go about their lives completely barefaced and not give a shit. If I were to show up to work without my usual BB Cream and mascara, people would for sure be looking at me like “Girlfriend what did you doooo last night?”And I’d be all like “I got nine hours of sleep. Why, are my dark, Italian under-eye circles suggesting something else?”

Point is: everyone has their vices. If mine happens to be the makeup that I wear to look like my best self in the presence of people I want to impress, I don’t think I should be made to feel weak for making that choice.

I feel pretty comfortable saying that almost everyone finds something to hide behind, whether that be loose-fitting clothing, loud or ridiculous shoes, or full-faced makeup. As long as the end result makes you feel a bit fancier, it all seems positive to me.