No Make-Up ‘Selfie’

There has been an overwhelming amount of women taking part in the #nomakeupselfie trend on social media. I, for one, love this movement. It may be my favourite one to date. But as with anything where a marginalized group attempts to take a stand against the powers that be, there is a backlash.

I have seen men posting picture of themselves with comments about taking the day off from wearing make-up. There have been other women posting pictures of cartoon characters and monsters, mocking the movement. Then there are the straight up haters who blatantly call the movement a joke. Whoa people, WHOA! What are we doing here? Let’s put this all into perspective for a moment, shall we?

This movement is encouraging women to ditch the make-up, as wearing it is a societal pressure that most women feel. The issues surrounding self-image in our society is sickening. The cosmetic industry is a multi-million dollar machine. Their CEO’s are men. It goes back to this man-made ideal form of beauty. It sets a standard that we must live up to and it starts at a very young age as cosmetics are directed towards four and five year-olds. Don’t get me wrong, I like wearing make-up, I do it every day. But even as I do it, I say to myself, “it makes me feel pretty and good about myself”. I also commend the artists in the industry who can create beautiful looks with the stroke of a brush. But the basic idea behind make-up is to highlight natural beauty, make it better than it is. Fine, but natural beauty is okay too.

I see the #nomakeupselfie trend to be uniting women. To put it out there that we are confident in ourselves. That make-up is something that, as women, is forced upon us. We are recognizing this. That in itself is crucial to equality and feminism. Social movements do not happen over night, they take time, baby steps. I see this as a baby step. Equality has not been reached between the sexes. But the more we push against the world that has been created for us, the closer we get.

So, to the men taking their own selfies: you’re mocking us. With your photo, you are ignoring your own sense of male privilege. You don’t know or understand the feeling that your eyelashes are not long enough or that  your skin needs blush because you look washed out. You don’t spend hundreds of dollars a year on cosmetics because you simply don’t feel good enough without it. If this were any other social movement, say a civil rights movement and black men were all taking a stand to sit at the front of the bus and take a selfie, would you, as a white person, do the same? Likely not. That is part of the problem in itself. Women fighting for equality, in any way, shape or form, is mocked. It isn’t taken seriously. In turn we are further oppressed. Support us in our movement. Tell us we are beautiful and like every photo you can. With every like is another small dose of confidence as we expose a part of ourselves that we literally cover-up on a daily basis.

To the women mocking other women: really? We all know we can be our own worst enemies at times. We are pitted against each other at a very young age. There is a competitiveness that exists between women. Who has better breasts, who has a flatter stomach, whose skin is more flawless? Hence, plastic surgery. We must unite. Every time I see another woman post a no make-up selfie, I see it as another woman who agrees that natural beauty should be celebrated. That we are more than just our looks, and we are role models for other women and girls who may have self-image issues. Remember, society isn’t just what it is, it’s constructed and created. We make the rules and we break them. I vow to join my sisters in the campaign for real beauty.

To the haters: get f*cked. Seriously. Go away. You are what’s wrong with society. You are a bully. This is not okay. Don’t call yourself an activist, a feminist, don’t say you respect others or that you’re not an ‘ist’ (sexist, racist, etc). Your word vomit is telling women, “stop taking pictures of yourself, it’s stupid, just be happy with yourself”. No. NO! It’s not as easy to just be happy with ourselves because we live in a society that constantly tells us otherwise. Don’t be part of the problem, don’t be another mechanic in the mess of the machine. Throw a wrench in it. Become part of a movement that attempts to bring to light a serious issue – body image and self-esteem.

To all of the woman who have posted themselves without make-up, I commend you. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for showing the world that you don’t need make-up to be beautiful. That underneath it all we are fresh-faced beauties. That we are confident enough in ourselves that we don’t need to hide behind a mask. We are all role models and we teach people how to treat us with every action we make. So continue to teach people that your beauty exists beyond the curl of an eyelash or the tip of an eyeliner pencil.

My #nomakeupselfie:

No Make-Up Selfie!
No Make-Up Selfie!

35 thoughts on “No Make-Up ‘Selfie’

  1. If this is what this trend means to you, great. Participate and promote it. To me this trend seems to be a response to neknomination. I think your view inflates the importance of the trend as a whole because I don’t think it will have any effect on societal views about ideal beauty; I’m assuming they put makeup on after the photo. However, I think this trend can me different things to different people. Do I mock other people’s makeup-less photo’s, no. Do I like any of them, no. Is this trend more useful than neknomination, planking, or whatever else is set forth from the bowels of the internet, yes (although entertainment-wise Harlem Shake has them all beat).


      1. Functionally they are the same: facebook friends participate then nominate each other to participate. In both facebook-based trends it isn’t acquaintances nominating acquaintances, its close friends nominating each other. The purpose of both, to me, seems to be an expression of friendship/trust in both cases (trust that they’re friends will respect the nomination to participate). Your macro view of the makeup less selfie trend reads a purpose into it that I don’t think is there – people participate in this trend for different reasons and I don’t think they are as united as you believe they are.


      2. I never said I believed that everyone was doing it for the reason I am. But for whatever reason they do participate, it sends a message. Nekonominations ended up killing people. Functionally the same, yes. But it stops there. The ways in which it is shared is the same. That’s the only similarity. Also, if you feel that the purpose I’m speaking of isn’t there, why not make that it’s purpose?


    1. The neknomination is nothing to compared to this. With neknomination you are basically saying I’m going to kill myself with alcohol today whereas no make up shows what true beauty is and we don’t need make up to look good! Men created make up to cover the so called ugliness of society but what they did was distorted natural beauty. I for one like make up but only to enhance what beauty I already have. Take it as you want but your an idiot to think this is like neknomination. Pathetic.


      1. There are 2 other similarities between the trends: (1) As Canadian citizens we have the freedom to participate in them and (2) we are both entitled to our opinions about them.

        Personally, I have written both off as internet fads destined for whatever retirement ranch internet fads go to die. I remain unconvinced that it furthers the purpose of changing ideal beauty standards. This not an endorsement of societal beauty standards though. I liken this to “liking” a status/picture against cancer: “liking” a status doesn’t do anything whereas participating in or organizing for, something like Relay for Life does. My final thought on this is that at bare minimum, this makeup-less selfie trend has at least got people publicly questioning ideal beauty standards and I think that is a good thing.


    2. Actually you are both wrong. This internet trend originally started in September 2013 by a cosmetic company to promote breast cancer awareness. Women would get sponsors to go to work or out for a night without make-up and then donate it to the cause. I agree that it is amazing to see a barrage of make-up less women on on my Facebook news feed, but the real reason this came about has nothing to do with female empowerment or other Facebook nomination trends for that matter. It does however, have everything to do with breast cancer awareness and just happened to have morphed into what you are seeing now. The message may have been lost along the way but the original intent was to promote awareness and raise money for a very worthy cause.


      1. Yes Annabelle, this fact was pointed out in a previous comment. I mentioned as well that regardless of the origin, we can make it something different. Change is possible. Why can’t we make it about female empowerment? What’s wrong with wanting to do that?


      2. There is nothing wrong with that, as I said in my comment I think the no make-up selfies are amazing. I also think it’s important to know all the facts of a situation. Knowing where it all began shows us the evolution of a movement or cause and that in itself is an interesting thing. Seeing how something can start off and then morph into something completely different can be amazing (or terrible, but in this case it’s the former). However, we don’t get to see that process if we don’t know where it all started.


  2. Lmfao all I have to say is women have equal right that means if you can have #nomakeupselfie then we can have or #dayoffworkselfie or our #whateverthefuckwechooseselfie because it’s fair


      1. Yup, didn’t mean it as way to put you down, just saying the meaning gets lost regardless (like the telephone game when we were kids), so perhaps the people mocking are mocking for the fact that it has turned from something that it was (like in the link) to being self-involved and about just beauty and self-reflection, and not the true essence (in the sense of why it started) of how many women going through cancer, who don’t have the luxury of putting on make-up, or doing their hair, but are still just as pretty as everyone else.
        In any case, I believe we are agreeing, to the same…I guess HATERS GON HATE.


  3. I just believe that after a while a trend is just something people do to fit in, otherwise no one really knows what the “real” meaning was for.


  4. It almost propagates an idea that makeup is contra norm, by doing just that- not wearing makeup. A single posed picture making a claim about “not wearing makeup” is very simplistic, which suggests that problems like these are simplistic.


  5. I agree with it….as you see it. I assume as it was originally intended. I too took part in it, as such. ….liberating, uniting, uplifting etc. …I also must admit…that I too made fun of it as well. Only after I saw so many obviously fake pics of women wearing makeup, claiming not to be. That is the part that got to me. …How sad is it, that something that is meant to unite us and make is feel more comfortable and confident in our own skin and inner beauty, has become nothing short of another band wagon, competition, and another way to cut one another down. I love and support the idea of this…I just think we all, as women and as a society, need to stop comparing ourselves to one another in a negative light, and start trying to find ways to embrace and uplift one another. Confidence, acceptance, tolerance, and seeing everyone’s individual beauty, as well as our own…beyond the ego, and societal preaaure, is truly beautiful. You are beautiful BTW 🙂


  6. I’m pretty sure that this is supposed to be raising awareness for Cancer research. And actually people were being sponsered to go without makeup for a day or more, and money went to a cancer society fund. Then the selfies started but there were still donations being made. Now it seems that its just a fun pic we post and have no idea why. I did it without knowing too. And its actually a cosmetic company who started the movement.


  7. The selfies are a good idea yes but over half the girls that do them aren’t even smiling so they are not embracing their inner beauty they are just following a trend!!! Also what we are all forgetting is there is something we all have that is more important than beauty a heart, a brain and a wonderful Holy Spirit and it is more important to have wisdom, kindness and faith than being beautiful


    1. I don’t think you can assume that because the women aren’t smiling that they aren’t happy with themselves. A blank face is the purest form of our faces. Even a smile can change the way we look.

      Also, you’re right in saying we all have beauty on the inside. But unfortunately we live in a society that doesn’t always recognize intrinsic beauty first. Therefore, promoting outer beauty in a natural and pure state is allowing your confidence of your inner beauty to shine through.


  8. You yourself stated, you feel like it makes you prettier, and makes you feel better about yourself, that’s not men, that’s women’s own Insecurities, my girlfriend looks as beautiful Saturday morning as she did Friday night. We don’t need makeup to be attracted to you guys, we already are. Be proud of who who you are and what you look like, but don’t go all feminist about it and blame men, most guys hate makeup now a days anyways, a little eyeliner and some lipstick and your golden ! And that’s for being unique not being prettier. Cheers.


    1. I think you’re missing the point Jesse. Women’s insecurities aren’t created in a vacuum. There’s a whole history and society full of contributing factors. It’s important to remember that women and men lack equality, that alone leaves room for nothing existing “just because”. There’s a reason for the inequality and there are important issues behind it. I am proud of who I am, that being a feminist.

      I also find it interesting that you state you guys don’t need make-up to be attracted to us, that you “hate make-up” yet you state, “a little eyeliner and some lipstick and you[‘re] golden!” Newsflash – both of those items are make-up.


      1. I dont think Jesse missed the point. I think he is following along your own line of thinking actually. You yourself are trying to prove that it does not matter so much how this movement originated; it matters most what we turn it into. He is saying it matters less that we once culturally embraced makeup as a symbolic shackle and that we should now move on and let make up be a sign of “being unique” rather than “being prettier”… as he clearly said in his last line. Personally I dont think you can justify rejecting his comment on account of “missing the point” when all of your above comments point to the importance of guiding ourselves away from something that was started by a cosmetic compay, and onwards to something new and inspiring. Yes everything is contextual, I agree. But I think Jesse is perfectly justified. Don’t knock your allies.


      2. I think Jesse posed numerous contradictions. That and he labelled me a feminist coming down on men. As if being a feminist is a bad thing. I have a serious issue with that. So, in saying that, I stand by my response.


  9. I wear makeup as a form of self-expression. I also wear it because I have adult acne, and it makes me look more like who I really am, and not like a canvas for my dermatological disease to showcase itself. I wear makeup as a function of self-care. I want people to see me at my best. I want to be at my best. If that best is half artifice, so what? I don’t know if you’re aware, but everyone looks the same in the dark.

    The no makeup selfie trend could be seen as a great progressive step towards taking back our power, but there is a darker side I feel people are ignoring… That of competition. Because what if we’re *not* like you, with natural good looks, clear skin, and proportional features? What if we’re nominated out of malice? What if people start telling you you’re a sham if you don’t look good without makeup? It’s happened to me. I’ve been called shallow for wearing makeup. I feel a lot of people don’t understand the irony in that, but trust me, it’s there.

    The truth is, makeup doesn’t increase your inherent worth… But not wearing makeup doesn’t increase your inherent worth either. You want to be really beautiful? Be kind to others. That’s it. Wear a pound of makeup. Wear none. But be kind.

    This no makeup selfie trend is stupid. If it bolsters your confidence somehow, great, I guess, but… I hope your self-worth is based upon more than what you look like, makeup or not, because this trend is just that… A trend. A passing interest. A farce.

    And if you don’t believe me… Historically, makeup was once used primarily by men. It’s hardly a function of societal pressure for women to look good. It is a trend, in and of itself. Humans like to adorn themselves. Why shit on them for it, or make it more than it is? You think I wear makeup for/because of men, as a societal construct? You think I’m oppressed? Really?

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe I and many like me just like having purple lips, and that’s all there is to it?

    Occam’s Razor.


    1. Thanks for your comment Chels. While I can see your opinion, I definitely have some of my own to share. I believe I spoke of competition in the blog post. Specifically that between women. I admitted to you that I do wear make-up, daily. I have no shame in wearing it. But it was important for me to recognize why I feel the need to wear it – where that idea is coming from. I agree with you that it is completely ironic that people call you shallow for wearing make-up. Shame on those people for spreading hate. But you have to remember that with most acts of hatred is an element of jealousy, envy, or personal insecurities. There is really no reason for anyone to act hateful unless they feel personally threatened. Unfortunately, fear is the culprit behind many of these comments. I do hope you’re able to see that. Those who do not feel good about themselves feel better by bringing others down. I think you and I are on the same page about that – just be kind.

      I do disagree with you when you say that this trend is stupid. I think people are attempting to portray it that way through their own negativity. Which is why I wrote this blog in the first place. I want everyone to come together to make it good, to transform it into something beautiful and important.

      I don’t believe that I ever “shit” on anyone for wearing make-up. Again, I admitted I wear make-up daily. I also commend make-up artists, because I feel that they are just that – artists. The point or purpose of this blog was simply to address where they hate against the trend was coming from, in my own perspective. My blog entires are my own opinions. I do hope, as a woman, you realize that there are many societal pressures created to oppress you. Recognition is the first step to change. Please do not take offence to that word.

      Lastly, your final sentence poses a contradiction. You begin your comment saying that you wear make-up to help with a derma logical condition, yet you end it with saying it’s as simple as wanting purple lips? Again, I’m not saying make-up is bad, I’m not saying don’t wear it. I’m saying, pay attention. Look deeper into things. Your self-worth and self-image is created using a whole shitload of outside influences. I want you to be able to see past all of the shit that doesn’t matter and only take in the good. For whatever reason you CHOOSE to wear make-up, go for it. No one ever said you couldn’t. All I ask is that you be kind to yourself and never believe that you absolutely need it to be accepted.


      1. I agree! Well said Joanne and I think the no-makeup selfies are a great thing! Everyone is entitled to their opinion and there is some great debate here but what is important is that for some women, learning to love their appearance makeup-free is liberating! I had to stop wearing makeup daily in September when my eczema flared up worse than ever (and I am a Mac addict ha ha while I had no issues with being fresh faced running errands and chilling at home, not being able to apply makeup regularly, or especially for a night out, was a big change for me!). Even though my eczema has cleared up, I got so used to the no makeup look and now I regularly embrace it:) Just saying I think it’s a good thing for women to try and to celebrate beauty with or without makeup, cause there is beauty in both!!!


      2. I was saying spot on to Chels rather than the response to her comment, sorry Bree, my opinion on the selfies is below.
        Great that you’re enjoying not wearing make up though. I always find that I flip between either wearing it or not. I’ll sometimes even put it on when I know that no one else is going to see me, it’s just a personal choice although not wearing it because of a skin condition is pretty important..

        I do however find it depressing that we’re apparently still in a situation where women find it psychologically liberating to not wear make up.

        I’ve been looking back over some friends selfies the past couple of days and all of the comments are ‘beautiful’, ‘looking gorgeous hon’. It’s still all about affirmation, beauty and image which I think women really need to get past with or without make up on. ‘Natural Beauty’ is still a construct. If we didn’t have make up the ‘natural beauties’ would just be held up as the ideal for all women to compare themselves to.

        I’ve also noticed loads of celebs and models posting selfies where they still look ‘hot’. They’re still up there for women to compare themselves against, which women will do. I’ve already noticed loads of fresh faced selfies of women looking absolutely gorgeous (the writer of this blog comes to mind). Not exactly encouraging for someone less fortunate and so the cycle continues.

        I posted a photo of Cheryl Coles NMS on my facebook page as an experiment yesterday. People immediately started commenting on her appearance and pulling her apart, the irony.

        On the good side, it’s got me pulling out old books. I’m reading ‘The Beauty Myth’ again.


  10. Hi
    I’m one of those women who has found this campaign distasteful. I totally salute everyone that has raised money for cancer research though, the amount is fantastic although I don’t like the way it was done.
    I debated this at length with friends on Facebook. I understand your angle, that stripping the make up shows our natural beauty but I don’t agree.
    A woman’s appearance should not be something put up for discussion or scrutiny in the name of breast cancer.
    All I’ve heard this week is MEN commenting on how much ‘ foxier’ they’ve found ‘ some’ of the women with bare faces, natural beauty is best, men encouraging women to go au naturel because it’s MORE attractive. Unfortunately we have the male gaze and taking our make up off doesn’t change that, it just means more inspection and scrutiny.
    Once again even sans make up the make up less selfie comes down to beauty, what a woman looks like.
    It shouldn’t matter whether a woman wants to go out caked in the stuff or with none on at all.
    We have a terrible time as women resisting the incredibly sexist imagery shoved in our faces everyday. If this campaign had been about that I would probably think differently.
    However, it was started by a cosmetics company with the slogan ‘ dare to bare’.
    The words used ‘ dare ‘ meaning to risk to be brave. ‘ bare’ to be naked to be vulnerable. Suggesting that to wear make up is the default and without it you’re naked and vulnerable, obviously all utter crap.
    I also find it interesting that it’s linked to breast cancer awareness, another one of those female body parts seemingly owned by the populace and rather scrutinised.
    The cop a feel campaign comes to mind, totally distasteful chauvinistic use of language.
    If women want to go bare faced to show solidarity and give the finger to the man then get those selfies up there but don’t expect the issue of being looked at as objects to dissappear because of it.
    If it’s for validation that then you still look beautiful without make up then that’s a problem in itself.


Share your thoughts, comments and opinions!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s