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  • Writer's picturePBMIF


Find PBMIF on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube for useful tips and facts in consumer and fashion psychology.

What comes to mind when you think of the word 'makeup'?

Is it joy, bank account, celebrity makeup lines, influencers, brushes, animal cruelty, lip gloss, a specific eyeshadow palette, a specific shade maybe(?), imperfections, toxic, boys, girls, eco beauty, oversaturated, trends, can't live without, cosmetic surgery, makeup wipes, or how about self-esteem?

Makeup is what most of us are introduced to once we enter our pre-teen years. My earliest memories of makeup is probably when I was four or five, taking my mother's eyeliner and using it to (naughtily) draw (beautiful artwork) all over my parents' bedroom drawers and dresser.

Makeup can be bad.

I recently saw The Dark Secret Behind Your Favourite Makeup Products by Refinery29 and it really got me thinking about the why. Why do we not pay attention to where our beauty products come from? Why are we putting all of these chemicals on our faces? Why do we allow the exploitation of vulnerable children and young people? Why can't brands be more transparent?

Makeup can literally go bad as well. Makeup can have toxic ingredients and pose a risk to our health. Makeup costs money. Makeup when not applied properly can make us feel unskilful and the opposite of what we want to actually feel. Makeup can make us feel self-conscious. Seeing other people wear makeup makes us question whether we should wear it ourselves.

Makeup can only do so much.

Makeup can be great as well. It can allow us to express our individuality, cover our perceived 'imperfections', make us feel confident, helps us to practise our motor skills, possibly allow us to be 'perceived' as more attractive, and also to define or refine our features, as long as it's applied correctly though. Makeup can be therapeutic too; the act of applying makeup can be relaxing as well as watching someone else apply it.

But the question we would like to answer today is... why do we really use makeup?

Today we look at a journal article called: Paint a Better Mood? Effects of Makeup Use on YouTube Beauty Influencers’ Self-Esteem. Tran and colleagues (2020) studied the motivations of nine female beauty influencers on YouTube from the United States and Great Britain concerning makeup use, using Jacobsen's (2006) Framework for Aesthetic Processing to explore their responses. This post is inspired by this research.

Makeup is pushed by society

External messages from society regarding beauty are impacted by family, culture, and social roles. The society we grow up in can shape how we feel about makeup. We wear makeup because we're constantly bombarded with new makeup trends. Social media such as Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok allows us to stay updated with the latest makeup trends. We feel pressure to conform to these trends, otherwise if we don't, we endure FOMO (the fear of missing out). Makeup trends change frequently in society, so what might be in today might not be in next month. Makeup is a reflection of the era we're in and how trends can change and return.

Makeup builds communities

Makeup has a lot of power to build wonderful communities. When we have an interest in something, we find out more about it. In this sense, we join beauty forums, watch videos on makeup hauls, and watch tutorials, etc. We share our makeup skills, knowhows, and recommendations in order to teach others to become more confident in themselves and with their makeup. We enjoy the positive feedback we receive when we get complimented for our makeup and makeup skills. Makeup creates diverse and inclusive communities that help, advise, and inspire.

Makeup is valuable

Makeup is a form of artistic expression. Makeup is art. There's a lot of makeup and a lot to do with it. Makeup helps us to be creative. It allows us to express our individuality. Makeup is fun to wear and fun to experiment with. Makeup is also inspiring and enjoyable. Makeup is therapeutic. Makeup is self-care to some. Makeup is pleasing to look at. Makeup is a creative outlet and allows us to de-stress.

Makeup gives autonomy

Makeup gives us the ability to look as we wish. We can use makeup to enhance or manipulate our appearance and even mood. We're in charge of our makeup and we can do as we please with it. We have the ability and control to shape the final look. With makeup we can change our self-image and how we are perceived. We wear makeup because it can improve our self-esteem. Makeup builds our confidence.

If you love makeup or loathe it, do as you please! Spend time doing things that bring you joy instead of worrying about how you're perceived by other people.

Do you wear makeup? If so, why do you wear it and do you think that we're fed too much content on makeup these days? 🤔🤍

Curiosity is the best outfit. Thank you for reading, we'll see you soon. Why not check out our other articles?



Tran, A., Rosales, R., & Copes, L. (2020). Paint a Better Mood? Effects of Makeup Use on YouTube Beauty Influencers’ Self-Esteem. SAGE Open, 10(2).


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