Radical Changes in Beauty Culture

Makeup often dips in and out of trends, and recently, there has been a shift in its use, as more and more girls turn to makeup as a creative exploration of themselves and their style. We explore this with a brilliant makeup artist, Wendy Asumadu. (@wendysworld_xox)

For decades, women's bodies have been a gold mine for multinational corporations to generate profit, leading the beauty industry to become worth around $445 billion. Women are often taught from a young age, to aspire to certain beauty standards in their physique, hair type and face, which in turn generate deep rooted insecurities, as they fail to meet these standards in their natural state.

As women struggle and battle with these insecurities, corporations use the existence of them, to their own advantage. Products that promise to hide imperfections, extend the length of ones lashes and even create a plumper lip in just seconds are pushed and sold to women, who have been conditioned to believe that aspiring to these standards is a must.

For years, and even to this day, makeup has been marketed as a way to create slight alterations to ones face in an effort to look better and be more beautiful. Ad campaigns for complexion products use the notion of hiding blemishes, skin discolouration, red marks and more as their selling point.  A recent phenomena has even seen colour correctors come into fruition, in an effort to target specific ‘problem’ areas on ones face, before the application of foundation. What are often simply natural elements of an individual's face, are marketed as problematic, leading people to see a multitude of flaws in which they must hide through the use of makeup.

For some, it is not only the marketing campaigns that make them feel low about their natural state of being. In their day to day interactions, they may be bullied into believing certain aspects of themselves are not good enough, and blend that in with the fact that makeup is advertised to hide such problems, you find that is often the solution to hiding their insecurities. Makeup Artist Wendy Asumadu (@wendysworld_xoxo) says “I used to wear makeup to conceal flaws that were often never even there. I was trying to disguise my insecurities, attempting to hide my dark skin. I was teased for being dark skinned when I was younger, so I would wear my mothers foundation in the hope that I looked fairer than I was.”

However, despite the campaigns and efforts made by some to make women feel insecure about their looks, there seems to be a shift in makeup culture by those who wear it. There has been a rise in the popularity of brands such as Glossier and Milk Makeup, who encourage “your skin but better”. With a focus on skin care, this means some of their products are infused with products that help problematic areas in the long run, and not merely hide them for a temporary fix. There has been a recent phenomenon for women, through the body positive movement and others, in which many have decided that they no longer wish to conform to the notions fed to them by others that in their natural state they are not good enough, but instead are moving to love and embrace themselves for who they are. Wendy‘s own personal shift in how she used makeup happened on “one day, I decided I was going to make a change and love me for me. I didn’t wear makeup for a while because I thought it was important to understand the purpose of it and appreciate myself for who I am.”

Moreover, there has also been a wave that has seen more women break away from using makeup in its conventional manner, instead being more creative and conceptual in their day to day looks. Eccentric makeup styles are no longer exclusive to editorial shoots for magazines and festival season, but there is a rise in girls implementing this style in their day to day makeup looks. Wendy believes that “there were so many rules in the makeup world. You could only be a model if you were a certain height or weight. You could only see white girls in major campaigns. Slowly, the industry is starting to understand the importance of diversity in their products and campaigns. And that allows people to realise you can wear artsy makeup going to work or on a night out. Nothing is exclusive to anyone.”

Brands have increasingly launched lines and products that cater to the everyday girl who wishes to be more creative, bold and multi-purposeful with her makeup, such as Sleeks i-Art eyeshadows, NYX Brights palette and eyeliners and Fenty Beauty’s MATTEMOISELLE lipsticks, that launched with an array of shades, that fell outside the ordinary lip colours. CYO Cosmetics, a new brand who go by the slogan “Say no to normal. Yes to experimental” is also another example of brands catering to and encouraging makeup wearers to be more bold and unorthodox in the ways in which they wear makeup.

Wendy believes that people may be becoming bored of “glam makeup, as they want to be inspired in different ways” which creative makeup and breaking from its conventional use allows. For her, and so many others, “Makeup is another outlet for me to be creative. I don’t use makeup to hide anything but rather to explore the endless possibilities of it.”

Fatima Sheekhuna for Cipher BEAUTY

Images courtesy of @wendysworld_xox @glossier @urgalsal_

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