The Best Affordable Brands for Each Makeup Step

The high end often takes the spotlight when it comes to makeup, but it’s important to remember that the drugstore also releases some amazing products. Just like the high end, not everything is a hit, so I’ve broken down my favourite affordable products for each step of your makeup routine!

Foundation

Finding your shade can be a little bit difficult in ‘drugstore*’ brands, especially if you fall at either end of the spectrum. If you find yourself in this category, your best bet brand-wise will probably be NYX. Their recent Can’t Stop Won’t Stop range was a collaboration with Youtuber Alyssa Ashley and was formulated with POC in mind. Makeup Revolution also offer a pretty good shade range. If you’re looking for something a little less matte and a little more dry skin friendly, consider Bourjois – their Healthy Mix foundation, or even the serum version (even more dry skin friendly) are both great options.

Concealer

The Maybelline concealers are great – the age rewind one is great if you don’t mind concealers with a sponge – and likewise their Fit Me range is great (even though the shade order is a bit messed up). My personal favourite and go-to for many years now is the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer. It’s full coverage and blends out beautifully.

Brows

For me, there is only one contender here – NYX! Their Microbrow pencil is a dupe for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer and there is a pretty wide shade range. Their clear brow gel is another absolute winner – who needs high end!?

img_0039Blush

You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to blush from the drugstore. Brands like Milani, Kiko, NYX, Bourjois… the list is endless! The pigment is really close to more expensive products but just at a fraction of the price!

Highlighter

This one is a little harder, but Sleek and MUA tend to do pretty good highlighters. These are brands that are pretty widely available in Superdrug here in the UK and are really cost effective.

img_0048Eyeshadow

Affordable eyeshadow can be a little hard to find. I don’t find that the traditional ‘drugstore’ brands (L’Oreal, Maybelline etc.) offer much in terms of good, pigmented eyeshadow. Brands that I have decent luck with are Makeup Geek (their singles are fab, but they’re about to relaunch the brand and half their stock is sold out everywhere), Colourpop and NYX. NYX is easily the most accessible of the 3 brands and offer a great assortment of colours at a really reasonable price point. The Colourpop shadows do have a lot of fall out in the pan, but I personally don’t find that to be the end of the world.

Mascara

When it comes to affordable mascara, I am team Maybelline all the way. I was a Maybelline girl since I started wearing makeup until I started wearing Benefit Roller Lash a few years back, but Maybellina hands down makes the best drugstore mascaras on the market. I never found L’Oreal to be as lengthening and voluminising in one, plus they were always that bit more pricey.

Eyeliner

Hands down Sleek. Their white eyeliner was a staple in my makeup kit for yeeeeears for my lower water line and it would. not. budge. They are lovely creamy formula and last for a really long time! I’m not sure they have a massive array of colours, but for the basics there is none better!

Lips

For lip liners, NYX are very good and offer a great shade range. When it comes to lipstick, there is only one winner for me – Maybelline! Their colour sensational range is SENSATIONAL – there is an amazing range of shades and finishes and they come at such an affordable price point that honestly there is no beating it. Two of my favourites are nude shades 725 Tantalising Taupe and 630 Velvet Beige (pictured above). If you’re a nude fan like me, you need these in your life!

You may notice that there are some steps that are missing – that is because I haven’t found products that I like enough to recommend. I find primers to be a bit hit and miss, bronzers in the drugstore are a mess and setting sprays aren’t that widely available and the ones that are miss the mark.

Let me know what your favourite drugstore products are!

Xo

* I hate the term ‘drugstore’ because we don’t call those brands that here in the UK, but we don’t have a word for it, so I’ll use the American term.

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4 dry-skin friendly moisturisers that pack a punch

Moisturisers that really nourish dry skin can be a little hard to find sometimes. We can often get tricked into thinking that a moisturiser is great when you first apply it, only to find that your skin then feels tight and in desperate need of a drink. Keep reading to discover a few I’ve found that really pack a punch!

Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream

This guy is the man you call in when you’re in serious need of some moisture. Ceramidin cream is formulated for those with very dry skin and is a fabulously thick moisturiser that feels absolutely amazing on the skin. For a cream so thick, it doesn’t sit on top of the skin for ages either, which is a real plus. This is easily the most moisturising of the 4 and is perfect for winter or dealing with outbreaks of very dry skin.

Beauty Pie Jeju Overnight Moisture Superinfusion

The Jeju moisturiser is amazing as a night time moisturiser. If the Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream is a bit too thick (or you want to layer products), then you need this in your life. The consistency is a very solid moisturiser – it is almost balm like in that you have to pull some away on your finger, but once you massage it on to your skin, it melts away to a normal moisturiser.

Clinique Pep Start Hydrorush SPF 20

I recently rediscovered this moisturiser and it made me question how I ever put it down. The SPF version of the Hydrorush moisturiser is an fabulous daytime moisturiser that will quench your skin’s thirst for moisture while also providing a little bit of sun protection too. It is a really rich texture that doesn’t feel heavy at all on the skin and sinks in really quickly. It has an SPF smell which I personally love because it smells like holidays! This one is really accessible as you can find Clinique all over the place and it’s pretty affordable at Β£25. The tub will last you absolutely ages and will become a firm fave!

Beauty Pie Japanfusion Supreme Cream

This is my favourite morning moisturiser. It’s silky smooth (almost silicone like – it does contain dimethicone) and more of a gel consistency. It sinks in really quickly, which is just perfect for quick morning application and leaves the skin looking great for makeup wear. This is also a really great summer moisturiser for daytime and nighttime because it is light on the skin but still delivers on moisture.

I’m aware that the Beauty Pie moisturisers aren’t the most accessible but I’m coming to the bottom of BOTH at the same time and I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself! These four are always in rotation and ones that I would repurchase in a heartbeat. None of them leave my skin feeling tight and they are great go-to products!

Have you found any other dry-skin moisturisers that you can’t be without?

Xo

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SAMAYA – The Ayurvedic skincare brand to balance mind, body and soul

I was recently introduced to the wonderful world of Ayurvedic skincare through. Have you heard of it before? It stems from Ancient Indian medicine and is rooted in the idea of achieving balance in your life… and your skin! Get ready to hear all about it and one of the leading companiesΒ  – Samaya.

Firstly, here is what you need to know about Ayurveda. Based on ancient Indian principles, it is a system of holistic medicine that has been practiced for millennia. The aim is to help achieve samadosha or ‘perfect balance’ in all areas of your life and it is becoming increasingly popular in the West because it’s an effective, natural way of healing. It all comes down to the idea of harmony – having the mind, body and soul in balance – and when these are out of balance then our health and wellbeing can be affected.

The heart of the matter comes is all about finding your dosha – this is the name for the energies that rule each person. Generally speaking there are three types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each dosha has a set of physical and emotional traits. Usually one dosha rules a person, but sometimes a mixture of two or even all three can govern each person. When our dosha is balanced (mind, body and soul), it manifests itself in beautiful skin. However, when there is an imbalance, then it is for all to see in our skin.Β 

SAMAYA SKINCARE

Samaya is an award winning Ayurvedic skincare brand that is storming the industry. It has won so many awards in the industry and has tongues seriously wagging. Before I saw this brand on Instagram, Ayurvedic skincare was certainly a new concept to me. However, after researching it more and taking the Dosha quiz on their website, the results sounded as if they had been made for me! Not only did it sound like my skin, but the personality traits were pretty bang on too! My Dosha result was 50% Pitta, 30% Vata and 20% Kapha. Generally speaking, sensitive skin types sit within Pitta, dry skin types fall into Vata and oily skin tends to be Kapha. Here is what my description was for Pitta. Does this sound like you?

“Well-proportioned and compact build, with a focused mind and a love of order. Confident and passionate, enjoying challenges. Prone to anger and impatience when out of balance. Benefits from gentle skincare as skin can be sensitive and irritable, susceptible to wrinkles, sunburn and inflammation.”

If you want to find out your skincare Dosha, then click here!

Samaya were kind enough to send me their Pitta Anti-Ageing Treatment Oil* to review. As I mentioned, the Pitta range is targeted towards sensitive skin types who are susceptible to wrinkles, sunburn and inflammation. Although I’m quite young and don’t really need an anti-ageing oil, the properties of the ingredients in the oil span so far beyond a typical anti-ageing product. To me, this oil is the ultimate multi-tasker!

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Let’s take a look at the ingredients. Although the oil is marketed as an anti-ageing treatment, the ingredients offer a multitude of amazing properties that include anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, healing and collagen producing:

Jasmine Flower Extract – Mood and energy boosting, helps to balance moisture levels, soothing for body and mind, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Lotus Seed Extract – Anti-inflammatory, zinc and anti-ageing enzymes that repair damaged/sensitive skin while soothing and calming the mind. Can be beneficial for acne prone skin.
Spilanthes Acmella (Paracress) Flower Extract – Known as ‘Nature’s Botox’, it is known to instantly relax facial tension and reduce the appearance of lines, UV damage and blemishes.
Neem Oil – Promotes skin healing while helping to reduce itching and roughness. It can achieve a more radiant complexion by neutralising damaging free radicals.
Shatavari Extract – Traditionally used in Ayurveda. Used as a tonic for female health concerns and to reduce stress. It also has rejuvenative properties that contribute to a more youthful appearance.
Gotu Kola Oil – An anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing herb that helps to fight chronic skin conditions by repairing damage to the skin.
Saffron Extract – Gives natural radiance as it helps to reduce pigmentation. Also has mood enhancing and aphrodisiac properties and can be used in a tonic to improve general health.
Tumeric Root Oil – Heals the skin barrier while protecting from free radical damage.
Feverfew ExtractΒ  – A cooling and anti-inflammatory herb that is great for Pitta skin types. Also good at calming emotions.

The ingredients certainly walk the walk, and the oil definitely talks the talk. It is absolutely lovely. It smells very lightly of Jasmine, which sometimes I can find a bit unpleasant and overpowering but it’s so lightly scented that it doesn’t bother me at all. Jasmine supposedly has mood boosting properties and can even reduce anxiety levels, which is probably why I feel so calm after using it. The texture of the oil is not too thin and not too thick. It doesn’t sink in straight away, nor does it linger on the skin and feel really sticky. In my eyes, it is probably the perfect consistency and made my skin feel really plump the following morning! Depending which moisturiser I use underneath, there is sometimes some pilling, but honestly I think that is more on the moisturiser than the oil. If you are an oil lover, then I think you will adore this – regardless of your skin type (or dosha!)

The whole Samaya experience was one of pure luxury. When my package arrived, it came in a beautiful bag and the bottle in a stunning cardboard cylinder. While I’m not usually a fan of excess packaging, as all of it is recyclable I’m not going to grumble. The whole vibe of the brand makes me feel very calm? Maybe it’s a combination of the beautiful logo, the pale colours and the gorgeous packaging, but it just brings such a fantastic feeling of relaxation.

The packaging is stunning – the box is beautiful and fits the bottle perfectly inside it, and the bottle is a really unique design that I haven’t really seen before. It uses a pump rather than a dropper, and the top part is curved to perfectly fit your finger. The pump can be a little stiff, but it means that there are never any accidents. Despite using every night for over a month, I still have so much product left (even though I absolutely douse myself in it).

The oil is free from parabens, sulphates, synthetic colour and fragrance, silicones and mineral oils among other things. Phew! Suffice to say, if you are buying from Samaya, you know that the products are ethical, natural and good for your body (and values!)

I would absolutely love to try more from this brand. Each of the three ranges are comprised of a cleanser, an exfoliant, anti-ageing cream, anti-ageing oil and a supplement. Honestly, they are all calling my name so loudly, but I’m really interested in trying the supplements next. I have absolute faith that all the other products will be as absolutely fantastic as the oil. Using this product is definitely one of those instances where skincare becomes self care. An stunning oil made with amazing ingredients that nourish the mind and soul leave you in a state of pure relaxation and balance; that lifts your mood and gives you beautiful skin.

What product would you want to try from the brand?

Xo

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*The Pitta Anti-Ageing Treatment Oil was gifted to me from Samaya in exchange for review. All opinions are my own.Β 

Dose of Colours Friendcation Review

I got the Dose of Colours Friendcation palette a little while back after lusting after it for aaaages, and it’s safe to say I have some thoughts on it…

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The palette is a collaboration between Dose of Colours and best friend beauty influencers Desi Perkins and Katy. When I first heard this collaboration was coming out, I wasn’t instantly drawn to the collection and didn’t really have any aspirations to get the palette. I watched their videos on how to use it and the looks were nice, but I didn’t feel like it was something my collection was missing. Then I started to see it everywhere and saw it with new eyes. I NEEDED IT. I managed to get it in the Black Friday sale on Beauty Bay.

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Just looking at it, this palette is absolutely beautiful. I would say, that the image above must have been doctored because the shades don’t look quiet this perfect in person.

When I began playing with it, even though I think these were made for someone much more tanned than me, these do look really nice on my skin tone. The palest shade in the palette was way too dark for me to use as an all over base shade, but worked well as a first crease colour.

How do they perform?

The mattes in this palette are pretty nice and blend well into one another. The warm brown shades are so flattering and have become my go-to shades for daily use. The lightest shade is still too dark for me to use as an all over lid colour so it gets largely ignored. On a few instances they have looked a little patchy when applied, especially when applied in the crease as they tend to skip in certain places.Β  I’m not going to lie, the swatches look absolutely awful – they look so patchy but that’s what the look like! I was tempted to go over them again and build them up, but that isn’t indicative of how they really perform.

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The shimmers are a bit hit and miss too. They are quite chunky and a few times the shadow has balled up in the pan, which I expect more of cheaper shadows. When I first used the red and gold shimmers, I thought I was going going to have to remove all my eye makeup because they were really scratchy and my eyes were getting really irritated and watery. The glitter fell into my eyes and onto my cheeks, so if you’ve already done your base makeup and haven’t baked then this could be quite a problem. The gold shimmer is not very opaque and is more of a wash of colour with glitter. It’s actually the most beautiful see through gold that just gives your eye enough of a shimmer to look done, but not so much as to over cook it. Weirdly, I’ve used the gold glitter again since the burning/itching and it’s been absolutely fine? Really weird.

The khaki green is probably my favourite shimmer shade. It’s not the most wearable shade for everyday, but I was bowled over by how stunning it was when I wore it. The main reason I ended up buying this palette was for the bright blue and this is easily the most disappointing shade in the palette. Whether you apply it with a brush or your finger, it doesn’t translate onto the lid. I have seen tutorials where people have used glitter glue and that seems to work well, but ultimately I don’t see why I should have to take that step to make it work. I did test it out just to see and I do think they went on much more smoothly but I didn’t think they were that much more pigmented.

*Swatches on the left are without glitter primer, swatch on the right is with glitter primer*

User friendly?

Welllllll… It’s not the most user friendly palette in the world. The way Katy and Desi showed off the shimmer shades, you’re supposed to be able to layer them to create brand new shades. Realistically, I’m not too sure who is doing this. There is quite a lot of fall out from the shimmers and the colours don’t always come off the most pigmented so this would be really hit and miss. The warmer colours (basically all but the green and blues) make it far easier to create a cohesive look or something that you can wear on a regular basis. As pretty as the others are, they’re not going to be an everyday shade for most people.

While the colours in the palette are really pretty, I’ve actually found it quite difficult to use the shimmers on the right of the palette. It’s quite easy to use reds and golds because a lot of brown or reddish shadows go well with these colours. However, blues and greens are a little bit harder to wear on the average day. I tried to create a halo eye using the blue shimmer and it looked like a bruise. Since then I’ve not really wanted to even experiment with the colours. Maybe it’s because my makeup style is very neutral and I don’t have the creativity to come up with a cohesive look, but I don’t find those shades the most user friendly. It’s a real shame because I actually picked up this palette for those shades, because goodness only knows how many warm browns I already have.

I don’t think I would repurchase this again, simply because I’m not that impressed by the quality of the shadows. Ultimately this palette is quite a lot of work. It’s definitely not one of those palettes where you can just bang the shades on quickly and go if you’re doing anything more than natural makeup. You have to work with and finesse most shades, so it does put you off using them.

Have you tried this palette? Did you like it?

Xo

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Marc Jacobs Enamored Lip Gloss Sticks Review

What on earth is a lip gloss stick? Is it a lip gloss? Is it a lipstick? How do you get a gloss in a solid form? Well, these might be some of the most beautiful lip products I’ve ever tried…

I recently went into Marc Jacobs Beauty and saw the Enamored Lip Gloss Sticks. After initially confusing them for the lip gloss and nearly breaking the tube, I swatched them and literally had them on my mind for the rest of the night (my anniversary lol) before going back the following morning to pick two up. Here are my thoughts…

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When I first swatched these I was super confused: a) because I thought these were the lip glosses because the packaging is the same b) I didn’t understand how a lip gloss could be in a stick form. Regardless (because I am a makeup magpie), I ended up buying Mocha Choca-Lata and Uh-Huh Honey. Mocha Choca-Lata is more of a sheer pinkish nude andΒ is probably my perfect nude shade in lip gloss stick form. Uh-Huh Honey is more of a brownish nude and looks quite 90’s.

 

After using them, I can understand why they’re called a lip gloss stick because you get the sheen of a gloss but with more pigmentation and less stickiness. These are pretty comparable to sheer lipsticks or tinted lip balms. They’re very similar in formula to sheer lipsticks that I own but offer more hydration to the lips while keeping a good pigment.

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Top – Mocha Choca-Lata, Bottom – Uh-Huh Honey

Formula

The formula is really lovely – it’s easy to forget you have anything at all on your lips! It just feels like I have my favourite lip balm on. As someone who has to have my lips slathered in lip balm all the time, I really like this product. The coverage is fairly sheer, but you can definitely see the colour and build up the coverage with a few more swipes. I don’t think this would last too well while eating, but then what lipstick really does? That’s not a deal breaker for me. There is an ever so subtle peppermint smell, but if you aren’t sniffing the stick you won’t notice it, and there is certainly no tingling sensation like you might get from other products containing peppermint.

Packaging

As mentioned, I confused these for the lip glosses because the packaging is nearly identical, if not the exact same. I think that maybe the packaging could have been a little less, as the coloured part of the tube only serves as the lid and it’s massive. It is a bit of a waste of packaging to have such a large, pointless part of the component that could be made smaller and sleeker. It would also help to differentiate the two gloss products from one another. On the other hand, the packaging is extremely beautiful and screams luxury. They are probably some of the most beautifully packaged products I own.

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How to wear it

These are definitely best paired with a more natural look as the glosses look like a wash of colour over the lips if applier lightly. However, that being said I have worn these with a heavier makeup look and it still looked amazing. I even tried lining my lips first and applying these over and had compliments about the colour. It is a very versatile product – much more than I had originally thought!

I know that I will get a lot more wear out of Mocha Choca-Lata because it is my go-to colour in any lip product, so I’d have to push myself a little to wear Uh-Huh Honey. I will definitely be continuing to use these lip products. These cost Β£22 each, which is certainly on the higher end of lip products, but you don’t need to use a lot for glossy pigment! They really are an all round success!

Have you tried these? What are your thoughts on a ‘lip gloss stick’?

Xo

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Why it’s totally fine for you to be a feminist and enjoy beauty products

I recently read an article on The Independent called ‘Come on feminists: do the radical thing and ditch your makeup bag‘ and every part of this article has left me feeling annoyed. If you’d prefer not to open the article and give it more views, I’ll give you a quick run down. The author goes majorly off topic from her headline to moan about women that wear makeup, while oddly commenting on the number of ‘poisonous’ ingredients that are ‘well documented’ in makeup. She drops in that the average makeup wearer wastes 9 days a year applying makeup and lauds herself for spending that time ‘campaigning against sexist stereotypes’. Let’s all do an epic eye roll together.

Let’s start by saying that any reference to the toxicity of makeup is completely irrelevant to any ‘feminist argument’ here – It was included without any real explanation and it’s just fearmongering and spreading misinformation. It’s baffling that people genuinely believe that brands would be allowed to sell products with harmful ingredients and ‘poisonous effects’. Join us back in the 21st century. EU regulations are so strict for cosmetics these days that this is just an off topic remark used to further discreditΒ makeup wearers.

You’ll very often hear feminists who, through their own ignorance and archaic thinking, cannot understand how a modern feminist can be concerned with her looks. I shouldn’t have to tell you that being a powerful, confident woman and wearing makeup are not mutually exclusive… but indulge me a little.

The modern feminist does not have one singular image. To be singling out feminists as having a certain appearance surely is the opposite of what feminism is all about? Feminism is about equality and having the choice to do as you please. Whether that be to pursue a career in a male dominated industry or to wear a full face of makeup and blue lipstick. Someone that is ‘campaigning against sexist stereotypes’ should be seeking to dispel assumptions that all feminists are bra burning rebels and welcome all feminists into the fold – men or women – rather than encouraging the reinforcement of a singular image.

To suggest that a woman cannot be concerned with her appearance while supporting equality goes on to imply that women in fact cannot have it all, WHEN WE CAN. Stop trying to pigeon-hole women.Β Women are powerful beings, regardless of our appearance. We wear makeup because we want to and choose to, not because we feel pressured. When I don’t wear makeup, it’s because I don’t feel like it that day and not because I have no one to impress. I feel good about myself with and without makeup. Makeup is a major creative outlet for many people, so one day we’ll do a natural look, and the following morning do a dark red smokey eye. We have nothing to hide by applying makeup, but even if we did, it’s OUR choice. It is no one else’s business what we choose to do with our face or how we choose to spend our time. If you believe makeup is ‘hideous gunk’, have your opinion and have it quietly. If you’ve never worn a drop of makeup in your life – good for you and that’s your choice – but there is no need to shame other women who enjoy wearing it. You can bitch about makeup wearers all you like, but it’s never going to stop us wearing it – if anything, it will make us wear it more.

For so many of us, makeup and skincare is about self-care and taking time for yourself. Often the only time that a lot of women have to spend on themselves is in the morning when they apply their makeup or at night when they do their skincare routine. We live busy lives and are always expected to put everyone before ourselves, but this is the one thing that we hold sacred. Many people rely on their daily skincare routine to keep any skinΒ problems they have at bay, and without it their skin runs wild. Many women rely on makeup to inflate their confidence when they’re suffering from issues such as acne and it can be the only thing that can get them out of the house. It is imperative for people’s emotional wellbeing! If you were ill, you would take medicine. That’s exactly what skincare and makeup are. And for those who have good skin and wish to maintain it, it’s like taking multi vitamins. Do NOT let anyone – man or woman – make you feel guilty for taking care of yourself and your self-confidence.

People often question why women continue to keep up their appearance once they have a partner, because apparently we’re expected to stop showering, wear rags and completely abandon our appearance? Who knew? The expectation that we’re supposed to forgo our appearance once we find a partner is probably even worse than the idea that we only dress ourselves up for men. It might shock you to learn that men are not at the epicenter of a woman’s world and actually our own self confidence comes first. Women’s love of beauty goes so much deeper than how it makes us look, but also how it makes us feel. When men put on a suit to feel powerful, we put on red lipstick. And yet we are expected to justify ourselves? Absolutely not acceptable!

It’s painfully apparent that this article has absolutely nothing to do with feminism, but rather is just a massive dig at the makeup wearing population under the cloak ofΒ ‘feminism’. You are not a feminist if you are bringing down other women. You are not a feminist for attacking other people’s appearance while stating that you don’t enjoy having yours attacked.Β Patriarchy does not dictate my beauty routine and feminists shouldn’t either.Β I would think that a woman who has been a feminist since the 70’s should know better than anyone that to criticize other women for their appearance is entirely unfeminist and ignorant. Your appearance and your political stance are not interconnected. As a makeup wearer you have already chosen to take your appearance and your identity in your own hands and do something for yourself. Keep doing it.

Xo

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