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Beauty may be skin deep – but how a girl uses make-up goes straight to the bone

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Even Cheryl Cole feels uncomfortable without any make-up on. Getty Images

Even Cheryl Cole feels uncomfortable without any make-up on. Getty Images

Even Cheryl Cole feels uncomfortable without any make-up on. Getty Images

IT was announced this week that girls under 10 won't be allowed to wear make-up any more when performing in Irish dancing competitions. It's about time to halt that blinged-up world. For one thing, it had turned into a very expensive business. But most of all dolling little girls up to look like mini Katie Prices makes girls think that superficiality is okay at a very tender age.

Our relationship with make-up divides us into those who do and those who don't bother, although that particular playing field is tilted pretty heavily in make-up's favour. The cosmetics retailer Space NK has just published new research that women who wear make-up tend to earn more and were 'hit on' in bars 33 per cent more often than those who don't.

Eye make-up was found to be the most enhancing to appearance and came out ahead of lipstick and foundation.

Make-up not only changes others' perception of us, according to the research, it also changes our perception of ourselves, making us happier and more confident.

Russell Brand once posted a photo of Katy Perry sans make-up on Twitter. We all gasped. Without any make-up on, she just looked like the rest of us. Hillary Clinton was photographed bespeckled and devoid of any 'slap' and it became a big international news story. There are dozens of women's magazines out there that devote themselves to doing features on celebrities that dare leave their house without being made up.

You see one of the greatest crimes a female celebrity can commit today is being seen (and most likely being photographed) outside of their home without make up. Sooner or later they're all caught out. Well apart from Victoria Beckham. She never dares put a well-polished toe outside her front door without being totally ready for her close up.

Making-up is one of the very few areas of women's lives that remains untouched by feminism.

And the amount that we're required to apply is ever on the increase. Just look at teenage girls now with their enormous hair, huge and big pouty lips that make them all look like a tragic cross between a Disney Princess and a porn star.

The thing is that these girls are as permanently on display as any celeb. Their paparazzi is anyone around them brandishing an iPhone and they continually must sift through Facebook to untag unflattering pictures.

Cheryl Cole may be one of the most naturally beautiful women on the planet, but even she said she felt a bit uneasy about going without make-up for her latest L'Oreal advert.

The advert was for L'Oreal's new skincare product which is worn underneath make-up, so Cheryl had to leave off the foundation for the shoot.

She later told 'Vogue': "I felt so vulnerable! The guy that shot the ad made me feel comfortable but, literally, all I had on was the Blur Cream and some mascara. So when they showed me the video I was watching it through my hands."

I don't wear a lot of make-up and I don't always wear it.

But I do know that I don't always wear it by choice. I wear it because I was recently told I looked tired. I didn't. I just hadn't any eyeliner on that day. I wear it because a lifetime of being a woman and of being bombarded with fashion magazines and Hollywood films has shown me that make-up for women is considered standard; and if you disagree I'd like to point to the rash of studies that show that women who wear make-up are perceived by others as more likeable, more trustworthy, more competent and more attractive than those who don't apply the war paint.

Make-up is helpful. Applied carefully it can make us healthier and altogether brighter looking. It can be great fun too and there is nothing wrong with enhancing our best bits sometimes.

Using it as the basis for self-worth is where it becomes problematic. But for as long as women in the public eye are judged on their looks, we'll all keep trowelling on the slap and pegging our self-worth to a mascara tube.

Irish Independent