The relationship between makeup, body paint, tattoos, and your Instagram filters | by Olesia Vdovenko | Feb, 2024



Self-identification from the real world to the digital one. The most natural unnatural thing.

In my articles on the history of interaction, I delve into understanding patterns that have accompanied us as human beings for centuries. I identify some interaction patterns as natural, enduring regardless of the time or culture we were born into, and others as products of recent innovations. There exists a distinction between patterns driven by human needs and those created by technological constraints. While designers may become accustomed to certain patterns, discerning what is truly inherent and what is merely a product of ever-changing technology can aid us in crafting better interactions.

Screenshot of articles researching makeup as a way for women to attract mates
Screenshot of articles from google scholar search about makeup

Just because something is emphasized more doesn’t mean it’s the only aspect; there are other sides to consider as well. While many papers research makeup purely as a tool for women to attract a partner, this doesn’t make the statement ‘makeup is only for women to find a partner’ true. It simply means that researchers find interest in that aspect of makeup. While there’s no denying that makeup is used for enhancing beauty, there’s a much deeper meaning underneath that often goes overlooked.

Empowering, off-putting, suggestive — those words are not insignificant and cannot be associated with meaningless things.

Makeup and tattoos are frequently deemed unnatural. My argument here is that if they have persisted for millennia, transcending cultural boundaries and ingrained in human practices, they cannot be rightfully considered unnatural.

Unfortunately, because the Stone Ages are so ancient, we only have a bit of evidence to back up the idea of people using body and face paint, like some pigments found by Lawrence Barham. It seems reasonable to think they might have used makeup back then, since writing came from drawings, which were a big part of how people communicated. This would have allowed them to communicate not just with gestures, expressions, and sounds, but also by painting their bodies. Looking at tribes…


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