Why the #MakeupFree Movement May Be Doing More Harm Than Good
I’m sure you’ve noticed it; models, actresses, “it-girls” and other familiar faces going #MakeupFree. Magazines are devoting whole issues to gorgeous celebrities flaunting their bare faces; perfectly plucked eyebrows, amazing lighting, angling on point and obviously photographed by professional photographers. ‘Wow, can you believe she’s not even wearing foundation?’, you think to yourself, ‘Thank God I have make-up’.
I am not criticizing the women, nor am I criticizing the magazines or the media in general, I get it; beauty is a strong and effective advertising tool and generates lot of likes “likes”, people love beauty and I love beauty. However, maybe the message of “feeling beautiful just the way that we are” gets a little lost when the portrayal of “natural beauty” seems equally unobtainable to photoshopped beauty?
All women are different, for incidence; all of my friends are absolutely gorgeous without any makeup, however, far from all of them feel comfortable that way. Some of my friends barely wear any makeup ever, or just on special occasions, while others wouldn’t dream of even going to the gym without putting at least some concealer and a stroke of mascara on. And that’s fine, whatever makes you feel good about yourself is absolutely fine – but everyone may not feel that way, and when celebrities are taking a stance against makeup it implies that there is something wrong with wanting or needing to wear it.
Personally, how I feel going makeup free is dependent on a wide range of different factors; how I feel on that particular day, time of the year, time of the month, how long it’s been since I have been exposed to the sun and/or whether or not my skin is acting out. I assume a lot of women feel the same way. In the middle of the summer or after a sunny vacation, when my skin has that beautiful sun-kissed glow – if I’ve had a good nights sleep, if I’m not on my period (or feeling puffy for some other reason) and my skin isn’t acting out, I feel amazing without makeup. If I feel good about my skin, I will go around flaunting my naked face like it’s nobody’s business (which it isn’t either). In the winter, on the other hand, when my face is a shade of pale that resembles blue more than nude, I would rather be caught dead than without at least a thin layer of foundation on – and that is fine. Applying makeup when I feel like it and not if I don’t, is one of the many things makes me feel comfortable being me.
Last year, after having been exposed to an enormous amount of stress, I was diagnosed with a skin disease called Rocacea. It’s a chronic disease that manifests itself in different ways for different people; for me, the symptoms were a red rash with spots spreading out on both of my cheeks. There are different reasons why people get the disease and there is no universal treatment, but in my case it was clearly stress-related. Not having had any issues with my skin growing up (only having had to deal with the odd “period-pimple”), this situation completely threw me off my game and hit my confidence hard. I felt horrible about my skin and about myself, and at its worst I didn’t even feel comfortable leaving the house with makeup on. I honestly did not even feel like myself and felt ashamed of my skin, which I am now ashamed to admit. Fortunately for me, my skin healed back to its normal state after I went traveling alone for 5 weeks and did some serious de-stressing. However, the fact that I felt that horrible about the situation, being 27 years old at the time, made me think about what it must be like to struggle with your skin during puberty – at the time in our lives when we are at our most vulnerable and impressionable. This again made me think about the effect of the #MakeupFree movement; I’m pretty sure 16-year old girls struggling with their skin, or women of any age that do not feel comfortable without their makeup on for any reason, could find the #MakeupFree movement quite discouraging.
I’m sure celebrities and everyone participating in the #MakeupFree movement mean well, and I understand that it’s meant as a way of saying that we do not need to cover our faces because we are beautiful regardless (and we absolutely are), but in the end it’s how we feel about ourselves that is important; makeup or no make-up, both are equally fine.
What if we instead of focusing so much on the amount of makeup we apply or don’t apply to our faces, shifted the focus to what makes us feel good about the way we look? What if we started talking more about when we feel the most comfortable and the most like ourselves and stopped placing stigmas on the the tools we use to get there?
I’ll go first; At the moment, despite my tan, I feel the most comfortable wearing a thin layer of foundation and some concealer because I have been exposed to a lot of stress recently and my skin is acting out. I also use some bronzer on top, as well as color in my eyebrows and a bit of mascara. And that’s fine, because that’s me right now.
When do you feel the most comfortable in yourself?
[Please feel free to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments section]