To all the girls who feel self-conscious when they wear makeup

I was still living in the province when I fell in love with makeup. I'd go to school in Manila wearing outrageous eyeshadow colors and loud lips, matched with these punk-looking outfits. I had a phase, what can I say! I loved every minute of it. Well, most minutes of it. Sometimes people stared and I'd feel uncomfortable, but I knew from the moment I discovered purple eyeshadow that makeup was for me and nobody else.

It wasn't always like that, of course. I started wearing cosmetics right before college when I realize that I can actually make my blemishes disappear with just a touch of concealer. I had acne and then (horror of horrors) chickenpox late in high school so my skin was in terrible shape. I can't even begin to explain just how bad it was! I only felt confident enough to leave the house when I have concealer and foundation on.

So yes, I depended on makeup to make me feel good about myself. I am familiar the feeling of inferiority and disgust whenever I'd see the black marks on my face. I'd compare myself to my college classmates who had clear skin - why can't I have that? It would only be years later when I would find out why I always had pimples (hormones and improper cleansing, FYI).

I think people should check their privilege when they say they wear makeup only for themselves. I think it's great if that's your reason - so empowering, so cool! - but I feel that it makes people who wear makeup to correct flaws (real or perceived) even more self-conscious. It's bad enough that busybodies here in the Philippines always ask, "Where are you going later? Do you have a date? Why are you wearing so much makeup" or say things like "I prefer only natural or no makeup at all" when it's none of their beeswax. But makeup lovers who say that cosmetics should be purely for fun and self-expression can not speak for everyone. Not quite.

I'm lucky enough to be in a career where a fun (i.e. loud and creative) face is celebrated. Whenever I'd wear a daring lipstick, I would always get a compliment. Not every makeup lover is that lucky. Instead of compliments, they might get people whispering behind their backs or hooting at them in the streets.

Now, how do you deal with that? Others will stare and say mean things, but you can't allow them to define who you are. They can call you fake or a slut - men might go so far as to think you are deceiving them - but as long as you know you are none of these things, then you'll be alright. You need to surround yourself with people who understand your reasons for wearing makeup. Believe me, they exist! They will not judge you and they will know that your ardor for beauty is just one aspect of your identity.

You should never let yourself be made to feel like you're less of a person because you love makeup. This is easy for me to say right now, I know, after all I've been through and where I am in my life. I assure you however that it will be easy for you to understand if you just stopped giving other people power over your image of yourself. 

Choose to be beautiful in the way that pleases you, whatever it may be. That's my advice.