(Men, don’t stop reading. There might be a nugget or two for you also!)
Like most little girls, I couldn’t wait to wear makeup. It seemed like such a grown-up, glamorous thing to do. Movie stars, musicians, and all the beautiful people wore makeup, and I wanted to be beautiful too.
Once I was old enough to wear it, it kind of lost its appeal. Sure, I liked the way it looked. But gosh, it took a lot of extra time to put on, and it was a mess when the mascara ran. As a competitive swimmer, I was constantly in the water, and pools and makeup don’t mix. I decided it wasn’t for me, except perhaps for special occasions.
But once I got to the corporate world. Hmmm… it seemed like it was required there, just like pantyhose and high heels. (I confess I’m not fond of those either.)
A friend recently informed me it’s estimated that women lose an hour a day of productivity compared to men simply because of the beauty routines required of them. An hour a day! That’s huge, and it’s also on top of the childcare, housekeeping and meal planning duties that still fall mainly, though not exclusively, on women.
Is all this attention to makeup and manicures and perfect hair really necessary?
I’m excited to be doing a Facebook live interview tomorrow for The Significant Leader Summit, as a follow up to the Significant Woman book launch. It will also be recorded. But I’m going to have to wear makeup, and a probably a little more than usual for the camera. UGH!
Is it necessary?
Well, I don’t want to look pale and washed out on camera. I want to put my best foot forward. So yeah, it’s necessary, right?
Or is it only necessary for women?
The other day, I was watching a video of Josh Groban and Helene Fischer performing a virtual duet. Josh, bless him, was sporting his kind of scruffy beard, with longish, wavy and mussed hair, and no visible makeup. He looked like he was comfortable. Helene, on the other hand, was wearing full makeup, manicured nails, and nicely styled hair. She looked beautiful. I’m not so sure about the comfortable part.
It made me want to scream at the unfairness!
We often see the same paradigm at play in the corporate world. Many women are dress more formally than the men, wear makeup and high heels, have manicured nails, and perfect hair. Granted, the men also have to be well groomed, but it’s different. Looking around, it’s easy to see where that extra hour a day come into play, even on Zoom or Teams!
So, how do we change that?
Or do we?
My first thought was that it needs to change, that we need a healthier view of feminine beauty, a more balanced view, and I still think that’s true.
But then I thought about that value the makeup does provide.
It is a tool that enables us to hide the dark circles under our eyes from a sleepless night, highlight our best facial features, or put on an extra dose of confidence with the wave of the mascara wand. Along with soothing our vanity, it can and does make us feel more confident, more capable, and more at ease with ourselves. It’s a tool that most men don’t have access to.
The reality is that our appearance (rightly or wrongly) impacts how other people perceive us AND perceive what we have to say. But, if you turn that concept around:
Our appearance is just another tool that can be used in service to your Higher Self, your mission, your message.
So yes, I will wear makeup tomorrow for my interview, and it probably won’t stay on long. But the makeup will help me feel more confident, more at ease, and better able to convey my message.
And that’s what matters.
It would be great if that wasn’t so, if society were more accepting of everyone’s appearance as it is. Maybe someday it will be.
In the meantime, as you spend your time, money and effort in personal grooming, ask yourself how it’s serving your Higher Self and your service to others …
Because you ARE beautiful, with or without the makeup.
With love and light,