About face

Modern makeup culture redefines the purpose of the paint


Senior Lina Caro doing her morning makeup routine. Caro’s favorite brands of makeup include Too Faced Cosmetics and Kat Von D Beauty.

Peyton Whittington, Online Editor-in-Chief

From the first Ancient Egyptian to smear black kohl under his eyes to protect them from the blazing sun to the last Instagrammer to post a photo of their winged eyeliner with #fleek in the caption, makeup has been a source of constant fascination for the human race. In a world of thousands of makeup aisles packed with MAC eye pigments and Covergirl lipsticks, it is no surprise that the demographics of makeup consumers, makeup trends and, especially, the reasons for makeup usage are changing monumentally.

“I was around 8 years old and my parents would get me those tasty lipglosses and colorful eyeshadows, so that’s how it all started,” sophomore makeup user Alani Fuentes said. “I also did dance and my mom wasn’t very good at doing my makeup, so I taught myself through YouTube tutorials.”

Use of the Internet as a learning tool for beginners is not uncommon. Junior Hannah Hockenberry also watched YouTube videos to nail her favorite makeup looks.

“Definitely use the Internet if you’re just starting,” Hockenberry said. “It’s a great resource for learning different tricks.”

Through tutorials, makeup enthusiasts of all ages can learn the biggest makeup trends, like defined eyebrows, winged eyeliner and contouring.

NikkieTutorials is one of many popular makeup tutorial accounts where one can learn a multitude of looks.

Aside from trends, makeup also plays a role in self-image. According to a recent study by Lab42, approximately 94 percent of millennial women studied said that makeup makes them feel confident. Cosmetics are now considered a way to highlight one’s natural features and express oneself through the art of makeup.

“I think makeup has a lot to do with self-confidence right now,” senior Lina Caro said. “It’s more of an art form.”

This does not mean, however, that the cosmetics industry is free of negatives.

“Companies still try and make girls feel bad about themselves and their natural bodies. That’s how they sell,” sophomore Belle Howe said. “But I think that girls who don’t listen to that and just do it because they love themselves—that’s a positive [about makeup culture].”

Another shift in cosmetic culture concerns gender: makeup is not only being used by women and girls anymore. Junior Nicholas Roof contributes to this break in gender roles through his love of makeup.

“My friends and people I know all think that I should do whatever makes me happy,” Roof said. “Makeup has no gender.”

Despite their passion for the makeup brush, most makeup users don’t feel like it is a necessity. Makeup is now a tool for self-expression and just having fun.

“I like that I can go out of the house without makeup and not feel insecure,” Howe said. “I just think it’s a really good way to express yourself.”