The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

Why We Wear Make Up


The shrill beep of her alarm clock stirs 12-year-old Aeon Chen awake. Bleary-eyed, she silences the disruptive noise and drags herself out of bed. She catches a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror as she heads to the bathroom and frowns at the smattering of pimples along her forehead and chin. Sighing, she opens the drawer crammed full of makeup she had begged her mom to buy over the summer. She slathers on foundation, trying to cover up every blemish and imperfection. Moving onto eyeshadow, she sweeps on a shimmery pink hue, remembering how the salesperson at the mall said it would make her brown eyes pop. Lip gloss is last, the sticky sweet scent making her lips shine. She puckers them like she is seen influencers do on YouTube, amused by her exaggerated reflection. As she adds the final changes, she feels a flutter of excitement in her stomach. This is what she needs to finally fit in and feel beautiful.

“I think it [makeup] negatively affected my self-perception,” said Chen, now a junior. “Using it in middle school, I had the idea that I needed to put on makeup to be pretty. I relied on it as a source of self-validation.”

For teens around the nation, the trend of using makeup earlier has been spreading at an awe-breaking pace. By expanding to the teen market, Sephora sales have skyrocketed from 580 million in 2016 to over 3 billion in 2022.

This trend has translated glaringly to Tompkins High School, where makeup has been a key item on Christmas wishlists.

“I have friends who recommend certain makeup products to me that work well like expensive lip tints and blushes,” said sophomore Netra Gopikrishnan. “I get influenced a lot to buy new products that are trending on TikTok.”

But despite the beauty industry’s expansion to the younger generations, many still question its ethicality. Is makeup really necessary to use during teen years? Does it foster feelings of inadequacy or insecurity?

Sophomore Santoshi Voma, who began using light makeup in 6th grade, thinks that makeup has surprisingly helped her self-perception.

“Honestly, makeup has protected my insecurities,” she said.. “It doesn’t really cause any new ones.”

Voma stresses that she limits herself to using only ‘concealer’ and ‘mascara’, products that she believes will only enhance her natural features.

Unfortunately, Voma still credits it as a tool, and sometimes, even a burden — using it to “cover up eyebags” when she “doesn’t get enough sleep”.

But others see it as secondary to their sleep and homework, using it only when they have extra time.

“Normally I don’t wear makeup to school because of the stress,” said sophomore Netra Gopikrishnan. “When I stay up late to study for tests or to finish my homework, I would rather sleep in than do my makeup on those days.”

Gopikrishnan insists that makeup hasn’t made a big difference on her self-confidence.

“I don’t wear makeup often, but when I do it obviously makes a difference on my looks,” Gopikrishnan said. “But because I don’t use it that much, it doesn’t really impact me in any negative way.”

But Gopikrishnan’s experience with makeup is different from that of others.For instance, as a second-generation immigrant, Chen began using makeup to fit into ‘American society.’

“I noticed that other girls started using it,” Chen said. “At one point, I felt like everyone except me was using it. Especially the pretty, popular girls.”

Similarly, freshman Soha Shaik has been influenced to buy products by the people in her life. She’s made it a point to focus on preventative skincare instead of makeup.

But while makeup popularizes, many brands still grapple with inclusivity. In the past few years, many beauty brands have been called out for their lack of inclusive range.

“It’s sometimes a hassle finding stuff that works.” said Shaik, an Indian American.  “I think the stores here have some variety — not that much but just enough for me.”

One thing that all students can agree upon is that makeup can hold deep comfort and enjoyment.

“If I’m going somewhere, I’ll do my little routine,” said Chen. “I always enjoy going through the steps, and it helps me feel more confident and presentable.”


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