Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Make-Up....and my struggles with it

I've started to notice a rather alarming trend.

My face literally has not aged since high school. And it's starting to become much more noticeable.

At first it was just family and friends that noticed. Old pictures elicited raised eyebrows and shock at how little changed I looked. The same reaction (with the addition of a few snide comments) also happened when I donned on a baseball cap and ponytail for the first time in years in front of my family.

Then I went to a young singles events at my church not too long ago - which I'd hadn't done before because I was in school.

The first couple I met literally mistook me for being in high school. Not joking.

Not that it seriously affected our being able to be friends! And not that my ability to make friends is affected by my youthful (and my acne-filled) face. Usually. And this was a totally small incident that really shouldn't be getting under my skin...


For someone who is discerning a marriage vocation, this is a major problem! I'm in my early twenties, but most people mistake me for being 4-9 years younger than what I actually am. Which wouldn't be a bad thing if I was in, say, my 40s or something (that would probably be a nice compliment).

However......I don't really want to have a younger guy for a husband. Nor do I want to scare off any guys because of my looks (after all, there still is a heavy stigma for robbing the cradle.....).

Now,  I know what you girls are probably wondering...don't you wear make-up, Catherine? 

The answer is....

No. Not on a regular basis.

To be honest, I never was a very girly girl at all.

Sure, I had a few tries with makeup as a toddler...that got me in trouble.

As a tween/teen, I never liked the idea of pampering myself. I didn't like having my nails done. Spa days sounded like some sort of torture because you have a bunch of gook on your face and you have to sit still and do nothing. Not very attractive to this independent, tomboyish and easily bored girl.

After high school, I began to start with nail polish and make-up. I find that I still like the natural look on my nails, but make-up and hair....yeah, I can handle that! Still not sure about that spa idea though....LOL.

For professional settings (meetings, presentations, etc.), I'll definitely put on make-up to put my best face forward. I'm not some fresh-faced kid on the block, nor do I wish to convey that image.


Make-up and I have a rather contentious relationship.

Of course I went through the blue eyeshadow fiasco that every girl seems to go through (though mine showed up late - it happened in college *cringes*). I still have a hard time matching skin tone color too. I tan in the summer, and I usually have a light farmers tan on my arms all year round. But the rest of my skin is a light tan/light pink mix. Having both warm and cool tones is great for clothes but tough for makeup, I find. There are other factors...some of which will be explained below.

So, with that recent and alarming trend of being mistaken for a living example of the Fountain of Youth, I've been debating whether or not I should be using make-up more often or not....and I've come up with the following pros and cons:

  • Make-up is wonderful at hiding blemishes on the face
I've had a pretty severe case of acne since I was about 13, some of which has scarred my face. I have tried literally every home remedy and over the counter medication that I can get my hands on. I'm rather surprised that the doctor never put me on prescription meds. While some of the sections have faded, I still have some really bad areas. And I still get breakouts on a regular basis. Make-up really does help to hide that, as well as any other little things (like dark circles) that occasionally crop up. 

St. Thomas Aquinas actually recommends that woman use make-up to cover up blemishes that come from illness and other health issues, so that's an added bonus!

  • Make-up can raise self-esteem, and does make me I'm in my twenties. 
Not need for a long explanation here! I do find that when I wear make-up, I do feel more confident in myself in social situations. I do feel pretty and feminine. And my family and friends have said that I do look older when I'm wearing my make-up. 


  • It can irritate the face 
If I do wear make-up, I have to wear a good bit in order to cover up the acne. Which causes my face to itch horribly, even if the makeup is gentle (right now, I'm using ELF makeup products, and I still have problems occasionally). It honestly feels like my face can't breathe, as weird as it sounds, but maybe that's truer than I think because the makeup clogs the pores up. And my face itches enough with the acne without makeup....

  • It can take a while to put on. 
Especially in my case, when you're dealing with a creme foundation that requires a LOT of powder in order to cement in because you have to put on so much blasted foundation to cover the acne up...and for someone who is used to being rushed out the door, there often is no time to deal with it. 

  • Too much makeup creates a false or lustful image
St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Cyprian make very clear that the overuse of makeup to deceive or excite lust in others is morally wrong. While it is perfectly good to look your best (especially for the husband!), grossly changing the features via dyes or other chemicals is just unacceptable.

God made your face, and He made it beautiful just as it is! 

To be honest, this is the thing that gives me pause the most.

I want people to love me for being me. Not because of any physical beauty that I may have. Because, I know my physical beauty is temporary, whereas my inner beauty is the one that stays. I don't want to use make-up as a crutch or as a way to "catch" a man.

Anybody that marries me, unless he or I finds a magical cure for this blasted acne, is going to have to live with my acne-filled face for a good portion of the time. Not to mention all of the other faults that I possess! And this will be true until either he or I dies, no exceptions.

I'm honestly terrified of the idea that a guy will only see me with makeup, fall in love and marry me, and then be either disappointed, horrified or disgusted by my blotchy, acne-filled, "normal" face. It's probably a girlish and foolish fear, but a fear nonetheless.

So, now there is the awful choice...should I start wearing some makeup on a more daily basis (like when I go out in public) and risk possibly putting out a "false face" or should I leave my youthful face alone (except to get rid of the acne)?

I still don't know which way to go.

Your turn to talk! Do you have any suggestions for me - make-up, acne removal, etc.? Answers to my dilemma? I'd dearly love to hear them!!!! 

Old-fashionably yours,