The eyes have it: self-expression above the mask


Sydney Fung

As the indoor mask mandate in California persists, we spoke to students about how they use makeup to express the features above their masks: their eyes.

“A look that I’ve done before or something that I’m really confident with may take five or ten minutes, and if it’s something where I’m trying something new or goofing off, it will take twenty or twenty-five minutes…When I’m in a mask, it’s about showing my personality and also my facial expressions. If I smile below my mask, it is more visible,” Finch said. “Makeup is a tool for incredibly fascinating and interesting creative expression, but it’s also a really harmful part of the beauty culture in our society. For a lot of people, makeup is just a daily maintenance thing where they have to make themselves look a certain way, but at the same time, if you see a lot of fashion editorials and runway looks, a lot of those things would not be complete without the makeup that comes with it because it’s about creating the entire impression.”

“It takes me a solid five minutes to do my eye makeup each morning. I feel like [because of my mask], my face is more covered, so I like to accentuate what I have in my eyes. I definitely wear a lot less makeup because of my mask because I’m covering a lot more, so I really just focus it on my mascara,” Bato said. “I like makeup because it’s an expression, it’s an extension of me in a way. I don’t think I’d leave the house without makeup on because it boosts my self-esteem. My favorite thing about it is how there’s not a wrong way to do it– you can express yourself in any way. What I don’t like about it is how expensive it can get.”

“I choose not to wear makeup because I’ve struggled with acne in the past and I’m afraid that wearing makeup will mess up my face…When I was in the third grade, someone else put makeup on me and I thought it was really pretty, but I never really got into it afterwards…However, I do wear mascara to dances or very special occasions – my favorite brand is the Telescopic Mascara by L’Oreal,” Milano said. “There are pros and cons to wearing makeup: people are able to express themselves through makeup…The downside to makeup is that people want to change the way they look to fit into beauty standards. I feel like people should appreciate how they look. Everyone’s pretty in their own way. I felt pressure to conform to beauty standards but now I don’t feel the need to change myself.” 

“I was actually a little bit late to school today because I was doing my eye makeup. It usually takes me around 15 minutes to do it,” Patino Machuca said. “I think makeup gives me more confidence, which is a way I can express myself. I also just like to do it for fun. I like that I can look good with makeup… I like that I can express myself by using whatever shades or colors I want. My least favorite thing about makeup is that it takes a lot of time to do. It’s also hard to do – you need to learn how to do it. It’s a little bit tricky, you have to get used to it and practice a lot.” 

“If I’m getting ready for school, it only takes me a few seconds to do my makeup because I only put on mascara. But if I’m going to a dance or something or getting more dressed up, I take around five minutes because I like to put on a little eyeshadow…Especially with masks, I want my eyes to stand out, since they’re the only thing that shows,” Ricaputi said. “My favorite thing about makeup is that you get to feel good about yourself. I prefer to wear skin-toned eyeshadow, but I wear glitter sometimes. The thing I don’t like is how long it takes to take off.”