Cosmetics culture enters a new phase

Brands release professional tools for applications, experimenting with materials and shapes. PHOTO/MARY SIRING

OU News Bureau

Makeup is becoming a staple of empowerment, giving individuals an avenue for expression rather than to please beauty standards.

“There is a huge gap of what makeup used to be to now,” said Kirsten Gilbert, an editorial and special effects makeup artist. “Makeup used to be a symbol of aristocracy.”

Gilbert studied makeup at Michigan Multimedia makeup academy and worked at Drop Dead Gorgeous bridal salon before finding her present job for Bare Minerals in South Carolina.

The use of cosmetics dates back at least 10,000 years and is present in almost every society on Earth. Makeup is considered to have been the earliest form of a ritual in human culture.

The Egyptians used kohl for eyeliner. In Japan, geisha wore lipstick made of crushed safflower petals to paint the eyebrows and edges of the eyes as well as the lips. In Europe, women would use white powder or even white lead paint to make their complexion appear lighter.

Today, it seems that feminist movements are fostering a new purpose for cosmetics.

Pristinely designed packages have replaced crushed flower petals and kohl. PHOTO/MARY SIRING

“I think women are more empowered today, whether or not they wear makeup,” said Courtney Abdoo, a cosmetology student at Market Academy of Cosmetology in Waterford and an avid makeup fan. “Some women think that it’s a way to express themselves and a form of art, some think that it’s a confident booster, and some are completely against it. It just depends on who you talk to.”

The generational differences can be seen today, not just across thousands of years.

“The women are who in their 40s, 50s and older use their makeup for their appearance,” Gilbert said. “They like the traditional makeup. The natural, youthful and radiant look.”

“But, if you talk to a younger woman, perhaps a millennial, they use it as a form of self-expression or art.”

Millennials have created the trends of Instagram and Facebook, such as the squiggly brows, the negative space liner and clown contouring.

“They break down the social construct of what makeup is and make it their own,” Gilbert said.

Communities around brands and trends have sprung up, as well. Women don’t just apply their makeup in the morning, it has become a culture.

YouTube and Instagram are home to countless makeup pages and channels supporting and teaching the craft of makeup. There are avenues for any style, centered on self-expression rather than societal approval.

“Women are now free to be themselves,” Gilbert said. “They don’t bow down to a patriarchal voice telling them that ‘they need more makeup or they need to look presentable, graceful and feminine.’ ”

Trends show a range of daring styles: vivid eyeshadows, a rainbow of options for lipstick, full coverage foundations or women rocking a bare face.

The former constructs of previous makeup cultures still are present, though.

“Future women and girls will continue to use makeup as a crutch because society puts a lot of pressure on women to look perfect all of the time,” Abdoo said. “I see a lot of girls and even boys who are starting to wear makeup at a really young age and I think it’s because they’re getting pressured by their peers to start wearing it.”

Makeup is becoming a new staple to the feminist movement. Artists and fans alike are enthusiastic about how much more it can grow.

“I want women in the future to know that it’s OK to wear a load of makeup or none, to wear makeup how they want to,” Gilbert said. “I don’t want any more stigmas. I want a supportive, equal, compassionate beauty community.”





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Posted by on Nov 30 2017. Filed under Featured article, Michigan. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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