ASSESSMENT ITEM 2 -3602QCA [More Than The Surface]

Contextual Relevance

My question has changed formats, words, sentences.. back and forth between different things. Having a choice within makeup felt important, but too specific and broad at the same time. In exploring more sides of makeup in todays society, I have refined my question again to something more relevant. I needed a question that encompassed the different areas I was researching, while focussing on one concept. So for right now this is my new question:

How much more is there to makeup than what you see on the surface?

This being said I am still investigating around this question as well. Is the confidence that makeup can bring a person good or bad? If all people care about is the confidence it brings them, is it shadowing the harm makeup could also be doing. Do they know what is in their products, or what it could do to their skin? Do they know how their products are tested or made? Horst Rechelbacher the founder of Aveda says, “Cosmetics should be safe enough to eat.” (Malkan, 2007) While at the same time, for some people they don’t feel themselves without makeup. For those with certain skin conditions, they feel that others are only seeing them for what is on their skin. Makeup helps them feel like they are more than what they look like on the outside. They aren’t using the makeup for confidence to look perfect, they’re using makeup to look normal so that they have confidence to be seen as themselves. (Ciupka ad campaign, 2014-2016)

There are so many different sides to the discussion on makeup in todays society. This is so important because it is such a widely used range of products. People are using these products everyday in so many different ways. There is makeup in everyday life, work, health, etc. But for something being used for so many and as such a large industry right now, do we know everything we should about it? What is the most important aspect of makeup if you don’t know the facts about it, and how can people be better informed of what they can do with it?

Methodology and Projected Project Scope

I have been conducting research by reading articles and comparing various surveys to gather different points of view from the data. There are so many different areas to consider and numerous surveys debating and supportive of different views. Videos are very popular in todays society, especially in the makeup industry. There are online reviewers, ad campaigns, instruction videos, etc. I have been watching the different types of videos to examine what is most successful given that we are in such a digital age. So many things focus around the ‘next viral video’ and that can be a very successful way now to inform or educate people of this generation. Moving forward I will be conducting my own survey to gain additional and broader knowledge on this area of discussion.

One of the most important things now was to make sure that I conducted research that touched on various different areas of the makeup industry, to figure out what would best suit my future surveys. Discovering the different methods and tactics used by the various sources has shown me what is the most practical and worked in gaining results for them.

I think it’s also important as a makeup user to self reflect on everything I have learned and take everything into consideration. I want to document what I knew about makeup and the changes in the knowledge I’ve learned along the way. I have also considered the possibility of doing a small personal research project of double checking the ingredients in my makeup. I think it would be very insightful to make sure that ingredients aren’t getting past us when we may not know what they mean, or trust the company too much.

Moving forward I am very interested in the concept of ad campaigns, videos, and/or photography. I want to create something powerful that can help to inform people of everything there really is to makeup. Whether it be good, bad, or both. Something that interacts with the viewer or their emotion to get them really thinking about the subject, and to make them want to evoke change. Change in either the way they use makeup, the safety of the makeup they use, or even the views they have on makeup.


Contributing Theoretical Discourse 1

Britton, Ann Marie. 2012. The Beauty Industry’s Influence on Women in Society. Honors Theses and Capstones. Paper 86.

The Beauty Industry’s Influence on Women in Society, talks about how makeup can drastically change ones self confidence. Ann Marie Britton delved into many different articles and research methods herself to see the different effects makeup was having on women. She references many article studies to validate her points and discuss the standards of beauty in todays society and how that is effecting confidence.

The research in this article also covers findings from a 45 question survey, it studies the cosmetic usage, behavior, and personal habits. Britton used social media to spread the survey to 137 different college students. Her study uses two different measuring techniques to model her survey after; Self-monitoring by Snyder and the Texas Social Behavior Inventory – Form A by Helmreich & Stapp.

This is useful information to find because it touches specifically on the amount these survey goers feel they ‘need’ the makeup. Regardless of the makeup type, they felt a lower self-esteem without it. The brand may make a difference in certain circumstances for what the quality or price is, but regardless of that, the mere fact of the makeup being on boosted confidence for them. This survey is limited to some degree by only taking survey results from women, but it is still valuable information to be able to compare.

The confidence that makeup brings these women was relayed in the study when asked how likely they were to be wearing makeup, in six different situations, the most popular answers were; ‘somewhat likely’, ‘likely’ and ‘very likely.’ Over 66 percent of the women began wearing makeup between the age of 12-15 years old. Whether the reasoning behind this was for confidence or not, generally speaking, the women started wearing makeup at a very young age.

In the new age of this digital era we live in women are seeing many things on makeup in the media. This could be the reasoning to why these women are lacking the self confidence in the first place but they are still finding some sense of confidence in wearing makeup. Britton discusses the relationship between makeup and self-esteem, which is a growing topic of discussion. This contributes to my own discoveries and discussions on this ever developing topic by touching on yet another area within makeup in our society.

Not only is this confidence about beauty but women are also perceiving themselves as healthier while wearing makeup. This can greatly raise everyday confidence by enhancing and brightening natural features. Public self confidence is definitely spoken of as being positively related to cosmetics in this article.


Contributing Theoretical Discourse 2

Malkan, Stacy. 2007. Not Just a Pretty Face : The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry. Gabriola Island, BC, CAN: New Society Publishers. ProQuest ebrary HD9970.5.C672 — M35 2007eb.

Not Just a Pretty Face, goes into an in depth exploration of the good and bad within makeup. While it focusses a large part on the negative side of the beauty industry is finished off with positive insight on the future on makeup, what is better for you, and the better companies to support. This is a personally written book from the first hand experience of Malkan being addicted to cosmetics in the past. She had chosen to change her ways and research into the different ingredients in the products she was using on her body.

Malkan had done extensive research for this book of 12 chapters. With an average of 16 citations per chapter and 192 in total, you can imagine the information compiled to put this book together with solid facts. She covered everything from; chemicals you could be exposed to, chemicals linked to diseases, toxic ingredients, beauty myths around the world, unmasked information, safe products, a green future, and the governments involvement.

This is very relevant to what I have been looking into because it uniquely presents both sides of the matter. Even though there is a large focus on the negative in the makeup industry the information gathered on the future of healthy cosmetics is so valuable. It shows that there is hope in the makeup industry when it comes to the users safety.

The research that Malkan has done gives me so much to consider and look into for this side of the makeup industry. The limitations this book has is that from when it was written there have been some advances with cosmetic companies. This creates a good base and overall information on the things to look out for and avoid in makeup. But an open mind should be kept with new companies and everything should be checked before assuming anything is good or bad.

With such detailed information this presented by this book it shows the real dangers that can come on becoming to dependent on makeup. Makeup can do wonders for certain things and can be a huge confidence builder for some people, but can turn bad for others. How do people learn to keep a happy balance, or make sure they are using makeup for themselves that won’t harm them. There are so many different products and ingredients to keep track of, so what is the best way for makeup to move forward successfully?


Contemporary Practitioner Example 1

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Fig. 1: Ludwig Ciupka of Tuxedo Agency, Camo Confessions and Beyond the Surface, 2014-2016, Dermablend Professional Ad campaigns, Online video and photo advertising series.,

Ciupka, Ludwig of Tuxedo Agency. Camo Confessions and Beyond the Surface. 2014-2016. Dermablend Professional Ad campaigns. Online video and photo advertising series.,

Ludwig Ciupka has been winning awards for his recent ad campaigns for Dermablend Professional. Dermablend is an American based company that makes high coverage makeup to help with different skin conditions. The makeup focusses on covering everything from; acne, hyper pigmentation, scars, lupus, dark spots, post surgical bruising, vitiligo, rosacea, uneven skin tones and more.

These ad campaigns use slogans like “Blend In to Stand Out” for Camo Confessions and “Discover Your Confidence” for Beyond the Surface. The purpose of these are to show people with skin conditions or who don’t feel confident that they have an option. These products help people to ‘blend in’ so that they can feel more like themselves, in order to obtain that confidence they may be lacking. This is such a strong way to show what the company is doing for people with their makeup product.

Beyond the Surface

Beyond the Surface header campaign photo. Before and After.

Going in a direction that uses real people, with real problems shows how the use of makeup in their lives helps their true personalities shine. Without coverage cosmetics it can be hard for these people to ever feel like themselves. The people used in these campaigns are regular people, of all different races and ages. Born with skin conditions or personal reasons why these cosmetics make them feel closer to being themselves. The main ad for the ‘Go Beyond the Surface’ campaign, highlight such a great range of different people. These ads are successful in speaking to the public because the are touching so many different people with such relatable material.

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This area of research is so useful to my topic because it shows a very real and personal side to makeup. The makeup used everyday by these people lets them be who they want to be. Trying to research into makeup and the different sides of the aspects of the makeup world can be hard. These pieces show how important makeup can be to someones everyday life and how it can better them. No matter what age, occupation, gender, or reason for wearing the makeup they all share one thing in common, they are confident with who they are wearing the makeup.

This research still leaves me at a place where I’m left not knowing if this makeup is truly helping their confidence or if it could hinder someones confidence at the same time. If the makeup is providing a sense of confidence, does that mean that when they have to take it off they feel uncomfortable? If the makeup is acting as a blanket of confidence while it is on does that mean if could be also make them feel not themselves without it?

This reflects significantly on my research to show how important a role makeup can play for people, and the different things it can present with confidence. Investigating into whether or not there is a choice within certain roles and wearing makeup opens a very one sided area. Exploring how makeup is helping people and how it can change how they feel, is definitely a more positive way to conduct research into it. Each person who has done a video for Dermablend in these campaigns show their own story and their own unique reason for using the product. You would never know that they are dealing with these issues because of the makeup. This is changing the views that other people perceive of them and gives them a new found confidence.


Contemporary Practitioner Example 2

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Fig. 2: Kevin Bathman of Idea Works, Mascara, Lipstick and Compact, 2008, The Animal Liberation cosmetics campaign, Three photo print campaign,

Bathman, Kevin of Idea Works. Mascara, Lipstick and Compact. 2008. The Animal Liberation cosmetics campaign. Three photo print campaign.

While examining the negative sides of makeup, one frequently sees to comments on animal testing. This ad campaign shines a harsh light on the terrible side of animal testing with cosmetics. This is a print campaign designed by Kevin Bathman when he was the art director for Idea Works. It doesn’t have much to the visuals in the campaign which is why it speaks such volumes. The simplicity to the design draws attention to the meaning behind it and attracts the viewer to enquire more. It states in the bottom corner of each image, “Every year 6 million animals are killed from cosmetic testing.” That’s a shocking number that most people would not be able to imagine.

The purpose to these ads is to not only draw attention, but to hopefully make people curious enough to check into the products they’re using. Informing the viewer of these problems isn’t telling them not to use makeup or that makeup as a whole is bad. It continues to say, “Please boycott animal-tested products.” The goal with this campaign is for them to educate people on the fact that this is still an important issue. There are definitely alternatives and companies that are not doing testing on animals and if everyone turned to using those products the others would be forced to stop.

These are such strong images because of the imagery and style of work. Being able to combine one makeup item with one cruel item, opens up a very big discussion while saying very little. This shows a very different side to the research into makeup that I am doing. Is makeup acting as a positive or negative? There are so many different products, uses for it, reasons for it, etc. Good or bad there is a lot to research and consider, this highlights something that is a major problem within the makeup industry. Why are companies still allowed to test on animals or better still, how do they get away with performing such harmful procedures?

Finding controversial campaigns on makeup opens up all the sides to makeup and how it can be very negative at the same time. It is also interesting to see that there is more public type ad campaigns on this side of makeup, rather than the positive confidence boosting side of makeup. But even with how popular this seems to be in online or print advertisements it doesn’t seem to be as recognized as it should be.

The limitations to this campaign are just that, they stay to a very narrow and specific side of this topic. Many of the topics investigated within makeup today have been like this and I am still trying to find the perfect merge between them all. These images contribute the opposing side to my research. It is a different negative to explore within this topic and something that should be more known globally by makeup users. I will use this campaign in figuring out what way this should impact my overall discovery path.


Project proposal 

As stated before: How much more is there to makeup than what you see on the surface?

Based on my current research I have been looking into and what I plan to conduct myself, I hope to discover the true importance of what makeup is doing in todays society. Makeup can be used so many different ways, and everyone who wears it has their own reason for doing so. The goal of this research is to figure out how I can contribute to the overall knowledge that people have on makeup. The scope of my research into the world of makeup has shown me how much depth there is to a topic that may have seemed very straight forward in the beginning. It’s important for makeup users to know what is below the surface of traditional makeup that can benefit them overall.

In summary..

For this assessment I have gone over the importance of how relevant this topic is with our generation right now. Makeup is used globally and portrayed as something almost mandatory, so what are the different sides to this standard? Whether you notice that someone is wearing makeup, or using it solely for entertainment purposes, the variety of makeup uses is quite extensive. With this many people using makeup, do they know what they’re doing and what is in what they’re using? What if the products could be a serious danger to them? What if people feel like they can’t be seen as themselves without a camouflaging makeup? Not in a way of hiding, but as a way to have people view them for their personality, instead of what they see on their skin.

This discussion could delve into so many different areas, but for something used by so many, why aren’t the behind the scenes components of it being recognized more? How can this research and my future design plans on this topic open up the rest to what is beneath the surface of makeup? Is there a way to positively inform and educate on the possible issues and uses of makeup? Can a design solution or campaign be positive and gain as much attention as a negative or shocking solution?

These are all things to consider when moving forward in my research on makeup. I am a makeup user who uses makeup as another creative outlet, to express myself further, and to allow myself extra confidence when I need it. I look into what products I’m using and the better brands for my skin. I thought I knew quite a bit about makeup before I started this research, but given the information I have found, I find myself second guessing even the simplest of outlooks I had before. If someone who feels confident in their makeup knowledge is overwhelmed by how many surfaces there are to it, what about the users who don’t know the first thing about it?

That is why I took the time to look at so many different sides of the research and works within makeup. With my theoretical investigation for this assessment I have found two very different pieces. “The Beauty Industry’s Influence of Women in Society,” speaks to the confidence makeup can bring, especially to women in college. “Not Just a Pretty Face,” is an in depth book written by Stacy Malkan, who was once addicted to cosmetic products. She then discovered for herself the importance of knowing what is in what you’re using and who is making safe products.

To add a different aspect of research to my practitioner examples, I have found two completely opposing examples that are pertinent to my topic. The Dermablend Professional Ad campaigns are painfully real. Showing real life stories through the videos and photos taken, sheds light on how important a role cosmetics plays in some peoples’ lives. I also wanted to look into the harsh realty of some of the processes that play a large part in the makeup industry. For example, in Kevin Bathmans campaign for The Animal Liberation, you see the ties between pain and different cosmetics.

Through this next step of the research process I have expanded my view on my topic and condensed my research question into something new again. My research question continues to flourish and develop as I continue to broaden my knowledge and research on the topic of makeup.



The Cycle

Within the research I have been doing it can be very confusing. I find everything I see online goes back and worth within each other. It leaves me wondering if makeup is helping with problems or causing the problems. There are so many sides to look at and it leaves me confused on what I should be focussed on.

I have read articles and watched videos on how makeup can help people feel more confident in their own skin. Then I’ll find research on how so much makeup is being used, that these people are becoming obsessed with looking beautiful. The social outlook on makeup is focussed on looking ‘perfect’ and that’s how everyone wants to look

If people are wearing makeup to feel confident because they don’t feel confident. While they aren’t feeling confident because they don’t look perfect. But they don’t feel perfect because the message in the media is how to make yourself beautiful, you need makeup. Is the confidence being helped or is makeup being so blown out of proportion that it’s causing its own problem?

Is this cycle inevitable?



There can be so much controversy around makeup. Looking through so many articles and videos I think it can start to be blinding to what makeup can actually do for someone.

Everyone has different outlooks on makeup and their feelings toward it. But one of the most popular things I see online is how it can bring people a confidence that they didn’t have before. We all have our own reasons for either not wearing or wearing makeup, but wether you’re wearing it to make yourself feel more confident it can have a way of doing that regardless.

You can find articles that present both sides, like in, The Interesting ways studies show that makeup can boost confidence. They talk about how there are studies showing how women even rate themselves as being more attractive with makeup. But also stating how people wearing makeup in a way to almost disguise themselves “tend to be less emotionally stable.”

Overall makeup can be worn to enhance confidence and that can really help people boost their self esteem.



The Cost

I came across this video Glamour Magazine posted a couple days ago titled, The Cost of Being a Woman. Granted I am not researching costs of all the products or items covered it can be eye opening to visually see. If you have a spare moment to watch the video you’ll see how the daily routine of a woman can be very pricey and very much so higher than the cost of the average male.

These costs shouldn’t be expected of women because they’re supposed to look how the media portrays them. This generalization of women and the standard of beauty today isn’t helping in regards to money, and time that a lot of women don’t have.

People who don’t wear makeup or don’t have very much experience with makeup may not even realize how much these products can amount too. There are always ways to get things  on the cheap side but if you are looking at anything of quality or more natural products to not harm your skin they can be very over priced. This video posted by BuzzFeed Video, Guys Guess Makeup Prices, shows some examples of how drastic the pricing can really be.

What do you think about the pricing side of things? If women are expected to wear makeup for work, shouldn’t it be taken into account that they’re spending so much on a daily routine, that otherwise would be unnecessary.