Can we talk about InstaMakeup?
Silly question maybe but I happen to believe it’s a valid topic that needs to be addressed, not because I’m bitter that it has (in some way) re-defined how people perceive Makeup but because it’s redefining what people think a “makeup artist” is. I’ll confess I find most of the postings really intriguing and very creative but what I’ve noticed most of all is that we’ve become obsessed with “one trick ponies” that have become superstars because they have treated us to a makeup trick that frankly has been around since makeup started being applied but have been reintroduced (term used loosely) on social media as a new discovery and these Social Media “influencers” are not crediting their inspiration and or source. One example (there are many) is “contouring” an old theatre trick to enhance features, mostly used to make the masculine look more feminine.
Historically in some cultures women were not allowed on stage and the female roles were played by men “Dressed As Girls” which is where the term DRAG comes from and that brings me to modern times and the obsession to nurture these theatre/drag tricks that are designed to make a man look like a woman, these techniques are being used by women who already have cheek bones and feminine features. Is it to create a hyper-feminine look? I fear it’s not, I think it’s due to an over exposure to these InstaMakeup tricks that I fear contribute to the objectification/sexualisation of women and girls, it creates an unobtainable culture that can be quite damaging to the psyche.
Let’s now talk about the positive side of these posts, as I mention I find them intriguing
and the creativity behind some of the looks very inspiring, something I’ve always championed. I’m a big believer that we as creative creature never stop learning and that me take inspiration from everything we see and experience in life. I’ve always said that the reason we’re put on this Earth is to love and to learn and every experience we’re exposed to is an opportunity to learn, everyone we meet is an opportunity to love. So, I search for these posts and I relish in them and celebrate them as much as I critique them because that’s part of the learning process.
Art is subjective and everyone should and will see something different in every piece, so let’s not exclude makeup because it is just that, an art form and as such should endure the same scrutiny that all art receives. I have always believed and practiced the application of makeup to mostly enhance beauty, to create moods and tell stories for creative images and sometimes to just create ART on the face because in reality it’s just another canvas for an artist. I’ve always approached it as such, a canvas but not as a blank canvas because there’s a sketch there already, the eyes, mouth, eyebrows, ears, cheeks and face shape have already been gifted by nature. The real trick is not to try and create something that’s not there, we’ll leave that to the special effects makeup artist (a whole other story) our goal should be to even out skin, warm up or cool down the skin tone, bring out the colour of the eyes but most importantly to ENHANCE and EMBRACE the beauty in every one of our subjects. Our goal is to empower them with the confidence that makeup can gift, to take those quirky features and make them acceptable and appreciated and ultimately embraced.
InstaMakeup is a double edge sword because it creates unrealistic and unobtainable expectations and in some cases (my opinion) sexualises women rather than empowering them but it also exposes us to a cornucopia of creativity that can help us learn, grow and be inspired. So keep it coming but let’s be responsible artists and let’s set the narrative in a positive way that will ultimately always empower women…. and men.
By Carlos Palma