Self-Care: Buying into Society’s Lies, or Taking Care of Your Spirit?


I love makeup.  I do.  I don’t always have enough time to always put it on the way I want to, with a child in tow, but I do love it.  It’s artistic and fun and character-changing, at least for me.  I’m sure it sounds corny, but I feel like a different person when I go to a wedding wearing smoky eyes or bright lipstick I normally wouldn’t.  I guess it comes from my theatrical background; when I would do shows, I would love tech week because we finally got to wear our makeup and costumes.  I like playing another character, sometimes.

It’s also the act of taking the time to put it on and take care of your appearance.  Most mornings, I slap on foundation and blush and run out the door so I don’t look like an Irish ghost.  But when I have the time to get ready for a wedding, I feel…luxurious.  It’s hilarious what motherhood renders delightful when it’s probably the norm for everyone else!

My dad, the guy you wouldn’t guess would be a feminist, used to yell at me every time I would put makeup on as a teen and young adult.  “You’re buying into a product,” he’d remark.  “Women don’t need makeup to look beautiful – they already are.  You’re letting companies tell you what you should look like!”

He was right, sort of.  He’d be surprised that his words would echo in my mind a long time after he said it.  Did putting on makeup lower my self-esteem?  Did it mean I was an unaware robotic consumer like everyone else?  And worst of all, was it part of my bad body image?

It was almost like I had guilt for expressing myself, and that’s when I realized makeup and feminine things like jewelry and eyeliner were part of my self-expression, not part of a covering-up scheme I concocted to hide my true self.  So, my dad was right – ads for things like makeup and clothes CAN affect your self-esteem, but different triggers affect different people.  For me?  I know I can’t read beauty magazines – I know I’ll feel like reducing my caloric intake after reading those.  But makeup?  So much fun.  And I’m not going to feel guilty for my self-expression – that was part of my eating disorder, right?  Reducing myself down to nothing so I didn’t have a voice.

And, being a cheap savvy mama, I shop at Target every weekend with the fam.  This past weekend, I noticed the Sonia Kashuk line when I was glancing through the beauty department.  I was excited to pick up a new shade of foundation which would highlight my  Irish ghost  fair fall look that I sport, and Sonia Kashuk had every shade imaginable.  Check her out at

I’m excited to hear what you think about feminism and your self-care – does your enjoyment of “the extras” contribute to a positive body image or does it hurt it?  Let me know.



2 thoughts on “Self-Care: Buying into Society’s Lies, or Taking Care of Your Spirit?

  1. I love make-up. It makes me feel pretty and feminine. As I get older, I’m trying to embrace my age and not cover up my imperfections but it’s hard sometimes. When I get down on myself for having the audacity to get wrinkles, I think of this quote from Ani DeFranco – “I don’t take good pictures ’cause I have the kind of beauty that moves.”

  2. When people tell me that we should just keep things “natural,” I am reminded of this story:
    There was once a pastor who walked past a big farm. When the farmer came over to the fence the pastor said to him, “God has truly given you a beautiful piece of land.” The farmer thought a moment and said, “Yes, yes He has. But you should have seen it when He had it to himself.”

    I love what you said, Amanda, about make-up being a way to express oneself. There is indeed, something about dressing for success. When I put on a sweatsuit and don’t bother with makeup, all I want to do is curl up with a good book. That’s fine once in awhile. But when I put on a nice outfit, accessorize it, and put on makeup, I walk taller, work more efficiently, and I have more confidence.

    Even if I am just going grocery shopping, I will be more inclined to be friendly and outgoing when I “have my face on.” This is not so much about feeling ugly or not, it is about having more energy. It is physiological. Even many hospitals have beauty parlors because doctors know that when patients start to care about their self-image, they are on the road to healing.

    Is it unfair that men don’t need to do the makeup thing? Perhaps. Although I know more and more who are concerned about skin care and wanting to look professional. In any case man or woman, someone who dresses well for an interview, presentation, or court hearing will be taken more seriously than someone who is slovenly. Those who wear uniforms keep them sharp because it makes the wearer feel sharp. I know of a professor who insisted his students dress up on test days because their grades improved when they did so. Attention to dress shows we value ourselves.

    To be honest, I work in the glamour industry so I am biased. But when a woman looks in the mirror and says for the first time, “Wow, I’m pretty,” she is going to treat her family better that day. People in nursing homes who get makeovers suddenly come to life. There’s a clip on Yahoo right now about a homeless vet getting a makeover, and it completely changed his attitude.

    Enhancing what God has given us; being expressive; surely these things show self care and creativity.

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