I have lost hours of my life scanning through Instagram, in awe of what seems like flawless faces of absolute make-up perfection. Eyeshadow that is blended so well it is utterly impossible to tell where it starts or finishes. Skin that doesn't have one single imperfection and is just the right combination of matte yet dewy. Cheek bones that are strobed to such extent that you could see them from the international space station and eyebrows that are so "on fleek" they could literally have an Instagram account of their own. Now I am a terrible cynic and deep down I know those pore-less faces have been edited within an inch but it doesn't ever stop me doing two things, these being:
1. Doubt my skills and existence as a Make-Up Artist
2. Doubt my existence as a women.
I can get over the first but it is the latter I have a real problem with. I wrote (and funnily enough won an award for) a dissertation on the media's portrayal of beauty ideologies and the effects on women and here I am about to have a breakdown because I don't have bee-stung lips, or clear skin, or a teeny waist and facial features to die for. I am so drawn in by this make-up yet it makes me feel so unworthy and like I am lacking something.
The worst part of it all is that although I can admit that these made-up faces look incredible, it is miles and miles away from what I am as a make-up artist. I hate to pigeon hole myself but if it came to it I would say I am very much a natural, softer beauty kind of gal. Don't get me wrong I love to glam it up, get the glitters out and create smoulder smokey eyes but I am also very much a believer that make-up shouldn't look like some sort of mask.
For me to think like this is one thing - I am a thirty something mother of three that is in a stable relationship and is in the midst of planning a wedding but if this makes me feel insecure about myself what is it doing to the teen masses? Is it teaching them that beauty is spending 2 hours putting your make up in such a manner that you look like a clone of your peers and role models? That if you don't have a heavy faded brow then are you even female? That if you don't own every shade of Anastasia Liquid Lipsticks then your some basic kid who doesn't have a clue about anything?
I often find myself reading down the caption of these perfect faces, scanning the list of products used to see what will change my life before running to Beauty Bay and spending a months wage in one go. And then I wake up. My rational, background in Public Relations and the fact that I am fully fledged Make Up Artist of 6 years kicks in. You do not need the 35 eyeshadows and 7 brushes the insta-influencer has used to re-create this look, nor do you need the 4 base products that have been used before foundation has even been mentioned. They're there for a reason, that person has been gifted, or even worse sent those products and a brief from the make-up companies in order to draw us in and spend our money. If you turn to the real beauty gurus such as Pixiwoo, Lisa Eldridge or Linda Hallbergs you will see that they are capable of creating just as, if not more mesmerising make-up looks using a third of the products without any mention of sculpting, strobing, or baking or the use of dessert spoons to contour the face. These ladies are the real artists. They have been in the industry and will continue to do so for years, they don't rely on trends to get them through, it is down to their true skill, knowledge and their ability to adapt to suit the needs of their clients. Unsurprisingly, Anastasia Beverly Hills was the biggest selling make up brand in the US in 2015, a brand that was little heard of pre beauty influencers. More surprisingly it is estimated that influencer Jaclyn Hill's net worth for 2016 is hitting $1.5 million!
This new breed of insta-artists all look pretty much the same (aka a member of the Kardashians), they are receiving the same free products, the same structured briefs and creating the same look. There is no originality anymore mainly down to the fact that these influencer are merely puppets of the Make Up Brands and they are required to name as many products in one look as they possibly can. But are they any good for the younger generations or just making them feel the need to spend all their money and their time on make-up? Do they put enormous pressure on women to look "insta-ready". Young girls may be in some sort of belief that they need to go about their everyday life with heavy foundation and dark smokey eyes but even Teni Panosian herself, has admitted that Instagram make-up doesn't translate to real life and that whilst we are used to seeing her with these full-on looks, in reality her day-to-day make-up is much less, if there at all.
I am a huge believer in the power of make-up and how it can create confidence and power on the inside as well as out. I also believe that it should be used to enhance what is already naturally there and that each client has different features to work with - it is not simply this one size fits all message that insta-influencers seem to be throwing out there. A great example of Insta-make up v's a more natural look is Kendal and Kylie Jenner. Kylie is the epitome of the Insta look; strong brows and eyes, a full covered and contoured face, surgically enhance lips topped with a matte lipstick. Whereas Kendal's approach is much more natural; her skin is visible, there is one key area of focus whether that be a smouldering smoky eye or a bold lip and her own true features are enhanced not hidden. When girls are constantly surrounded and bombarded with this insta-glam ideology of beauty then no wonder they feel the need to conform but how far will it go and will make-up be enough? Even now I am hearing of girls as young as 18 having lip fillers and botox to try to mould their faces into a mirror image of what they see on their phone. What happened to natural beauty and will this ever return? I would love to hear your opinion on this make-up craze and the influence it has on your own conceptions of beauty.