Be You

To Retouch or Not to Retouch

Truth be known – I am terrible at makeup and hair.

Why?

Years of being in aquatics as a hobby, sport and then profession has left me with a personality flaw trait of go-go-go-go-go. The time it takes me to do my hair/makeup is time I could be doing something else.  Having a husband whom is my opposite in most everything in life, it did not take him long to realize that boredom causes me more anxiety than just moving at a tornado’s pace.

So – take that very persona and add to it a photo shot for a mom’s blog and you probably can guess where I was left…

If you guessed in Kohl’s, posting on Facebook every outfit I tried on to ensure it actually matched and was a “neutral with a pop of color” (what does that mean?) and trying to figure out what a statement piece was (a bold necklace that stands out) and attempting to understand that booties no longer mean the items we place on the feet of newborns (they are ankle boots)… then you are right..and you are also an amazing guesser… and I may be worried you are stalking me.

 

After many fails, calls for help and a text to my husband who responded with disbelief I was actually shopping, I found the outfit and now just had to show up and someone else will fix me  style my hair/do my makeup appropriately for a pic.

Change of plans… the stylists are not coming. 

Cue slight panic and the “noooooooooo” that escaped from my mouth.  I had to DO MY OWN HAIR AND MAKEUP for a PHOTO SHOOT that would be POSTED ONLINE!

Hence….

retouch

 

Oh what an interesting predicament to be in since I titled my blog “Be Imperfection” because of moments just like this.

Being my complexion is slightly darker than a white bed sheet, outdoor pics wash out any chance of dimension in my face. Despite the effort I made at bronzer (that looked like I played in dirt) and eye-shadow (tried to make that into eye liner since I never seem to remember where my makeup went…maybe because I use it once every three months), I still ended up looked a bit muted in the pictures.  The photographer did a wonderful job, but it is just me and my lack of, um, girlie-ness.

So when I saw the pictures, I thought, “let’s see what this retouching thing is all about” and so I played.  I added highlights, whitened my eyes and teeth, added mascara and eyeliner, eyebrow color, blush, a touch of bronzer, blemish and wrinkle reducer… walaa.  Results below.

 

What I learned from this:

EASIER TO PLAY WITH HAIR COLOR

Seriously though – the red kinda looks awesome and I probably would not have jumped to try that shade… but I may now.  That saved significantly more money than coloring it and not liking the results.

BLUSH PROBABLY WILL HELP WITH OUTDOOR PICS

The added blush gave back dimension to my face, which lacks in almost every outdoor picture I have ever taken.  To achieve this effect in real life, I am afraid I would need to dump the entire container on me. Since I am not so much looking to resemble a clown, picture editing will need to be the way I achieve this result.

Let’s be honest now – seeing how for a few decades I haven’t used it regularly yet, I doubt this will change my outdoor (non)makeup wearing habits.

CHANGING YOUR IMAGE IS ADDICTING

When I did one thing, another came and then another came and another.  By all means, do what makes you happy but for me personally, I do not need to constantly pick apart my image to see what I can change next. That road was so wonderfully known as my twenties.

Although it was fun to achieve movie star whiteness for my eyes/teeth, watch my wrinkles could just disappear like magic, and see how vibrant my eyes could shine, in the end, I needed to look back at the message I was sending if I selected the retouched image.  What do I believe in; what do I want my daughter to think is truth?

Because I want her to think she is enough just how she is, although I may have preferred the retouched picture, it wasn’t real to me.  I may have looked that way in person but in the snapped picture, this is what it was – eyes slightly red from allergies, wrinkles from a life of stories and makeup that reflected my non-stop lifestyle.

PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY NOT AS VIBRANT AS THE MAGAZINES

It was beyond easy to quickly dress myself up with zero knowledge of what I was doing and no fashion sense to direct me.  If I were an editor or a person skilled in photoshop, I probably could have made myself flawless with a nip and tuck and stretch.

People are NOT flawless.  We are force-fed images everyday that reflect perfection.  We see social media families of nothing but smiles and laughs, constant selfies – many of which have been through the SnapChat filters. That isn’t real life.

With a few clicks, I had a captivating glow in comparison to the original.  If I wanted, this picture could easily be used to attribute the change to a product. Marketing is a powerful tool to manipulate you to believe you NEED to change.  It takes a few clicks to convince you that you are not enough because you do not glow like the picture.

Neither do I… and it is me!

FINALLY…WHO THE HELL CARES

Today is Earth Day.  Today scientists all over the planet said “I am marching for Science.  For Truth. For the Earth.”  Tomorrow will be something else…. find a cause that will help the world around you. Focus on that.

In the end, your image may be what people see but it is NOT who you are.  Your friends do not care if you are the image on the left or the right… and if they do and that is your thing to bond over; you have found your crew.  As I said, to each your own, but be careful with the way these ideas are being presented.  As a person who long-ago attempted to reach an unreachable standard, photoshopped images and those that focus purely on the outside can be damning to people who attach to this as a measurable goal.

For me, I find it inspiring to be real… WITH flaws and imperfections. I am teaching my child makeup doesn’t make you beautiful – it makes you colorful.  I am teaching my son what matters most is the person inside and how they treat others. I am teaching myself I have to live these things in my choices and not just my words.

It was tempting, very tempting, to upload the more vibrant picture but to do so went against what I stand for.  So as I chose the non-retouched one, I recognized I was saying, “this is me in this moment and I am enough.  My words and actions speak for my spirit. I must live my truth

Be you – whatever form that brings; even washed out from the sun.