A Time and Place


My makeup philosophy and, perhaps, mantra is, “Makeup must be fun.”

If you aren’t enjoying it, if it is a chore, then why bother?

I subscribe to two more philosophies, though:

  • Makeup is a tool to enhance and flatter.
  • Makeup is also an art form and can be whatever the hell we want.

The ideas are not mutually exclusive.

90% of the time I operate in the former camp. Flattering makeup makes me feel good. It lets me look like my best self.

The other 10% of the time, however… well, I love Too Faced Totally Fetch (available in the Too Faced Bon Bons palette). I think that says enough. It isn’t that I want to draw attention, it’s just that I happen to find hot pink eyeshadow really fun.

For me, I generally want flattering makeup to subtly enhance my features and minimize distracting flaws. It doesn’t draw attention; especially important in the corporate world, which is where I spend 50 of my waking hours per week.

If you feel empowered by getting editorial every day and looking like a holographic mermaid, do you. I would wager that more than half of the beauty community is supportive of, “Do what makes you feel awesome.”

Where I think we (and by we I mean cosmetics enthusiasts in general) get into hot water is failing to recognize the whole, “there’s a time and place,” thing.

You might feel best in full on majestic glam, but that does not mean majestic glam is appropriate for, say, many workplaces (or, if you’re in school, it might even violate your school’s dress code or image policy). The beauty community may be supportive, but your boss or CEO might not be. Your clientele might not be. A good rule of thumb is that if you have to ask yourself, “is this too much (for this occasion/event/etc)?” it probably is.

Self-expression is incredibly important, but it is also important to recognize that there is a time and place for everything. Stephanie Nicole of YouTube works in the beauty industry and recognizes this. That’s right: Even people who work in the beauty industry (for real, not as branding hype machines) understand that there is a time and place. For those of you who prefer a full face, she shared a good tutorial on a look for work, below.

Discuss: Do you consider the events of the day when it comes time to go all Bob Ross on your face?

Discuss: How Much is Too Much?

In the past several years, the online beauty world has exploded. Brands, blogs, vloggers, Instagram sensations – what-have-you. Even though I wasn’t really aware of it until three years ago, it has been impressive. Personally, I’d love to see revenue comparisons on the brands alone for current day versus five years ago.

On  YouTube, Vanity Tour videos are insanely popular. Some of these men and women are professionals, actual artists sharing their at-home setup; others are just people who enjoy makeup and happen to like getting on camera. Regardless, their viewers and readers want to see what their favorite personality has in their stash, how their vanity is laid out, and how they decorate.

So many three-wick Bath and Body Works candles, girl.
So many IKEA Alex drawers.

How Much is Too Much?

I can appreciate getting inspiration for organizing efficiently, and for decor (I am exceptionally decor-impaired). The work these people put in to present an organized (usually..), visually appealing setup is hard to ignore. I haven’t really pinned anything to that effect in ages, but their willingness to share has helped so many people get inspired to create their own little beauty zen space.

It is hard not to notice, however, the size of (some of) these collections – they border on madness. For a professional artist who is actively working as an artist (not an artist-turned-YouTube sensation who hasn’t worked on a client in three years), it’s one thing to have two full drawers devoted to foundations and concealers. For a, “guru,” though – does it really make sense? How many of those bottles and tubes even match you throughout the four seasons? How many are expired?

I realize that might come off as hate-y or judge-y; I don’t intend it to be that way, but even as someone who has come to find makeup so fun, I can’t relate. I can’t relate to an overflowing vanity with stuffed-to-the-brim, stacked MUJI drawers and overflowing IKEA Alex sets. I’d love to get some perspective on this – so I’d love to know what you think (update: added the following to clarify) about your own collection:

How much is too much when it comes to owning makeup?

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