Addiction to makeup

I’ve been thinking about style lately and one way or another my ruminations took me looking for women willing to be makeupless but nonetheless retaining an interest in clothing.

Sure enough I discovered a fashion trend about the movement away from makeup. But what astonished me about it was that it wasn’t about not wearing makeup at all. It was about wearing makeup that didn’t look like makeup. The companies who deal in this stuff are only too happy to oblige, as this Wall Street Journal article reports.

The point is that makeup is an addiction. It’s based on a sick idea that women need to cover up what they really are. It’s about a belief that what you are isn’t good enough. These women who wear makeup would as soon step out onto the street without a stitch on as leave home without ‘their face on’. It’s even called that, isn’t it? ‘Wait while I put my face on.’ I wonder how many male partners have put up with that line over the centuries?

So even if they are going ‘natural’, which means putting on makeup that looks like they are going ‘natural’, the makeup nonetheless changes them in some way, even if it is only in a placebic way, but most likely giving them what they see as some sort of ‘improvement’ to the way they would be without the makeup.

Tracey Spicer gained some notoriety last year, I gather, for talking about her attempts to wean herself off the drug after, to her shame, she found herself having to explain to her young daughter why women have to wear makeup. She points out that there are personal costs in giving up makeup as we live in a society where women are judged by it and even find themselves being discriminated against in the work-place for refusing to use it. But that isn’t a very good reason for wearing makeup, is it? Why would a person put up with that discrimination any more than agreeing that their work will be appraised on whether they give over?

She lists the things she has gained by giving up makeup and associated activities such as spending a lot of money getting her hair done. One of them was that it gave her an hour a day to do other things like play with her kids.

Let’s do a bit of maths. Let’s suppose – and I imagine this to be conservative – a female spends 50 years wearing makeup and ‘doing their hair’. So that includes putting makeup on, taking it off, blowdrying their hair, doing your nails, that sort of thing. Let’s not start getting into time at hairdressers, beauty therapists, shopping for the makeup drugs of choice.

365 lots of one hour x 50 years = 18250 hours

Let’s suppose that one sleeps 8 hours a day, giving waking hours of 16 hours a day.

18250 hours / 16 = 1140 days spent doing nothing but stuff to do with makeup and hair.

1140 / 365 days in a year = 3+ years spent doing nothing but shit like sitting in front of a mirror changing how you look because how you are otherwise isn’t good enough.

I dunno about you, but on my deathbed, should I be so lucky to have one, I will regret not having enough time to have done everything I would have liked to. To read all the books, see all the plays, watch all the movies, cook all the food, go to all the places, see the world, spend time with my friends, play every bridge tournament, watch every chess game…the list goes on. Imagine at that point having to acknowledge that for every waking moment of THREE YEARS you could have spent doing these things, you instead spent sitting in front of a mirror changing how you looked. WTF.

For a detailed interview with Tracey Spicer on the situation and what she is doing about it, go to My new life without makeup.


3 thoughts on “Addiction to makeup

  1. But you’re not being fair. Women are well known to be good at multitasking, and they can do all kinds of things while putting on and taking off their makeup. Nag their husbands, have bitchy conversations with their girlfriends, listen to audiobook versions of romance novels… the list is endless. There are probably women who can do ALL of the items mentioned above at the same time, while fixing their eyeliner and letting their nails dry!


  2. Well I don’t own any make up. I don’t own a dress. The last time I went to the hairdresser was when I was a bridesmaid for a friend when we were in our teens. (The hairdresser looked at my long hair and said, “I can’t put all that up.” )
    You can read a lot of books in three years, write a few as well and knit something to keep yourself or someone else warm… Mmm – think I’ll stay “au naturel”.


    • I don’t think that wearing dresses takes up time – not for me. In fact I have a theory in Geneva that skirts are warmer than pants – makes sense, I think, looser clothes keep the cold at bay and it is easier to wear layers like leggings under skirts/dresses.


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