How do you handle negative comments from others about your makeup?

I’ve received so much over the years that a lot of it rolls right off my back, but while I know that’s the advice people always give, it is inevitably much harder to practice if you’re not someone who is regularly receiving unsolicited feedback 24/7.

The best advice I have is to remember why you wear makeup, that makeup is a process and journey (we improve over time and with practice; we learn what works or doesn’t work by trying it), that makeup washes off, and that other people’s standards of beauty are just that, theirs and not yours. It’s more important to focus on how you view yourself through your eyes.

— Christine


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Z. Avatar

I don’t usually get any, to be honest. Back in high school my parents used to say I wore too much eyeliner (oh, the early 2000s), but apart from that I’ve never received much negative feedback. For the most part I wear neutrals and don’t do a lot of dramatic looks, so I feel like that’s part of the reason, because I know if I veered a bit “edgier” I would most likely get comments from people at work – not necessarily negative, but not positive per se either.

Grace Avatar

I’ve found that whenever I am really happy with my look, I don’t care what someone else’s opinion is. Part of the fun of makeup, art, and fashion is that everyone has a unique perspective on it. Otherwise, we would be wearing the same shade of lipstick and eyeliner and calling it a day.

AB Avatar

A big question — how do I handle any negative comments from others on any topic that is important to me, like how I care for myself and how I appear … as I’ve aged I’ve learned to keep perspective from comment-givers, who even if well-meaning are still coming from their own motivations and opinions.

If the commenter is important in my life or I particularly respect them, the more I may consider their input. But in the end, I defer to my own preference.

I had a boss make ‘mean girls’ comments one time on a color I was wearing, and another time when my luggage had gotten lost and I was more or less makeup- and hair product-naked. I realized she was just bullying from insecurity; if I’d not already been keeping a distance from her, those comments would have hurt but instead, I spotted them for what they were (and wore that particular color again shortly thereafter, to make my own point).

Patty Avatar

Makeup is not big in my family…my two sisters don’t wear it. So while the question might be about more noticeable, “out there” makeup, in my case even my “no makeup makeup” look gets some flack. They can present a kind of scornful attitude sometimes, like my wearing it means I’m vain, or prissy or shallow. I try to ignore it because I don’t think makeup means that at all! If anyone asks me why I wear makeup my answer is always…I like it, it’s fun!

Emilie Avatar

Mine typically come from my mom or sister. I see it this way: if someone is frustrated with you or just looking to pick on you, they’ll get on your case for anything. I grew up thinking things I liked were totally weird and only realized when I got older that my middle school interests were completely normal– classmates just wanted to pick on me so they went for easy targets. If someone says something rude about your makeup, it’s not really about the makeup. They’re just looking for something crappy to say about you.

Then, there are people online who claim they’re being “constructive” even though they know they’re just being rude, or people who just want to shout their rude opinion and seem to totally forget there’s a person reading the responses to their content. That’s a whole other story– I don’t really post makeup content so I haven’t experienced these people a ton.

Nancy T Avatar

Thankfully, I haven’t gotten too much direct flack over my makeup. However, there have been those who made snide remarks about it, and who mistakenly thought that they were being subtle enough that I wouldn’t catch on. It kinda irks me because it’s really none of their business! I try to just pretend I didn’t hear them. Doesn’t always work. Can result in my coming back with a little something about women who don’t even bother trying…?

Seraphine Avatar

The reason I wear makeup is because I love it—I love buying it, I love experimenting with it, and I love being able to present myself to the world according to my mood on any given day. And I don’t care what the world thinks!

When another makeup lover compliments my makeup, it feels great. I’ve had some men say I wear too much, while others, including my husband, love it. Most of the women I work with don’t wear makeup, but that doesn’t affect me. I’ve actually turned a few women into happy lipstick wearers!

My mom loved makeup, so she was fine with me wearing it when I was growing up, though she didn’t like some of my crazy teenage looks! My sister doesn’t wear it and is pretty adept at backhanded compliments, but her negativity is her problem, not mine. A couple years ago, I was at a party where a woman actually cringed, both physically and verbally, at my sparkly purple lipstick. Again, not my problem.

I will always love and wear makeup no matter what anyone else thinks. I’m just happy to have a place to learn and share, here at Temptalia.

Vittoria Avatar

<3 Aww, I’ve certainly been there, especially over sparkly light catching makeup or anything that isn’t quiet. Some people have very poor social skills. I’m glad it hasn’t stopped you from enjoying what you wear.

Raeanne Avatar

Thankfully, as an adult I’ve never experienced any negative comments about my makeup. I work in a pretty casual setting where we are all professionals with higher ed. degrees, but it’s not uncommon to see diversity in presentation, clothing choices, makeup, tattoos, etc. I get plenty of compliments on my makeup, even when I go for “riskier” or bolder lip colors. On the other hand, I’ve never gotten negative comments about not wearing makeup, either. I feel pretty lucky about that!

Wednesday Avatar

It depends on the source and the intent. Criticism can be galvanizing by motivating a person to think about something from a far less personal perspective. If you respect the person and believe their intentions are only to help you become a better you, then I think it is worth addressing. Otherwise, it’s usually bitter passive-aggressive behaviour stemming from somebody else’s grudge or low-self esteem. They carry that weight themselves. Try and remember that when it stings.

Sarah Avatar

I haven’t had any negative comments regarding my makeup. I did have a co-worker once say “Oh my God your eye shadow” as a start to a jab and I quickly smiled and followed up with “I know, isn’t it beautiful today? I couldn’t help it, these colors are just so fun!” and that turned the conversation around quickly.

Maybe I don’t let anyone get away with negative comments because I’m quick to make it into a positive. Besides, it’s my makeup, it’s not theirs. 🙂 Their opinion rolls right off my back because my face and my artistry isn’t theirs.

Agona Avatar

The only comments I get are from my brother and my mom. My brother’s comments are actually slightly constructive because I know I’ve veered too trendy when he makes them so I mentally tag that look and mentally note that it’s not a look to use for when I need something more conservative (going home to the fiancée’s for Christmas, etc).

My mom’s comments…are just to be a pain in the butt Asian tiger mom. I know the question asked how I dealt with it (not well) but the story is too obnoxious not to tell: I decided that I loved a cat eye flicked liquid eyeliner and started wearing it exclusively. My mom, when I came home for the first time after this discovery, pretended like she was interested in how I applied the look. I happily took a half an hour to guide her through step-by-step instructions, demonstrating each step in minute detail. When I was done, she was like, “….oooh. (pause) …Why you not wear brown pencil eyeliner instead? It’s more natural” — which is basically her way of saying that she hated my look and she wasn’t at all interested in the application but was just basically trying to find a way to start the conversation about how much she thought it was bad looking and she would prefer me to use a brown eye pencil for a more natural eyeliner look.

I told her to stop wasting my time and it was a dick move. Shrug. Like I said, I didn’t handle the situation well.

Alana Avatar

I started wearing winged liner back in 2006 when I was in the eight grade and I got a loooooooot of negative comments about it, as in it was too much eyeliner, silly looking, and “out there.” I never let it stop me when I was young and I’m proud of that. I was self conscious of the shape of my eyes and wanted them to appear a bit longer so that’s why I started winging it. Now you look around and it’s all over place!

Jess Avatar

The only person who has been negative is my daughter who tells me i look ugly everytime i wear eyeshadow but i just say thanks and move on. I dont care what she thinks. Ive gotten lots of compliments from strangers in public so i believe them over her. Even if a stranger would say something negative, I wouldnt care. Im too old to care about what others think anymore.

Rachel R. Avatar

I haven’t gotten any negative comments since high school. Even then, it wasn’t many. Then I just either ignored it or said something like, “Well, I like it.”

I don’t know if it’s just because the Portland, OR area is just more easy-going, or if people just realize instinctively not to mess with me. 😉

Stephanie Avatar

The last time I got a negative comment was from my mom, in high school, probably around 1980. She mentioned that some Azziza colour looked like a rash on my eyelids. It was my favourite (akin to ABH Venetian Red from MR) but it took until that ABH palette for me to try it again. Go figure, it looks great on me. I am sure my application at the time was atrocious though.

I get compliments on my makeup from coworkers and beauty advisors in stores, so I must have really improved in the ensuing 40 years.

CeeBee Avatar

I don’t really get any negativity.

If I ever did, I’d smile really happily and say very sweetly “Well, it’s a good thing I don’t care what you think, isn’t it?” and go on my way.
If it was someone I had to see on a regular basis (work or extended family), I’d then make a point of asking them if they were tired/overworked/sick/whatever each time I saw them – I don’t usually have much patience with passive aggressiveness and usually avoid it if I can, but sometimes the punishment needs to fit the crime 😉 Either that, or I’d invite them to f*** right off, straight to their face.

Lesley Avatar

Other than a kid telling me in sixth grade that purple lipstick looked miserable on me, I can’t recall anyone remarking negatively on my makeup. Maybe when it looks bad, it scares them. But I have asked a few trusted friends to tell me if I get my hair color wrong.

Logan Avatar

I’ve never had anyone say something negative about it. If they did, I’d just say something like, “That’s very rude of you to say,” and leave it at that. Constructive criticism is always welcome! Being an ass is not!

Janeen Avatar

So I’m actually very used to it because I grew up with a super conservative mom who gave me flack with every little bit of make up and even one day I was completely make up less and my lips are quite pigmented on their own and she was all over me about my “lipstick” that it was “too much” and I grabbed her hand and rubbed my bare lips on it because I was over it, showing her she was giving me crap when I wasn’t even wearing anything. I’m used to it now, she’ll always say something if it’s not 100% natural make up, but it doesn’t bother me because she’s my mom and I know that’s her preference, I just shrug it off. Plus, she’s backed off some now that I’m almost 30, lol.
One time I had a friend’s young son tell me I looked like a doll/fake. His mom felt so horrible and messaged me but his comment, as a child, made me look in the mirror and realize my foundation was a bit too light for me and way heavier coverage than what I wanted anyway, so that $60 foundation was returned. He did me a favor, haha.
But I’ve also have become more natural make up in my preferences. I pile it on when my skin was bad to compensate, but now my skin has been doing really well so I actually go au-natural a lot or do bare minimum just to even things out.

Paula Avatar

I love wearing makeup. I started wearing it when I was in junior high. I am now 62 and still wear it. I have only ever had one person give me negative feedback. She just said “you would be so pretty if you didn’t wear so much makeup.” Thing is, I have never been dramatic in wearing colors or foundation. I just smiled and thought, she would be pretty if she put a little on. I once had a boss that said, “Any old barn looks better with a coat of paint on it.” She was a very pretty, large, woman and always wore perfect makeup. I agree with her sentiment!

Gilad Avatar

I’m happy to read that so few people have gotten negative comments – and of those, mostly from mothers – for whom it’s often a life’s work to disentangle from feeling implicated by your child’s life/choices. Maybe it’s especially fraught between a mother & daughter. (Having a son, sadly, I have only his hair & clothes to fuss about.?) My mother used to love me to do her makeup for her, her pleasure and surprise looking in the mirror afterwards is how I fell in love with the mekeup’s magical powers.

Tammy Avatar

No- they they are acknowledging your makeup skills along with your appearance; it’s a bigger compliment. You are beautiful, and your makeup is especially well done!☺

anne Avatar

i pity the fool who would make a negative comment about my makeup. i don’t wear a lot, but i wear what i want to wear, and wouldn’t take kindly to that kind of personal criticism. whether because of that attitude or not, i don’t believe i’ve had any negative comments, and i’ve been around a long, long time. i do remember my mom suggesting lipstick, which i rarely wear. i think it was because, as an olive-skinned brunette, she could hardly relate to the makeup preferences of the super-pale-faced redhead to whom she had given birth.

Brenda C Avatar

I’ve only really had one negative comment. I wore pink eyeliner one day and my daughter didn’t like it, and truly it didn’t look that good on me. I have a pinkish undertone and it just made me look like I hadn’t slept well, so I stay away from pink eyeliner. I like to experiment and that was one experiment that didn’t work so well.

Deborah S. Avatar

To be honest, I have been racking my brain trying to remember when, outside of family, I have received a negative comment about my makeup and the only one that I can remember was way back in 1979 when I was visiting a mall in Reno, Nevada. I was wearing a lipstick called “Paris Brick” by Estee Lauder and as I passed a man in the mall he said, “Your makeup looks amazing, especially your eyes, but that lipstick color is the worst I have ever seen.” I love that color and wish I still had it today. I would wear it in a heartbeat. I get comments from my family. In particular my brother who will ask me if a crayon box blew up on my face or how long did it take me to get ready. I know he is just trying to get a rise out of me as he knows I don’t really care what he thinks. I do get the occasional look from people because I live in a small town where no one wears makeup but my daughter and I.
I don’t have a lot of patience with unsolicited advice so would likely just ignore it. I also have to say, there are some days when I fully expect to get some negative comments as I may have been experimenting or playing with makeup and it may not have turned out to my liking but I wear it out anyway. I have to say that the fact I haven’t gotten any negative comments on some of my looks is actually pretty surprising, LOL.

Nikki Avatar

I usually don’t notice them. When I do, it depends on whether it’s “there’s an actual problem” negative or “I just don’t like it” negative. I fix actual problems and if they just don’t like it, I move on. There are so many kinds of birds out there-robins, wrens, cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, parrots, peacocks, and the list goes on. My makeup tastes lean toward parrot-bright, and if a wren (aka no/natural makeup) girl doesn’t like it, it’s no skin off my back because the world needs both of us.

Bonnie Avatar

I just don’t really care. I mean, if you’re telling me lipstick is on my teeth or something, thank you. But othewise, I just kind of shrug my shoulders and continue living my life.

Super rare though, and usually when someone gives a negative comment, it’s just someone trying to start with you.

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