To Wear or Not to Wear: BCA Students Talk “Makeup”

Is makeup really a necessary part of our lives as BCA students? After studying the results of a survey of 215 students about makeup use at our school and interviewing a few individuals, here’s what I found.

Elana Lane

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

As the school year draws to a close, spring brings along a push towards reflection and change for the better. “How can I make next year a better one for me?” is a question pondered by many students around this time. More often than not, change for the better starts with how you feel about yourself. Makeup is an agent some teenagers use to enhance their own attributes. Our social media feeds are consistently supplied with posts from beauty gurus who advocate for this eyebrow pencil, or that brand of mascara. Is makeup really a necessary part of our lives as BCA students, though? After studying the results of a survey of 215 students about makeup use at our school and interviewing a few individuals, here’s what I found.

Why the Makeup-Wearers of BCA Wear Makeup

In a survey of 215 BCA students, about 60% of them choose to wear makeup– whether it be for special events, hanging out with friends on the weekends, or simple daily wear. Of this 60%, about 35% said they wear makeup to school.

And why do those who wear makeup, wear makeup? Some students, like AAST sophomore, Sawya Brown, use makeup as a stress reliever. “I wear makeup because I find applying makeup to be very relaxing,” said Sawya. “For me, makeup is a way to express myself. It’s like a moment for me to take my mind off the stress of school and to just focus on not messing it up.”

Other students, like Olivia Chung, another sophomore in the Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology, use makeup to ground themselves. Sometimes, the five-to-ten minutes it takes to apply makeup is the only “Me” time students at BCA can get. “When I put on makeup I feel a bit more put-together for the day,” said Olivia. For some, this time is a necessary component of a morning routine– not necessarily to look any different than they naturally do but to center themselves for the day.

Keep Your Priorities Straight

The amount of time applying makeup takes can be therapeutic; the peaceful and ritualistic state of mind is an extremely positive aspect of makeup-wearing. Nonetheless, some students feel as though the sheer amount of time spent applying makeup somewhat outweighs makeup’s other pros.

It can take anywhere from five minutes to half-an-hour to put on makeup. With the little time we BCA students have to our personal lives, adding another process to our schedules requires a bit of time-management skills.

“In freshman year, I cared about putting makeup on every morning– not even a full face, but just to look functional,” said Madelaine Tew, a sophomore in Academy for Business and Finance. “But as the workload increases [for me], makeup is becoming less and less of a priority. I think that once you’re accustomed to not wearing makeup you start to realize that you really don’t need it to walk out the door.”

Wear Makeup if it Makes You Feel Good

In the aforementioned makeup use survey, about 21% of participants either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I wear makeup because I think I need it to be attractive,” while about 54% of students either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement (25% of participants were neutral about the subject).

In the same survey, about 57% of participants either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I wear makeup because I feel it accentuates my already-attractive features,” while about 17% either disagreed or strongly disagreed (with 26% of participants neutral about the subject).

It is safe to say that Sara Mustafa, a sophomore in the Academy for Visual and Performing Arts (Theatre), agrees with the latter statement to a much higher degree than she does the former. “I wear makeup because I like that it accentuates the features that I like about my face,” said Sara. “For example, I already have pretty long eyelashes but I like wearing mascara to make them pop.”

Social Media can be Both a Blessing and a Curse

Social media platforms, such as Instagram or YouTube, are unequivocally some of the most prominent spaces to share about subjects that interest people. Beauty gurus like NikkieTutorials, PatrickStarrr, and Michelle Phan use their enormous platforms to create content catered to those in the makeup world. Makeup artists like these redefine the meaning of “beautiful” for many by creating a more diverse and creative space for makeup-wearers.

Some students, like Hannah Schwartz, a sophomore in the Academy for Culinary Arts and Hospitality Administration, draw inspiration for makeup looks from online beauty gurus.

Others, such as Sawya Brown, feel encouraged by the pacesetters of the online makeup community. “Social media has helped me feel more confident about makeup and has given an opportunity to learn more about it,” said Sawya. “Seeing other people who enjoy makeup just as much as I do has encouraged me to wear it as much and as often as I want to and inspires me to try new things with my looks.”

Nonetheless, Tal Kamin, a senior in the Academy for Visual and Performing Arts (Theatre), recognizes the need to avoid comparisons between yourself, a teenager, and these makeup professionals. “The need to appear ‘perfect’ has definitely impacted both me and my friends,” said Tal. “I find my friends feeling that they have to wear concealer and other types of makeup for a picture to be ‘Instagram-worthy.’”

Do What You Want with Makeup

So, who can wear makeup? Many BCA students believe there are no unwritten rules regarding who can or can’t partake in the makeup world. A whopping 76% of participants in the Makeup Use poll of 215 BCA students either disagree or strongly disagreed with the statement, “I believe daily wear of makeup should be limited to gender expression.”

Sanya Sharma, a sophomore in the Academy for the Advancement of Medical Science Technology, strongly believes in the positives of the makeup community’s lack of “rules.” “With so many people posting pictures of their makeup, I now recognize makeup as an art form…” said Sanya. “There are virtually no boundaries.”

A Message from the Makeup-Wearers of BCA

If you are someone who wanted to start trying out makeup, are worried you may be made fun of for wearing it, consider these encouraging messages from these makeup-wearers at BCA:

“Go for it!” said Hannah Schwartz. “You can basically do whatever you want with makeup and shouldn’t worry about being judged or made fun of for it.”

“Just remember that you’re wearing makeup for yourself, and as long as you’re happy others’ opinions shouldn’t matter,” said Sawya Brown. “If you just go out there and believe you look good, you’ll be fine. Remember: confidence is key”

“I felt the same way when I first started wearing makeup because I thought people would say I was trying too hard or I was too young,” said Sara Mustafa. “Anything is worth trying, though. You may love it, or you may hate it, but you might regret not wearing it. I say go for it, and if people make fun of doing something that you made the personal choice to do, just ignore it and keep rocking it.”