The power of beauty is immeasurable. Delve back into your deepest memories – why was the prettiest girl at school always popular? And why was the man with the scarred face always stereotyped as the movie’s baddie? As far back as ancient civilizations, physical perfection was revered as a gift from the gods, while physical deformity, the ‘outer display of inner corruption’, was castigated. Although society has moved on a long way since then, make-up as a way of attaining beauty is still a powerful tool. Even the most exquisite face is improved with make-up.
Of course, beautifying yourself has a superficial aspect, but it has a deeper psychological one, too. I firmly believe that if you look and feel best, you approach day-to-day life in a totally different manner – quite literally with your head up. Indeed, it is a scientifically proven fact that those who are happy with their appearance perform better, and those who perform achieve. So any way in which we can cosmetically enhance the canvas nature gave us is a bonus, and bit by bit, decade by decade, make-up has contributed to our idea of ourselves, By the 1990s, of course, technology had orbited beyond the realms of the familiar, and a plethora of textures, tones and colors became readily available right through from one end of the market to the other.
This infinite choice, combined with changing demographics (the growing numbers of interracial partnerships is quite literally changing the face of humanity), are to be thanked for the twenty first century’s increasing freedom. Our accepted ideas of beauty are being forced to change, as it becomes physically impossible to conform to anyone type. We now stand poised on the threshold of a whole new era – one in which everybody can be beautiful, and the ideal is simply an individual’s potential fulfilled.
In an age when we can remove unwanted hair permanently and painlessly, prevent premature skin ageing and thus turn back the clock, achieve year-round color without exposing ourselves to a single harmful ray of sun, make our short hair long overnight, enjoy the permanent arched eyebrows nature never gave us, and contour our faces and bodies with relative ease, we really can be exactly who we want to be. Throwing off the shackles of conformity does not mean we need to care less, however; it means we must care more.
Firstly, we have a responsibility to enjoy looking good: make-up is meant to be fun, after all. If you put aside the time to dabble with glossy compacts, shimmery powders and creamy potions, you actually allow yourself to take time out of a hectic schedule, and concentrate on yourself alone. A few such minutes of relaxation, stolen like this on a daily basis, are healthier for mind and body than a full hour’s massage taken only once a month. And as we all know, a healthy mind (the start of ‘inner beauty’) means a healthy body (the start of outer beauty’).