Beauty Level-Up #1: Confidence

This is post 2/4 of an October Friday series leading up to Halloween.

As I simply adore writing about beauty, I figured I could do an occasional (weekly, if it works out that way. #FemmeFriday?) post about it called Beauty Level-Up.

I used to be fairly uninterested in cosmetics outside of eyeliner and maybe some quick eyeshadow and mascara if I was feeling fancy. As I’ve gotten older and more femme, I’ve been enjoying setting little beauty goals for myself and working towards them. It’s very RPG-like for me: I enjoy attaining the goals, but I know I will never quite run out of them. Also, I like finding good bargains — or at least products worth my dollar — and I love finding ways to startle myself with my own face. Everyday cosplay, if you will.

Without further ado, the matter of the week.

How long have you been doing the make up thing? I’ve only recently started, and I’m curious how long it took you to get confidence.

This is a question after my own heart. As I’m considering Beauty Level-Up, I ask myself who am I to be giving beauty advice. I’m not a makeup artist. Hell, I sometimes style it “make-up” and sometimes “makeup.” What is my business having any confidence at all, let alone enough to give advice?

And yet I do.

I started messing around with makeup when I was a teenager. The products I got were free-gift-with-purchase cast-offs from my cousins. Though they were more than decent brands (Clinique, Lacome, Estee Lauder, and so on), the colors weren’t really the best for me and I didn’t know how to apply them, let alone in a way that stayed on my greasy skin. Most of my experiments with cosmetics were conducted in the evening, before bed, and all traces of them were washed off during my morning shower. I did go through a phase when I wore makeup to school, but it was poorly-applied and unflattering. I’m grateful there are no pictures from that time.

Heina as a zombie wearing a t-shirt reading "ZeTH: ZOMBIES FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF HUMANS"

In college, I started playing with costume makeup as part of my interest in zombies. I started to realize that I could alter my appearance with more conventional makeup for everyday wear. It was part of how I drifted towards a very aggressively femme presentation overall. Femme is expressive and fun and gives me a lot of space in which I can play with how I look.

I’ve gained confidence from two things: perfecting my makeup technique by technique and having my efforts appreciatively and thoughtfully commented upon.

Perfecting my technique means trying new things and setting goals for my next level-up. Success builds confidence which in turn encourages further experimentation and potential successes. Easier said than done, but you can start by asking someone whose makeup you admire how she accomplishes one specific thing about her look. Once you master that, you can go on to the next thing. If you don’t have anyone to ask or are too shy, Alle at xoVain has some great videos.

In terms of appreciation, I take selfies both for my own records and so that I can get feedback (and yes, praise) from others. My partner, a former goth, is a great source of suggestions and compliments for my makeup. I don’t encounter a lot of people who would comment on my makeup in my offline everyday life other than him, so the Internet comes to my rescue.

Tumblr and Twitter are great sources for comments and suggestions if you hashtag things right. I’ve also heard good things about Instagram as well as r/MakeUpAddicts. If the thought of throwing yourself out there to strangers is too scary, you may not want to underestimate the people you already have in your life. Heck, not too long ago, I thought my Facebook friends would universally hate my makeup selfies, but I mostly get positive feedback; those who don’t like them tend to ignore or hide my posts, which is fine by me. I’ve had the occasional person berate my earlier and/or clumsier efforts as “clown makeup”, which hurt a bit, but I had enough actual friends giving me good feedback to help me out.

Can’t think of anyone to ask for praise and suggestions other than me? Got beauty questions? Drop me a line via the method of your choice: Twitter / Tumblr [anon enabled] / Facebook/ (anonymous) / email

Beauty Level-Up #1: Confidence

5 thoughts on “Beauty Level-Up #1: Confidence

  1. 1

    My partner, a former goth, is a great source of suggestions and compliments for my makeup

    Hee, I love this. Former goths unite! Although I was a bit of a failure as a goth, because I never did much makeup beyond heavy dark eyeliner and black lipstick. (Sometimes, if I wanted to go REALLY crazy, I would put on dark red lipstick and use a black eyeliner pencil as a lipliner.)

  2. 2

    I discovered concealer almost right after getting my first pimple. Eyeliner was next, mostly because the heroines in all the 60s/70s movies we saw on TV back then had it. As movie heroines were less damsels in distress and more sidekicks/the actual protagonist, their makeup changed. This kind of coincides with my makeup getting simpler for everyday. But everyday is concealer, mascara, little blush, and some lip gloss. Lipstick, when I was a kid, was AWFUL- it dried and caked almost immediately. Really wasn’t until today’s explosion of lip stuff that I took any interest.

    1. 2.1

      I can relate. The first lipsticks I tried were late 90’s/early aughts Clinique ones. I thought I hated lipstick because of that. Recently, I discovered that lipstick can provide decent coverage, last a while, be matte, and not be stinky. MAC has been my game-changer.

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