Giving Up the Beat: How I Stopped Chasing Beauty Gurus and Embraced My Bare Face

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by Kimberly Foster @KimberlyNFoster
There is a certain type of eyebrow you’ll find on women who’ve developed a love for cosmetics on the Internet. They are are not quite professionals, but they’ve graduated from beginner level makeup application. The brows have thick, dark lines, often drawn in geometric shapes that rarely occur naturally. To achieve them, you’ll need a steady hand and a refined technique. Achieving the perfect “Instagram brow” is a badge of honor for the mid-level makeup enthusiast, though they are not preferred by longtime professionals. Australian makeup artist Wayne Goss made an entire YouTube video excoriating them back in 2014.

I’ll admit that I’ve spent hours filling in my sparse eyebrows. My desire for a thick, sculpted look led me to blow money on pencils, gels, and eyebrow kits (because that’s a thing) but no matter what I do, I can never achieve the pristine beauty guru look. And now I’ve given up the pursuit.


Immediately after I quit my job to pursue entrepreneurship in 2014, I didn’t have a television. I sat in my one bedroom apartment working diligently on building my web-based business and turned to online videos to pass the time. YouTube became a lifeline. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon my first, and still favorite guru, Tiarra Monet, but she had me hooked in an instant. I followed along dutifully as she and other beautiful, skilled Black women applied makeup and narrated each step. Our relationship began with cosmetics but grew more intimate. The women offered advice and encouragement. They provided glimpses into their offline lives via Instagram and vlogs, this was, of course, before everyone captured live video in realtime on Snapchat.

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Tiarra Monet getting crunk

The women made achieving a full beat, slang for a face of makeup applied immaculately, look so easy that I committed myself to being a beauty guru in-training. As a girly girl, I have always been fascinated by the accoutrement of femininity. Makeup, hair, and clothes are a passion, and these guides were there to help me put my best face forward.

Soon my bathroom filled with products that I had only a minimal idea of how to use. The know-how would come, I thought, I just had to be prepared when it did. So I invested in contour palettes, highlighters, and about 20 different makeup brushes.

The makeup became aspirational. I felt like I was a part of a elite club, a group of women who cared enough about themselves to spend 90 minutes examining their reflections and packing on products before leaving the house.

But as much as I enjoyed the undertaking and was proud of the finished product, the process became burdensome. Though I felt a boost of confidence, the expectation that I would not step out without being done up was daunting. “Why was I doing this?,” I wondered. After months of going through the laborious beauty routine out of obligation and not desire, I gave up the beat.


I had some good times during my brief foray into the world of faux professional makeup artistry. I found a handful of stunningly beautiful women with fun personalities to follow on social media, but the work of extreme self-adornment is incompatible with my life as a regular woman. I don’t take pictures or make videos for a living. I’m not a social media celebrity.

I still, however, appreciate the women who maintain the lifestyle. I watch their videos on occasion because bonds of parasocial relationships don’t dissipate overnight. The women, however, have skills, tools, and time that I do not. They’ve also got an incentive to keep it up, but it’s untenable for me.

Makeup enthusiasts face scrutiny because flawless makeup application is often seen as a crutch. But in no way, do I indict those who continue to delight in the makeup routine. I simply had to remind myself that life and death does not lie in the power of the brush. I have embraced that my face, even when bare, is not an unfinished canvas.

Photo: iStockPhoto

Kimberly Foster is the Founder and Editor of COLOURES. Email or
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