When it comes to make-up, hair, and skin TLC, I was a late bloomer. I remember the first time I noticed other girls wearing eye liner and lipstick in my awkward middle school years. Although it sparked my curiosity, my mother’s words, deeply engraved in my head, “You don’t need make-up, you are naturally beautiful,” kept me from thinking it was for me. I figured the minute I started wearing any bit of make-up, I would be publicly expressing that I didn’t believe I was beautiful. And to be honest, I didn’t think of myself as beautiful at that age, but I didn’t want my mom to think that was the case. So, I held off.
But one day, towards the end of those awkward middle school years, I wanted to pluck my bushy brows. Ok, “wanted” might be an understatement. “Needed” is more like it (hey, I’m half–Lebanese: the hair struggle can be real). My mom was against it because she wanted to live her bushy brow dream vicariously through her daughters. So, I did what any good daughter who doesn’t want to hurt her mother’s feelings would do; I plucked them behind her back (perhaps over-plucked). Although the execution was not perfect, that was the first time I did something to my looks as a choice I made for myself. It was such a liberating feeling. I felt a sense of empowerment in taking some sort of ownership of my features, and a bit more confident in how I looked. It had nothing to do with trying to hide something. It was about giving some TLC to something I was born with. Self-love so to speak.
I know you’re probably thinking this is the part of the story where I say the rest is history and I became a beauty pioneer from there but WRONG. It would still be years before I would be comfortable adding color to my face. I was still too insecure to want to stand out. I was married to nude lipsticks well into my mid 20’s because I have full lips and thought bringing more attention to them with a bold lip might make me look clownish. But that secret plucking experience IS the part of the story where I got my first taste of the boost of confidence taking ownership of your natural features can give you. I knew eventually I’d learn the ins and outs of giving them some primping with style.
Fast forward a few years and you won’t catch me even at the gym, drenched in sweat, without my bright lipstick on. It’s like the minute I decided it was OK to wear bold lipstick (outside the realm of performing with my dance team), I released the beast! Somehow today, it’s become “my thing” (according to people). Not a day goes by that I don’t answer the question from a stranger while out and about “what brand and color is your lipstick?” My heart skips a beat when I hear I’ve inspired women in my life to start wearing bold lipstick. It’s not because of the lipstick. It’s because I see how that small detail makes them walk more confidently and feel a little more fierce.
So, I’ve decided it’s time to OWN IT! I am not a make-up artist, nor do I consider myself a beauty expert by any stretch of the imagination. The first and last time I tried contouring, I felt like I gave myself a Chewbacca filter on Snapchat (we’ll revisit that one later). The tricks of the trade I’ve learned along the way have been unintentional results of bad experiences with make-up artists not knowing what to do with my “very unique features,” and hair stylists botching up my hair after 3+ hours on the chair because I just “have too much hair.” So, we’ll call it survival, not training. But what I AM is an advocate for self-love, in all areas of life. Self-love in the area of beauty translates into taking the time to enhance your natural beauty with some make–up to add a little flavor to your day, styling your hair to match your mood, and taking care of your skin because it’s yours for life. We owe this self-love to ourselves. So, let’s do it ladies. Let’s get beautiful!