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In the last few months, I’ve become beauty-obsessed. I’ve scoured the aisles of Target and Sephora; I’ve scrutinized sites like Into The Gloss, From Roses, and Byrdie; I’ve covered my dresser drawers in moisturizers, lip balms, and highlighters. I’ve learned a lot about the beauty landscape in a short amount of time, and I’ve discovered a bunch of new products that I’d love to write about here. But before I do that, I’m going to share some thoughts on “beauty” with you.

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I’m prefacing my future beauty product posts with this because part of me feels like they may seemingly conflict with the vision statement of this blog: “a constantly-changing space for those who appreciate the finer things in life and enjoy intellectual stimulation” and “a blog that marries the content of a glossy magazine with the critical analysis of a think piece.” If I’m writing about a fantastic new lipstick or an effective oil-free primer, I will not be assessing it as I would a piece of literature, art, or a fashion collection; in short, I won’t be treating it as a critical text. Instead, I’ll be giving you a personal response to products that I’ve tried. This blog is here for me to use my noggin and analyze things, but it’s also here for me to share aspects of my daily life as well, which includes the use of makeup and skincare products.

Why am I saying any of this at all? Perhaps this post is here to combat against those who feel like beauty and fashion are vacuous, vain, and superficial. Sometimes they are, but oftentimes they’re not. (If you wholeheartedly believe that they are, then I’m confused as to how you found this blog in the first place.) As I’ve perused the beauty blogosphere and investigated new trends, I’ve realized how important “beauty” is for confidence, self-care, and community. Emily Weiss, founder of Into The Gloss and Glossier, does a great job of characterizing beauty as a tool to help self-actualize and become the best that you can be (paraphrased from her interview with Sophia Amoruso on #Girlboss Radio). I spend a lot of time inside my own head, overthinking every word I write and every action I take, so it’s therapeutic to refresh with a face mask or play with makeup. Makeup can alter my mood and helps me experiment with identity, and I feel a kind of kinship when someone thoughtfully recommends a product to me because they think I’ll like it. Frankly, it’s downright insulting to assume a person knows nothing about A because they appreciate B. Why impose imaginary limitations on them, and why limit yourself?

Maybe I’m addressing a kind of reader who would never spend a moment reading Mode and the Like. Maybe it’s unnecessary to argue that a person can love makeup and clothing and be intelligent, informed, and interested in culture and the world, but I don’t think it is. To answer the question in this post’s title, I care about “beauty.” I care about acne-fighting cleansers, foundations that make your skin look airbrushed, and the most moisturizing lip treatments on the market. I care about confidence, self-care, and community. I care about sharing exciting things that I find, from anti-aging serums and BB creams to complex novels and thought-provoking artwork. I care about intellect and character; I also care about what I put on my face. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you put it all in perspective.