Personal branding is just another avenue of communicating who you are.
Because I am a network marketer, and have been told that I have style, I thought I would do a few posts about different parts of personal branding. And, I figured why not jump in the deep end and start with the most personal part of personal branding: make up.
Make up is very polarizing. People love it or hate it, but very rarely just like it. In the media, it's sexualized. It's sexist. People will comment if you wear too much, too little, or none at all. Eye brows will raise at the sight of a 12 year old girl wearing make up, and at a 16 year old girl who doesn't. (I actually did a blog post about that years ago. If I find it, I'll link to it).
There are arguments that make-up teaches people not to appreciate their natural beauty, and there are arguments that it encourages people to be creative with their appearance. If you Google "arguments on makeup" you will get 11 million results in under half a second.
I struggled with a relationship with makeup for years. During my teen years and into my 20s, I thought that if I wore makeup I would be lying about what I really looked like and set an unrealistic expectation for other people (people whom I could potentially date). This is what happens when your insecurity about your looks masks itself as a noble trait. Because that's exactly what this was, my insecurity about my own looks. My own take on they "if they don't like me at my worst..." This was my "make-up as camouflage" phase.
In my 20s, I started playing around with make up after looking at artwork by David LaChappelle. I realized make-up wasn't just Cover Girl and Revlon. It could be funky. It could be arty. It could be something that makes me stand out from a crowd. I started playing around with bright colors, glitters, shapes, and all kinds of craziness. This is what happens when you need a creative outlook and you are still insecure about your looks. I still did not like what I saw in the mirror, but if my make up was funky enough I thought my flaws would be overlooked. This was my make-up as distraction phase.
When I entered my 30s and finally became more confident in my body, my looks, and myself I started wearing makeup for real.
I say "for real" because this is a big distinction: makeup (or lack thereof) is an integral part of your personal brand or signature look as long as you are coming from a "true self" mindset.
"A signature look is the holy grail of personal style. It is the icing on a refined, well-curated wardrobe, but at the same time the best starting point for any style journey." [link]
This relatively new mindset for me I am calling my "make-up as distinction phase". I still love playing around with colors and shapes but there are a few key elements which remain the same:
- I love my eyes, and I think they are the best feature on my face. I focus the majority of my efforts to make my eyes stand out.
- I think my lips are the perfect shade for my skin. Therefore I almost never wear lipstick. Usually its a clear gloss of various finishes or a color that close to matches my natural lip color.
- I do not tend to bother with foundation or contouring because I do not want to put that much time into my daily makeup routine. I will make exceptions for special occasions.
With these three rules, my daily makeup routine can take as little as five minutes or as long as twenty. The time commitment is worth it for a look that makes me feel more me, of who I am and what I do and what I can accomplish.
TLDR; Makeup is the salt and pepper at the end of the recipe. It enhances what is already there.
Personal branding starts with being honest with yourself about your own looks. Your perks and your flaws. They are all part of the package and should be embraced.
If you've passed that point, start by being honest how you want to look, and about your feelings towards makeup.
(You should not have feelings toward makeup unless you are from a culture where status and means are marked by makeup and markings. That would be like feeling guilty or angry towards salt and pepper if you don't need to watch your sodium.)
After all that, then you can start to develop your signature style from a place of freedom. And if that means no makeup because you believe that you are perfect as you are, then rock it! And if that means a two-hour application every day because you need contours to live, then go for it. But always come from a place of honesty.
If you are ready to start figuring out your signature look but have no idea where to start, one of the best services I can recommend is Ipsy. They have a makeup profile quiz where they can guess which colors would look best on you, and then send five samples for you to try out. They also have video tutorials and expert advice so even complete novices can have fun playing with their look.
Click on the below to take the quiz, and drop a note in the comments on what defines or will define your signature look.
Click here to take the Ipsy Beauty Quiz!