Joining the dots between beauty and freckles

Society seems to have a love-hate relationship with freckles. Whenever you see makeup adverts, celebrities on red carpets or selfies on Instagram, you never see freckles. It’s simply like the world wants to pretend that they don’t exist. Those little flecks of pigmentation are buried underneath layers of foundation, filtered over and washed away. On children they are seen as cute, but as soon as we hit puberty it’s like an automatic reaction to conceal them because suddenly they aren’t so cute anymore. We are told you can’t be on the cover of a magazine or walk a red carpet or even seen as desirable if your face and body is inflicted with these childlike spots of imperfection. Impossibly flawless, dewy skin is where we are told it’s at, so we comply. We conceal, we blend, we blur away those little flecks of uniqueness until we are a smooth faced, blended in Barbie doll. Where’s the uniqueness in that?

Because really that’s what freckles are – uniqueness. Mine aren’t the same as yours and yours aren’t the same as theirs. They are our own unique dot to dot, a pattern our skin designs all on its own. They aren’t an imperfection – they’re your own version of perfection.

It’s a shame that this isn’t the mainstream narrative of freckles. I remember as a teacher one little girl crying because some children had teased her over hers and she knew that she wouldn’t ever be able to get rid of them. I remember in a secondary school art class some children flicking the end of a paintbrush so that paint sprayed on their face to tease someone else over their freckles. I remember being told how much better I looked when my freckles were covered with makeup. Each time someone laughed at someone, teased someone or took a swipe at someone else’s looks, the overriding narrative became clear that you couldn’t be ‘pretty’ if your skin wasn’t one smooth, all matching tone.

But beauty isn’t matching, it isn’t smooth. Beauty is you and I and everyone else. It’s our quirks, our uniqueness – it’s how we are all different, just like each freckle is different to another.

My family are naturally a freckle family. My sister and I call each other ‘Mini Egg’ due to our patterned faces. I remember once telling my sister that she had chocolate on her face. She scrubbed the same spot again and again but it wouldn’t come off until we both realised she had gained a new freckle. We still laugh about her poor red, scrubbed-within-an-inch-of-it’s-life cheek now whenever the conversation of freckles arises. Inside the walls of our house, barefaced and freckle free was how we lived. It’s a way of life I’ve enjoyed taking beyond those walls and out into the real world.

I remember when Perrie Edwards from Little Mix shared a makeup free selfie a few months back and the world marvelled. She looked like a completely different person to her usual groomed, perfectly finished self, but she looked amazing. Why is her freckles face any less beautiful than her made up one? The answer is that it’s not, and neither is yours.

So to every fellow Mini Egg out there – you are beautiful. Your freckles are still cute even as an adult. A few years ago freckles were a trend and people actually bought fake freckles for their face… you already had them for free. I guess that makes you and I trendsetters. Your freckles aren’t a flaw and they’re nothing to be ashamed of. If you don’t want to pile on the foundation to cover them, then don’t. Wear your polka dots with pride and call yourself a Mini Egg – who wouldn’t want to be blessed with a nickname of the most delicious chocolate and a beautiful quirk?

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