The Psychology of Makeup


I don’t know about you, but I love makeup. I’ve worn makeup since the age of 13 and my love for it is still going strong. I started experimenting with eyeliners and mascaras first because I’ve always liked emphasising my eyes. Since then, i’ve tried all kinds of foundations, lipsticks, eyeshadows, bronzers, highlighters, the list goes on… I hardly ever leave my house without makeup on but it’s not a huge deal to me if I do, makeup has just become a part of my daily routine. Whether you use loads of products or just a few, many girls will experiment with makeup throughout their life. Some people argue that women don’t need to wear makeup and that women should embrace their natural beauty, but I am interested in why we love to use makeup and what drives us to apply it. I’ve been trying to think about what inspired me to try makeup in the first place, and I’ve been wanting to pin down the reasons why I choose to wear it day to day. I’ve put together a few points about the psychology behind makeup and how it can make us feel.

1. Femininity – From an evolutionary perspective, makeup is used to highlight feminine features to make a women more attractive to a mate. Foundation makes the skin look smooth and flawless which suggests fertility and youth; mascara makes eyes appear larger and brighter; while lipstick adds a pop of colour to the face which is eye catching and attractive. From this point of view, makeup emphasises femininity and is used to promote yourself to be as attractive as possible in order to reproduce. It makes women look youthful and healthy which is true to some extent, but I don’t believe that this is the only reason why we wear makeup in today’s society.

2. Community – The makeup and beauty world is a type of community that you can connect with. You can bond with other people over cosmetics and can be involved in a big conversation with people who share the same passion as you. Lately, makeup has exploded into social media and girls everywhere are obsessed with certain products and emulating styles they see on their social media feeds. The makeup hype is huge and it’s only going to keep growing. I’ve found that beauty brands are extremely good at using clever marketing techniques and cute packaging to entice us in and make us believe that we just HAVE to own that particular product – to make us think that it’s going to solve our beauty problems and that our lives will be improved if we own the product. I will freely admit that I am guilty of being sucked into a particular product because of how its reviewed and portrayed in marketing campaigns. I’ve definitely felt that my makeup routine will benefit from owning particular products and I’ve felt the need to try popular and hyped up items based on how good it’s worked for another person’s look. I feel that many of us buy makeup that’s established popularity because we want to achieve a similar look that we see on someone else, and don’t want to feel like we’re missing out on the hype.

3. Self confidence – Not only is it feeling like part of a community, I think that makeup can help give women confidence. Although this may not be true for some women, some feel that makeup helps change their appearance in order to give them more confidence than they would have without it – which is something that these beauty brands tap into to sell their products. Some people claim that women use makeup as a mask, whereas I believe that makeup is used to enhance more than to hide. It’s amazing that you can use makeup to help make some of your features pop, while toning down other features you might not like. I don’t believe that women use makeup to deceive other people into thinking that they look different to how they actually are, I believe that women use makeup to present the best version of themselves and to quite literally put their best face forward. If you want to put on some foundation to hide some blemishes, or put on some mascara to widen your eyes, or draw on your eyebrows to define them, or add some bronzer to give a faux glow – then all power to you. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

4. Comfort and normality – Another reason why I believe women wear makeup is as a form of comfort. Believe it or not, I feel that makeup gives a sense of normality and familiarity when things might be getting a bit too much. Many women love having that bit of time in the morning to concentrate on themselves, which can impact how they feel for the rest of the day. It’s having that part of your day that you can dedicate to yourself that’s important. When life isn’t so great, makeup can be a great way of picking yourself back up again and giving you that feeling of normality. I know that when I’ve been ill in the past, getting back into the routine of applying makeup is comforting and makes me feel that bit better – not just to make me feel more attractive, but to make me feel like my normal self again.

Whether it’s to be part of a community, or to give yourself more confidence, or to feel a sense of normality – makeup can be used for all of these things. I personally think that I wear makeup for each of these reasons, and I love that makeup gives women such freedom to experiment. I started wearing makeup as a form of experimentation, and loved emphasising my features to make me feel different. I wear makeup now to make me feel good – when I feel good it makes my day start more positively and I feel more confident because of it. It’s a form of art and a way of expressing yourself, and I love it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on why we wear makeup. Thanks for reading!

Aimie xo


Leave a comment

  1. April 17, 2016 / 8:33 pm

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been wearing makeup since I was 11 or 12 because of spots etc, and have often been given have a hard time because if it so it’s nice to hear someone else shares my opinion of self confidence and comfort! I’ll definitely be giving you a follow 🙂 x

  2. April 17, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    Aw thankyou! That’s lovely to hear. Thanks for reading it, I’m glad you could relate 🙂 makeup definitely helps with so much! X

  3. April 17, 2016 / 8:46 pm

    Well, make up… I used to love it. But now I understand, that woman, who feels loved, attractive for her man, satisfied by herself, full filled etc. doesn’t need it.
    In my opinion, modern female use make-up because of this stupid fear to be not attractive, to lose a chance to be loved, lonely. And this fear in an injection, made by our social system, upbringing. People have to buy a lot. The best way to force them-to give them fears. Beauty is inside of every lady. Unfortunately, the most part have forgot about it.
    Usually it is so: as more make up as more ugly inside female is.

  4. April 17, 2016 / 8:51 pm

    I definitely agree with you that women don’t need makeup, and that every women should feel beautiful as they are. I personally feel that makeup is also great at helping enhance features and instilling confidence that some women unfortunately don’t have for whatever reason in society. I totally get your points, it’s interesting to hear what people think. Thanks for your comment!

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