I was lonely in Oxford. And when you're lonely, it's easy to feel bad about yourself. "Nobody loves me and I deserve it" starts to sound pretty plausible when you literally have not had physical contact with another human being since that cashier accidentally brushed your hand while handing you groceries six days ago.
And that's when I discovered makeup all over again. I hadn't brought much with me to Oxford--at that point, I still didn't wear it everyday, just for special occasions. But one day I was sad and wanted retail therapy, so I started buying cheap makeup at the drugstore. I started putting it on in the mornings, even though I wasn't going anywhere special, even though I knew I wasn't going to talk to anybody, even though I felt sure nobody would notice if I died or wore lip gloss.
And I found that I felt better when I wore makeup. Not just prettier, but like I was more in control of my life. Like I mattered.
I'd always thought of makeup as being something you did because you wanted to look pretty. And I really, really wanted to be pretty, so I really wanted to wear makeup. But what I learned in Oxford is that makeup can also be a way of saying that you matter. It can be a way of saying: I deserve to look pretty. I deserve to be taken care of. I am precious and my body is precious and I deserve to spend time perfecting my mascara technique.
Crimson Bound is a novel that deals a lot with self-hatred. The heroine, Rachelle, killed somebody to save her own life and has never been able to forgive herself for it--because that killing also gave her supernatural badass powers, so she's still benefitting from it. She feels completely unworthy of being alive, let alone loved or happy or pretty. Her only lifeline is her friendship with Amélie, a girl who dreams of being a makeup artist and likes to practice on her. And it's through Amélie's cosmetics that Rachelle is first able to imagine what it might feel like to be worth loving again.
Read the whole thing.
She also did an interesting one on the particular fairy tales which inspired this novel.