How These Women Draw Confidence From Their Beauty Routines

The beauty of a perfectly honed regimen is that it requires little to no thought. Its ritualistic nature provides a sense of comfort, of familiarity, of reliability. And coupled with the fact that it’s typically uniquely tailored to each individual makes it that much more special. But none is as personal — or intimate even — as your makeup routine: It acts as a medium with which you're able to express yourself, what you want to communicate to the world, and how you want to be perceived by others.
And while it’s easy to dismiss something as ordinary (or mundane) as an everyday beauty routine, these three women — Kaitlynn Hong, Reva Bhatt, and Hannah Woldetsadik — in partnership with Target Beauty and makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran, are here to shed light on how empowering it can be. Their go-to looks might feel unconventional to some and out-there to others, but to these women, they're a source of pride, power, and confidence. (Plus, they don’t care what anyone thinks.) They would rather stay true to a look that feels uniquely authentic to them, and for that, we’re celebrating their fearlessly unapologetic approaches to beauty. Here, they each model two makeup looks — an eye and a lip — that resonate with them and their beauty ethos the most. Scroll through to see their bold interpretations and read about how beauty has empowered them, the evolution of their daily routines, and their sources of inspiration. 
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Who I am: A computer science major and amateur makeup artist
“I grew up in Oakland, California, but when I moved to the East Coast for college, I felt like I needed to blossom creatively. I needed to explore myself, so I discovered artistic makeup.” 
I love these looks because...: “Of their dichotomy — the bold lip look felt softer and more approachable but still kept a graphic element, whereas the graphic eyeliner made me feel edgier."
My daily routine: “I recently bleached my eyebrows so I can draw whatever eyebrow shape I want, which is fun. Right now, I love drawing them in pink. For eyes, I do a sharp winged eyeliner with little graphics next to them, like sparkles, which takes 20 to 30 minutes. It’s fun, it takes less time than a full hour, and it still feels like me.” 
When strangers stop me: “I definitely get comments — people ask if the little graphics are tattoos, but everything is drawn freehand. I’m flattered that they think it’s real. At my school, which is conservative, other students either have something positive to say or negative like, ‘Why do you spend that much time doing that?’ I just ignore it. It’s my face, not yours.” 
If I had more time...: “I like drawing wavy lines that are reminiscent of water motifs found in traditional Chinese paintings. Sometimes I do a tribal look with angular lines. Depending on the intensity — if it’s lines all over my face — I can take up to three hours to do my makeup. I don’t practice beforehand; it just comes out. I’ve done a few that use a lot of different colors, and that takes a long time. There was one with flower petals: I stuck them over my eyebrows and blended colors around it. That took a really long time.” 
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I draw inspiration from: “My culture and my heritage. A lot of the colors, like red, and shapes I use are from Taiwanese and Chinese cultural artifacts. I’ve used a name chop seal that was given to me by my grandmother, and I’ve used it to stamp my face — it’s a little red seal with my Chinese name on it. I like to draw characters as well. I also draw a lot of inspiration from nature around me. I’ve used flower petals, and I’ve used a butterfly wing that my friend found on the ground outside his house. I painted it with clear nail polish, and I taped it to my face and drew lines around it like butterfly wings.”
I started experimenting...: “When I was 12 by watching beauty tutorials online. But it wasn’t until college that I started doing something different and doing something that makes me happy. I’ve always loved doodling, so it was a natural transition to start drawing on myself. My looks have become wilder and wilder, and I really love it. It’s a big part of my life.”
My makeup empowers me...: “On a day where I’m not feeling my best or confident, doing my makeup has always made me happy. Getting ready in the morning is a super calming ritual. It’s one of the best parts of my day, so if I take the time to do it in the morning, even if I’m not feeling well emotionally, I definitely feel better afterwards. I love my eyebrows and when they’re sharp, I feel really powerful. My eyeliner, too. A lot of my makeup is angular, and it gives me a lot of confidence. If I sit down and execute something I’m proud of, it can turn around my mood for sure. If I work on a look and it comes out the way I wanted, it’s the best feeling.” 
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What I want to convey: “That I’m confident, even if I may not look conventional. There’s a lot of joy in being able to express yourself and not have to feel constrained by what society may think of you. I hope that when people see me, and if they’re thinking about getting into makeup or if they’re struggling with how they can express themselves, maybe they’ll be inspired to do so. I want to inspire people, especially marginalized communities: It’s okay to express yourself, and using your culture and your art is something that’s beautiful and something that should be celebrated. It’s important to me.” 
Who I am: A product manager, freelance stylist, freelance creative director, and model
“I’m Indian, or South Asian, so my culture is very rich in colors and textures. I’ve always been drawn to colors.” 
I love these looks because…: “I appreciated the polarity, which is pretty reflective of how I do my own hair and makeup on a day-to-day basis, and both looks — a natural one with slicked hair and an elongated cat-eye one — accentuated my natural features. My approach to beauty is unapologetically expressive but a quiet storm. The first look was my Scorpio sun and the second look was my Leo rising/moon, both equally intense in their own way.”
My day-to-day routine: “I either wear a five-minute no-makeup makeup look or a 30- to 40-minute dramatic bold one — there’s very little in between. But a bolder look embodies what I’m feeling inside. If I want to motivate myself, I just throw on a more creative look. My go-to is a blue eyeliner or a color eyeliner with blue mascara. It’s the juxtaposition of two bold colors with a clean face that adds to an everyday look. I love an abstract eye, whether it’s drawing a triangle or square or placing a dot in the middle of the bottom lashline. Perfection isn’t the goal — it’s more experimenting for the fun of it.” 
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How my look has evolved: “I wore a black winged liner for the majority of my life, so I’ve perfected it, and once you’ve mastered the winged liner, you can do anything. I used to only wear black and androgynous silhouettes, but it was when I stepped into my creative profession — freelance styling — four years ago that I shifted to more color, patterns, and textures. That’s when I started experimenting with colorful makeup. Now, I don’t just do a winged liner and I definitely don’t do black unless I’m in a mood, and that’s rare.”
When strangers stop me: “The Scorpio sun in me comes out and I get so awkward, and I don’t know what to do with it. But the Leo rising in me loves getting ready, loves a good look, and loves being dramatic and bold. I get so many comments from people who say, ‘That looks good on you, but I could never pull that off.’ I think that’s dishonest to themselves because anyone can pull off anything that’s authentic to them. If you like it, you can wear it, and you can totally pull it off.”
I draw inspiration from: “Everywhere. I’m consuming content all day, and if I see something that resonates with me, I save it. I have a library of reference images. On Instagram, I follow a lot of experimental makeup artists. My culture also plays a huge part in the way I see colors. The Indian is me is definitely attracted to harsh contrasts and color theory. Growing up, I watched Bollywood movies and wore colorful textiles — color is in our culture. I’m also drawn to design and architecture in art and paintings. The combination of design and color is the best way for me to externalize how I want to present myself.”
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What I love about my routine: “It’s less about perfection and more the process of experimenting that I find invigorating. I love getting ready in the morning, especially when the final look is fire. But the process of putting it together is more fun and inspiring to me.”
How beauty empowers me: “To be able to express myself in such a way that the world sees me as the version I see myself — without having to say anything — is how I empower myself.”
What I want to communicate: “Society tries to box individuals, and being able to experiment with different beauty looks — super fun and femme one day and completely androgynous and dark the next — shows that I can be anything I want to be and there’s no one who can stop me from doing that. I’m determined to disrupt the status quo in every way, even with something as simple as an everyday beauty routine.” 
Who I am: A model and an artist
“I was born and raised in the Carolinas, but my family is from Ethiopia. I’ve been modeling since I was 19, after getting signed my sophomore year of college.”
I love these looks because...: “Dark lips and a minimal face are my go-to. It's fun to get away with a pop of color, and the dark shades match my closet’s color palette.”
My day-to-day routine: “I’m into the dewy skin, a more natural look with big brows and a sharp, contrasting lip in plum or burgundy — any color that blends with a brown lipliner. With my brows, I fill them in with pencil to make them look symmetrical, and then I brush them up with aloe vera or edge control gel. I used to not brush them up; it’s such a subtle difference — no one probably noticed — but it made a big difference to me.”
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How I describe my look: “I focus on brows and lips more than anything. I love lining my lips with dark-brown liner and then applying clear lip gloss. Sometimes I do a purple lipstick, and once in a while a red for something dramatic. I love a black lipstick and purple eyeshadow — if it fits my mood. I used to experiment a lot with a full heavy face of makeup and cool eye looks; every now and then I still do.”
What gives me confidence: “I don’t recognize myself if my brows aren’t done. I won’t feel like me. I also never leave the house without a lip gloss. I never take a picture without lip gloss. I cannot live without lip gloss. It makes me feel cute, and I like feeling cute, and that puts me in a good mood.”
If I had more time...: “I can do an intense makeup look, especially when I’m going out. I'll experiment with eyeshadows, and mess around for hours with colors.”
What I want to communicate to the world: “I’m just me and this is what I’m feeling. Even with clothes, I’ll wear something that may not be appropriate for my day, but it’s my mood. That’s how I am with everything.” 
I draw inspiration from..: “Social media. I follow a lot of people who are good at experimenting with makeup. People I’m friends with, too, like  my roommate who is a makeup artist and is always coming up with something new. All the people I know are creative, and it’s inspiring.”
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