I wore ‘Instagram makeup’ for a week in my small Southern town and reactions were…mixed
Purple lipstick is a magnet for strange encounters
Anybody who knows me also knows that I happen to carry around a 10-pound bag full of makeup most places I venture. I’m the one who probably did your prom, homecoming or school picture day makeup in high school. Now that I’m a full-time college student, I still help out with the occasional Greek life event (once I executed the perfect cat-eye on three screaming girls getting ready for formal), but most of the time I have to beg my friends just to let me practice on them.
Although I love spending an hour each morning creating a look for the day, I’ve learned to prioritize sleep as much as I can. Most days I set aside just enough time to do the whole, “no makeup makeup look” and rush to class with everybody else. Now that I’m back home for summer, I started wondering what would happen if I took a little more time in the morning, and wore “Instagram Makeup” around my small, Southern town. How would these people react to and interact with someone who’s wearing a full face of glam from the ‘gram for no apparent reason?
Day one: Orange dreamsicle vibes inspired by Lupe Cuevas
I started out the week with a pop of orange/coral-y goodness. The only order of business I had for the day was picking up a couple days worth of groceries, so after triple checking that my lip color wasn’t going anywhere, I headed out.
Where I’m from, people are generally good-natured, but gossipy as hell. While grabbing my precious avocados, I caught several older folk giving me the ol’ look up and down. Replies were beginning to pour in from my Snap story: heart-eyes emojis abounded, with several of my friends actually giving me critiques for the look. “Love the way your eyeshadow matches your lipstick, but the eyeshadow needs more depth,” and “Everything looks amazing, but you could have gone a little darker on the lips.” On the way back from the store, one dude legitimately stared me down while I was stopped at a red light (and he was moving). I guess my lipstick stunned him.
Overall, this look definitely proved to be eye-catching, but people seemed polite enough to hide more blatant judgment.
Day two: Classic red lips
I opted for a classic cat-eye, bright red lip combo, contouring, eyebrow pomade, tight lining, and all-the-other-things-Instagram-makeup-gurus-do look.
My extended family and I all get dinner together once a week, so I brought this look with me to one of the local diners. Even before we had ordered, I noticed an older lady did a double take when she walked past me. Must’ve been the lip color again.
Most people paid me no mind with this one aside from the odd long glance here and there. I need to dial up the “IG” factor.
Day three: Purple and gold inspired by Pony’s Makeup
And here’s where it really started to get interesting. I don’t know what it is about purple lipstick, but it must be a magnet for uncomfortable encounters.
I settled down at Starbucks to work for a bit, and the cute barista boy who served me my macchiato kept looking back. He’s probably still in high school. Bless him. I swung by the place my nerdy, middle school-aged self used to call home – GameStop. A girl’s gotta see if there are any new Harvest Moon games out! As soon as I walk in, the cashier, a guy probably in his late 20s, tries to start up a conversation with me about the latest game releases. I explain repeatedly that I’m just looking, thanks, but he’s persistent.
Next stop was the bookstore, where I had the weirdest encounter yet. I’m checking out the political section, and some dude with a ponytail comes up and starts ranting about the state of the country. Then, abruptly, he asks me if I had seen Moana. When I said no, he asked if I’d seen the trailer. Yes. “My friend looks just like Maui. Wait here.” I debated on whether I should hide in the junky romance section, but I stood my ground. Sure enough, ponytail dude and his friend Maui come strolling back up, and I feign my interest. Then, I awkwardly slip away to the fashion magazines, where I overhear a couple snickering and not-so-secretly pointing at me.
What a day.
Day four: Black lips
Hello, goth phase.
My day started off with me scaring the heck out of my stepdad when I walked down the stairs. I was interviewing someone that morning and expected her and the patrons of the coffee shop we were meeting at to be put off by my vampy look. To my surprise, no one even blinked, not even the group of older gentlemen sitting and smoking out front. Great for me, because I love wearing black lipstick.
Day Five: ‘Shout out to my ex’ inspired by Nikki Tutorials
Phew, last day. NikkieTutorials, Queen of Cakeface herself helped me bring this look to life, and I must say, it might be my favorite of the week.
Even though I spent most of my day around a lot of people, I didn’t see or hear anything negative about my makeup. But Be A Bombshell Cosmetics liked my picture enough to feature it on their IG, so I guess they noticed.
Overall, I was quite pleasantly surprised with how people acted around me. If anything, the people in the more rural areas were less likely to be rude than those in more developed towns; I only experienced harassment or rude comments when I ventured into the city. While there have and will always will be jerks anywhere, I now feel much happier knowing I can rock a glam look every now and then without feeling like a stranger in my own town.
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