Plus Size Blogger Jessica Millichamp Uses Beauty Products She Likes, Not The Ones She “Needs”

by Jessica Millichamp

Plus-size blogger Jessica Millichamp is a 30-year-old Geordie lass who shares most of her life on social media to help inspire others. Whether she's styling outfits, sharing makeup tips, or just showing the day-to-day realness of a 30-year-old fat woman, everything comes with a dash of humour because she loves to make people smile.

I have always been the fat one in my group of friends. Because of this, I always felt like I needed to overcompensate for what I used to think was my "hideous body," by having the best hair and makeup. And that is where my love of all things beauty began.

I have come a long way from the insecure teenager that I once was, and even though I’m much more confident and I am at peace with my body, I still love to go all out when it comes to hair and makeup.

When I’m going on a night out, the preparation usually starts the night before. It all begins with a steaming hot bath. I do the basic prep of shaving and exfoliating so I’m ready to tan. When you hail from Newcastle, it’s pretty important to have glowing skin — it’s just trying to get the balance between sun-kissed and tangoed!

When it comes to getting ready, I usually give myself around two to three hours. Even with all that time, I still manage to keep the taxi waiting. I just love taking my time and methodically following my steps to transforming my face. I think that's what I love most about makeup — it gives you the power to literally transform yourself, and I’ll never get tired of experimenting and playing around with different styles and colours.

My day-to-day beauty regime is much more basic because I am not a morning person and will do anything for an extra five minutes in bed. I’ll usually spend no more than 10 minutes doing my makeup, but I always make time for my skin care routine. Since I was in my late teens, I’ve dealt with acne and acne scarring, so I have always been obsessed with skin care. It is only now at the tender age of 30 that I finally feel like I have a routine that is actually working for me, so I make sure that I follow it to the letter.

After spending years just trying to cover up my acne with expensive foundation or distracting from the potholes with a strong smokey eye, I finally feel like I am using makeup for fun rather than necessity.

My morning routine starts by cleansing with a cotton pad and Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water because my face was clean when I went to bed, so it just needs a quick cleanse in the morning. Then I apply a couple of acids — Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA — that are part of my skin care routine from The Ordinary, and follow that up with two kinds of moisturiser — Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% and Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA. I got my skin care routine from Deciem. In the Contact Us section, you can provide them with details of your skin type and photos of your skin, and Deciem will then contact you with a personalised routine. My skin is in the best condition it has ever been since I started following my regime.

Now that my skin is prepped, it’s time to apply my makeup. I use The Body Shop Clay Foundation, and to set that I use Makeup Revolution Banana Powder. To give myself some definition I contour and highlight with Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder and Nars highlighter in Albatross. I tame my brows with NYX cosmetics brow mascara, then apply my Maxfactor False Lash Epic mascara and I’m good to go.

My nighttime routine is pretty similar except I do a much deeper cleanse by giving my face a good scrub at the sink. I have five different night time routines to follow that I mix up based on how my skin feels. If it feels dry or I’ve had a breakout, I’ll use the products that will target the problem. That is followed by a couple of acids and moisturisers by The Ordinary just like in the morning. Some of the other products I use include Retinol 1% in Squalane, Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, 100% Plant-Derived Squalane, and Lactic Acid 10% + HA.

Having a skin care regime really makes me feel like I am in control of my skin again. After spending years just trying to cover up my acne with expensive foundation or distracting from the potholes with a strong smokey eye, I finally feel like I am using makeup for fun rather than necessity.

When we buy a beauty product it should be because we want to, not because we feel like we need to.

I have always tried to do my best when it comes to looking after my skin, but I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to do better. If I could pass on any words of wisdom to myself way back when, I would say:

  1. Don’t pick your spots. You will scar and you will regret it, especially when you realise that the giant hole you made trying to get that blackhead out of your nose is now a giant hole that looks like a blackhead and it isn’t going anywhere.
  2. Take your makeup off, no matter what. Even if you are bladdered. If you can care enough about your clean pillowcase getting dirty so you take the time to use a pyjama top to cover it, you can spare a few minutes to just wash your face.
  3. Blend the foundation on your face with your neck. You will not enjoy looking back at photos of your orange head attached to your white neck, it is not a good look.
  4. Don’t over-pluck your eyebrows. You will regret that when you’re wincing in pain from having your eyebrows microbladed because you’re sick of trying to create faintly-related brows, never mind sisters.

I try not to dwell on my beauty faux pas too much because I’m sure in 10 years time, I’ll look back at photos of me now and say, “I looked more glazed than a donut with all that highlighter”. I LOVE HIGHLIGHTER!

It's always a good idea "at the time", but beauty isn’t all about what it shows on the outside, it’s also about how it makes you feel on the inside. A good skin care routine has given me control. Makeup has helped to give me confidence and the chance to be creative. A trip to the hairdressers gives me time to relax. A long soak in the bath with a nice bath bomb and a face mask makes me feel good.

There is a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way, which makes it hard to feel good about yourself. It’s bizarre really because this pressure mainly comes from advertising of beauty products. We look at these outrageously beautiful models, with their stunning faces, shiny flowing hair, and their toned bodies. We tell ourselves that we need to look like that so we should buy what they’re selling because that product will make us better. How f*cked up is that?

If we ever want to relieve that pressure we need to see more diversity and less Photoshop within the industry. When we buy a beauty product it should be because we want to, not because we feel like we need to.

I buy into beauty products now because I want to, but for a long time I bought into them because I thought I needed to. Regardless of how I have felt about my own beauty, due to struggles with confidence, I know I would have always showed an interest in makeup and beauty treatments just because I’m a Geordie.

Makeup and beauty products have totally changed my life by giving me confidence when I needed it most.

Newcastle is known for its nightlife and Geordie women take pride in their appearance when they’re going out. This means that our nails are false, the tan is on, and the extensions are clipped in. If they don’t have amazing makeup skills, then a lot of women book in with a mobile makeup artist or spend the afternoon at the MAC counter.

I love that we’re a glamorous city but I do think that some of the younger girls can take it to the extreme. I’ve been shopping in the Metrocentre and seen girls as young as 10 (I’m not even exaggerating) with the most flawless makeup that I could only ever dream of recreating. As much as it is amazing seeing beautiful makeup, as I genuinely appreciate the artistry of it all, do they really need to have a full glam face on at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning? I just think they’re mad.

Maybe it’s because I’m jealous that teenagers these days don’t have any awkward makeup phases. They have full eyebrows, they don’t use foundation-coloured lipstick, and they wouldn’t dream of using blue mascara (why did we do that?). I also think that if they’re dolled up all of the time then they won’t experience that moment of appreciation when you take one final glance in the mirror after hours of getting ready and think, damn it’s all been worth it.

Makeup and beauty products have totally changed my life by giving me confidence when I needed it most. Nowadays it’s less of a lifeline and more of a pleasure to use, but I cannot deny that I feel my most confident and beautiful when I have my makeup on.