Isaac Dunbar Wants You to Love Yourself, With or Without Makeup

Photo: Jasper Soloff

Isaac Dunbar is making a colorful statement about self-worth and healthy relationships with his latest track “makeup drawer.” Barely old enough to drive, Dunbar is already making waves in the music community with his androgynous, self-described “flamboyant” style and bouncy synth-pop beats. 

In his new track, the eccentric young artist touches on themes of gender roles, standards of beauty, and self-expression. The video features some incredibly fun styling, from a donut hat to an outfit made entirely of sparkles.

The song begins with Dunbar complimenting a friend (possibly a love interest?) on their makeup and wondering how they can be so flawless. We all have experienced this feeling, having so much confidence and love for our friends when we cannot seem to find an ounce for ourselves.

The chorus witnesses the aforementioned relationship take a turn for the worse with Dunbar singing, “I know where you’ve been / You locked the door to my makeup drawer.” His words are a very real commentary on how we as a society use makeup to mask our insecurities and make ourselves look a way that is more representative of who we want to be. His makeup drawer contains the tools he uses to have a more positive self-image and this person has taken those tools away from him.

The end of the video shows Dunbar shaking off his insecurities and finding confidence from within, trashing displays of makeup and nail polish. Dunbar confessed to PAPER that he actually wrote the song two years ago when he first became more aware of his sexuality, but he wasn’t ready to release the song until now. He explained, “I was fighting an inner battle, trying to learn how to love and accept myself despite a lack of support by some members of my family. I made a deal with myself: I would wait until I loved myself fully to release the song.”

Dunbar will continue spreading his positive message this spring with the release of his upcoming EP, issac’s insects, and his first headlining tour, which has already sold out in three cities.

Listen to “makeup drawer” below:

For more from Isaac Dunbar, revisit his captivating rooftop performance of “pharmacy” below.

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