Interest in “no-makeup” makeup has been on the rise in recent years and nowhere is this trend more apparent than Trinity. Glossier, which was founded upon this premise, is the millennial-pink makeup brand that can be found in nearly every Trinity toiletry bag. The makeup itself is flawlessly packaged – those infamous pastel bottles and tubes make the brand instantly recognisable.
However, this “no-makeup” makeup trend presents a puzzling oxymoron that seems to be circulating the beauty sphere. Although the idea of promoting natural beauty is generally deserving of support, this trend gives cause for discomfort. The pressure to look naturally enhanced lies heavy on many shoulders and when people wear “no-makeup” makeup, it often offers a false, or certainly deceiving, beauty standard.
A certain lifestyle is attached to the brand and this has amassed a cult-like following. In its promotional videos, we see a beautiful, clear-skinned, probably middle-class (did I mention beautiful?) woman who glides around their New York apartment in silk pyjamas, gracefully applying her Glossier makeup (with her fingers!) before heading off to work at 10am. By no means am I saying I don’t buy into this lifestyle too – I have watched all the videos…twice – but I wonder what subliminal message this sends to young people like myself.
I also wonder: how true are the brand’s claims of “skin first, makeup second”? Glossier is a brand which exudes and promotes “natural” beauty without fully embracing any natural skin types beyond clear, perfect skin. Every single model, creator, artist and fashion blogger that seems to use this makeup in their promotions has flawless skin. They also have unquestionably ethereal beauty. It seems to me that a brand that endorses “skin first, makeup second” but does not actually show or advertise the spectrum of natural skin is questionable.
Natural skin is universally not clear – whether that be redness, dryness, acne, wrinkles or discoloration – and Glossier does not adequately represent this in its branding. Its “no-makeup” makeup trend promotes a specious type of beauty which is far from fully representing the majority of their customer base. Undeniably, they are not the only brand guilty of promoting this trend, but they are the most popular, especially among Trinity students.
Makeup, at its core, is an empowerment tool. Although I have a problem with the deceiving image associated with Glossier’s “no-makeup’ makeup, I do identify a positive aspect at the heart of this trend in that it promotes what makeup should be. Makeup should be an enhancement of natural features and a tool for self-confidence – whether your skin is flawless or not. So why not just call “no-makeup” makeup just makeup? Whether you put on a full face or just some blush, it’s about how you feel and not how you look anyway, right?