As a mother to two young daughters, Beauty Mama blogger Michele Brown has had to come to terms with her ideas about beauty and self-esteem. A former beauty editor, she now finds herself second-guessing some of the practices that she used to consider rote. While she still considers herself a beauty junkie, she sees products and practices through new eyes now. Here, she confronts her daughter's inquisitive mind about beauty.
I was applying foundation the other day when Julia asked me this question, her eyes wide, tracking the dramatic swirling and buffing required to achieve a flawless finish of Bare Minerals.
We were sitting together at the kitchen counter, my mission control. I am defined at this kitchen counter: I prepare meals here, I take conference calls here, I do a wicked smoky eye here. I believe Julia thinks whatever I do here is pretty vital.
While I was blending and concealing, Julia was building a house out of Legos next to me. I mentally fumbled through possible responses as the question hung in the air. "Why do I wear makeup, honey? Because I look like a tired hag without it," wanted to roll off my tongue, but I held it back. "Because I prefer a stronger brow on my face," though honest, was probably not the way to go, either. "OK . . . because once, when a boyfriend saw me without makeup, he asked 'Where'd your face go?'" Definitely not the way to go.
The truth? I thank god for makeup. I love it and cherish it the way other girls love jewelry. I love to wear it, shop for it, try it on. I love how it dresses up jeans and a t-shirt. I love it strong and I appreciate it subtle. And I love the way it can totally and absolutely transform my face. (For example, with artful shading and shimmer, I can fake higher cheekbones.)
But I kind of don't love how I "need" it. I need it to feel pretty most of the time. I need it to walk out the door and feel confident. I need at least a little of it to, literally, face the world. I am fully aware of my dependence on cosmetics. But I'm also evolved enough to know that my confidence shouldn't be perched on a Tom Ford eye shadow palette. Even a limited edition one. And it isn't — I swear.
I don't want Julia to need it. I look at her creamy, perfect little-girl skin and actually cringe at the thought of makeup sitting on it. I honestly think I'd be thrilled if she grew up not caring to wear it. At the moment, my girl really has no interest in makeup. She'd rather paint at her easel with my lip gloss than wear it on her cherubic little pout.
Why do I wear makeup? Julia's age is too tender to be really honest. So I ducked and diverted an answer that day at the kitchen counter. Julia's Lego staircase was so remarkable, the conversation just naturally segued into my suddenly second favorite subject: architecture.
Not my proudest mommy moment, but I don't have the answer yet.