I Got a Wonderful Makeover, and It Ruined My Night

Last night, Dior.com hosted a launch party. It was a great event – there were drinks flowing and even a counter where you could get free makeovers. I decided to give the makeover thing a try. I don’t wear a lot of makeup during the day (mostly out of sheer laziness, not any sort of noble response to female beauty standards). The artist used Airflash – a form of foundation that you can spritz on a brush or sponge and feels really light and natural – as well as some smoky eye makeup and heavy liner. My friends kept telling me how great I looked. It was sort of like the rush you get after a really great new haircut – you’re still you, just a more happy and confident you.

After the event, I headed over to a party. A lot of my friends were there, and I got compliment after compliment about my makeup. “It’s great that you’re trying something new,” said one. “Your eyes look so great,” said another. This morning, I even got an email from a friend telling me how much she enjoyed my new look and how I should totally do it more often.

It’s a funny contradiction: I’m the editor in chief of a website that focuses on fashion and beauty, but I usually show up barefaced to work every day. Part of that is that I don’t trust myself with a mascara wand before I’ve gotten any caffeine into my system, and part of it is that I often test products that come into the office. But I live in New York City, where it’s not uncommon to take the subway at 9 AM with women who look like they just stepped out of Vogue. Even when I’m rocking a new outfit and having a great hair day, I don’t expect to be the most attractive woman on the block, let alone in the city. In a way, being surrounded by attractive women has given me a sense of peace – if you’re never going to be #1, you can focus more on being a really great version of you. But last night, something changed. Despite all the compliments and kind comments from my friends, I started second-guessing myself. Am I only pretty with a faceful of makeup on?, I wondered. Are they trying to tell me I usually look like I just rolled out of bed? When a cute guy at the bar offered to buy me a drink, I almost recoiled, thinking that the same guy would never have noticed me if I wasn’t professionally made up. When I got home, I scrubbed my face until it hurt. This morning, I put nothing on my face but moisturizer and lip balm (hey, it’s cold outside). I checked the mirror and made sure I still recognized the face looking back at me. Even without eyeshadow, I was still me.

Ultimately, there’s nothing shameful about feeling beautiful. What’s shameful is only caring about beauty. It was great that my friends liked my new look, but I know that they also hang out with me because we have great conversations and enjoy spending time together. I want to feel beautiful, but I also want to feel smart, funny, and like a good friend. A friend complimenting you for a new makeup look is like a friend complimenting you for a new hair color or a really cool outfit – they’re not saying you had no value before, they’re acknowleding you tried something different and succeeded at it. The only reason I went home and felt so negative was because of my own insecurity, not because of anything my friends said or did. And I ordered some of that Airflash. I’m not going to wear it to the office, though.

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    • Jo

      I haven’t worn any make up at all in the past year and it’s been the best feeling. When I first stopped (I never wore much in the first place, but still) I felt like I looked so much less attractive without it. Then I got used to my face, and I still feel awesome. Plus, now I can rub my face to my heart’s content without having to worry about smudging. So there.

    • TaylorG

      I love this! I think every woman should read this. It’s 100 percent okay to be your own, beautiful self! :)

    • Angelique

      I used to be one of those women who wouldn’t even leave the house without a full face of makeup, all through my 20′s I did this. i used to joke about it, calling myself a “Monet” without my full face ( To those of you who don’t know what a “Monet” is, Watch Clueless). Insecurities, that’s all it was, and still is… But, after having my son almost 9 years ago, after realizing what is REALLY important, I dropped that act. Granted, I still wear makeup, but ONLY if I have to go to work, or special occasions, and even then, it’s not that much. Otherwise I don’t ,I want to be appreciated for who I am. I’d rather have a man who loves me for me, knows what I look like without the mask then have him wake up the next morning wondering “WTF??????” Maybe it’s my age (I’m almost 40)…

    • Hannah Rose Siegel

      Lilit, you have great skin & def do not need makeup!

    • Peter Feld

      He offered to buy you a drink? Lilit, it was an open bar!

    • Jessica Pauline Ogilvie

      I love this post!

    • Mysjkin

      I don’t wear makeup except for parties or special occasions, and what I really enjoy is being able to achieve that wow-factor when I once in a while put in the extra effort. On the other hand, if I wore makeup daily, I would have to keep it up, otherwise I would achieve the “God, you look tired”-factor if I ever went without.

      • Goldie

        i love makeup but i only wear it when i feel like it (read: when i wake up early enough to put it on before work). I have one coworker who whenever i’m not wearing it, asks me if i’m sick; if I am wearing it, she asks me what the special occasion is. you can’t win.

    • Kait

      This was a really, really clever way to advertise.

      • Kait

        Also, that looks way snarkier than I meant it. I mean, like, really, good job! Usually I don’t like articles that advertise products! But I kind of liked how subtle and nice this was! I’m probably digging myself into a hole.

        Anyway, I still want to buy that Airflash stuff.

    • nikki

      What a great read! am im glad you realized that you are beautiful regardless!! Its good to go all out once in a while to get that excitement going!!! STAY YOU!