Why Is Makeup So Hard?

I swear, I could watch an entire lifetime’s worth of makeup and hair tutorials on YouTube, staring at these beautiful women as they effortlessly turn a rolled-up sock into a flawless chignon, or apply lipliner that somehow doesn’t make you look like a guest on Maury, and still never fully understand what blush is. There seems to exist an entire class of human who was just blessed with the ability to always make their aesthetics flawless before they leave in the morning, somehow having the time to both eat an actual meal and put their hair into a shape that looks vaguely intentional, and then there’s me. What am I not understanding?

Take concealer, for example. Apparently, you’re supposed to get this creamy skin-colored stuff that you gently blot (rub?) over your blemishes and then blend into the rest of your makeup with a foundation that matches your tone? I guess? And somehow this deceives the people around you into thinking you never had a blemish in the first place. When I do it, however, it just gives the effect of, “Hey, look, that girl rubbed a bunch of concealer over her big-ass zit.” There is no trickery here, it’s just a bunch of makeup on my face. And foundation? You can pretty much ensure that there will be a nice border around my jawline where my face goes from a matte, slightly darker cheek to a pale, blotchy neck of regular skin. Foundation is never something that will come naturally to me, nor look like that perfect Photoshop finish that I feel I should be going for.

And liquid eyeliner — what absurd witchcraft is that? Whenever I see a girl who has that perfect, delicate cat-eye with the little flick up at the end, perfectly symmetrical on both sides — I want to steal her hand-eye coordination the way Usula stole Ariel’s voice. I’ll just keep the ability to do steady eyeliner in this seashell here. But seriously, how does one manage to flawlessly follow the line of the eye, not messing up or making it too thick in one part, and getting the perfect amount of curve up on the end, all to repeat it again on the other eye? How?? I can’t believe that I am the only person for whom this task is near-impossible. It looks so beautiful in theory, and yet every time I attempt it, I essentially just look like I have a black eye on one side.

Even something as seemingly straight-forward as lipstick proves to be a labyrinth of opportunities to make myself look like a melting clown. Who is able to, first of all, apply lipstick in a way that accentuates your lips while still looking natural? Mine usually looks like a few Saturn-esque rings of rouge around the general vicinity of my mouth, only to devolve into stains all over my teeth, cups, napkins, and every other surface which with my face comes in vague contact. Lipstick seems to be a constant uphill battle to stay looking done-up and not walk-of-shame, and it’s a battle I almost always lose.

I enjoy wearing makeup, I do. I like doing my hair, putting on perfume, and generally feeling like I’m put-together for the world in front of me. It’s not for everyone, sure, but I enjoy it when I have the time. However, I am often left feeling as though there is a secret course that many other girls are all invited to in the evenings when I’m home watching TV — maybe at the Learning Annex? — which instructs them on how to do all the various aesthetic sorcery that seems so impossible. The two-minute messy bun look? On some girls, it actually looks like this sexily undone updo that is as natural as it is flattering. On me, it just looks like I passed out in a puddle of my own drool the night before and couldn’t find a comb before I left the house. Bronzer? On some, it comes across as a few areas of sun-kissed skin on an otherwise warm complexion. On me, it looks like I rubbed my face after eating a bag of Cheetos. It’s not fair.

Perhaps the best solution — to ensure that we all get a fair footing when it comes to preparing ourselves in the morning — would be to give each woman her own personal makeup and hair stylist, should she desire one. I feel that’s the most just solution, and certainly a fruitful use of our tax dollars. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


image – Melissa Morris

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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