Many women learn to do their makeup at a young age. Beauty and makeup seem to go hand-in-hand for most. They likely learn it by watching their moms, aunts, or older sisters apply it in the mirror before going to work. According to recent data, beauty is especially important among the Latina community, making us the biggest consumers of cosmetics. 

I’ve always admired the way women can turn makeup application into a form of art: using a primer before layering on foundation and concealer, then blending out blush high on their cheekbones and adding a pop of color by finding the right shade of lipstick

I remember the eagerness and thrill I felt as a child at the thought of learning to use the different beauty tools I’d see on telenovelas (does Barbara Mori’s stunning looks from “Rubí” come to mind for anyone?) In short: I couldn’t wait to feel like a powerful woman!

Nevertheless, growing up in a strict Mexican household, my mother warned my sister and me to steer clear of makeup and other things that would “fill us with vanity.” 

I never saw my mother get dolled up. But my sister and I would secretly experiment with eyeshadows and mascara anyway. My mother was shocked the first time she saw us with cobalt blue eyeshadow as preteens and made us clean it off immediately. She proudly left the house early every morning with only the most subtle shade of lipstick. She claimed nothing else was necessary. 

For many Latinas, however, makeup isn’t just a hobby–it’s part of our identity 

There’s a reason we Latinas like to take our time in front of the mirror – makeup brings out our confidence. Just as the right outfit can boost our mood, makeup can help to enhance our self-esteem. But one should never mistake makeup as the only component that makes us beautiful. 

This was something I misunderstood for the longest time in my inclination to remain modest and “good” due to my upbringing. I never allowed myself to focus on the features that made me unique. Instead, I saw only flaws I didn’t know how to fix. I didn’t know how to tame my frizzy hair or what products would help fade my acne scars. 

For a time, I used makeup as a way to cover everything I didn’t want to see. However, I never realized I was using the wrong foundation shade, which worsened my texture. Thinking this made my skin worse made me avoid it altogether. But then I found a good skincare routine that made me actually smile at my reflection. 

It’s safe to say that my early experience with personal care products wasn’t the best. Once I learned how to use them and embraced the traits I considered flaws, my curiosity to try makeup resurfaced. 

Having spent most of my teen years using only eyeliner and going into my twenties with so many insecurities has made my journey to self-love necessary. 

Now that I am so close to 30, I am finally allowing myself to experiment with different makeup looks. I’m even giving myself the extra few minutes every morning to do my hair. While I used to see makeup as something to hide what I didn’t want to see, now it gives me that boost I need to feel ready to face the day.

Those 20 minutes I spend in front of the mirror every day before work are precious 

It’s time I use to speak affirmations to myself as I glide the eyeliner above my lashes and blend out the soft, coral-pink hues onto my cheeks. To remind myself I am capable and powerful in my own right, even when things don’t go according to plan. 

And I’m getting better at applying my makeup. Just don’t ask me about bronzer and highlighter – I’m not there yet!

All of this being said, I want to remind you that, just as my mom would tell me makeup isn’t necessary, she’s partially right, but maybe she had more to say, and I want to fill in those lines. 

Remember that you are beautiful with or without makeup. And don’t feel ashamed if you never had the chance to learn how to apply makeup from your mom or sister. 

You can be your best teacher, just as you are your own best cheerleader! You’re fabulous no matter what season of life you’re in right now. Let’s go into the next chapter feeling and looking like queens!