Make up and moi

Had a girly discussion about make up and how, on the best of days, discovering the right shade of lipstick makes me feel I hit the jackpot in the national lottery, and how knowing that I am out, exposed to the world without even a slick of gloss to shield me from cruel comments about how the dead are up and walking, makes me want to curl up and die, without the courtesy of leaving a suicide note behind to ladle on eternal guilt to the one I leave behind who will undoubtedly turn cartwheels in delight and begin pulling out little black books of forgotten one night stand numbers.

What is it about me and lipstick that makes me recoil violently from my barefaced morning dog breath face when I glimpse it unlipsticked and puffy eyed the first thing I awake. I have now come to the matronly stage in my life when I do know and understand that I have to put on my face to look human, and not like some mangled rodent remains the cat dragged in as offering to her human. And I am okay with that. I worry about the panic that sets in if I fear I have been spotted in a public situation without said face. You know. With lipstick off. With face ashine with liters of oil pouring out of them geysers on the nose they call pores. Pours would have been more appropriate. But never mind.

Once upon a time I lived barefaced. That was when I had not got into training bras. Like them bras, once I slathered on my first slash of colour on the lips, and outlined them eyes with kohl, I never went back. Make up is a definator of womanhood. A rite of passage. A declaration to the world that your childhood is now behind you and you are now a woman and out there to attract them stares from pimply gangly youth who are, in these hedonistic times, busy kidnapping each other and killing friends for ransom money. I came of age in more innocent times, when one could stare longingly at crushes and objects of interest without any risk of being kidnapped, molested or worse. And one could step out in public with bright orange lipstick without being laughed off the planet. Yup, guilty as charged. But then the skin was young and the eyes were bright, and orange lipstick didnt actually look as terrible as it would now.

Today, I must leave the house with eyes outlined, tinted sunblock in place and lips slicked over with either lipstick or gloss. Or I might as well have stepped out butt naked. I hate this dependence on cosmetics. I wish I had the courage to move out of the house with my skin bare, and no artificial pigment touching said skin. Having said that, I have moved from a situation when I sat at home all day with my contact lenses in, to a current dog laziness about putting in them eyes, and moving out and about with them soda bottle glasses and pretending that one is deliberately patronising the intellectual look on days when I havent had the chance to run the damn comb through my hair. Yup. That doesnt seem to make much of a difference, running said comb through the hair, but a slick of lipstick does immediately lift up the face, add some colour and drag one back, by above mentioned uncombed hair, back from the realm of the undead. Leave me on a desert island with a Woman Friday to fish and cook for me and a crate of sunblock and lipstick, and I would die happy. Throw in some eyeliner and some nail polish and I would die a good looking corpse too!

What is your relationship with make up?


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016), psychological thriller with Missing, Presumed Dead (2018) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. In 2018, she was awarded the International Women's Day award for literary excellence by ICUNR and Ministry of Women and Children, Government of India. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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15 Responses to Make up and moi

  1. Ludwig says:

    I love wearing makeup too.. though I dont get to wear it everyday, primarily beacuse of my own self inflicted ban to wear makeup half-way-thru..for example I dont like wearing only lipstick with has to be done with everthing, a base, a compact, a blush on, an eye shadow, then kohl complete with a smudger, mascara, then lip liner, then lipstick..and who has time for all that everyday?!


  2. Shilpa says:

    I actually have a perpetual broken-up relationship with makeup! I like the idea of me flawlessly madeup in the right shade of foundation and that dash of lipstick and eyeliner, but the moment I apply makeup, I feel like a ghost and like everyone is staring at me and laughing at my makeup! Honestly, the only time I applied makeup was for my wedding and for a few job interviews. Not that I have flawless skin, I have my share of acne marks, pores and the like, but makeup doesnt like me!


  3. Silvara says:

    It’s a mask for me….smooth away the blemishes, give a false sense of attractiveness….i never leaave the house without at least foundation on….sad i know


  4. Sowmya says:

    I look horrible with make-up, or perhaps, I still havent learnt to wear it the right way! And i head marketing cmmunications for a five star hotel! Shame on me! I wear kohl on most days after I come into work and look at all the well groomed ladies. I have had three lip-sticks for the past one year…the same one. I just use one of the three for all events. Off work, I dont touch any of these.


  5. dipali says:

    Ah! A dash of kajal and lipper, sometimes wonly:)
    I still have a compact that’s nearly thirty years old.
    ( I still use it, sometimes). Perfumes I do use, quite regularly.


  6. D says:

    I can’t die without kohl in my eyes!
    Nothing else matters.


  7. CA says:

    Make up ?? What make up? Perfume counts ???
    My mother is still in shock in having a daughter like me who was dragged forcibly to the parlor on wedding day for a make up and who promptly washed her face upon return before welcoming the guests 😀


  8. sscribbles says:

    Hey, I can’t be caught dead without kohl and lipstick, though my maternly phase doesnt ever allow me to reapply any of them. How I love the idea of my closet being filled with sunblocks, foundations, concealer, anti-ageing creams, aloe Vera gels, gold dust and what not………..only I can’t bother myself to use these products. I so luveeeeeeeee them 🙂


  9. xanindia says:

    For me you have an endless beauty because of your positive outlook in life. Inside beauty matters most and the more ‘serene” you have inside, the better your beauty will last. You’re very lucky to have reach such an age and still counting.


  10. Suki says:

    Mine is… nearly nonexistent. I happen to have a favourite lipstick, in a nude shade, which works much better than lip balm hence is often worn at night. In the daytime too, under dire and chapping circumstances.
    I use kohl… periodically, but I like how I look when I do. Though since going off soap and shampoo(yes yes, I know I sound really dirty), even that has sorta gone for a toss. Dark circles have lessened too, hence less dependence on kohl.

    At weddings, yes. A nice red lipstick and kohl. Powder in summers.

    Yup.. that’s all I can say about makeup. Am also woefully ignorant about it.


  11. Sue says:

    Aww, you walked out in bright orange lipstick! Only milady coulda done that.

    Yay you. I bet you were even hotter in your teens. I was just pimply, gangly and tomboyish. *sigh*


  12. Childwoman says:

    ‘Whats your relationship with makeup’?




  13. Abha says:

    i know NOTHING! 😦

    i use lipstick and feel quite naked without it! except that absolutely nothing!

    nailpolish on toes when pedicure happens! dunno how to apply it meself!


  14. Anamika says:


    Can totally relate to ur post..
    Once upon a time long long ago – I was a make up less person ..
    Infact even during my college years fair and lovely and ponds powder was my idea of make up 😉 and eye liner – if my room mate was free coz I didn’t ( still don’t) know how to use a eyeliner …

    Anyways – landed in Mumbai and even my bai used to come in lipstick – people at office used to look at me as if I was a gawar – gaon ki chori ..
    Slowly started with lipstick ..
    Now my skin care (plus make up ) is – moisturizer , foundation ( which has sun block too) , compact, mascara, lipstick,perfume, nail polish etc etc …

    I feel bad about all this, I wish I could go back to my no make up days …
    But with out lipstick and compact ( the mandatory things) I feel that I am naked …

    Sometimes I feel it is too much of stuff and I should get comfortable in my own skin ..
    And am really jealous of those no make up ladies ( or some who do wear make up, but it seems like they haven’t used any)

    Please .. please ..
    Do write something on make up tips – how to use foundation and compact etc yet seem like that is your natural look …


  15. I looooove make-up. Buy all kinds though I end up only using the staples – lipstick, eye pencil and blush + powder due to oily skin. Hate to see my face without it, though husband loves it. But on weekends, have been known to offend all mankind by going out bare-naked, even if only to the supermarket 🙂


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