Let's face it: sometimes, if not most of the times, if you're a human person, and—particularly a female one — confidence is hard to come by. We're seemingly born into the lie that we're not pretty, smart, skinny, feminine, [insert arbitrary oppressive ideal here] enough, and it's kind of difficult to shake, even if you try to tell yourself, over and over again, that you've been brainwashed and that you are everything you need to be.
There are small things, however, that help to shake the lie, even if just for a little while. Compliments. Love. A favourite dress that fits really well and makes you feel like a celebrity on Oscar night. And, of course — because this is a beauty website and where else could I possibly, possibly be going with this? — makeup.
A full face of makeup can feel like armour in the war on societal values. Sometimes, there's nothing that can make you feel more confident than smooth skin and well-applied eye makeup and lipstick.
For me, there are specific products that really enforce this. A lipstick that's like a shield. A concealer that's your helmet. A trusty eyeliner as the sword. I have a few of go-to confidence boosting makeup items that, even on my worst, yuckiest, most self-berating days, make me feel like I'm all good again.
The first of these is Sephora Color Lip Last lipstick in Pure Red. I love all lipstick — particularly red lipstick — but this one is unbeatable. It's the exact shade of red you want when you're looking for a true red. Plus, it stays on for hours on end and looks flawless. And because it dries in a way that doesn't allow it to spread or smudge, it never stops looking flawless.
I have no choice but to feel pretty and confident in this shade, and the compliments I get don't hurt, either.
Another major confidence-boosting makeup item is Benefit Watt's Up! Highlighter. I'm not a huge highlighter wearer, because I like to be serious and hard-hitting but, mainly because I don't have time for that kind of thing on the daily. When I want to feel extra-special, though, this highlighter is a must.
It's the exact right amount of shine in the exact right colour to make me feel glowing — like I'm what people think pregnant or in-love women look like.'
For some reason, when my nails look good, I feel good. If I want to feel extra-good, the two shades to guarantee that are both from OPI: one is a true red not dissimilar to the Sephora lipstick (and pairing them at the same time makes me feel really nice) called Color So Hot It Berns and the other is the iconic almost-black purple shade, called Lincoln Park After Dark.
Having my nails done is just, like, the epitome of "I made an effort to look refined and finished and so I must feel good about myself." If I really want to ramp up my confidence, I'll use false nails that never look chipped or uneven, or treat myself to a gel manicure.
The last, but arguably most important, product that I feel invincible in is liquid liner. It doesn't matter the brand (I use a local one that I adore and have yet to find an equivalent), as long as it's applied with a steady, skilled hand and extends out into a majestic wing. There is nothing more powerfully confidence-inducing than winged liner. I feel like an eagle soaring high above the winds of social criticism, the wings of my liner becoming my physical wings (this is getting weird. I'll stop). I love how it makes my boring brown eyes pop and I'm like Audrey Hepwho?