To make-up or no make-up, that is the question.

Today’s post has nothing to do with exercise and everything to do with wearing no makeup and the #nomakeupselfies that are currently doing the rounds. I am going to ignore the reason people are doing it because that is a whole different discussion (but yes go check your breasts for lumps).

The model's skin doesn't look like this photo either...

The model’s skin doesn’t look like this photo either…

I don’t really wear make-up, I feel I should for work to feel and look professional so I have mascara and blusher on today. I don’t wear foundation as

  • I have yet to find one which doesn’t bring me out in spots
  • I am too lazy to get up early enough to put it on
  • My freckles are awesome and don’t deserve to be covered up (even when I hated the rest of my body I always loved my freckles).

I hate the fact more than two thirds of employers admit they would be less likely to employ a female job applicant if she did not wear makeup to the job interview, and I hate the fact more that Emma Leslie, beauty editor, said: “Whether rightly or wrongly, British bosses clearly think that keeping up appearances at work is an important factor for female staff if they want to get on in their career.”

“Whether rightly or wrongly?”      Are you shitting me?

Someone said on their facebook timeline ” Are you brave enough to go bare?”  Wearing no makeup should not be seen as a brave step.  A woman shouldn’t think she looks blotchy without makeup (she might look blotchy without makeup but that’s because what she, and many others, look like without makeup, this is not a bad thing it’s (and I know I’m repeating myself here) what we look like).

We are so used to seeing faces smoothed over by foundation in real life and photoshop in magazines/adverts/photos that we have lost touch with what women actually look like. We compliment people on their looks when they do wear make-up (which is actually pretty weird as you can flip it and say do you mean they are ugly without). Our brains are conditioned to think that with make-up = healthy looking, without make-up = ill.

I don’t want my daughter growing up thinking her work prospects later in life are dictated by whether she wears make-up or not.  That wearing make-up is what women do, part of the picture which includes shaving her legs and plucking her eyebrows. I don’t want my son growing up thinking for a women to be pretty she has to be wearing makeup.

This isn’t an anti-makeup rant and I don’t think feminists shouldn’t wear make-up. However I wish wearing make-up wasn’t the norm. I wish we had the choice not to wear makeup and our career prospects wouldn’t be affected. I wish wearing makeup wasn’t seen as such a big deal that we post photos about it.

Do you wear make-up? Will you go out without makeup? Do you just do it for habit?

(Just adding this now as it ties in with the photoshop issue for women believing that’s what skin should actually look like. Also because it’s a great post. On Thigh Gaps and Photoshop)

“Image courtesy of marin/”.

Comments: 13

  1. Caitlin March 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm Reply

    I read this after watching a couple of makeup videos about contouring and foundation application, so obvs I’m super pro-makeup, but with a huge caveat – I am pro-wearing it for myself, when I want to wear it, how I like to wear it. I hate hate HATE that makeup is a requirement to be considered acceptable, professional and respectable as a woman in our society.

    And it is so sexist, too! I always find it amazing that guys walk around all day long with bare faces and no one is all, “Hey bro, you feeling okay?” but a woman skips her undereye concealer and suddenly everyone’s all, “You look so tired, maybe you should get some sleep.”

    Honestly, don’t even start me because I won’t stop. I love makeup and think it’s awesome, but I hate the social baggage its been loaded with thanks to our dumbass patriarchal culture. Patriarchy – ruining my favorite things since forever.

    • Helen March 20, 2014 at 10:16 pm Reply

      “Patriarchy – ruining my favorite things since forever.” I love that sentence so much.

  2. Tracy I March 20, 2014 at 1:57 pm Reply

    Thanks for linking to On Thigh Gaps and Photoshop! Love this post. The make-up question is a perennial feminist question, isn’t it?

    • Helen March 20, 2014 at 10:11 pm Reply

      I think there is always the reaction that feminists want to take makeup away from people or stop them using it. That’s nowhere near the truth, it would just be nice to have a little acknowledgement that the reason we do it is because of the culture we live in and not because we pop out of the womb screaming GIVE ME SOME MASCARA BECAUSE I LOOK ILL.

  3. Jessy March 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm Reply

    I usually don’t wear make up and I haven’t thought much about it, but now with these makeupfreeday movements I’m feeling about self-conscious about it. Is it really so weird/brave to not wear make up?? I wear it if I go out or if I just feel like it (maybe twice a month), but not on a daily basis. I just use a moisturizer and sometimes a concealer (if I have a pimple or something).

    • Helen March 20, 2014 at 10:14 pm Reply

      I don’t think the people who don’t wear make-up (or very much) think it’s weird or brave not to wear it, I think some people who do wear make-up all the time think it’s weird or brave not to wear make-up. Mostly I just think of people who do wear loads of makeup why are you spending time putting stuff on your face (which you can’t see) instead of wasting it on twitter?

  4. MrsB | Mind over Matter March 20, 2014 at 9:33 pm Reply

    I wear make up to work but usually not on my days off. I hate foundation though (I have tried a gazillion brands) so usually it’s just concealer, mascara & eyebrow pencil. I can’t use blush anymore as my cheeks have lost their youthful plumpness & blush looks so wrong now :(

  5. Gingerzingi March 21, 2014 at 10:20 am Reply

    I wear makeup as little as possible and resent the hell out of those times when it seems to be required. The idea that a woman’s bare face is somehow inadequate for public viewing infuriates me. Additionally, I have other things to do with my time (and money). I know most cultures have always had some custom of decorating of the face or body, and that’s fine, but in our society it’s so one-sided and sexist it makes me puke.

    At the same time, I’m not judgmental of how other women choose to present themselves re makeup, hair, clothing, jewelry, etc. Women are critiqued and judged on their appearance in ways that make a simple wardrobe choice become a minefield. Too little makeup: not professional. Too much makeup: slutty. Earrings too casual? Skirt too long or short? Heels a half inch too high? There should be a manual.

    I feel that if I’m clean and my clothes cover my genitals, that should be sufficient. Unfortunately I can’t be QUITE that laissez-faire at work :-D

    • Helen March 25, 2014 at 9:32 am Reply

      Even covering our genitals is a culture pressure if you think about it….

      I try not to judge women on how they present themselves however I have to be honest I don’t understand the present orange tango look, is that a British thing or do women do it in the USA as well?

  6. G March 22, 2014 at 8:07 pm Reply

    I’m a powder+mascara person most of the time. My work is pretty male-dominated and granola (I work in the environmental sciences) so most women don’t wear a lot of makeup, or any, which is fine by me. Some days, though, I want to wear eyeliner and a bright lipstick and you would think I showed up to work with spikes in my nose. It’s very cultural, I guess! (And heaven forbid I wear a dress, my credibility goes right out the window and I turn into some kind of novel skirt-wearing scientist lady.) It is definitely a minefield.

    • Helen March 25, 2014 at 9:34 am Reply

      I think one day you should turn up to work with spikes in your nose and report back ;-)

  7. Julie Draper March 25, 2014 at 7:49 pm Reply

    It’s a rare occasion for me to wear make-up…I’ll throw on a bit of eyeliner and mascara for dinner nights, and if I’m feeling like really putting on a show I’ll add a bit of eye shadow and lip gloss but otherwise what you see is what you get! Eyeliner and mascara makes my eyes pop…but I just haven’t got the time or inclination to get up five to ten minutes earlier than I need to to put it on. The #nomakeupselfie is pretty much like any normal photo of me anyway.

    So the lack of make-up for me is down to sheer laziness!!

    • Helen March 31, 2014 at 8:13 am Reply

      Ha yes, I didn’t do the selfie either, they could have just looked at most photos at me :)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: