Is it just to look good every day, or could it be something deeper than that?

Personally, I like to wear makeup every single day just because it makes me feel good. It enables me to enhance my features when I feel like they're a little lackluster. When I put makeup on in the mornings, I'm covering up the last sleepless night and whatever happened the day before. It is a way to have control of a small aspect of my life.

Makeup kitWhen I dig a little deeper into the archives of my brain, I realize that my love for makeup started when I was a freshman in high school. My mother remarried someone I hardly knew and as a thirteen-year-old, I was upset by this, and thus started my angsty teen years. I began to experiment with makeup using the eyeshadows and liners I got for the wedding. I remember that every morning I would sit in front of the mirror and put so much black eyeshadow and liner on that I was somewhere in the land between looking like I had been punched in the eye and turning into a raccoon. But I loved it. It was something about the ritual of blacking out my eyelids every morning that was so therapeutic for me. I could finally have full control of a part of my life (no matter how small). At this point in my life, I had little to no self-esteem, so it made me feel good about myself when I had no control over the wedding. It was the therapeutic ritual of applying make up every day that made me feel some self-worth because I knew I'd walk out of the house that day looking my best. I had the makeup and brushes in my hands, and therefore I had the fate of my day in them as well. If my makeup was on point, my day was guaranteed to have a better start than if I walked out the door with a naked face. I could control exactly how I would feel every day by how well I did my makeup (image).

CleopatraNow we all know that makeup is not a new thing. The use of makeup dates back all the way to ancient times, the Egyptians being the people most known for it. They used kohl for eyeliner (top), made by grinding green malachite, galena (a gray lead ore), and cerussite (a white carbonate of lead) into a powder and mixing it with oil or fat. This mixture was applied with a stick to the eyes to generate those dramatic black lines starting from the eye that reach back to the temples we so often think of when we picture an ancient Egyptian. Other common makeup products used by the Egyptians were red ochre, mixed with water and used on the lips and cheeks, and henna to dye the fingernails yellow and orange (

Eye makeupAlthough the use of makeup might have been for aesthetic reasons, there were others in addition to just looking good (modern-day kohl, bottom). It was believed that makeup had magical, and even had healing powers. It was said to protect people from the "Evil Eve", and kohl, more specifically, could have even been used as a disinfectant. It could lessen the chances, if not prevent, contraction of some eye diseases and it also warded off nasty flies (

This ritualistic aspect is what I believe has made me continue using makeup. Every morning I would sit in front of the mirror for at LEAST an hour, trying to blend my eyeshadow perfectly and draw thick black lines on top and along the waterline. It was as if I was illustrating my face for everyone to see on the daily (I could be a walking gallery!). If I messed up at all, I would have to start over completely. But you know what? I didn't care. I woke up early enough so that I'd have plenty of time to fix it if any mishaps occurred so that when I left the house, I felt like a million bucks.

So why do we as humans feel the need to adorn our bodies?

By Melissa Leimer


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