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Makeup and I have a love and hate relationship. I love it on other people, especially those who beat their faces to perfection, yet I hate it on me.

It wasn’t always like that. Back in my teens and my late 20s, I was one of those ladies who loved to dabble in the war paint. In fact, I wore the stuff everyday in full regalia from the liquid and press powder foundations to the concealer to the blush, eye shadow, lip liners and gloss and mascara.  Back then, I saw makeup as not only a way to boost confidence but to accentuate the positive while disguising what I perceived as negatives.

But now that I am heading into my mid-thirties, the extra time spent in the mornings in front of the mirror fussin’ and fixin just doesn’t appeal to me as much. I would rather hit the snooze button and spend the extra twenty minutes or so sleeping.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes makeup just completes the look. So if I’m headed out somewhere nice, I might pull out the caboodle and press my face. However, even that is not always a given.

Part of  my disillusionment with make-up involved worrying – wondering if the look I had achieved prior to leaving the house held up through the day. I can’t tell you how many moments in life I missed because I was in the bathroom or held up in my compact mirror, making sure that my face wasn’t getting away from me.

Now, I have a newfound appreciation of all my natural features including my nose and discoloration under my eyes, which I used to try to “fix” with makeup. I also love being able to touch my face without fear of some of it rubbing off onto my hands or clothing.

But perhaps my appreciation for my natural face isn’t all that it is cracked up to be – at least according to Sam Fine, celebrity makeup artist and creative makeup director for Fashion Fair Cosmetics. According to Fine, the biggest beauty mistake that I, among other bare-face Black women make is not wearing makeup. He says, ““I think the biggest beauty mistake is not understanding how to enhance your beauty,” Sam added. “And I think a lot of [women of color] are scared that makeup is going to make [them] look fake, ‘It’s not gonna look like me, they’re not going to have my color.’ I think that they just tend to step away from the category when a brand like Fashion Fair, is releasing a liquid foundation in July to add to the range of colors. Nineteen shades! There will be 17 shades in liquid! And if you look at that, that’s not a range that’s broken up for general market vs. African Americans. So you really are getting a wealth of coverage options and colors. I think the biggest mistake is not participating in the game at all.”

Interesting. Sounds more like a plug for Fashion Fair Cosmetics’ new foundation line than actual unbiased beauty advice. Product placement aside, there might be some truth to what he says. As one Facebook friend of mine – a photographer with years of experience – has suggested, the natural look is overrated and those who think that they look better without makeup are deluding themselves. In fact, his exact words were: “That whole natural thing is for people who don’t entertain the masses, everyone y’all watch, buy cd’s from, concert tickets to see, etc. rocks it. That natural line is corny!”

Ouch, that’s kind of harsh. As much as I was ready to” go in” on my FB buddy, I had to acknowledge that he too might have a point. We are an image-conscious society.  Every day on television and in the magazines, we see images of celebrities and even non-celebrities alike with their faces made-up to perfection. Even among the menfolk and in the news industry, men are encouraged to wear make up although it’s supposed to be the news we’re supposed to be paying attention to – not the faces of the anchors. Some say television personalities need to wear make-up because of the harshness of the lights, which seems to highlights one’s flaws, but the truth of the matter is that folks do look more appealing with makeup on than without. Even I notice a difference in the number of cat-calls from men on the street when I am wearing makeup as opposed to when I am not – not that I am looking to be harassed on the street by strange and random men. But you get my point.

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