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Morning after make-up

July 19th 2013 / Anna Hunter

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Apparently, we ladies should be applying make-up BEFORE bedtime so as not to scare off our bedfellows come morning. Anna Hunter fights back on the latest sexist marketing campaign

We’ve all done it at some point or another; committed the cosmetic cardinal sin that is sleeping in our slap. We may be skincare zealots and campaigners for cleansing, but us Glossies are guilty as charged. Frankly, when it’s happened, it’s been because we’ve been having too much fun and have suddenly fallen asleep. Wine may or may not have been involved, ditto festivals and late night television. Long-haul flights are particularly bad for encouraging an otherwise dutiful three-step devotee to ditch the dermal drill.

So yes, we’re women trying to have it all and sometimes WE FORGET, OKAY? But to actually apply make-up before going to bed? That’s crazy talk. Why would we do something so time consuming and opposed to everything we’ve ever been taught since we started mucking round with mummy’s Max Factor?

Well apparently, according to Boots, such criminal behaviour is for the benefit of boys, as the high-street chemist cheerily informs us that ‘80% of us wait a whole month before we allow a new boyfriend to see us without make-up’. Sad, but a huge sales and marketing opportunity we’re sure you’ll agree, as Boots Health and Beauty magazine follows this somewhat dubious statistic with one of the oddest statements we’ve heard in beauty world for a while:

“Hurrah for make-up you can actually go to bed in!”

Boots, give us a break; this is the one place that we can safely crawl to sans maquillage and sans judgement. Don’t take this away from us. Nevertheless, Britain’s finest pharmacy makes the sexist bed and lies in it by suggesting the perfect products to turn in with. Woe betide our boyfriends see our actual faces, and we often give ourselves quite a shock when we confront our naked complexions post wash. Best to cover it up then.

The most troubling of the recommendations is bareMinerals’ Pure Transformation Night Treatment, as despite officially being marketed as a skincare product, it comes in a range of shades ‘to diffuse imperfections’ so that ‘you’ll wake up to the famous bareMinerals Naturally Luminous glow’. Essentially, your unadorned morning face is not acceptable, so throw £45 and some coloured camouflage at it to make yourself feel better and please your bedfellow.

We have many issues with these as you can probably sense. Firstly, said bedfellow should already feel honoured to have made it to such a position, he can take you as you are in all of your ruffled natural glory, as you do him. Secondly, it not only promotes women’s insecurities but also brings them into the bedroom, thus invading our most personal and private space. Is nowhere sacred? Is it expected of us to save face here too.

Most women, us included, enjoy the ritual and extra confidence boost involved with applying make-up, but it’s on our terms, thanks, and it is most certainly not to simply appease men or ward off their early morning panic attack after having seen us in the cold light of day.

Let’s also credit men with some intelligence and decency here. It is highly likely he has witnessed a woman au naturel, and even more likely that he either hasn’t noticed or couldn’t give a monkeys. He could be thinking about how great last night was, about work, or possibly about bacon. Men don’t expect us to be perfectly painted Stepford Wives, it seems that only the marketing machine does. And that’s exactly what it is. A machine that sells things. A bit heartless, a bit mechanical and all out for profit.

Let’s turn off the machine in this case and shut off its noise. Even if just to save our pillows (which said salespeople will probably suggest is our duty to wash). It’s time to put sexism to bed.

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