I have a five year-old niece who loves gymnastics, an animated show called Shimmer and Shine, and reading. Her mom, my amazing big sister, doesn’t let her wear makeup yet because - duh - she’s five. But I suspect even when she’s older my sister will struggle with the transition - much as our parents struggled when it was our turn to try - because, well, it’s complicated.
There are so many things I love about makeup - my earliest memories of it are quite fond. I’d sneak into my parents’ bathroom, park myself in front of my mom’s vanity and play with all of the products I could find. I’ve been an expert at applying liquid eyeliner since age 7, because that’s what she had, so that’s what I learned. And while much of my exploration was driven by curiosity, I have to admit that insecurity played a role as well. I wanted to be pretty, and (this is embarrassing to write) I wanted to be lighter-skinned like my mom and my sisters. So I’d take her two-shades-too-light foundation and try to cover what I saw as my flawed, dark complexion. Eventually I grew out of my desire to change my skin color (thank God), but held onto the idea that makeup was a corrector - a way to transform my perceived imperfections into assets.
This isn’t the relationship I have with makeup now, nor is it one I like to promote. It’s why at Mented we’re so adamant about creating makeup that enhances - not transforms - your beauty. We love making products that celebrate a woman’s natural beauty; it’s not a coincidence that every product we’ve launched is in our signature nude color range.
The thing is, much as I love our stated goal of ‘enhancing not transforming,’ there’s no denying that makeup, yes even our makeup, is transformative for many women. And what I’ve come to learn is that’s ok too. Because beauty is complicated. Yes, we should all love the skin we’re in, and no, we shouldn’t feel the need to cover up our flaws. But the truth is, much as I love and appreciate my skin there are days when I’ve got yet another breakout, dark circles that won’t go away, and brows that will not cooperate, and frankly I just want to cover it all up with every piece of makeup I can find. And a mask. And a paper bag, if you’ve got one.
Am I making sense? I hope so. The point is, like many women I know I am in a never-ending quest to be kinder to myself. On my best days, makeup helps with that journey by giving me the extra bit of confidence I need to feel my best, but I also know that becoming overly reliant on makeup could thwart that goal, putting me in a space where I only feel beautiful when I’m covered in products.
My hope for myself and our customers is that we can all love ourselves exactly as we are, and play dress up because we get to, not because we think we have to.
With Lipstick and Love,