Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's the Deal With "No-Makeup Selfies" & Why You Should Do One For Yourself

There have been a lot of no makeup selfies cropping up around social media recently. Just last week I was tagged on Facebook by a friend who wanted me to participate. It didn't take me long to decide to do it, but maybe it wasn't for the right reasons... 
I had no idea that many of these no makeup selfies cropping up had to do with Cancer Research UK's campaign to raise money for Breast Cancer. The theory is you can raise awareness and gather donations by women posting pictures of themselves barefaced, encouraging people to donate and pass it on. Apparently the theory works, according to the BBC over 2 million has been raised. That's nothing to turn one's nose up at!

However, I would have to say that 99 percent of the pictures I've seen on various social media have had no links or information about cancer or donation, so for me, despite the money that's being raised, it's not really working at all. Something definitely rubs me the wrong way with equating physical beauty, even sans makeup, with raising money for cancer. There are so many other things one could do if they wanted to raise money for cancer research, but passively taking a picture and uploading it to social media in order to encourage donations seems more an act of vanity than an act of action, especially when the message is completely forgotten.

But here's why I took a no makeup selfie anyway...

and it had nothing to do with cancer research (though if people would like to donate money I am certainly not opposed! P.S. you can donate online by going here ).

I chose to take a no makeup selfie because this is what I look like and I refuse to be ashamed of it! I want to embrace my entire self, including my bare face. I don't want to feel bad about myself when I choose not to wear makeup. I don't want to feel like I ever "have" to wear it. I don't want to live in a world where people would make negative comments about how I look because I'm not wearing any- but that kind of thing will only change when people aren't afraid of putting themselves out there, of taking makeup free pictures, not only for things like being tagged in a makeup-free selfie post, but just as part of their everyday lives, no hashtags involved.
A non-selfie, no hashtags picture of me, makeup free.
Now, I'm not saying makeup is inherently evil or that people shouldn't wear it. I love makeup. I have drawers of it. I like to experiment with different looks, and darn it, sometimes I just feel like a good cat eye or having suuuuuper long eyelashes. What I'm saying is women shouldn't feel vulnerable without makeup. We shouldn't feel weird, or feel like everyone's staring at us, or worry that people might think we're ugly, or unprofessional, or lacking polish. We also shouldn't feel like wearing makeup is essential to our self-worth... that without it, we aren't pretty, and without being pretty we aren't valuable. The underlying problem is really our society's equation of physical beauty with worth, not makeup. 

In one of my university classes called IDEA (a class that is quite unusual and untraditional to say the least), one common personal project for students is going without makeup for a week, or even a month. Although I've never undertaken this myself, I imagine the experience is a mind-altering one, especially for people who wear a lot of makeup.

Do people treat you differently? 
Do you treat yourself differently? 
Do you feel utterly exposed when you don't wear it?
How much of your self worth is tied up in how you look? 
At the end, when you can wear makeup, do you wear as much makeup as before? 

There are some days when I don't wear makeup at all. Some days I'm fine with that. Other days I run into glammed up model-type girls and rush into the comparison game: They look all feminine and womanly and perfection, where I look much younger than my years, childish, and full of flaws... 

If I give my head a shake, however, I realize we're all full of flaws, and no amount of concealer or contouring is going to hide it. There will never be a miracle product that solves all my beauty woes, what I try to remember is that my beauty issues are not all-consuming. They aren't the most important thing about me. I am more than how my skin looks that day, how full my eyelashes are, how skinny my face looks... and so are you. You are your thoughts and your ideas and your actions. 

What's your two cents on makeup free selfies?


  1. Great post - you're beautiful!

    1. Thanks Ashley, you're so sweet!

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Have you ever taken a no-makeup selfie?

  2. Love this idea! I didn't start wearing makeup until I was a freshman in college. It's been 5 years now and I still only wear eye makeup and a little concealer. This is such a good cause! Thank you for sharing! :D


Blogging tips