Vivid pinks, yellows and neon greens were splashed across the BH Cosmetics Take Me To Brazil Palette inspired by Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. I bought it a year ago the with the intention of experimenting more with my makeup looks. But until this week, the palette had done nothing but take up space in my makeup drawer, smothered by an ever-increasing amount of neutral tones.
On a daily basis, my go-to makeup look is black mascara, a brow pencil, lip gloss or tinted lip balm and occasionally some blush and highlight. I rarely wear eyeshadow, and when I do, I stick to shades of bronze and gold.
Growing up, I always perceived makeup as a form of self-expression which allowed people to take creative ownership of their appearance. But despite the consistent popularity of aesthetically adventurous makeup promoted by Instagram, bold makeup looks seem contentious nowadays. With the rise of “no makeup” makeup brands like Glossier, everywhere I look there is an ad advocating makeup that supposedly enhances our natural beauty.
Deciding to wear colorful eyeshadow was a significant change. Early on in the week, I couldn’t help but think that everyone glancing my way was staring at me. What were likely innocent glances became derisive glares in my mind, and anytime someone’s voice got lower in my vicinity I immediately assumed they were judging me for my bright blue eyeshadow.
Additionally, looking at the rainbow array set me back a good 10 minutes every day as I tried to choose a color. Because it was so new to me, I had to stop and think and plan my makeup around my outfit. I didn’t want to walk into class or meet up with my friends for dinner looking like I got dressed in the dark. It’s one thing to swipe a shimmery bronze layer to my lids, throw on some mascara, add some clear gloss to my lips and run out the door. But it was a whole other thing to look in the mirror and wonder if my purple eyeshadow looked off next to my red scarf.
To my surprise, no one really seemed to notice, and if they did go out of their way to say something, it was always positive. I met up with a friend at Peet’s Coffee and Tea during the week, and the first thing they did was compliment me on my outfit and the color of my eyeshadow. Later on in the week, I met some friends for dinner at Palladium Food Court, and one told me that I looked especially put together that day.
Email Marie-Louise Onga Nana at [email protected]