Why Do Women Wear Makeup?

Women have experimented with cosmetics throughout history.

But is there a reason why women wear makeup? Some say it makes them feel more confident, while others say they love exploring different looks as a way of expressing themselves.

Here are some more insights as to why women wear makeup.

K.D. Gates

K.D. Gates

Holistic Skincare Expert | Licensed Esthetician | Founder & CEO, Celsaderm Skincare

Women wear makeup to:

  • Feel pretty.
  • Cover up flaws (acne scarring, blotchiness, and redness).
  • Even their skin tone.
  • Feel confident.

Yes, women utilize makeup to feel pretty and to even their skin tone. But, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had women tell me that they lack the confidence to be seen without makeup, mascara included.

Many women have worn makeup for so long; they feel naked without it. And, like panties and a bra, makeup becomes one of the most critical aspects of their wardrobe.

Erum Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD

Erum Ilyas

Board-Certified Dermatologist, Montgomery Dermatology

Some girls wear makeup to cover blemishes

I find there are of course a number of reasons to wear makeup – accentuating features, creating a mood, artistic expression, etc. However the concern I come across frequently is a conundrum many patients come to us with, they feel they need to wear makeup to cover blemishes but also worry the makeup is causing more breakouts.

I’ve had teenage girls in tears saying their moms won’t let them cover up their blemishes with makeup for school because they think it will cause more breakouts. This is so hard to see at a time in teenagers lives when self-confidence and self-esteem building are so important.

Related: Why is Self Confidence Important?

I try to encourage these patients to wear makeup if they need to initially to get through the day but our goal should be to clear their skin! And, most importantly, stop blaming themselves for their acne.

Of course, there are products that can clog pores but the reality is that most acne is simply hormonal. In other words, this is the time in their life for breakouts and we need to create a treatment plan to treat their current acne and prevent new acne. This plan should include an ‘exit plan’ for makeup used to conceal blemishes so makeup can be fun again!

Most acne can be effectively controlled with the right and carefully monitored treatment plan with a Board Certified dermatologist within 6-8 weeks. I encourage my patients to define benchmarks to make sure they are making progress at the right rate so that too much time isn’t wasted on the wrong routine.

Em Singband

Em Singband

Make-up Artist | Entrepreneur

I have found that women, when asked why they wear makeup, generally respond in two ways.

The first way is that wearing makeup makes them feel good and they like the way they look while wearing it

Most women wear makeup because wearing makeup has become a subconscious expectation in society. Due to advertisements and magazines, women grow up seeing an unachievable beauty ideal that subconsciously teaches them that their appearance is not good enough. The solution to fix this ‘problem’ is to wear makeup.

The second way is that they feel inadequate and therefore use makeup as a way to hide their insecurities

Most mainstream makeup brands’ advertisements focus on pale, thin, traditionally beautiful women in order to make their consumers feel inadequate; when a brand’s consumer feels inadequate the consumer is likely to subconsciously believe that buying the product will improve their appearance and make them “beautiful.”

Makeup used to be worn by both men and women but became an accessory only for women in the nineteenth century when Queen Victoria made known her opinion that makeup was connected to vanity, femininity, and the devil.

At that point in time, wearing very little makeup was in vogue. As time has progressed makeup trends have changed, but the idea that makeup is only for women has stayed the same.

Veronica Wirges

Veronica Wirges

Owner, V-Star Salon

I have two careers, one as a hairdresser and one as a musician. I always have makeup on as a performer, but never as a hairdresser.
Behind the chair, I want to have a frank and honest relationship with my clients.

I want them to feel comfortable talking to me about concerns or issues they may be having, my focus is on them. I have found that removing the pressure to have a certain amount of done up allows clients to relax and feel open to asking questions.

As a performer, I feel I need the makeup to get me into character

I am naturally very pale, so stage lights can quickly turn me into a glowing orb with eyes. I even searched out a lip stain that lasts while playing the saxophone.

I know if I have my full face on, I will deliver better photos and video during a performance, and that I look better to my audience. That is how it started out, and I feel those things are still valid.

But it has become something more, it has become a character. By having makeup on I am able to be that person that dances across the stage, takes selfies with fans, and signs autographs. I with makeup is still me, but a bigger bolder me, one without self-doubt.

Alexia Parks

Alexia Parks

Founder & CEO, 10TRAITS | Speaker

The belief that the better we look, the better things will go

Early in my career, I was given this simple advice by an entertainment attorney who was representing me on a book deal: “The better you look, the better it (the interview) will go.” I’ve followed this whenever my face and how I look will mean more to viewers than what I have to say.

In general, my day-to-day make-up routine follows a “one-minute” make-up rule. That includes a liquid eyeliner, eyelash brush, eyeliner crayon, lip liner, and rehydrating lip glaze. It only takes a minute in front of a mirror to apply.

Caitlin Fisher


Author, The Gaslighting of the Millennial Generation

I believe that makeup should absolutely not be gendered. If any person wants to put some makeup on, they should feel free to do so! Unfortunately, our society strongly associates makeup, nail polish, and other “beauty” products with femininity and womanhood.

Sometimes, women wear makeup because they think they have to in order to participate in the world

In this era of tutorials, advertisements, and women waking up with perfect makeup in TV and movies, the message is that women must always have a face of makeup on in order to do anything.

But other times, people wear makeup because it makes them happy

They’re not doing it to look a certain way for anyone else, they wear it to express their creativity or to complete a self-care ritual that makes them feel confident.

When I wear makeup, I do eyes and lips – that’s it. I don’t care about foundation or concealer or that you can see my stress acne. I just like eyeshadow and a bold red lip.

Carol Gee

Carol Gee. M.A.

Retired Administrator | Author

I can’t speak for other women but I wear it to enhance my face, my features and to even out my skin tone

While I am blessed to have good skin, and naturally full lips make up gives me a polished look. Lipstick emphasizes my lips and I use makeup especially when I am going to work or go out.

When I’m home, I refrain from using it. I will simply wash my face with Noxema (a medicated cleansing cream) which I have used since age 10 (my mother who had good skin also used it her whole life) and add a moisturizer and that’s it.

Frankly, I believe all women could benefit from some make-up, be it blush, or lipstick. Using make-up makes me feel confident.

Hanya Marie

Hanya Marie

Beauty Consultant | Founder & Blogger, Nubelease

Women wear makeup because it is a form of expression; conveying mood, status, creativity and more

The same collection of makeup for women can convey sexy and romantic for a date night. It can convey professionalism and authority in the workplace, or flirty and fun during a rock concert.

Women wear makeup because without using words, the makeup tells a story about who they are at that moment. This expression is hugely important for empowerment, confidence, and self-esteem.

Adina Mahalli


Hair and Skincare Expert, Maple Holistics

Research shows that makeup has two major functional implications depending on the specific psychological profiles of women.

For starters, many women use makeup as a camouflage

Women who are anxious and insecure tend to use makeup to appear less noticeable. Secondly, there is the aspect of seduction. Women who want to be noticeably more attractive tend to use makeup to be more confident, sociable and assertive.

Makeup is a useful tool in enhancing one’s natural beauty but overdone and it is all for naught. The wearer must determine for herself what image she is looking to present. Walk through any department store and there will be representatives at every makeup counter ready to sell you every product that you must have in order to look your beautiful best.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can men wear makeup too?

Absolutely! Makeup is a form of self-expression and creativity; anyone can choose to wear it, regardless of gender. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of men wearing makeup, both for personal and professional reasons. Whether it’s for special occasions, photo shoots, or simply as a form of self-expression, there’s no reason why men can’t enjoy the benefits of makeup.

Is wearing makeup harmful to the skin?

While some makeup products can harm the skin if not used properly, many high-quality, non-toxic products are gentle and safe. It’s essential to choose products appropriate for your skin type and remove makeup before bed to allow your skin to breathe. In addition, regular cleansing and moisturizing can help keep your skin healthy and glowing, whether you wear makeup or not.

How can I get started with wearing makeup?

When you first get into makeup, navigating the variety of products and techniques available can be overwhelming. A good place to start is by determining your skin type and the specific issues you want to address, such as dark circles, blemishes, or uneven skin tone. After that, you can look for products that work for your skin type and start with the basics, such as moisturizer, concealer, foundation, and mascara. Feel free to experiment and try different products until you find what works best for you. And remember, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy yourself!

What are some tips for wearing makeup in a natural, everyday makeup look?

If you’re going for a natural, everyday look, it’s important to use your makeup to accentuate your natural features rather than drastically change them. Start with a lightweight moisturizer and a sheer foundation that matches your skin tone. Use concealer to hide blemishes or dark circles, and add a touch of blush to give your cheeks a natural blush. Finally, apply a neutral eye shadow, a layer of mascara, and a subtle lip color – and you’re good to go!

What are common mistakes to avoid when applying makeup?

There are some common mistakes people make when applying makeup, such as using the wrong shade of foundation, applying too much powder, and not blending products properly. Another common mistake is not considering your skin type and special needs, leading to skin irritation or breakouts. It’s also important to choose products appropriate for your skin type and remove makeup before bed so your skin can breathe. By avoiding these mistakes and being mindful of your makeup routine, you’ll be well on your way to a flawless, natural look.

Is it okay to wear makeup every day?

Absolutely! Wearing makeup every day is a personal choice. It can be a great way to enhance your natural beauty and boost your confidence. However, it’s also important to give your skin a break and let it breathe, especially if you have sensitive skin. Consider alternating days with and without makeup or using lighter products on some days. Also, taking proper care of your skin, such as regular cleansing and moisturizing, can help keep it healthy and glowing whether you wear makeup or not.

Is it possible to wear makeup without harming the environment?

Yes, it’s possible to wear makeup while also being mindful of the environment. Consider choosing products from sustainable and eco-friendly packaging companies, and avoid disposable products like single-use makeup wipes. Also, look for makeup brands with eco-friendly production processes and natural and organic ingredients. If you’re mindful when choosing your makeup, you can enjoy all the benefits of makeup while doing your part to protect the environment.

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