By Ines Imdahl
Painting faces is an ancient tradition.In addition to beautifying the skin in the form of facial jewellery, facepainting had other functions. As war paint, itwas meant to intimidate others and give wearers courage. As part of ritualfertility cults, it was a sign of seduction and readiness to conceive. Itdefined belonging to a particular ethnic or religious group – distancingwearers from other groups.
Nowadays, make-up isvery often part of women’s everyday lives, their body-care habits and personalstyles. What women want to signal with it can, in turn, be very different: inaddition to sending erotic signals – something we tend to think of first - manywomen seek to exude more confidence. From concealingand covering up small blemishes and highlighting individual facial parts suchas lips or eyes through to complete transformations, make-up boasts a very broadrange of applications.
But the key thing is:women who wear make-up don’t feel like themselves without make-up. Without it, they feel “incomplete”, and almostundressed. Without their make-up, and just as nature intended, these women feelout of sorts with themselves when standing in front of the mirror in themornings. They experience themselves as “natural” only - as defined by theirvery nature - when they have completed their morning make-up rituals. In thisrespect, women always talk about the fact that they like to “look natural”, buthave a harmonized and flattering image of nature in mind.
Between beauty ideals and self-determination
How much color, mascaraand lipstick is right for me or the situation? At what point do I feel made up –what isn’t enough to cover up nature’s little cruelties? The process of balancingbetween too much and too little make-up always touches on the question ofcontemporary beauty ideals. Through make-upwomen try to do justice to these ideals and try to not be dominated by them atthe same time. The balancing act exists in tryingto find your own personal style within the existing ideals. In other words:women are aware of the latest make-up trends and often base their ideals onthem. But at the same time they “rebel” against social standards and remaintrue to themselves in key areas. This may mean that they always apply eyeliner inthe same way or feel a certain color of lipstick is essential.
Ultimately then, between ideals ofbeauty and personal style the made-up truth exists - the “natural, authentic”self.