From this interview in Muse Magazine, Chanel’s Director of Makeup Peter Philips gave this response to the question of whether makeup is the essence of femininity:
Not necessarily. It’s just a part of it. You should consider personality and self-confidence. You must find a balance, your way, your own beauty. There are different ways of makeup. If makeup is used just to hide the flaws, you then can not speak of beauty, but of a mask. Makeup should never be worn as a mask, but as an additional element of self-confidence, only then the authentic beauty emanates from your face. You just decide where you like to place the emphasis: on the eyes or on the mouth. This is a positive approach instead of trying and hiding flaws, which can be a source of stress since the makeup must look natural and not like a disguise. Vanessa Paradis is beautiful but not a model. She wears lipstick very good: she is beautiful because she is self-confident. In “Matrimonio all’italiana” Sophia Loren experiences all states of mind: from sadness to anger, from joy to sorrow, she is both wife and lover. This transformation makes her beautiful. This is the real essence of femininity, also when you get older. Young Gabrielle [Coco Chanel] was full of life, she enjoyed a spontaneous life: this is the concept of beauty and femininity.
I find this response very Chanel. I never worry when high end makeup seems sheer. Although some products (like eyeliner) are typically opaque, letting a woman’s skin show through fits with the idea that makeup is an accessory and not a cover. Sometimes makeup is for emphasis, to sit lightly on the skin. The skin and a women’s features, her expression, her personality, are the main event.
Yes, we always have those days. But a woman who has an inner confidence and lives life with a full range of emotion looks alive and beautiful, regardless… It’s personality and spirit which count the most. Elegance in one’s interactions with others is a state of mind.