Students view makeup as an art form

Samrina Acharya, Staff Writer

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Many believe art to be simply what one would find lining the halls of a museum on a framed canvas or sculpture. However, art is a much more generalized term that can be perceived in many different forms.

According to the Oxford dictionary, art is defined as “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.” The way this creativity and self-expression is conveyed in terms of tools and canvas depends on the artist. Some artists have even gone as far as to physically embody their art by using their own skin as a canvas and makeup as the means to showcase their artistic abilities.

According to, as of June 2016, more than 5.3 million beauty videos were published on YouTube generating more than 55 billion views. This prevalence of beauty and makeup specifically in social media continues to climb exponentially. As the interest in makeup-related content increases, people have come up with new inventive ways to use makeup in order to stand out and express themselves creatively whether that be on the internet or in their day-to-day lives.

Senior Giana Epps said she views makeup as both a method of self-expression and a way to make good first impressions. Rather than covering up aspects of herself, she said she uses it to remain true to her personality while revealing more about herself to others in a glance.

“I feel myself when I have the right colors on,” Epps said. “It’s not something that defines me by any means but it is a way to kind of let people know ‘this is me.’ I think a lot of people misinterpret that sometimes like [I’m] hiding behind something but that’s not the case, it’s just something fun.”

Epps said she is aware that there is a stigma surrounding those who wear too much makeup. For her, she said she recognizes that rather than being just something people hide behind or wear to be more well-liked by others, makeup has a larger impact on the mindset one has.

“There are a lot of people that think people wear makeup for other people and that is never the case,” Epps said. “I don’t think of myself as being funnier or prettier with or without makeup, but it does affect [my] confidence a little bit. It’s the same as my shoes. If I’m wearing house shoes I’m not going to feel as confident as if I’m wearing my platforms.”

In addition to the misconceptions about what wearing makeup says about a person, there are also differing opinions about who should be allowed to wear makeup. Contrary to traditional beliefs of makeup being exclusively worn by women, many major makeup brands are challenging gender norms as the market is increasingly targeting men. expected to rise by another 6 percent”. Additionally, in March of 2017, Milk Makeup launched its Blur the Lines Campaign in order to “pav[e] the way for a more inclusive, less stereotypical way of thinking about makeup.”

Junior Royce Ferneau said he gained an interest in makeup after first trying it his freshman year of high school. What started off as a way to pass time, quickly became a hobby he devoted hours of practice and effort into.

“I started doing really really bad makeup with my best friend Summer. We would put on makeup and dress up and then at night we would go to a Waffle House or an iHop for fun,” Ferneau said. “I’ve been doing this for three years now and I’m still learning new things.”

Although makeup is universal, and not made for any specific gender, Ferneau said he still finds that many people view his look as unconventional.

“I’ll get stares,” Ferneau said. “Some people like it, some people don’t, but I’m not really here to please anybody but myself and I try not to care. I don’t really pay mind of anything; I just do it for myself.”

Ferneau said makeup is not only a way to boost his confidence and accentuate the beauty everyone already has, it can also aid in discovering oneself. On a physical level, he said he has been able to learn more about the anatomy of his face from the bones he didn’t even know he had to what works best on his eyes. Additionally, he said he found it made him able to “let out the personality within.”

“Once you put on your makeup for some reason you turn from this person who’s kind of just straight chillin’ into someone who’s like voguing in the mirror,” Ferneau said. “It’s amazing how when you feel good about yourself it can change your perspective on life and yourself.”

Coming from an artistic background, sophomore Annaliese Goldwasser said she sees makeup as a way to practice creative techniques in her everyday life. She decided to begin experimenting with makeup looks over the summer in order to combat her boredom and has been interested in it ever since.

“I guess, for me, I like to wear makeup because I’m an artist and its fun,” Goldwasser said. “I enjoy playing with colors and creating illusions and stuff like that. When I do some of my more elaborate looks it is a way for me to play with different colors and shapes and see what I can do. It’s a way for me to make art.”

Ferneau said he shares this belief that makeup is an art form. He said he believes this is true because of the incredible amount of time and effort that goes behind every look and background knowledge that is needed to achieve the desired outcome.

“If you gave a new timer paint and a paint brush they probably aren’t going to be the next Picasso,” Ferneau said. “It’s kind of the same if you give them a makeup brush and a palette of eyeshadow.”

Similarly, makeup is prevalent in the world of performing arts. Whether in theater or cosplay, when done correctly, it can be crucial to the role being played. Epps said she uses makeup as a tool to enhance her performances in these activities.

“We use it on stage all the time to help us get into character so people will see us as different people,” Epps said. “But also you can go really crazy with that stuff. I’ve seen people do amazing things and transform themselves or create characters out of nothing. For ‘Carrie,’ I toned myself down and made myself look more dull and tried to get rid of any stand out features because she’s plain. But for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ I had 50s, Marilyn Monroe- inspired makeup and that was really fun.”

Although the trends in makeup that can be found when browsing through YouTube makeup tutorials or scrolling through an Instagram feed are ever-changing, the freedom of expression and creativity that comes with it will always remain. Goldwasser said social media is a good starting point to fuel her creativity when coming up with her own ideas.

“I’ll be like, ‘Oh, that’s really cool. I want to try that but I’m going to twist it a little and make it my own,’” Goldwasser said.

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The Mass Communications Site of Blue Valley Southwest
Students view makeup as an art form