When I was abut 15 or 16, my mom brought me with her to a Shiseido counter. She was buying her usual Benefiance face cleanser that came in a pretty, pearly nude squeeze bottle with a matching cap. The lady at the counter wore a thick layer of powdery foundation and super-red lipstick. As she rang up my mom’s purchase, she asked her if I needed anything.
“You need to learn how to start taking care of your skin,” she told me. My mother nodded in agreement. Apparently, I was at that age.
More accurately, I was at an age where I was eager to prove to my mother that I was able to take care of myself. In my naive adolescent mind, doing my own makeup was like showing the world that I could do adult stuff. How exciting. The saleslady, happy to have a new customer, explained to me that I had “oily” skin, so I would need a foundation that was specially formulated for oily skin, and that it was so very important for me to protect my skin with SPF and moisturize it every day (and night…for the uninformed, they do make “night cream”) to prevent wrinkles. She sold me my very first bottle of (read: expensive) foundation, and it marked the beginning of me starting to care about how I looked.
Beautiful people tend to be more successful in just about every area of life and are even perceived that way even if they are not (self-fulfilling prophecy, of course). In South Korea, plastic surgery is given as gifts to girls on their birthdays, and is even celebrated as part of the culture. Luckily, as someone who is not a natural showstopping model (read: average), I grew up surrounded by family and friends who prize authenticity and was never told that I had to change my face to be accepted by society or even wear makeup to look pretty (thanks Mom, for always telling me that I am beautiful whenever I question myself). I was lucky that my first boyfriend was also never enthusiastic about me wearing makeup. Still, like so many other teenage girls, I grew to see my face as forever flawed and that it needed a daily dose of meticulously-applied beauty products for me to be pretty.