April 24, 2024

Birthing Makeup Is Trending On TikTok

And several women hadn’t come across the trend at all ahead of giving birth, but felt strongly about their own birthing makeup experience being one that was ultimately empowering, one that gave them control in a scenario where we must so often relinquish it.

“For me, putting on foundation, bronzer, mascara and lipstick brought me back to feeling myself after I’d given birth. »

“For me, putting on foundation, bronzer, mascara and lipstick brought me back to feeling myself after I’d given birth,” Jenen Unac tells me. “For 10 months I felt totally out of control of my body as I grew my baby and even less in control when I went into labour and my initial birth plan went awry. I hadn’t necessarily planned on putting makeup on but I did bring a few bits in my bag and found the process of putting it on really soothing.

“Everything was new and alien,” she adds. “Being in hospital, being a brand new mum in, what felt like, a brand new body, but applying makeup made me feel normal, it provided me with a link back to those mundane everyday tasks that made up my life prior to this moment. ”

Of course, there is another side of birthing makeup though, one that Keira Knightley once in-part pointed out when discussing the photos of Kate Middleton that we’ve all seen in the press, of her on the steps of the Lindo Wing in heels, with a shiny blowdry and soft, natural makeup.

In an essay for Scarlett Curtis’s book, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies, back in 2018, the Love Actually actor focused on the fact that Middleton was “out of hospital seven hours [after birth] with her face made up and high heels on,” explaining that this plays into the idea of the “the face the world wants to see,” the face that feels more palatable:  “Hide. Hide our pain, our bodies splitting, our breasts leaking, our hormones raging. Look beautiful, look stylish, don’t show your battleground, Kate. ”

So is applying birthing makeup doing the same? Is it denying ourselves and our bodies the right to recover, and revel, if we so wish, in our post-birth aches, pains and tiredness? Some women I spoke to certainly felt so.

“I feel so saddened by the birthing makeup trend,” one woman tells me. “Birth is messy and tough, it’s a proper slog, and it’s totally normal to look knackered afterwards, with a puffy face and under eye bags. For me, painting these away with makeup undermines this and sends a dangerous message to other mums that they were perhaps alone in struggling with birth. ” (Though I would add here that there is no hard and fast rule that dictates any woman must show her ‘scars’ to the world, whether she’s famous or not. )

Then there’s the fact that the countless videos showing perfectly-quaffed new mums talking through their makeup routines will make women who didn’t do the same, or hadn’t thought of doing the same for their upcoming birth, feel inadequate in some way.

“I see so many women putting on makeup in the ward now and have had some new mums ask me if I thought they should do the same,” one midwife tells me via Twitter. “We often remark about how it feels as though we’re being pulled back to the days where women were given the ‘husband stitch’ (a stitch performed by doctors to narrow the vaginal etrance, supposedly meant to ensure greater pleasure for men) without being asked. ”

What’s important to remember as the birthing makeup trend shows no signs of slowing down, is that there is no one reality of motherhood, no collective birth story, it looks different for all of us.

She adds: “One woman in my care joked to me that she was the ‘ugliest person on the ward’ as the only one who hadn’t put makeup on. It makes me particularly sad because there are so many other things for a new mum to be thinking about or doing — resting being one of them — and instead they are worried about looking their best. It just adds one more thing onto a to-do list that is already, and understandably, overwhelming for many. ”

Ultimately, it’s true that there is great power in togetherness and open support for other women, but there is also power in expressing yourself exactly as you want to, whenever you want to. What’s important to remember as the birthing makeup trend shows no signs of slowing down, is that there is no one reality of motherhood, no collective birth story, it looks different for all of us. The decision to wear makeup during or after birth is yours to make, what’s important with this trend, as with every other, is to remember that it should be one based on what makes you feel better and not an internalisation of outside expectations (easier said than done, I know).

For every woman that uploads a made-up selfie there will be another with tangled hair and puffy eyes who stays off social media. Wherever you fall on the trend though, it’s a clear reminder that self-expression takes on many forms and reclaiming an act that might once have been seen as patriarchal oppression is always, always a win for women.

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