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For This Disabled, Black, Queer Woman, Makeup Is a Form of Empowerment

Still, I never thought I was worthy of the experience that is being in front of your bathroom mirror with your favorite songs on shuffle, dancing as you go through the motions of enhancing the beauty that is already there for others and, most importantly, yourself. I believed there were too many steps, brushes, and products that were not accessible for me to use. With full use of one hand and limited use of the other, I scoffed at the idea that I might one day be able to apply more than lipstick on a regular basis.

But time is a funny thing, especially during a pandemic; all at once it is as long as ever and happens quickly. Virgo season, aka the best part of fall, arrived before I knew it. With it came a new sense of determination to prove myself wrong and try something I had been putting off for years. My birthday is in September and as a birthday person, I tend to celebrate the whole month. This year, I did just that, and received the best surprise when my friend Mandy sent me makeup to practice creating looks. I had previously gushed to her about my love for lipstick but had no idea what was up her sleeve.

Libby March
Libby March

She sent me the blushes and lipsticks from the Rare Beauty line and a few other amazing items. Her very generous gift kicked me into action. With my gifted goods, plus some previously purchased foundations, primers, a 16-piece rose-gold makeup brush set, and one of those brush cleaning machines I got from Amazon, I began my journey. Since then, there have been many shirts with foundation around the collars (and frantic googling to see if it will come out), days of overdoing blush, and more poorly applied eye shadow than I can keep track of. A few months later, I am still terrible at blending eye shadow — but I won’t be forever. I will not lie and tell you that I have perfected a full face, but I am pretty good at foundation. I should be, I have four: Sephora Collection brand foundation (47 in cappuccino), Maybelline Fit Me foundation (355), and two from Fenty Beauty (385), because apparently my belief in myself and Rihanna is equally unyielding. I don’t try a full face every day, but when I do, I play [my makeup products] off of each other so they all feel loved. I am obsessed with the Hourglass Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel. Sometimes I’ll wear it with nothing else on my face.

As I explore my new relationship with makeup, I often find myself reflecting on why I was so scared of it in the first place. One reason I was afraid was because I thought makeup was only for beautiful people to further their beauty, and beautiful was something I had believed I would never be. My fear also formed because, on top of not feeling beautiful enough for makeup, I believed the point of it was mainly to impress potential romantic partners — and I never thought I’d have any of those.

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