“Any woman who counts on her face is a fool,” wrote Zadie Smith in her 2005 novel, On Beauty. It’s an idea the British author has revisited multiple times in her work, and one she touched on again over the weekend at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Addressing the crowd of fans, Smith shared a story about her 7-year-old daughter spending too much time in front of the mirror. It bothered Smith so much, she recalled saying: “You are wasting time, your brother is not going to waste any time doing this. Every day of his life he will put a shirt on, he’s out the door and he doesn’t give a shit if you waste an hour and a half doing your makeup.” And so she implemented a 15-minute makeup rule for the entire family, a mandate which leaves little time for such industry standards as contouring, she presumed.
The statement sparked an instant debate on blogs, YouTube, and social media platforms like Twitter. Some admired Smith’s bold turn of phrase, a refusal of the social pressure that women face to look a certain way without, of course, looking like they tried. And she certainly isn’t the only influential woman who embraces a less-is-more beauty missive, freeing up a certain psychic energy—not to mention actual quantifiable minutes of the day—to devote to social action. Both Angelina Jolie and Gloria Steinem have preached health first, makeup second (Jolie has admitted to using under eye concealer only), and they both have dedicated their extra efforts to greater causes on behalf of the disenfranchised, which includes women. Some of Hollywood’s most beautiful and candid activist-actresses have also spoken to the power of a pared-down morning ritual, including Salma Hayek, who told The New York Times that she doesn’t wash her face in the morning, and Charlize Theron, who, after shaving her head for the 2015 action film Mad Max: Fury Road, has been quoted saying, “You have not showered until you’ve showered hairless.”
On the opposite side of the argument are women who work hard, play hard, and are die-hard beauty junkies. Makeup, they argue, is personal and is capable of evoking a sense of empowerment that lasts all day. A blemish-free face, or a power red lip, can act as armor in a cutthroat and sexist world. Just look to the likes of Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Zendaya. Even Lena Dunham—perhaps pop culture’s biggest beauty renegade today, having changed perceptions of size and shape, sex, and nudity on TV with her show Girls and feminist newsletter Lenny Letter—relishes the chance to wax poetic on what a transformative new hair color can do for your self-esteem.
Ironically, the answer that satisfies both camps in this beauty war—those who prefer to zoom through life unfettered by a lengthy beauty routine and those who take genuine pleasure in statement makeup—may lie in Smith’s own look: The author is regularly seen wearing a flick of eyeliner, a bold red lip, or a colorful printed hair scarf. Such timeless beauty tropes take mere minutes to execute while pulling off the ultimate feat—they look great while managing to be both powerful and pragmatic.Read more at:white formal dresses | vintage formal dresses