Thursday, February 28, 2013

Beauty skin deep? 10 reasons for no makeup

This post is inspired by the popular Pinterest site, Don't Compare Yourself to Celebrities.

"To sell beauty products, advertisers must constantly convince you to fix, update, or conceal something about your natural look. This sends the message that the authentic you is repulsive. Problem is, the "perfection" in ads, catalogs, and movies is mostly computer-generated, always changing, and unrealistic...."

Check this site out; you'll learn a lot.

What I learned

Digital manipulation is insane and indefensible. We are being shown images that are not real, and deep inside our brain is filing away the data. But the photos I found most striking were the very few celebrities who were genuinely au natural - with no makeup.

Heidi Klum
Liv Tyler
Reese Witherspoon
Kerry Washington

They could be anybody on the street. They could be real people. Wow.

You're not stupid. You know Hollywood and the media are not real. But something inside you is probably still surprised to see it. You are constantly being shown images that are not real, and deep inside your brain is filing away the data.

Makeup is performing a low-tech version of the digital crime of airbrushing. It's a great reason to stay away from mass media, but it's been in everyday life for centuries too. We often don't want to accept that we look like that too. We are image-conscious - conscious of what we look like, captured in a media moment.

"fix, update, or conceal something about your natural look" "the authentic you is repulsive" 

  • Your skin is not good enough the way you woke up this morning - cover it to make it look smoother.
  • Your eyes are not big enough, add some colour to make them look bigger.
  • Your eyelashes are not long enough, extend them. 
  • Your eyebrows are not dark enough; shape and redraw them
  • Your lips are the wrong colour...
Just Good Grooming?

I welcome all comments on this anti-social idea, but one I expect to hear is:
There's nothing wrong with looking a bit better with a bit of makeup - it's just part of good grooming. 
We all understand what we expect to see when a woman is "making an effort" or "is really well-groomed." The image generally includes makeup.

Strangely though, men are able to be well-groomed in daily life by being clean and tidy. Even when their eyes look just the same size as when they had breakfast. When their skin looks like their skin, instead of polished porcelain or smooth brown acorns. When their lips are...lip-coloured. All day. That's what we expect. (Shaving? Good point, related but separate issue.)

It's a complex issue, but in our society, when men wear makeup, they're often considered gay or vain. So since it's not only acceptable, but an improvement, for women to wear makeup to look really good, does that mean being vain is considered part of womanhood?

Makeup challenge

Would you go makeup free for a week?  

If that's too shocking for you and the world, would you go with less each day until you faced the mirror and the world with no makeup, beautiful as you are?

You may have many reasons why not. Here are a few great reasons to do it. 

  1. Save time
  2. Save money and packaging waste
  3. Save your skin - let it breathe
  4. Save water and avoid chemicals required to clean makeup off daily
  5. Save your clothes (and other people's) from makeup stains  
  6. Kiss your loved ones without worrying about "your look" 
  7. Live life actively - exercise, run and play with the kids - without worrying about "your look" 
  8. Set a good example to your daughters, or other people's, about really being happy with yourself as you are. Walk your talk.
  9. Set a good example to other women - don't raise the bar artificially on female beauty
  10. Help the animals - vegans and vegetarians constantly seek beauty products that don't harm animals, and they regularly find that their favourite brand was lying or has changed their policy.

True beauty habits

With the time (and money) you save on makeup, you could adopt a daily habit that would change your health and your look from within.
  1. Make and drink a green smoothie
  2. Eat a fresh fruit or vegetable
  3. Start some whole-grains cooking for later
  4. Do a Fit Quickie or some yoga 
  5. Meditate
  6. Sit with your family for a few minutes - hug or talk
  7. Just be on time instead of stressed and rushed... 
 That's a makeover you can keep.
Comfortable in your skin

When you are feeling confident, strong, happy, and engaged with your life, you are beautiful. The rest is just made up.


  1. I never wear makeup :o) People frequently ask me why, and not just out of curiosity :o( Our society's standard of beauty is harmful.

    1. I think we definitely need to look at how it impacts our mental and physical wellbeing. Thanks!

  2. Not only does going au natural develop 'true' self confidence, save time and make you feel cleaner, but you also avoid taking part in the horrendous animal cruelty behind the cosmetics industry ~ Julz

  3. do you wear deodorant ? fragrance ? wear dyed fabrics and pick colours that suit your skin tone ? get a haircut ? we do a lot of things without thinking about it because they make us look better , makeup is really no different . I don't wear it all the time but do enjoy wearing it sometimes and your 'whys' don't always fit , I use natural minerals , my skin breathes , I remove it with coconut oil ( and I'd be using water to wash it regardless of whether I have makeup on ), pretty much none of that is an issue with my makeup plus I always have time for your true beauty habits as well . Each to their own I say ;) , although I'm all or encouraging natural products for everyone

    1. Nothing fits every case, but we'll have to agree to disagree about makeup being no different from clothing and haircuts. Clothing has an element of necessity that makes it a much more complex issue, and haircuts are not about concealment of perceived flaws.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    2. Many people wear makeup to enhance their favorite features also. Marvelous pigments in every color at the eyes and juicy lip colors. It's so much fun to paint up like a butterfly. Judging people for playing up their features is silly. Makeup accessories and jewelry, decorating objects and spaces in general is an expression. Such a dull and utilitarian shaker existence to be super modest in fanny packs and plain face all the time. Blah.

    3. Jasi, thanks for your comment. It certainly is a good idea not to make judgements about people for what they do, or don't do, with their appearance!

  4. I absolutely agree with you, and I'm embarrassed that I know this, but... I think that's Kerry Washington, not Kerry Wilde.

  5. ...some woman should wear more make up, if we have to look at people all day every day they should be eye pleasing. oh i sound shallow? go eff your self who cares! i wear make up because it makes me feel pretty, not because i need it. i enjoy wearing fun colours and having the choice to change my face with a little pencil here and different color there. of course no one needs make up. but if it does improve your uneven skin tone or shape your brows because the good lord didnt bless you with the ones you would prefer, or the lenthen your eye lashes, all this make up could boost your self esteem keep doing what youre doing ladies.

    1. You're right, you needn't care if other people think you sound shallow, or need help with your self-esteem. Thanks for your contribution!

  6. Your responses to comments are as educational as the post. Thanks for being such a gentle advocate, Jessica!

    1. Thanks Dionna, I do my best to remember what is helpful to say, and what is not! ;-)

  7. Nice post! Here's why I quit wearing makeup. I don't think it is wrong to choose to wear makeup, but I think some of the cultural messages about why women "HAVE TO" wear makeup are damaging and absurd.

    I shave my legs and underarms. I prefer feeling smooth. But I long ago stopped judging women who let their hair grow naturally. The culture I grew up in was at least as judgmental about that as makeup; these (and wearing a bra) were among the things that females over age 12 must do to be acceptable in public. As I became aware that not everyone in the world thinks that way, I stopped wearing a bra some of the time and gradually wore less and less makeup, for my own comfort, but it's also for my own comfort that I've continued shaving. I only dropped the judgmental feelings I had about it--not just thinking hairy women were improper but feeling ashamed if I appeared in public with a bit of stubble. So I can understand that some people might prefer to wear some makeup for their own reasons without necessarily feeling that they and everyone else are obligated to wear it to be acceptable in public.

    1. That shaving one is tough! What gets me about growing underarm hair is the smell on my clothes. I can tell myself as much as I want that this is just nature's pheromones, but I'm not convincing myself.

    2. I really have no issue, and my pits are quite furry, but then I also don't stress out my oil glands by washing every day either. plus, there is one's natural smell while clean, and while truly dirty. I have learned that once your oil glands learn to calm down, even your natural scent as you knew it begins to change and smell fresher. we are mammals afterall.

  8. Women have always used makeup. That has been well documented

    1. Slavery is also a longstanding human tradition - doesn't mean it's not worth analysing why it happens and whether it's a good idea.

  9. This commercial isn't real, neither are society's standards of beauty.