I have a confession to make – I don’t wear makeup. I was once advised that makeup might help ‘normalise’ my facial features. You must be joking me, I thought to myself. But I said nothing and kept my thoughts to myself, unusually for me.

But the suggestion was meant in good spirit. And the word ‘normalise’ was not said in a kind of ‘God help him’ way. She just thought it would reduce some of the lumpy contours on my face and give it a smoother look. Unfortunately, the application of such makeup would also take time, be subject to the usual wear and tear of Irish weather, and would cost shedloads of cash, but for a time I gave it some consideration and then dropped the idea. I’m not mad about my face, but it’s the only one I have.

Some women wouldn’t be seen dead without makeup. Far too many cake themselves in the stuff and repel rather than attract, but that’s another story. Quite a few look really attractive with just the right application. The point is that for the vast majority makeup does exactly what it’s designed to do – make you feel good about yourself.

Sometimes, makeup can’t paper over the cracks. I met a woman once whose face had no discernible features. There were two slits for her eyes, a gap where a nose should be and another slit instead of a mouth. She had no eyelashes or eyebrows either. Otherwise the face looked like someone had thrown porridge on it. I stood across the room unable to make the few steps over to say hello. I, who had struggled for so long to battle facial disfigurement, was unable to say hello to someone who quite clearly looked worse than me. Her face was not just featureless, it lacked elasticity and animation.

But for some coming to terms with facial disfigurement makeup allows them the ability to hide or diminish some of those scars so they can interact even for a few hours, and masks the mental anguish they endure in their daily lives. Anything that helps bridge that yawning gap between our own fears and normality is fine with me.

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