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BellaOnline's Ethnic Beauty Editor

A Passion for Makeup

Makeup is both wonderful and empowering, and many women have had a love affair with it for as long as they can remember. Ever since we were little girls, obsessed with crayons, many of us have adored makeup. I remember using my crayons to scribble big red lips on the fairies and sprites in my coloring books. Then I remember 'polishing' my and my sister's fingernails with those same crayons. For us that was the beginning...and I’m sure many of you have similar stories.

For millions of ethnic girls and young women, makeup is a rite of passage. When you receive your first tube of lip gloss, or when you use kohl eyeliner for the first time, to follow the contours of your beautiful doe eyes, you know. You've crossed a threshold...into the wonderful world of makeup. Ladies, throughout a lifetime, I know many of you can agree, friends and lovers come -- and they sometimes go, but makeup remains. (No laughing please. Oh it's OK, I know I did while writing that.)

However, to get back on track, makeup also happens to be a bonding mechanism. I mean what gets women talking faster than the shared interest in a particular nail or lip color? Shoes maybe, but we're not talking about those right now. We're speaking of makeup which enhances. Say you've got hazel eyes, and you'd like to bring out the gold flecks in the irises; the right shadow will do that! Ladies, makeup -- as strange as it seems, to some -- gives us confidence. Knowing you look the part, can give you that burst of courage to stride in that office or onto that stage and make your mark. Oh, and let's not forget that there are times when the makeup that we are passionate about has been a lifesaver...like say when we've had a sleepless night because the baby was sick, or maybe we were. With the right application of makeup, our beautiful ethnic faces don't have to announce our woes to the world.

Another point I'd like to make is that we should never underestimate makeup's power to aid others to feel better. It has been documented that for the bed-ridden, the elderly, and the ill, a mirror and a little makeup (applied right) lifts the spirits, it can give an emotional boost. I also like the fact that anyone can learn to use makeup. You can start in the privacy and comfort of your very own home! If you're older, and still happen to be a makeup virgin, know this: it's never too late. One is never too old to enjoy the pleasure. Just start. You can make a mess, and begin all over again, as many times as you like, until you get it right. Or you can go to, or host a makeup party -- those are the most fun! There are even instructional videos online at some of the leading cosmetics manufacturers. You can learn all sorts of tips and tricks. You can 'tool around' until you begin to see what really works for you. Then you can do a little victory dance because you got it right.

Short story...once someone who could have used a dab of powder here and a spot of rouge there told me 'women shouldn’t have to do all that.' I acknowledged that the person was right. We don't have to do all that. However, when we do, it's because we want to. It's what we've chosen to do, sometimes because we are passionate about it.

Sure, we may have a drawer full of lipsticks, shadows, and bronzers. Yet we may 'need' more. Those of you who aren't hooked, and those of you who don't wear it, may not understand, but please, leave us junkies alone. Maybe one day we'll kick the habit. Then again, maybe we won't--ever. Me! Me! And the reason is: appearing a certain way may be part of our heritage, part of our culture. Another reason is: the time that we spend applying our makeup is sacred, even if we only have five minutes. We understand that those few minutes will give the rest of the world a glimpse of who we are on the inside, or who we would like to be. We know that without words, how we've applied our makeup will tell those with whom we'll come in contact, how to treat us. Therefore, we take that time. We feel good -- no, passionate -- about it, and the truth is, although someone, perhaps a significant other just may think we're doing it for them, shhh...big secret. We're really doing it for ourselves!

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