The Vanity in Beauty | Is Makeup Skin-Deep?

Putting on makeup has been a normal part of women’s—and men’s—lives.

I, myself, put on makeup—no matter how basic or extravagant—after i do my morning routine. I would put on something as minimal as a concealer, mascara, or cheek and lip tint. At times, I would go all out, complete with an eyeshadow, foundation, highlighter and contour; I put on what I’m in the mood for.

However, there are times when I feel like putting on a glam look, and I hesitate because that’s not the norm. Most people here in Manila don’t wear highlighter or contour, they don’t go all out with their makeup, and sometimes I get judged for wearing it.

I get called maarte or malandi just because I like looking pretty. There are also times when I get called out if I’m wearing too much makeup, and get told I look drastic if i’m not wearing any. And at the back of my mind, I wanna tell them to back off! I get criticized for wearing makeup; I get criticized for not wearing any! Make up your mind, people!

So, then, I start to wonder, is it just me? Is it because society’s not used to a glamorous look on an ordinary day? Is it just merely because people are judgmental? Is it really because of vanity? Am I vain for wearing makeup?

Cosmetics have existed since early Egypt (10,000 BC)—though some also say it was as early as 164,000 BC—therefore it’s a big part of history and everyday life, so why are people still judging? Are they right that makeup is merely for vanity? Is beauty really just skin-deep? I beg to differ.

“Makeup is not a mask that covers up your beauty; it’s a weapon that helps you express who you are from the inside”

— Michelle Phan

I knew that there are other women who feel this way as well. To make my point valid, I need to show that this is not just my point of view and I’m not the only one who wants to debunk this stereotype. So I gathered a few women to talk about how putting on makeup isn’t just skin-deep.

For those who don’t understand why there are people who like putting on makeup, for those who judge us and call us maarte, here are a few responses from female bloggers, to tell you that there’s something more to wearing makeup than vanity.


When people say that women wear too much makeup to please others, it irks me. We put makeup on for ourselves, not for anybody else. We consider it art, and we enjoy doing it; it’s not as easy as it looks and we have fun trying on different products, mess up, and perfect that winged eyeliner.

Lauren Duclos (

I wear makeup not to please anyone else […] I wear it because it’s my way of expressing art. My face is a “canvas”. I have fun creating new looks. I love trying new makeup products. I have fun with it. Make up is a way for people to express themselves. I will never let anyone’s judgement stop me. I do it for me.

Gabrielle Hatten (

I wear makeup to feel like me again. Before being pregnant I loved to just sit down and spend an hour or two doing my makeup and hair. Experimenting with it is fun, it’s art! […] After having my baby [girl,] finding the time to do makeup is near impossible. But some days, I need to swipe on some lipstick and put on mascara for my own sanity. […] Being a mom can sometimes feel like losing yourself, who you once were. But makeup helps bring me back.


As a high school ugly duckling, I was very insecure of how I look—even now. Putting on makeup helps me build that confidence and boost my self-esteem. Now before you say I should embrace myself and not depend on makeup, that is not the point. I do love myself, and I do embrace my imperfections. It’s just that, putting on something that enhances my beauty gives me the empowerment I need especially on days when I don’t feel beautiful. And most of the women feel this way, too.

Diana Imposimato (

I wear makeup for ME! I wear makeup because it makes me feel good about myself. […] It should be nobody else’s business what I put on my face but I’ve definitely had people tell me I wear too much. As long as we feel good whether wearing makeup or not, it shouldn’t matter to anyone else!

Leanne Brookes (

Part of the reason I wear makeup is because of years of insecurity about my skin. However, I also wear it because it genuinely makes me feel better about myself. I love how I can accentuate certain features. […] It instantly gives me a boost of confidence and I feel a little more badass with it on. Lately, I’ve been pushing myself to have days [when] I don’t wear any, and that’s making me love the days I do wear it even more. No one should be made to feel bad about wearing makeup—it’s an accessory and a fun way to express ourselves.

Jamie Kelly (

I wear makeup to reflect how I’m feeling that day or how I would like to feel. […] Makeup is to make ME feel like the Queen I am. Anyone’s opinion or feelings towards it are ignored and invalid to me.

Shridevi Kamath Bhat (

I wear makeup because it makes me feel good about myself. It is not only related to the way I look, but because the time I spend in doing makeup is ‘me time’. It is a part of my self-care routine. It is my way of appreciating myself.


Sad to say, though, society dictates how women should look. And, too often, we feel as though we have to subject ourselves to their standard of beauty to be taken seriously in what we do. Yes, we don’t do it for others, but it also doesn’t help when it hampers your confidence and self-esteem as you get judged for not complying with society’s norms.

Amanda Bee (

I wear makeup because I feel as though I’m not taken as seriously in my profession without it. As a pretty staunch feminist with a young daughter, I have such a love-hate relationship with makeup. I wear it because it can make me feel better about myself, but at the same time, I resent that it makes me feel better about myself.

Maggie Kmiecik (

I am so minimal when it comes to makeup […] but I do feel pressure to look a certain way at work or in important social situations. That’s when I really layer it on. I wish I would feel more comfortable with my everyday makeup in those situations but I feel like I get taken more seriously [if] my look is “complete.”

“Whether I’m wearing lots of makeup or no makeup, I’m always the same person inside”

— Lady Gaga


BE THAT AS IT MAY, putting on makeup does not immediately equate to vanity. It covers so much deeper than that. It is expressing yourself, it is being you, it is embracing yourself.

Sam Szostak (

I wear makeup because it makes me feel put together, accomplished and ready to jumpstart my day. […] On the days I need a little pick me up, makeup can really enhance that self-confidence I’m missing, it can help you feel productive and motivated. There’s a whole lot more to it than vanity, it can help shape your day into a better one.

Adree Na (

I don’t think I ever leave the house without any makeup on. It’s like my second nature and I don’t care how anyone may judge that. [Makeup is] your fashion statement to the world.