Pretty please?

Once, I showed up to the office wearing these glasses and no makeup. I said hi to a few people, only to be met with confused stares. Turns out, they couldn't recognise me at all. FML.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

I’m a fairly confident person. And my self-esteem doesn’t just hinge on my appearance alone, so I’m very OK with going out with a bare face.

But man, when I was forced by circumstances to go without makeup and wear thick, unflattering glasses for two weeks, my self-worth plunged faster than the stock market during a recession. This came as a shock to me, because I thought I was, well, less superficial than that.

So I decided to do some reading and came across a few studies that delved into the relationship between self-esteem and makeup use.

My two main findings?

• There’s no correlation between makeup use and self-esteem. In other words, enjoying a heavy contour doesn’t mean you hate yourself.

• At the same time, the use of makeup can have a positive impact on your mental health, such as when you have fun playing with looks or make yourself feel better after a bad day with a sexy smoky eye.

As beauty junkies will attest, you can’t deny the power of a good red lippie. Or a foundation. Or brows.

The point is, these things that we apply to feel more beautiful—like skincare and makeup—doesn’t just affect us on a superficial level. And hey, if a swipe of lipstick can instantly make you feel more confident or brighten your day, then why not, right?

Which brings me to CLEO Beauty Hall of Fame 2019. For long-time readers, you’d know this is our biggest beauty accolade, awarded to the best new products on the shelves.

And if you're hearing about this for the first time? Welcome, and flip to p9 for a list of beauty treats worth spending your hard-earned money on—tried, tested, and approved by beauty influencers, experts, and of course, team CLEO!