As Southern women, we always aim to put our best face forward—both literally and figuratively, and sometimes at the same time.
Remember in Gone With the Wind when Scarlett is readying herself to go win over Ashley, and again when she’s about to go ask Rhett for money? She gives herself a once-over in the mirror and then pinches her cheeks for some color before heading out on her mission. In those Victorian times, blush was not something a proper Southern lady would wear, but Scarlett still knew a bit of a flushed face would add to her beauty—a truth still held by many a Southern woman. And one that some might say we follow to excess. Like butter and good manners, Southern women know a little bit of extra blush never hurt anybody.
Whether at the office, out to dinner, or just out running errands, we Southern women almost always have our “face” on. Like most traditions, we learned this practice from our mothers and they from their mothers—some of whom would be aghast to know about that one time you made a quick stop at Target in sweaty gym clothes, a bare face, and a baseball cap. You just never know who you might see, they would say. Well, whether you’re concerned about running into your neighbor at the grocery store or not, most of us have adopted the habit of not leaving the house without at least a little makeup on—and a big part of that is a healthy dose of blush.
A natural flush of rouge on your cheeks (no garish contouring here) gives you a healthy, youthful glow. And during the winter, it reminds us of that sun-kissed rosiness you get after a summer day in the sun. That said, blush is certainly not a necessity for all women. Some of us feel naked without a few coats of mascara on our lashes. Others might not feel fully dressed without a signature red lip. But who among us has not had an older female relative tell you to put some colah on your face (in some form) before you left the house?
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Being known for wearing blush—or makeup in general—is simply a testament to the belief among Southerners that appearances matter, and while that may sound vain or shallow to admit, we know it’s purely a matter of having pride in yourself and the way you present yourself to the world. And that’s nothing to blush about.