My research for this semester has been an exploration of makeup, the beauty industry/community, and stigmas attached to makeup and those who wear it. For my final project, I delved into The Power of Makeup, a tutorial turned challenge created by Nikkie Tutorials on YouTube. Her video was created in response to the negative backlash she received for the amount of makeup she wore, with claims stating that those who wear makeup only do it to impress others, because they lack self-confidence, and that heavy amounts of makeup are not seen as attractive, rather it is seen as “fake” to wear lots of makeup. The Power of Makeup shows Nikkie doing a full glam makeup look- but only to one half of her face. She expresses her artistry through makeup, but she is not afraid of showing her bare face as well. Her transformation shows her love for makeup and her passion for what she does, thus emphasizing the Power of Makeup. I, too have created my own version of her challenge as my final project, where I have created a full-on glam makeup look to only one half of my face while leaving the other bare.

Personally, I usually wear a full face of makeup everyday. My intentions are not to hide my natural beauty, rather to use my passion and love for makeup to have fun and be able to create different looks. However, I do in fact prefer myself with makeup on. With that being said, this video has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. I have no problem going out in public with no makeup on, yet social media is a place where we all depict and present the best versions of ourselves. My first choice of a picture or video to upload to social media would not usually consist of me only wearing makeup on half of my face, yet I felt empowered and brave when uploading this video to YouTube. I think that the difference between my bare side and the glam side of my face emphasizes the real power of makeup, and what it can do for people. There is no doubt that when I put my makeup on, I have a confidence boost. However, it does not mean that I’m ashamed of my natural state or feel like I haveto put on makeup. I genuinely love spending hours on end doing my makeup and being able to create a look to match my outfit, mood, or just for fun.

Makeup should be fun and inclusive for all. As a makeup artist, I get to channel my passion for makeup through enhancing others beauty, while making them feel more confident and like their best selves. Makeup is something that can be used to not only have fun, but can also be used to help people achieve their desired features/look. In my contemporary issue piece, I discussed Sephora’s inclusivity to the trans community and their program that helps to build relationships and create safe spaces for trans women to learn how to apply makeup. This is a huge step in creating inclusivity and equality in the beauty industry. Many brands have faced backlash for blatant racism in their products, for example, Tarte’s foundation launch that included only 3 deep shades out of the 15 total foundation shades. Before we can talk about the power makeup has, we must make sure we are including everyone- and everyone must have that same power. My goal with this project is to follow Nikkie’s original video concept, adding my own twist and creating my own look. It is with the power of makeup that I am able to look my best and feel my best, while embracing my natural beauty, too. This video is aimed to show my love for makeup, and to emphasize the power makeup truly has to make people feel good and the confidence makeup can provide.

In conclusion, makeup is something that can mean/do totally different things for different people. Personally, I have a love and passion for makeup that has continued to grow ever since I was a child. Much like Nikkie, we both love to show our artistry by creating looks that are often seen as ‘too much’ or ‘over the top’ makeup. We both have received backlash and negativity through comments and claims of lack of self-confidence, seeking attention, and seeking to impress. Whether or not that is the purpose for one wearing makeup, we should not automatically assume/associate those actions with those who often wear lots of makeup. Makeup should be inclusive for all and people should not be questioned for what they do to express themselves. Makeup has power, and we have the power to use makeup to empower ourselves and others.

Aiyana Roll is a current sophomore at Old Dominion University who is double majoring in English with a focus in Journalism and Women’s Studies. Along with writing and studying gender, race, and body studies, she is also passionate about cosmetology and fashion. She expresses her love for makeup through working as a makeup artist at Sephora, and is able to show her love for fashion and thrifting by working at Starlight Exchange, a resale boutique.  She hopes to one day combine all of her passions by writing for a blog or magazine where she is able to discuss beauty, fashion, the body, feminism, equality, intersectionality… the list goes on. She also loves coffee, her cat Mouse, food, music, and tattoos.