With Sleek Makeup launching its new anti-makeup shaming campaign today, we ask whether our attitude towards beauty could do with a makeover

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Have you ever been told that you wear too much makeup, that you’d look so much prettier without it or that you must be insecure for wearing it? The world of beauty can be an ugly place when it wants to be and rather than respecting people’s decisions to express themselves in whatsoever way they choose to, makeup shaming has now become a rising trend, and it’s an issue that Sleek is looking to address in its new campaign.

Called ‘My Face. My Rules,’ the initiative was borne out of a desire to positively recognise and defend everyone’s right to define their individual beauty, without boundaries or risk of ridicule. A brand that’s developed a reputation for championing choice and low cost pricing (a fact evident from the brand’s new £8.99 24-shade Lifeproof foundation  range), inclusivity lies at the core of the company’s ethos and this campaign exemplifies that vision perfectly.

To highlight these issues, the brand has joined forces with Ditch the Label, an international digital anti-bullying charity that provides online support, promotes equality and empowers young people. Together, they commissioned a makeup shaming survey and the results revealed that 75% of people surveyed believe women wear ‘too much’ makeup. Interestingly also, as revealed at the campaign launch that we attended, a significant proportion of those who said that were women, challenging the notion that the majority of criticism comes from men.

The reasons we wear makeup are wide-ranging. A fact evident from the testimonials given by those chosen to star in the campaign. Featuring a range of Sleek and makeup enthusiasts, (the majority of whom were cast via social media), each speaks candidly about the judgement they receive. Answers to the question, ‘Why do you wear makeup’ were far-reaching and included the chameleon art-like appeal of it and self-expression.

These reasons all resonate with me - for me, putting makeup on makes me feel good whether it’s as a way to relax in the morning or as a creative outlet. That being said though, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t use it to help disguise say, the physical side-effects of a late night. In fact, I have a designated ‘SOS’ concealer that I keep to hand for such occasions and if I use it too often, I take it as an indicator that I need to reevaluate a few things lifestyle-wise.

It’s a choice though, just as it is for people to wear makeup ( or not wear it as the case may be ) in whatever way allows them to express themselves best. We’re all too fast to judge and criticise and in many cases, we often can’t win; a point illustrated by YouTuber Em Ford’s ‘You Look Disgusting’ video . Criticised for wearing too much makeup one minute and for the way she looked without it the next, the internet’s full of mixed and negative messages. Makeup should be seen as a tool to empower, not discriminate. We all have our individual reasons for wearing it and frankly, it’s not for anyone else to comment on.

With this latest development, it seems like an encouraging direction that the industry’s heading in when it comes to a greater degree of tolerance. With the rise of genderfluid beauty, the popularity of male beauty bloggers, the vivid campaign imagery that accompanied ASOS’ new makeup range  and the launch of Fenty Beauty  and its whopping 40-shade collection, the discussion around self-expression and respect in beauty is definitely going in a positive direction.

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