Beauty is Power - Excerpts from my Seminar at the DFA

Beauty is Power - Excerpts from my Seminar at the DFA

This is a slightly cleaned-up version of some notes I had for a seminar I presented at the Department of Foreign Affairs last year entitled Beauty is Power.  Of course, this is a topic that is near and dear to me and I really wanted to convey to people what cosmetics mean to me.  I spoke about how beauty is able to provide us with empowerment, confidence and better results in life.

That's me at the podium.  I was so thankful for this opportunity and for the audience that was gracious and receptive that day.  

Makeup and Confidence

Based on a show of hands, how many people here would say that they don’t feel comfortable leaving the house unless they’ve put on makeup?  (Many hands went up)

A study was done recently in the United States that showed 44% of women did not feel comfortable leaving the house at all unless they were wearing makeup.  That’s a very substantial number.  When you consider that even more of the remainder would choose to wear makeup for important events or occasions, it shows that many of us find this important.

Of course, when you are wearing makeup you probably feel more beautiful.  We believe that it goes quite a bit deeper than that.  If you have ever been in a situation in a public place or in a social event where you were not dressed properly or did not have the chance to make yourself up, you probably felt very self conscious.  If you think about it, confidence is one of the most important aspects of the way that we develop personal relationships and relate to others.

You will find that if you have knowledge about the application of makeup and use products that are right for you, you will be able to walk into those social situations without that feeling of self doubt that comes from being less than prepared.

Whether it’s fair or not, it’s true that people are judged on the way that they appear to others.  This presents itself in a number of different situations.  Whether it is when you are meeting a potential partner for the first time, sitting in a job interview or simply pitching a sales opportunity to someone, you’re judged by your looks.  If you notice that many successful people who wear makeup are quite good at it, you’ll notice that there is some correlation.  Of course, there are other factors, but why leave anything on the table when you can be your absolute best version of yourself?


What is it about Cosmetics?

Many people may not be aware of this fact, but the most important aspect of your makeup and the way that you appear to others is the foundation that you use.  I think almost everybody here would be aware of that no makeup look.  As you probably know, the no makeup look does not literally mean no makeup!  This is a technique that many people use to appear better but not to appear like they have applied a large amount of makeup.  You probably find that many people who post selfies with the no makeup look actually appear very good.  That’s not an accident, they may be aware of the fact that they’re using the most important aspect of color cosmetics.

Another thing that makes us attractive to other people that many are not aware of is the fact that contrast in our faces is something that is deemed to be attractive to others.  People naturally have a gradation of color from their face to their lips or eyes.  This is a natural thing, but as you know, make up can be used to accentuate the features that we have.  You’ll notice that often a strong lip color like a deep red adds a great amount of appeal.  We are biologically programmed to notice these things.  The same thing goes for products like mascara.  That contrast is important.

Another aspect of the beauty you may know is symmetry.  We are seen to be more attractive to other people when our faces show symmetry.  If you have any characteristics in your face that do not appear symmetrical, cosmetics can be used to either highlight or downplay certain characteristics so that you do appear more symmetrical.  If you’ve ever noticed the computer programs that morph a large number of faces together, you see that the end result is often a very attractive face.  That’s because it averages out all the differences in our faces and any exceptional features.  Who’d have thought that the average face is actually what makes us so attractive to others?!?

Isn't she gorgeous?  She is, because she's us!  This is an image of thousands of photos of Filipinas morphed together.  Notice the symmetry.  Who said average isn't beautiful?


You may wonder why blush has come to be part of the regular application of makeup.  There’s definitely science behind this.  When you wear blush, it makes it appear as though your cheeks are flushed.  This gives other people the impression that you are more youthful and healthy.  You’ve probably noticed that blushing occurs more often in younger children than in adults.  This is also an important technique to use when applying makeup.  It can give you a more youthful and exuberant appearance, but it is really something that you should not overdo.


Some Quick Tips for Success

Of course, properly applied makeup can be something that allows you to appear in a better light to others, particularly when you’re talking about members of the opposite sex.  We’ll talk a little bit now about a dating scenario that was set up by researchers in the United States.  They set up a tinder profile for three different people.  In reality, it was the same person three times.  The difference was that the first person was wearing very little makeup.  The second was wearing an average amount of makeup, well applied.  The third was wearing a particularly large amount of makeup.

The way that these women were perceived probably won’t come as a surprise to you.  When men were asked about their impression of these tinder profiles, they generally stated that the woman with the least amount of makeup was someone that they would view as a friend.  The woman that had a particularly large amount of makeup was someone that they thought might be promiscuous and were more likely to think that she would be interested in something more casual, or a hook-up if you will.

Not surprisingly, the one that fared the best in this poll was the one that was wearing the average amount of makeup.  The men concluded that she was the most likely to be a potential partner for a relationship.

These findings would be very similar to what you would experience in the workplace.  Other women will certainly take note of somebody who is wearing too much makeup.  It’s important to know your surroundings and your objective when you are applying makeup.  In the workplace, you probably don’t want to overdo it.  Leaning on the side of caution and keeping it light would probably work much better.

One of the other interesting things that researchers have discovered about makeup is the way that women perceive other women who have applied cosmetics.  First of all, they find that other women who wear makeup are more dominant.  They often say that you dress for the job that you want.  This does not just mean just your clothing.  It is also the way that you carry yourself and the way that you present yourself with your makeup.

Another helpful point about the application of makeup has to do with how women perceive others who wear makeup the same way that they do.  If you’re trying to befriend a superior or another co-worker, you may be interested to know that women relate better to people who are wearing a similar style of makeup to theirs.


How to Get Good at It

Many women find it a little bit daunting to apply makeup when they are going out, particularly when it is a very important occasion.  Luckily, this is definitely a skill that anyone can learn and the beauty of it is that this is truly an art form.  You have the opportunity to learn to apply cosmetics in a way that makes you feel good about the way you look.

One of the best ways to learn anything is to learn from a professional.  Perhaps one weekend you are wondering what you might want to do and you consider all of the usual options.  Perhaps you should add one to the list; going for a makeover just for the fun of it.  Sometimes, when people have a makeover in a situation where they’re going to a wedding or something similar, they end up with a look that they’re not completely comfortable with.  What you might get when you do a makeover just for fun is to learn techniques that you might actually apply yourself.  You may find that the makeup artist uses techniques or colors that you would not normally have tried.  There’s no pressure in this kind of situation, you can simply remove it if you don’t like it.

Just like you would learn an instrument or any kind of skill, the broader your base of knowledge and the more practice you put into it, the better you going to get and the more confident you’re going to feel about your abilities.


Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there are definitely good reasons why you should consider becoming more proficient and comfortable in the way that you apply cosmetics.  It improves the way that other people perceive us and it helps with your confidence in social situations.  No matter whether you are in a social or workplace situation, you will always want to be able to put your best foot forward whether you are meeting new people or building relationships with people that you already know.

We believe that the application of cosmetics is not only fun, but if it is done with the knowledge of how people react and see us when we wear different styles of makeup, it can help us to project an image that is exactly what we want it to be.  Become the best version of yourself and enjoy the power of confidence in your beauty.

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