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Redefining Makeup as Expression of My Mental Health

I was about 6 or 7 when I wore makeup for the first time. It was part of my costume when I used to compete in figure roller skating, and it was so much fun. I used to wear glitter everywhere, especially in my hair. Makeup was inherently attached to my performance. It was part of the magic of moving through music and expressing my love for skating.

Makeup became punk-rock mascara and eyeliner when I was 13. Avril Lavigne was on every magazine, tv channel and radio, and music became my only friend. I wasn’t a rebel teenager, quite the opposite. I was just trying to find myself in the safest way possible, and that way was makeup. I remember a teacher wondering why we were so obsessed with black, instead of experimenting with colourful lashes. I was asking myself what was wrong with black, I wasn’t a child anymore.

Makeup gurus became a thing way before I reached my 18 years of age. So, instead of my mother being the only source of knowledge, YouTube opened up a whole world for me. I started asking for £45 makeup palettes and dreaming about earning my own money to finally buy those makeup brushes my favourite influencer was loving. Makeup became fun again, but it also started to become a must. I would never, ever leave the house without makeup. And I was desperate to cover every single spot on my face.

I fell out of love with makeup when I moved to London. My priorities changed, I felt less judged in a City where I knew nobody, and I was often too tired to wake up 5 minutes early to apply makeup. Simply put, I didn’t care what I looked like. Which sounds like the goal, but it wasn’t coming from a place of love. It was coming from deep boredom. I was bored with life.

My relationship with makeup goes hand in hand with my mental health. I talked in a previous post about how mindful makeup is now a tool I use against my anxiety. It couldn’t be any other way, really. Makeup was fun, and then it wasn’t, but it’s not because of anything else other than myself.

Now, I am redefining makeup. Taking the best from each stage of my relationship with it, I am making it an instrument that always plays in my favour. It is expressing my love for myself when I wear colours that mirror how I feel, or sometimes how I want to feel. It is reminding myself of who I am. It’s fun, as I learn new techniques and experiment with new colours. And it’s not for those days I need my skin to heal, instead of being covered and hidden away.

I believe there’s a lot of confusion out in the world about makeup and what it means to wear it. We are bombarded with everyone’s opinions and in today’s society, it’s hard to get our own idea about things. But maybe, go back to the day you first applied makeup, no matter what age you were. How did it make you feel?