Why do women wear makeup?

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“The best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural”- Calvin Klein

Right from adolescence, girls see makeup as a part of them and their nature. They are made to believe that makeup is natural and makes them appealing, either to themselves or to others. As they grow up, based on personality and environment, their interests and experiences decide whether or not they would be heavy makeup wearers or light ones.

Whether it’s just lipstick or a face beat, women have reasons why they wear makeup, some of which they may never tell you. “It makes me feel good and more confident”; “I just love it”; “I am having fun with it”; “I want to look different”- are common reasons women and girls give for wearing makeup and this may be true. In fact, some studies show that women wear makeup all for their own personal beauty and preferences.

While some women truly wear makeup for themselves and to enhance their beauty, there are also some who wear it for others but don’t expect them to tell you. Sometimes makeup is a tool that helps women function well. In other to give that splendid presentation, to fit into a setting or to be taken seriously, women sometimes need to appear dominant and thus, wear makeup. This may mean wearing no makeup is incomplete or unacceptable.

How about makeup for the opposite sex? Studies continue to suggest that men are more attracted to women who wear makeup. Certainly, with makeup, women can impress the opposite sex by looking more appealing and attractive. Far beyond this may be for sexual arousal. Makeup with bold and bright colours may lure men and when women wear such, they may try to communicate their sexual availability. As well, makeup can also enhance some reproductive features that men find fascinating.

The idea that makeup connotes femininity also pressures women to wear makeup. People, both physically and virtually, sometimes echo this in their unsolicited comments about a woman’s appearance. They believe that women are not physically perfect until they are on some sort of makeup, no matter how little. This social expectation is, even more, provoking when girls at an early age begin to get this impression on what makes them acceptable as women.

Cosmetics companies like to play on women’s insecurities and their desire for a perfect appearance. Commercials and media generally relay the message that every woman needs an extra touch to become perfect or at least natural. So for them, makeup is natural and as Calvin Klein said: “the best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural”. With this, makeup may be worn based on the preferences of others or of the cosmetic industry.

Indeed, makeup may be empowering as it makes women more expressive. Sometimes, however, in the name of being expressive, women sometimes wear makeup that surpasses what is regarded as attractive.

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