The Significance of Makeup in Today’s Beauty Standards

Photo Taken by: Kaur Jmeb, January 7, 2006 

We’ve all seen a makeup ad at one point in our lives, whether it played while watching 

television or before watching a youtube video, you’ve seen it. Makeup plays a huge role in today’s society and in today’s beauty standards. This is partly because makeup is cheap and affordable to anyone, and can even be found at your local dollar store or drugstore. Over the years makeup has been able to influence society due to the class systems changing and makeup being more accessible. These factors have allowed makeup to grow more popular throughout different classes and thus become cheaper. 

Makeup started off as a form of expression and was first introduced by the Egyptians who used minerals, insects, and clay as makeup products. Egyptians also used makeup to please the gods as well as to enhance their beauty and protect their eyes from the sun. Makeup was then later reintroduced by the Europeans in the 1500’s to make older men appear younger. Makeup in today’s society has played a major role but its use has stayed the same. It has provided more jobs in the beauty industry and has increased production of beauty related products due to higher demands. Nowadays it is extremely common to find makeup anywhere in stores whether it’s a grocery store or a drugstore you can always find some form of makeup there. This is because today’s beauties standards have increased the expectations of makeup and have allowed different forms of makeup expression to exist, which is why its popularity is continuing to grow. In the 1900’s makeup was mainly limited towards women, in today’s generation of makeup in America it isn’t limited to a specific audience or gender which has allowed the market to grow. Instead of makeup being pushed on women or being something that is necessary, producers have marketed makeup as something to “enhance your beauty” which has changed the stigma on it. Producers have also begun including multiple genders or gender identities in commercials and advertisements allowing it to reach different audiences. 

Makeup is also marketed for different usages which is why it’s commonly used. As a consumer I use makeup in my day to day basis, even while doing school online. I wear makeup because to me it’s a form of art and it never seems like a chore or a necessity for me getting ready. Instead it’s something I can experiment with and try different things or “looks” with.  Makeup not only appeals to those who only use it to cover up blemishes but those who like to fully change their face, such as those who do Drag.

Although, makeup is used freely in America that is not the case everywhere. In China, India, and other countries makeup is frequently pushed on and encouraged on young women and bachelorettes and the stigma that women need makeup to look beautiful still exists in those countries. In Korea we see this with Kpop stars being overworked as well as pushing unrealistic beauty and makeup standards on to young audiences. More examples of this can be found in India, where makeup is an important part of their culture, whether it’s a part of a bride getting ready or someone’s daughter getting ready to meet a potential suitor, makeup can be a necessity to different cultures. 

Makeup has overall become more safe and accessible which has allowed it to flourish in different countries and allows different cultures and customs to continue. Makeup has also allowed people to express themselves and feel more comfortable and confident in their own skin, and whether you like to go for a simple look or go all out with cosplay or drag, makeup appeals to different audiences which is why it is so significant to today’s beauty standards.