But there isn’t a one-sizefits-all when it comes to the make-up that’ll bring each of us joy.
When I asked my work colleagues which products made them happiest, their answers varied wildly. For some, it’s brighter colours – aqua-blue eyeshadow or cherry-red lipstick – while for others it’s just a touch of tinted moisturiser to brighten their complexion. When you look at colour theory, generally citrus shades like orange and yellow ought to energise us, while greens and blues should give a sense of calm. But, after chatting to a couple of my favourite make-up artists, it seems that happiness from make-up comes by catering to each individual’s needs and taste. That rose-toned Pat McGrath eyeshadow palette might give me a burst of serotonin, but for Findlay it’s sparkle, formulas that “bring light and a twinkle to the eyes without looking over-the-top”. She explains, “If I want to perk up my mood, I’ll pop on a little concealer, blush and sparkle. It completely changes how I feel.”
That being said, we’re living in a world that feels uncertain – not a ’00s teen movie where a pivotal makeover scene means we can deal with whatever the universe throws at us (though if my grandma ever fancies revealing that I’m the princess of Genovia, I’ll take it).
According to MacGregor, make-up can be a powerful tool for boosting confidence, but “only if we have some underlying self-appreciation and self-confidence there to begin with. Make-up can increase our confidence in a given situation [eg a date or an interview] because it reduces our appearance anxiety and means our exterior can be tweaked to reflect how we feel. However, I don’t think make-up is the answer for those with significant self-esteem issues – it’s more the icing on the cake than the cure.”
It seems, as with all things, it’s all about balance. The contents of our make-up bags may uplift us – drawing on a bold red lipstick may give us a sense of empowerment and confidence, while the routine of painting our faces each morning gives our minds a sense of calm – but it’s crucial to remember that we have to feel positive about what’s underneath in order to see a real difference.