September 22, 2023

For some people, any social event doesn’t just require an outfit plan, it means taking the time to sit down and apply makeup. Others might skip this step, seeing it as unnecessary or even undesirable.

So TikToker Sabrina Ali caused a bit of a stir when she made a video arguing that people really should use makeup at certain events. This sparked a sizable debate online as netizens shared their thoughts on her video and female beauty standards in general.
Bored Panda has reached out to Sabrina Ali by email and will update the post when she gets back to us.

A TikToker began an online debate when she argued for wearing makeup on certain social occasions

Image credits: iamthesabrinaeffect

“After a certain age, coming outside to any event that you’re all dressed up for and you have heels on with no makeup is unacceptable”

“I don’t care how pretty you think you are with the bare face. We all think we’re beautiful with a bare face, right? But there’s a time and a place for a bare face. Not everywhere is bare face acceptable, grow up, learn how to do makeup.”

Image credits: Long Truong (not the actual photo)

“And this is why I always tell people learn how to do things early at a young age or you’re going to keep having to pay for things and you’re going to get tired of having to pay for services that you can do yourself. So learn how to do makeup and avoid coming out to functions looking beautiful but with a bare face.”

Image credits: iamthesabrinaeffect

Image credits: Ovinuchi Ejiohuo (not the actual photo)

You can watch the full video here

@iamthesabrinaeffect Yes, you may be beautiful BUT The club is not the time & the place for a no makeup look. #thesabrinaeffect ♬ original sound – SABRINA ALI

Makeup has been around for longer than most countries

Image credits: Venus HD Make- up & Perfume (not the actual photo)

Cosmetics might be one of the most enduring elements of fashion, next to jewelry. While the clothes, shoes, and hats we wear differ from century to century and even decade to decade, gold accessories and some colored powder on the face remain ever popular. The first indications of widespread use of makeup, like so many things, came from ancient Egypt, over five thousand years ago. Men and women both would use eyeliner, blush, and perfume regularly and have even been depicted in sculptures and portraits with makeup on.

Various other cultures in the pre-modern world developed makeup and had their own standards, norms, and styles. But it wasn’t until the 19th century that it became an element of everyday style. The cause of this change didn’t have anything to do with makeup itself, rather, artificial lighting was becoming significantly more common and for the first time, regular people could access reflective materials, like mirrors. Try applying some eyeliner in a dim room, using the back of a metal bowl. The results, while perhaps a bit avant-garde, are unlikely to be pretty.

However, this didn’t mean that the popularity of makeup spread evenly. In 1915, The Kansas legislature proposed a law that would basically make makeup for under-forty-five-year-olds illegal, as lawmakers believed that cosmetics existed “for the purpose of creating a false impression.” While this sentiment may have existed in other places, it was not enough to slow down the rising popularity of makeup.

Max Factor (born Maksymilian Faktorowicz) opened a makeup studio in 1909 to help movie stars prepare for roles. He found that regular women would book appointments in an attempt to enhance their looks. As visual entertainment grew more popular, people and women in particular began to copy the styles seen on-screen.

However, modern standards have shifted

Image credits: cottonbro studio (not the actual photo)

The no-makeup look mentioned in the TikTok can trace its origins back to the 1960s. During the 1968 feminist Miss America protest, participants would throw away feminine products, including cosmetics, and burn them. While many women didn’t abandon makeup entirely, cosmetic brands did start to promote “natural look” makeup. While the industry had been male-dominated for years (look at Max Factor in 1909) for the first time cosmetics became a good industry for female business leaders, innovators, and designers.

This video may have caused some controversy precisely because the last decade or two had, perhaps finally, seen the “fall” of makeup as the norm. While still very, very popular, makeup has slowly started to be seen as a choice, rather than a necessity for women when going out. Younger people may not even realize that in previous decades, a woman might be looked down on just for showing the skin on her face. This is important, as the cosmetics industry has not stopped trying to hook a new audience by explicitly targeting children and teens.

While Sabrina Ali might have a point about the aesthetics of makeup, particularly in cases where a person is already spending time and resources to look good, much of the backlash was likely caused by people who don’t want to refight the makeup battles again. This wouldn’t be the first time women’s livelihoods suffered because of shifts in fashion. If you have any experience at all with women’s clothing, you will no doubt have noticed a bizarre lack of pockets. If you want to know why this is, Bored Panda has got you covered.

Many commenters disagreed with her point of view and shared their own thoughts