cosmetics & the world of beauty

DAY ONE: It’s Day #1. No cosmetics. I’m sitting in my bedroom with my hair wet and clean around my shoulders, piano music playing behind me – buttoned shirt, ready for the office, save my face. It feels naked. It feels remarkably vulnerable, and the mirror in front me reads the same thought: I’m sleepy; my eyes are too small; I look older; I look pale, but mostly I have the overwhelming thought that I look tired. This has always been my personal facial setback: I fear my eyes are too tiny without make-up and eye shadow and mascara (definitely mascara) and so I am convinced, utterly convinced, that without such adjustments I will be forever seen as merely slipping from my bed a minute before arrival.

So why to not wearing cosmetics for one week?

Because why is it such a personal question to not do so?

Why are cosmetics the norm? The daily go-to? The expected?

Because why do they matter so much?

Because when did my mental image of myself switch from: this is my face, my natural-born, baby-faced face, living and breathing face to this-is-my-face-when-i-wear-makeup-and-that’s-what-i-really-look like?

Because what is make-up? Where did it come from? How is it made?

Here’s a quick video from Mary Kay on lipstick production. To the start of the journey, we begin with the words of Bridgette January, a woman who holds a PhD and is a manager for the Mary Kay Product Development Formula Lab: “You look in the mirror and it makes you feel good about yourself.” And it’s true! But why? And is this a ‘bad’ thing? Does it matter?

“A woman without paint is like food without salt.” |Plautus, Roman philosopher|

Oil paints.

(a snapshot of oil paints, Minneapolis)

“A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.”

“Altogether, I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, in a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe.”

-Franz Kafka