Or, “Why I Try to Keep in Mind that Cosmetics are Mostly a Frivolous Expense.”
For reasons various and sundry, which I shan’t go into here, it has taken me a LONG time to reach a point in my life where I feel halfway stable financially. I’m finally starting to feel like I’m getting there, and that’s part of why I’m getting interested in makeup again after a years-long hiatus. For several years there, I just couldn’t justify spending the money on it.
So I’m keenly aware that makeup (and cosmetic products in general, except maybe skincare stuff, and even that to some extent) is pretty much an optional expense. Sure, if you have significant acne or a major scar or birthmark that you feel more comfortable covering up, that’s one thing. I’m talking about spending money on things like massive eyeshadow collections. Four different kinds of eyeshadow primer. Fourteen mascaras. Forty-seven lipsticks. A whole bag full of lip gloss. Two boxes of nail polish.
I do this myself, and I love it. I have no problem with it at all, as long as you can afford it. But a lot of people can’t. I couldn’t for years, and that made it pretty clear to me that makeup is not a life-or-death situation.
This also explains, in part, my focus on finding affordable alternatives to expensive products. I know how it feels to have $10, $15, $30 be your “fun” budget for the week or for the month, and how it feels to want to stretch that as far as possible without compromising on quality. I’m delighted to discover that there’s high-quality drugstore makeup out there these days–things that I would buy even though I can afford more expensive products now. But it’s one thing to buy drugstore makeup because it’s a fun, affordable alternative to high-end stuff. It can feel like another thing altogether to buy drugstore makeup because it’s the only thing you can afford.
What it comes down to is this: I always try to keep in mind how incredibly privileged I am to be able to do this. To be able to afford to buy makeup (and yarn, and fancy ingredients to make fancy food–more on that later, maybe, but my sociology degree wants you to go check this out in the meantime); to have the time to play around with it because I’m not, say, working two jobs, or trying to support children or aging parents or a spouse with a disability; to have Internet access and a computer via which to bloviate about this admittedly frivolous topic at length. I feel very, very lucky to be able to do this, and even more lucky to have you fabulous and clever people accompanying me on this journey.
So. That’s where I’m coming from on that.