Make-up at school- what’s all the fuss about?

09 January 2016

By Paige Mckillop

It’s happening again! That years old debate – which I don’t quite fondly remember from my years in secondary school – on whether pupils should be allowed to wear make-up has reared its ugly head once again. If I’m completely honest I’m sick of it already! This most recent story tells the tales of one student from The Barlow RC High School in Didsbury, Manchester, of 15 year old Holly Hopkins. Her claims list from teachers patrolling the corridors with packets of face wipes eagerly searching for their next victim, not being allowed into the canteen with any trace of make-up present, and, of course, my personal favourite, that good old, constantly thrown at pupils, threat of being expelled.

This latest uprising of the school and make-up debate has sent Facebook users into overdrive, a frenzied state with everyone and their pet dog giving their pennies worth! It seems the traditional age divide has also returned on the subject. While the older generation seem to think no make-up at all should be allowed and ‘kids’ need to learn to respect the rules and concentrate on their education the younger stand in the opposite corner of the ring. They believe there is no harm in wearing a little make-up to cover blemishes and those pesky pubescent spots which we all remember right?

Ok, time for another confession! I was always the girl covered in uncontrollable acne and the hurtful things others said to me and the lack of confidence I had in myself at times, well I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, so I stand with the younger generation here make-up should be allowed! You might be shouting at your screens now, “PAIGE YOU ARE STILL YOUNG!” but considering I am now technically an adult at the prime age of 21, I’m going to stand up for the voices of today’s 14 and 15 year olds, after all the women on Facebook liked to undermine the younger users by stating they are still kids and until they hit 18, so their opinions not valid.

While I do not agree with heavy caked faces, bright lips complete with contour (we all know how I personally feel about contouring right?! See my article here)

I do not see any harm in minimalistic make-up.

What am I talking about here? Let me explain. Rather than completely banning all traces of make-up, schools should rather set a series of guidelines on what is acceptable and what is not.

To me, a light cover up of foundation or concealer on acne or other pubescent imperfections and a sweeping of mascara is not the end of the world, nor does it affect their education

However,  it could build on their confidence which in turn could potentially help with their grades by them wanting to actually be at school and when there not to shy away or be too awkward to join in on group discussions or talk with peers. I’m talking from experience here, both from when I was personally in school and when I did work experience more recently in a secondary school. In a world surrounded by images of supermodels and airbrushed skin, we need to adapt. How can you throw these images at young, girls and not expect for them to want to make themselves look that way – however unrealistic that may actually be.


The way I see it, aren’t those who enforce the rules supposed to set a good example and demonstrate the way things should be done? How can teachers covered in make-up themselves ask girls to remove minimal makeup, even just mascara…its absurd! I hear the older women on that Facebook page shouting at me now, “teachers are adult, pupils are kids!” and yes that may be the case but why must we always undermine the youth of today, what sort of attitude is that to have in this day and age. We should embrace the changes of the 21st century and help guide ‘kids’ rather than just helping them to rebel and break the rules. Rules are there for a reason I get that, but just as everything else in life they should grow and change to adopt the ways of the world and societal shifts.

The other thing that gets me whenever this argument is brought up is when someone claims that girls with make-up on look more ‘desirable’ to male staff…if an adult thinks a child looks more desirable in make-up who has the problem, the child or the adult? Simple. I’m going with the adult!

Make-up and school. School and make-up. It’s always going to cause a hot headed debate with opinions flying from both sides. I guess the main point I want to raise again, is we need to adapt. Adapt our rules and our policies to fit the time they are being used in. No to heavy and over the top make-up – girls do yourselves a favour and if that’s what you are into save it for after school or weekends – but yes to minimalistic, cover-up and self-confidence boosting make-up!