Why Wearing Makeup Is Empowering

Wearing makeup has become a ritual for women whether they are going to the office, the grocery or the gym. Laid out on the dresser table is the usual assortment of cosmetics: lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, blush-on, foundation, eye shadow and powder. It could take minutes; maybe an hour. It may even require consultation with a friend. Most certainly, it will be time well spent to look more beautiful and attractive.

But do you really need makeup to look beautiful and attractive?

The question has created lively debate among women who believe you don’t need makeup to be beautiful. They argue that real beauty lies on who you are and not who you want people to perceive you to be. For them, society has branded women with makeup: “Why don’t men wear makeup?” Instead of enhancing beauty, they believe makeup objectifies women and encourages greater sexual discrimination.

The truth is the idea of women wearing makeup dates back to 10,000 B.C. In Ancient Egypt, women used cosmetics to accentuate features and hide body odour. Eye makeup made from a material called Kohl was extensively used to shield the eyes from the glare of the sun.

And yes, back then even the men wore makeup!

Over the years, makeup has undergone an evolution. The changes in cosmetics and styles reflect society’s perception on the roles of the sexes. Women are associated with beauty and men personify strength.

It does not mean however women are only limited to physical beauty. Our history has shown that many women have become icons; symbols of strength and power:

  • Rosa Parks – Civil rights activist
  • Margaret Thatcher – First female Prime Minister of Great Britain
  • Benazir Bhutto – First female President of a Muslim country
  • Corazon Aquino – First female President of the Philippines
  • Oprah Winfrey – First woman to have her own talk show
  • JK Rowling – Author of the best-selling Harry Potter series
  • Hillary Clinton – First woman to run for the presidency of the United States
  • Malala Yousafzai – Defied the Taliban to champion women’s rights for education

And there are many more who have empowered others and trail-blazed a path for women for future generations. They all wear makeup and are not defined by society as beautiful or strong.

They are in fact, both!

As for those who believe going natural is empowering, pop star Alicia Keys who spearheaded the movement posted a picture without makeup and captioned it with, “Y’all, me choosing to be makeup free doesn’t mean I’m anti-makeup. Do you!”

6 Empowering Benefits Of Wearing Makeup

If you like to spend time in front of the mirror, trying out different looks with your lipstick, eye shadow, foundation and blush go right ahead! It does not make you weak. It does not mean you are the weaker sex. It does not objectify you. Not only does makeup enhance your beauty but has other benefits that are empowering.

Here are 6 reasons to wear makeup:

  1. Boosts Confidence

    One reason why wearing makeup is empowering is because it gives women greater confidence. A lot of it is being in control of how they want to look.

    Women can be influenced by their role models. They won’t necessarily copy how an icon usually styles herself; but they would try to capture the same spirit, essence or vitality.

    Women usually have a specific look in mind they want to achieve. And the look could differ for work, the gym, the mall or coffee with friends. The face is a canvass and the palette is the makeup kit. They are in control of every stroke and application of cosmetics.

    Do you want scientific proof that makeup is empowering by giving women more confidence?

    A study sponsored by the International Journal of Cosmetic Sciences showed that women who wore makeup felt more confident and sociable in events and gatherings that those who went au naturel.

  2. Build Communities

    Contrary to the belief of some people, makeup does not create dissension among women. In fact, one of the benefits of makeup is that it creates communities. Women who wear makeup love to get together, compare notes and learn each other’s styles.

    Are there women who are driven by envy or intrigue to speak ill of others because of the way they wear their makeup? Sure! It is only human nature to be opinionated of others. Men also criticize other men for their taste in fashion and their physiques.

    Women also talk to other women about makeup to gain acceptance. Some wear makeup to cover up insecurities and other mental or emotional issues. For example, one woman may be wearing foundation to hide scars from a bad case of acne or an accident.

    Having the opportunity to talk with another person who is going through similar issues is an effective way of unburdening oneself of insecurities.

  3. Makes You Mentally Stronger

    One of the best reasons why women wear makeup is that they feel mentally stronger when they are about to embark on an important activity or undertaking. As the saying goes, “When you look good, you feel good!”

    Take for example, a job interview. It’s a standard rule to look your best when you are about to be interviewed for a job. You don’t have to get made up as if you are attending the wedding of the King and Queen of England. But when you are made up well and look professional, you will feel more confident going into the interview room.

    How about when you are preparing for an important social event in the evening? Nothing beats the classic combination of red lipstick with a black dress! You’ll be ready to be the toast of the town and the centre of attention.

    Wearing makeup is empowering because it makes you more confident and mentally stronger.

  4. Putting On Makeup Is Fun!

    Studies show that on average, it takes women 11 minutes to put on makeup. But it will take longer when you are experimenting with different looks and styles. Before you know it, you’ve been working with your cosmetics case for more than an hour!

    And it is perfectly okay because putting on makeup is fun. Only women can understand the joy and happiness of being able to achieve a new look for the office or a social event.

    Thus women who use makeup as a form of “playtime” have a very high level of self-esteem. She uses makeup to match her particular mind-set or feeling whether she is happy, sad, frustrated or simply feeling fabulous.

  5. Improves Social Perception

    As we mentioned earlier, makeup gives confidence and helps women feel mentally stronger. That perception is also shared by others who see you.

    A study published by PLOS ONE had participants determine their perception of a single face that was made up in different ways: natural, glamorous and professional.

    Regardless of the makeup style evaluated, the perception was overwhelmingly positive. Participants viewed the face as competent, smart and confident.

  6. It’s Quality Time For You

    In 1972, the Journal of Personal and Social Psychology published an article “What is Beautiful is Good”. In the article, psychologists reported that people who were seen as beautiful were perceived to have positive qualities such as honesty and competence.

    Of course, we all know from actual experiences that beauty on the outside does not necessarily reflect beauty on the inside. However, for women the ritual of applying makeup in solitude allows them the time to prepare for the day ahead. It is one of the psychological effects of wearing makeup.

    In ways, applying makeup is meditative. It gives women time for themselves; focus on the things they need to accomplish and how they can get them done.

    They look into the mirror and as the different cosmetics are applied, they begin the process of affirmation.


Women who choose to wear makeup are only celebrating their beauty. It is not proof of being enslaved by the dictates of society. After all, the act of putting on makeup has been around for centuries.

In general, people are just captivated by beauty. Makeup merely enhances the natural beauty of women. Even the men of today wear makeup to highlight their best features or hide perceived flaws.

Most of all, wearing makeup makes many women feel good! It is empowering; women feel more confident, self-assured and motivated to get on with the day ahead.

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