The average woman spends approximately 11 minutes a day putting on makeup, or so studies highlighted before the pandemic came along and unimaginably changed every aspect of our lives – including our morning routine, when a splash of colour would take us confidently into the outside world with the face we wanted to present. Six weeks into our third lockdown and even those 11 minutes – not very long in the grand scheme of things – are falling victim to these times. With the uncertainty of what lies ahead and an edge of despondency settling in, recent statistics show that 17% of women have stopped wearing makeup completely. It seems that some women are beginning to lose their makeup mojo.
We know from extensive research that for many women applying makeup has huge emotional and psychological benefits, and that of the 48% of women who prefer to wear makeup, the majority do so because it makes them feel positive and confident. Add in the anecdotal evidence I’ve amassed as founder of Studio10 and it’s clear that wearing makeup is more than just skin deep – its an intrinsic part of our inner wellbeing. When you consider this, and the fact that quite frankly we need any mood boost we can possibly lay our hands on at the moment, surely now is not the time to down our makeup bag tools and go barefaced through these long days?
The idea that women put on makeup for the benefit of others – arguably men – doesn’t exist anymore. We wear makeup because we choose to and because it makes us feel good – not for approval and certainly not because we feel unacceptable without it. From exploring individuality and style to camouflage and seduction or simply feeling more attractive, the notion that we can create an enhanced version of our natural self, or use colour to invent any identity we choose to embrace, is powerful. The influence of makeup is evident, but it’s power goes beyond the potential to make us feel more positive and confident – the therapeutic value of wearing makeup is immense.
Instinctively we like structure in our lives and the routine of applying makeup offers this structure. It’s something that we can control when so much else lies outside our control – particularly in these challenging times when we need to uphold our routines. Backed up by psychologists and therapists, the creativity of makeup, selecting products, picking colours and mastering techniques dispels anxiety and negativity with the singular concentration we have for this routine. Like painting a picture and playing with colour, makeup is a form of art and it becomes more than covering up our imperfections. It reduces our stress and brings a sense of achievement that we have created something that makes us feel good.
Gwyneth Paltrow said: “Beauty to me is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass lipstick.” Of course wearing makeup isn’t the sole key to feeling comfortable in our own skin. Years of experience and discovering who we are does that – but it certainly helps. It may be that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – and there are many who will have an opinion that we look better with or without – but ultimately we are the beholder. If makeup, purely for ourselves, can create a sense of wellbeing and in that brief moment of our routine alleviate some of the stress this pandemic has created, it can only be a good thing. Time, I think, to get our makeup mojo back!