One of our recent articles on 9Mums about motherhood and makeup made me put down my Chanel stipple brush and stop blending my peony-hued blush pronto.
The article was about not applying or wearing makeup in front of our young daughters so as not to rear appearance-obsessed girls.
I was once a beauty editor and I’m still rather obsessed with how things like skilled contouring can (almost) be life-changing.
But this article had me pondering my beauty product obsession. Women are out there not applying makeup in front of their daughters because it might encourage vanity and shift the focus away from inner substance?
Blush hour: Mama Mel and daughter playing with makeup. Image: Melinda Ayre
Well I’ve always been of the mind that makeup is a beautiful ritual. The icing on the cake. Something to enhance your beauty and lift the spirits. One of life’s pleasures. I’ve never thought of it as hiding my true self.
For eons mothers, aunts and grandmothers have been sharing and passing down their rituals from one generation to the next. All kinds of rituals including beauty, such as the Hammam’s black mud soap ritual in Morocco or bathing rituals in Japan.
While our Western rituals are not quite as earthy, my own Grandmother in outback Queensland taught me to wear a hat, foundation and powder always. My mother taught me to French braid, how to apply blush on my apple cheeks and she took me to my very first facial at Clarins when I hit puberty.
As a young dancer I stood alongside older girls and learned to twist my bun just so, douse it in Elnet and paint my ebony-winged liner in a perfect kick following the line of my lower lash. And I’m happy I grew up in a generation who learned makeup tricks from real live women other than YouTube.
That’s part of the reason I relish teaching beautifying rituals with my young daughter too. I’m making memories and ensuring she’ll be a makeup master by her semi-formal. I’ve already taught her how to twist her ballet bun just so and wear to spritz perfume so it lasts.
Melinda Ayre’s daughter playing princess at her makeup birthday party a couple of years ago. Image: Instagram/@beautyhunter1980
Often when I’m applying my makeup she comes and stands with me to dip into the colourful pots and apply some to her own face. And I let her. Just like my own mother did. And it’s a sweet little bonding moment for us at the dressing table.
Beauty rituals and wearing makeup go hand in hand with my sense of femininity and give me just another area to express myself. I’ve never ever thought it shifted the spotlight away from what’s inside (which are almost all good mind you) but added to who I am.
I’m strong, smart and funny – but I also wear lipstick. And I’m ok with my daughter playing around with this colourful expression of feminity too – if she wants too.