Pretty in Plaid

Pres Girls Wear Makeup for a Week


by Megan Munce


I’ll be the first to admit that I am wholeheartedly in love with my makeup. When my eyeliner comes out even, my heart soars. When my foundation is flawless, I shed a few tears (but not enough to make my mascara run). When my contour makes me look like my cheekbones were carved from marble by God Himself, a choir of angels sings in my bathroom.  

However, this enlightening experience is radically changed when it also happens to be 6 a.m. Here at Pres, most of us enjoy the luxury of being able able to roll out of bed and be in the car in under 10 minutes, but a select few take on the Herculean task of completing a full face of makeup before the sun’s up.

Four brave Pres girls, including me, took up this challenge to figure out just what it’s like to do your makeup before school every day.

To give you some background, my go-to makeup look is a meeting point between “I spent an hour on my face in order to look ‘natural’” and the full facial beat down of an aspiring beauty guru. If I take my time and do things nicely, it’ll take me anywhere from half an hour to 45 minutes. I live about 25 minutes away from Pres and usually wake up at 6:30 a.m., but for this challenge I committed to forcing myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m.

On Monday I took it easy: mascara, eyeliner, a lil’ undereye concealer for the coal sacks under my eyes, and my favorite pressed powder, for a total of 13 minutes worth of makeup. I’m not gonna lie: a few tears were shed–mainly when I stabbed myself in the eye with a mascara wand not once, but twice–but I was overall fine with the process of doing makeup itself.

Immediately upon walking into first period, someone thrust her face up to mine and said, “You’re wearing makeup. Are you going to Bell or something?”

“No,” I replied, feeding her my predetermined response. “I just felt like it today.”

The three other girls doing this experiment with me reported similar reactions. Everyone’s initial response to the makeup was to try to pinpoint a reason for it, like a boy, senior portraits, or some event after school.

A girl in my science class was more understanding. “Sometimes it’s weird because it’s school, but I get it. Sometimes you gotta look good for you,” she said.

However, even wearing the smallest amount of makeup possible, I was still utterly miserable. I personally like to touch my face during class, whether it’s leaning on my arm when I’m bored, rubbing my eye to wake myself up, or wiping away the crumbs of one of the food service cookies, and every time that my fingers came away black, it was another little defeat in my heart. By the time lunch rolled around, I had to dash to the bathroom to wipe away the eyeliner smudges rimming my eyes.

Day Two presented a new challenge: waking up late. By the time I was out of bed I had 20 minutes worth of makeup and 15 minutes to get out the door. Factor in the fact that I was essentially dead inside after staying up until 1 a.m. studying for a math test, and I was attempting to complete the impossible.

I eventually had to give up and leave my house knowing that my eyeliner was uneven, my skin cakey, and my contour notably absent. Still, people in my Spanish class took note. As soon as one girl noticed, everyone pounced on me, all curious if I was taking photos or going somewhere after school, and all befuddled by the fact that there was no apparent reason for me to do my makeup that day.

Day Three was the all-out makeup look that I had been dreading all week. It racked up pretty close to my usual routine, taking 25 minutes in the morning and three tries to get an acceptably fleeky eyeliner wing.

As I walked into first period, I sucked in a harsh breath of anticipation of all the comments I was about to get: exactly zero. By the time the second bell rang, no one had uttered a word related to my makeup. My sacrifice of a whole half an hour of sleep went completely unnoticed.

I milked the girl sitting next to me for acknowledgement, but her only response was, “Well, I’m used to it by now.” I felt defeated inside. What was the point of spending so much time and effort in the morning and throughout the day if no one was going to appreciate it?

To find the answer, I talked to a couple girls who do wear makeup to school on most days. What was the secret to keeping up the motivation to get up early every morning, and why did they do it?

“Makeup doesn’t really have a direct impact on my productivity, but like, it makes me feel better and more confident throughout the day, and so in turn that kinda helps me do better,” Alice Mathew, junior, said. “I go to an all girls school, but I don’t wear makeup to impress anyone. I do it more so I’m confident and I’m happier about my day.”

At Pres, we place a high emphasis on female equality and empowerment as well as self confidence, yet we have a hard time believing that someone can wear makeup for the sake of looking nice rather than trying to impress someone else. After all, when was the last time a boy actually appreciated your eyeliner as much as you do?

The final verdict on makeup at Pres? While wearing makeup every once in a while can feel nice, overall it’s a huge time suck in the morning and distracts from the real purpose of school: learning. While I personally will probably never wear makeup regularly to school ever again, I have found a new respect for those who do. Next time you pass a girl in hallway with the sharpest eyeliner wing you’ve ever seen, don’t judge, just smile and appreciate her sacrifice.