Wearing makeup has always been a catch-22 for women. If we wear makeup, we’re seen as superficial and vain. If we go bare-faced, we’re asked, “Are you sick?” or viewed as unprofessional. However, modern makeup artists and beauty icons are here to flip the script on this restricting narrative around makeup. Here are thirty makeup quotes that will make you proud to sport your smokey eye.
Though she is one of the most influential runway makeup artists of all time, the average person most likely hasn’t heard of Pat McGrath. Pat McGrath is to beauty what Coco Chanel is to fashion, what Andy Warhol is to art, and what Frank Lloyd Wright is to architecture. Despite her influence and revolutionary makeup artistry, however, McGrath rarely gets her due shine outside the high fashion industry.
In an interview with New York Magazine concerning her Founders Award from the CDFA Fashion Awards, and in one of her most profound makeup quotes, McGrath describes her relationship to makeup. Some people might despair in having to destroy their art at the end of the day, but she describes it as inspirational. What’s the point in doing the same makeup over and over again if it’s going to disappear every night? You may as well take advantage of makeup’s temporary nature by trying a new technique or style every day.
Some of the best makeup quotes are those that explore our first time. A pivotal experience in every makeup wearer's life was the first time he or she felt empowered by makeup. Maybe it was the time you were allowed to wear lipstick for the school play, and you felt a new surge of confidence stepping onto the stage. Maybe it was when you tried winged liner and discovered a new way to express your inner badass. Whatever your personal experience, it’s always incredibly empowering to claim makeup as a tool for self-expression.
Like Pat McGrath, Charlotte Tilbury is a renowned makeup artist who has moved on to designing her own line of makeup. Her most well-known products include her lipsticks and glowy bronzers.
Zendaya is well-known for her glowy makeup looks and dramatic brows. But, she also should be known for her inspiring makeup quotes. She doesn’t want her fans to get the wrong idea about why she favors dramatic highlighters and lashes.
In an interview with Elle, she explains that her desire to wear makeup doesn’t stem from any type of insecurity, but from a desire to express herself. She then comments on how makeup and beauty culture is changing with millennials and Gen Z, saying, “People don't wear makeup to impress people or because they'll be seen in public. It's more of a hobby now, just because it's fun.”
Although “no-makeup-makeup” looks may have been more popular in the early 2010s, abstract neon green eyes, rainbow eyebrows, and other extreme makeup tutorials are now the most-viewed videos.
I’d be lying if I said there’s no pressure on women to wear makeup. In 2016, Alicia Keys sparked a mini-revolution by making a public choice to give up makeup. In an essay in the publication “Lenny Letter,” one of Key’s makeup quotes explained that she had felt stifled by makeup from a young age. As she skyrocketed into fame, the media judged her for choosing to leave her hair natural, dress in relaxed clothing, and wear minimal makeup.
Keys began to change herself to fit into a persona that the public would accept, hiding her true self behind a mask of makeup. For every woman who feels empowered by makeup, there exists another who feels trapped by it. Alicia Keys believes that every woman should be able to choose whether she wants to wear makeup or not, and shouldn’t be judged for doing either.
Need we say more?
Audrey Hepburn, classic film actress, beauty icon, and star of films like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Roman Holiday,” knows a thing or two about beauty. She’s well-known for her doe-eyed look and thick eyebrows but claims that makeup can only help a woman’s beauty so much.
All jokes aside, there is a brand called Bite Beauty (available at Sephora) that claims their ingredients are so natural, you can eat them. Though they don’t recommend you actually eat their lipstick (Why waste your money, anyway?), they assure customers that they don’t need to slather chemicals on their lips to achieve a gorgeous red, nude, or vampy lip.
One of the first celebrity makeup artists, the late Kevyn Aucoin was a legend in the beauty world. His success came from his refusal to accept makeup conventions, a trait that would lead him to become a favorite of celebrities like Madonna, Cher, and Whitney Houston.
If you frequent online beauty communities, it’s likely you’ve seen dozens of videos or articles titled, “The Dos and Don’ts of Makeup.” Some of the “rules” featured in those guides probably included “Don’t pair a bold eye look with a bold lip,” “Don’t match the color of your lipstick and eyeshadow,” “Don’t bring your blush above the cheekbone,” and countless other makeup quotes from expert advice. But, if one of the world’s most legendary makeup artists didn’t believe in those rules, why should you?
In the age of Youtube and Instagram, we’ve seen neon green eyes paired with cherry red lips, entirely monochrome looks, and blush brought all the way up to the eye—and each look has been beautiful. Don’t let some arbitrary rules stifle your creativity.
When Michelle Phan a.k.a. the mother of the Youtube beauty community offers makeup quotes, we listen! Michelle Phan was the OG beauty influencer, providing makeup tutorials to a world of blue eyeshadow and frosty lip gloss that sorely needed some beauty tips. Coming from a dysfunctional family, Phan rose to become a top Youtuber and founder of her own company, Em Cosmetics.
In one of her makeup quotes from her interview with HuffPost Life, Phan places makeup in the same self-care category as using face masks and taking bubble baths. When doing your makeup, you’re giving your full attention to yourself and therefore indulging in self-love. Not many people may notice your new eyeshadow technique or fancy highlighter, but if it makes you feel proud and beautiful, that’s all that matters.
In an interview with Hello Magazine, Monica Bellucci, an actress and beauty icon, discussed her collaboration with Dolce & Gabbana on their new line of lipsticks. Bellucci might not be a makeup artist, but she knows the power of a good bold lip—one of her signature red carpet looks includes bright red lipstick.
Eyeshadow, blush, and bronzer are all important, but none of them have the same influence on a makeup look as lipstick does. Each lipstick shade has a mood associated with it. For instance, red represents confidence and flirtatiousness, black represents fierceness, nudes represent natural beauty, and pink or orange represent fun and a carefree spirit. A simple lipstick change can change the way the whole world sees you.