Makeup your mind.

Author:Ellis, Josh
Position:FROM SUCCESS - Editorial

I'm sort of fascinated by makeup. And I suppose that's saying something, because I've never worn any.

(OK, I might have been forced to powder my face a couple of times for photo and video shoots, and I was in a musical as a freshman in high school. But I've pushed those few experiences to the recesses of my memory. And the picture you see with this column every month has been painstakingly Photoshopped to make me look presentable, but I wasn't wearing any makeup when it was taken.)

Really though, cosmetics do interest me. Humans have been wearing the stuff for at least 5,000 years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians. And in all cases, the wearer has used makeup in an attempt to alter perceptions about herself or himself, whether purely for aesthetic reasons, in an attempt to appear more attractive, or as part of a costume. The intent is for other people to see the wearer differently.

What do we do to see ourselves and the world differently, though? Each morning, people sit in front of the mirror for a moment or an hour, dutifully applying changes to their outward appearance. But all of that lipstick and blush must come off at the end of the day. It strikes me as odd, then, that so few of us take time to freshen up our thinking. For some of us, that hurried time in the morning would be better spent in quiet thought, counting our blessings before the day ahead, which when made practice, would yield improvements more than cosmetic in the years and decades to come.

Our cover gal, Michelle Phan, is ample proof of the possibilities that each day brings. One morning nearly a decade ago, she amused herself by sitting in front of a camera and sharing her secrets for applying natural-looking makeup. Day by day, in the time since, she has built a cosmetics empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

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