No Make-Up Media

“Omg I really admire that you dare posting a picture with no make-up on,” is one of the regular comments on fashion or beauty blogs when someone posts a “naked” picture. “Not that you need it,” they add. Not that you need it? No one needs make-up.

The make-upless profile picture

Almost a year ago, a Dutch beautyblogger called her readers to switch their profile pictures into ones without make-up, because she believed that we have nothing to be ashamed of, and that we should celebrate our “pure beauty.” I second that and I was excited about her initiative, even though I did not put up a make-upless picture myself. Hypocrite? Maybe. But I had my reasons.

Not scared

I was not scared to expose my naked face. I have actually done that numerous times on my Dutch blog, and even as I am typing this I am not wearing anything (make-up, that is). I simply don’t feel like it today. I haven’t even applied a moisturising cream on my face (I don’t even have any). Most of the time I have to ask my boyfriend whether I’m wearing any make-up at all, because I just forget whether I applied it that morning. This is how important make-up is to me. Of course, I like make-up to enhance my features and I pay extra attention to it when there is an occasion that calls for such a thing – I’m a girl, after all. But I do not depend on it and I certainly do not feel that I need it.

A big deal

This is just me, though. To most girls, it is a big deal. One of my friends, for example, was worried about showing herself without make-up to the guy she liked, and asked me how I did that, considering my boyfriend and I have been living together for three years. I did not even wear make-up when we met, and neither did I when we started dating three years later. Okay, this was partly to blame to my make-up allergies so I often could not wear any, but still. He is used to my natural look (so not the so-called “natural” make-up look) and he likes me just the way I am. Me not wearing make-up is not a big deal to either of us, but it was to my friend, who still tried to figure out how she could avoid that naked situation in which she would be vulnerable and in which her insecurities would be uncovered.


I know she is not the only one, and I know this is why posting a make-upless picture is such a big deal to many girls and women. Heck, Beyoncé’s just-out-of-bed look — or actually just-woke-up-still-in-bed look — is even considered to be newsworthy! I find this phenomenon ridiculous and unnecessary, as if it is exceptional to not wear make-up and look good at the same time. The media and people make it such a big deal that it only draws attention to the supposed oddness of it, and instead of emphasising the beauty of our natural looks.

The only thing we need

We do not have to apply a layer (or two) of foundation in the perfect shade that is identical to our skin colour or use blush for rosy cheeks. We do not need eyeshadow to make our eyes sparkle. What we do need, is self-esteem to embrace our natural beauty and to let go of any “protective” layers. The only thing that protects us from vulnerability is self-confidence to live our lives the way we want to. To go outside and be who we are. Only then will we get those rosy cheeks and the sparkle in our eyes — from our natural selves, and not from make-up.

6 thoughts on “No Make-Up Media

  1. Amazing piece! I do wear make-up but I am slowly becoming more confident in not wearing any and showing my (vulnerable) naked face. It’s a process but I believe we are all beautiful as we are. I couldn’t agree more with your post and I hope one day we can have a “make-up is an enhancement and an exception rather than the norm” trend/society/ideal/beauty standard/…

  2. Do we NEED makeup? No. But I’d be lying if I said my self-image and overall creativeness and happiness weren’t affected by my choice to wear makeup. If you don’t feel the want to wear makeup, that’s perfectly fine. But I don’t think it’s okay to tell anyone that they don’t need it or shouldn’t wear it or look better without it.

    I enjoy makeup because it allows me to enhance my natural features, and plaster my face with colors and lines that were not given to me by nature. It allows me to look how I want to look. While it’s always good to love yourself no matter what, there is no harm in improving upon what you were already graced with if you so choose. That doesn’t just mean wearing makeup, it means dyeing/cutting your hair, working out (or not, depends on what you want your body to look like), getting tattoos and piercings… all of those are methods of altering your appearance and yet wearing makeup is really the only one that people seem to want to harp on.

    As someone who works in the beauty industry, and also as someone who views beauty enhancements as an art form, I take severe resentment to one of the other comments on here that states “beauty comes from within and certainly not from a bottle.” Why not BOTH? Why can’t beauty be both natural and applied? If someone wants to “enhance” their natural beauty with products from a bottle, who are you to tell them that those products cannot be used to be beautiful?

    • Hi Arwen,

      Thank you for your comment! I am not disregarding make-up entirely – by no means. What I am commenting on is that it seems many people rely on make-up in the sense that they cannot feel pretty without it. I am not saying that people should not wear make-up or look better without it. I try to emphasise that they are already beautiful as they are, and that being said, I fully agree with you that make-up can enhance natural features, which in my opinion that is an entirely different approach to make-up than when you do not dare to appear without any.

      • I don’t think it’s any of our places to judge what is a better or worse approach to makeup, or tell anyone that they’re going about it the wrong way. If someone is not comfortable leaving their house without makeup on (and I will be honest – that was definitely me at one point, but I’ll get into that later) that is absolutely their prerogative. You can tell someone you think they’re beautiful, but you cannot tell someone how to feel. If they don’t feel beautiful without makeup on (or without piercings, tattoos, dyed hair, etc.), then nothing but their own preferred enhancement is going to convince them otherwise.

        As for the whole not appearing in public without makeup on…

        I have trichotillomania. In case you’re not familiar, it’s a compulsive hair pulling disorder. Since I was 10 years old, I’ve pulled out my eyebrows and eyelashes and at 29 haven’t been able to stop yet. In middle school, I was bullied for my lack of eyebrows and eyelashes, so once my parents started allowing me to wear makeup, I went overboard. For a very long time, makeup was a way for me to conceal flaws that I otherwise had no control over to be able to be a functioning part of society. Since then, I’ve gained a cosmetology license and gone to makeup school and I’ve also learned a lot about my disorder and can speak confidently about it when asked, and (especially after makeup school, where you have to apply/remove/apply makeup roughly 6 times a day, 5 days a week, to your classmates) most of the time now I’m just too lazy for a full face of makeup every day.

        Being more confident about going out in public without makeup on doesn’t change the fact that I do not feel beautiful if I’m not wearing makeup. And while I certainly have a “good” reason for treating makeup like I do, no one’s reasons are any more or less valid.

        Could you imagine if we treated other body modifications and enhancements the way we treat makeup? Telling women that they don’t need to cut or dye their hair, they don’t need tattoos or piercings, they don’t even need to spend half their week on the treadmill at the gym (health aside. you can be healthy without putting that much extra effort in, and you don’t have to be thin or fit to be healthy), that they’re beautiful without all that stuff… it’s not about what you think about other people. It’s about how they feel about themselves.

  3. Hi Laura!

    I really like your article. I agree with you that no one should feel ashamed without make-up in public! There are so many other, more important things in life. I don’t think most people care about what you look like. For me, wearing make-up is not really about liking myself more or less. It does make me feel better, but in the same way I feel better when I’ve showered, brushed my teeth, straightened my frizzy hair and put on some nice clothes. I spend quite some time on my make-up in the mornings, because I like experimenting and trying out new things. But it’s more like a hobby. It doesn’t come from a constant desire to look prettier. So when I’ve overslept, I have absolutely no problem with skipping the make-up. And people never treat me any differently on those days…!

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