I love makeup. Any kid of cosmetics. I have gone through different stages of colours and styles when it comes to painting my face.
I remember when my mom put on my very first makeup. Like any little girl, I was so proud as she dabbed the red onto my cheeks and lips and the blue onto my eyelids in the seventies, when she was so much younger than I am today. I also recall the tears that filled my eyes as she drew around them with an eyeliner. I learned very early on that beauty comes with suffering, but the pain was worth it all as I looked at myself in the mirror with utter fascination.
I was in my very late teens when I decided to start using cosmetics, way behind my peers. And of course, as with everything else I do in life, I did with passion and exaggeration. And I still do today.
Although in periods the use became lighter, such less on eyes, more on lips and vice-versa; the heavy use always prevailed. "A little bit of heavy make-up" is what my sister calls it and my mother always tries to remind me that less is more. But all this is in vain.
I love to paint and draw and the face is the most exciting canvas. The idea of creating an image, an expression in colours and light and shadows is a very exciting one. I love to experiment and I am not afraid to try, thus my personality is often viewed as unconventional. Do not misunderstand me though, there is nothing more beautiful than a pristine, natural complexion, devoid of cosmetics, at any age. I am not one of those women that do not dare to leave the house without makeup, in fact I do this often. I guess I just marvel at the transformation a little bit of colour can do to a face.
The other day I read in the newspaper that an average woman consumes around 3.2kg of lipstick in her lifetime. Yes, consumes, not as in uses but as in eats. I am not surprised, as I know I reapply my lipstick or lip gloss at least twenty times a day.
Lips are the most sensual part of a face. Whether it is a woman or a man, my eyes are almost always drawn to the lips. Some will say eyes, but I scrutinize always a strangers mouth first. Healthy luscious lips, a great set of teeth and a prevailing smile are to me important signs revealing a lot about a human beings health and personality. Lips are naturally red, due to the fact that they contain a large amount of blood vessels. Furthermore, the skin covering them is very thin, thus the red colour.
Women have for millenia tried to accentuate their lips. The history of lipstick or the use of colouring lips goes back to ancient Egypt. Cleopatra had her lipstick made from crushed carmine beetles, which gave a deep red pigment, and ants for a base. Lipsticks with shimmering effects were initially made using a substance found in fish scales called pearlescence.
In Medieval Europe, applying colour to the lips was banned by the church and cosmetic use viewed as promiscuous. In the 16th century England, lipstick started to gain popularity again during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who made piercing red lips and bright white faces a fashion statement. By that time, it was made from a blend of beeswax and red stains from plants.
Lipstick was considered an essential item for female nurses in the armed forces during the Second World War, both to remind women that they were ladies first and military second, and because it might have a calming effect on the male soldiers. It also gained popularity as a result of its use in the movie industry, and it became commonplace for women to apply makeup, or "put their face on."
Today lipstick is an essential product of the cosmetic industries. Even though it underwent an evolution and the quality and consistency is nothing like in the one used by the ancient woman, one fact still remains - its use and purpose has not changed for centuries.