Not Wearing Makeup Is NOT Brave!

Whenever I hear a woman being praised as brave for not wearing makeup, which is happening more and more often lately, I feel like screaming. Argh! What has not wearing makeup got to do with bravery?! Absolutely nothing, that’s what.

Bravery is when you do something that’s risky for you to help others. Enduring pain or putting your own life at risk to save someone else is brave. Doing what you deem right even when society doesn’t approve and may ostracize you for it is brave. Not wearing makeup doesn’t even come close. It’s true that we live in a society obsessed with looks that tells women they have to look absolutely perfect all the time or else they’re worth nothing, but even then those who decide not to wear makeup don’t run any serious risks.

At the very least, without makeup on, people may find you less attractive. If you’re particularly insecure (and it’s difficult not to be when we’re constantly bombarded with airbrushed images of beautiful, extremely-thin, wrinkle-free women that represent an ideal of beauty that’s just unattainable) then going makeup-free may be a big deal for you, but even then that’s not on a par with rushing into a house on fire to save children trapped inside, is it? To use the same term to define both actions is dangerous. It is also very disrespectful to those in the armed forces, to firefighters, to the thousands of people who every day put themselves at risk for the sake of others.

Not only going makeup-free is not brave, in some cases it can be selfish. Yes, selfish. After all, when the umpteenth celebrity posts a picture of herself without makeup on (and have you noticed how these pictures are snapped at the most advantageous angles and never when a zit has sprung its ugly head on their noses?), they do so because they know they are going to be praised for being so “real”, “down to earth”, “one of us” and “very beautiful nonetheless under all that makeup”.

Now, as a beauty blogger, I’m obviously all for makeup. I consider makeup as an accessory that you should put on whenever you feel like it. Makeup allows us to enhance our best features and hide our flaws, so why shouldn’t we use it if we want to? Just don’t call us brave when we decide not to. In some cases, lazy may be a better word. Now, I’m not saying that all women who don’t put on makeup are lazy.

Some women just aren’t interested in makeup and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. But as someone who loves wearing a different makeup look every day, when I decide not to put it on, I do so because that day I honestly cannot be bothered. I mean, I’m not gonna spend half an hour doing my makeup just to go out to get some bread for instance. And I can’t be the only one foregoing makeup every now and then out of laziness.

In the end, whether you decide to wear makeup or not is fine. Just please, let’s keep a little perspective on it and stop putting those who don’t wear makeup for whatever reason in the same category as those who put themselves at risk for the good of others. They’re heroes. Not wearing makeup doesn’t make you one.

What are your thoughts?

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  1. says

    I can understand why some people might think it is being brave, especially with the Western ideal of beauty, but I do agree with you. I think it’s great that people can fearlessly wear or not wear makeup.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Amanda, I agree that for people who are particularly insecure about their appearance, stepping out of the house without makeup on is a big deal. But still, I don’t think that brave is the right word to use. It puts them in the same category as those who risk their lives to save others and not wearing makeup doesn’t even come close to that.

  2. Julia says

    OMG! I agree 100% with all that you said. It is up to each individual whether or not they wear makeup, and either way should be respected as their personal choice. I am one of those that consider makeup an “accessory”, to have fun with, to reflect my mood, and I am getting sick of the turn mainstream opinion has been taking, that women who wear makeup are either extremely insecure, slutty and/or “fake” and “brainwashed” by society, and going makeup-less is some brave act of baring their inner true soul. You have no idea how many times I have been told (often “well-intentioned”) to not wear makeup, because “you are beautiful without makeup”, “you don’t need it” “you don’t need to care what others think”. Oh really, people? I guess then I’ll just keep on wearing makeup every day then! I wish more people would realize that most people who do choose to wear makeup are not balls of raging insecurity, and that those who don’t wear makeup aren’t some shining beacons of radical genuineness in a sea of made-up fakes.

  3. beautifulwithbrains says

    Julia, well said! I completely agree with you. I’m so tired of this need to label everyone and everything. Why can’t we just wear or not wear makeup without being labelled either as insecure or brave? It’s ridiculous to make such a big deal about makeup. I too think of it as an accessory that people should put on when they feel like it. If you do, good for you. If you don’t, good for you too. Like you said, either way it is a personal choice and should be respected, not judged and blown out of all proportions. That’s so annoying!

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Eight, I agree. Smaller acts of bravery exist indeed, but not wearing makeup doesn’t qualify as that.

  4. Janessa says

    I love wearing makeup but I just don’t use every product. I wear makeup everyday and it’s a must for me. I respect you even more for mentioning those who are actually courageous like firefighters, policemen, the military. So happy you posted this. :]

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Janessa, I’m glad you enjoyed it. We should all be able to wear or not wear makeup without people making such a fuss about it. It’s just a personal choice in the end, and it’s offensive how the media turns not wearing makeup into something heroic when it’s not.

  5. Regn says

    I completely agree with you! What also makes me really angry are situations when a celebrity or someone well-known reveals their pic without make-up and people are terribly shocked about their different looks (in a bad way). And actually there’s nothing to be shocked about. We wear make-up in order to look good, this means that we obviously don’t look so gorgeous without it 😀 It’s the same among celebrities and exactly the same among “ordinary” people. People are so strange sometimes…

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Regn, I agree with you. I believe a lot of it is down to the press. They always find ways to sensationalize and exaggerate even the most ordinary of things. They play with the truth so much that unfortunately some people don’t seem to know what’s real and what’s illusion anymore. It’s quite worrying.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Makeup Morsels, I agree. I wish people stopped trying to find some hidden reason to wear or not to wear makeup. It’s just an accessory and usually, whether you wear it or not, just comes down to personal preference.

      And thank you!

  6. Viv says

    Love this – so true! In fact, wearing makeup for me is sometimes more brave (at family occasions anyway), as I always get comments about how I’m wearing makeup!! I wear makeup when/if I want to – yes, I would nearly always wear makeup for work, otherwise when it suits me. In fact, I have been known to turn up for work with no makeup when I’m suffering some sort of reaction to makeup (happens a few times a year), and no-one was bothered – including me :)

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Viv, I’m sorry to hear about your reactions to makeup. I do turn up for work without makeup on sometimes and no one cares either. It’s not really that big a deal to go out makeup-free (unless you’re particularly insecure). It’s not like anything bad is gonna happen to you if you don’t wear makeup daily. And the fuss the media creates around it is just so silly and irritating!

  7. says

    once again, I love your posts!
    Thanks for pointing out the hypocrisy that can be behind calling someone brave for not wearing makeup.

    It really depends – and I agree, it’s kind of disingenuous for a beautiful celebrity to post a makeup-free face, when normal women get bashed just for weighing (or appearing to weigh) more than the “norm.” However, maybe the posts will remind people (or help them realize) how much fashion/publicity photos are airbrushed, etc.
    kuri´s last blog post baumkuchen so farMy Profile

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Kuri, you’re welcome and thank you! I’m glad you like them.

      I do believe that celebrities posting photos of themselves makeup-free may help, to some extent, people realise that you don’t have to wear makeup to be loved/appreciated. But at the same time, I can’t help but feel that many post such pictures for the wrong reasons… But if it is help someone anyway, good. Just let’s not call them brave.

  8. Dtmoss says

    I don’t think you realize what kind of chemicals are in make-up. Harmful disease causing chemicals like lead and phthalates? I don’t know if it’s necessarily a brave act to choose not to wear make-up– but it’s definitely a smart one.

    In case you didn’t know, phthalates– with enough exposure– will fuck up your baby making system. So you can say goodbye to having normal looking kids. Instead, if it’s even possible for you to produce *phthalates are known to severely lower sperm count, your baby’s going to come up with equally unequal reproductive systems. In some cases, they aren’t even fully formed, so you can say goodbye to continuing your family tree. Furthermore, phthalates are linked to breast cancer so while you may be concerned with “bettering” your facial features, using these cosmetics puts you at a greater risk to saying goodbye to your tata’s or even your life. If looking pretty is more important to you than your life than I’m sure you should be part of this “beautiful with brains” website.

    Additionally, whether or not it’s brave to choose not to wear make-up it’s definitely a brave act to choose not to wear make-up in protest to the average 515 one toxic chemicals YOU are exposed to daily by choosing to wear make-up as well as in protest against the disgusting emphasis put on by the media to wear make-up.

    My suggestion for you and all your readers is to take a gander at this link, I’ve provided, and educate yourself a little bit more before you decide to publicly declare women who don’t wear make-up as “not brave”. You don’t know their reasons. Protesting against a huge establishment, especially publicly, is brave in my book.

    Also, for your own health, you should probably switch to organic cosmetics and spend an extra buck now so you don’t have to in 15 years when all your systems are failing.

    • Dtmoss says

      Furthermore, I took a look at your A-Z list. You are missing a lot of ingredients. You can’t just include some ingredients and omit others– you’ll end up misleading people?

      Where is the lead?
      Where is the information on the destruction of other deadly 515 chemicals? Your list doesn’t even match that number?

      GAH your website makes me so mad. There is so much misleading information on here.

      • beautifulwithbrains says

        Dtmoss, the A-Z list is a work in progress. Every Saturday, I add a new ingredient to it. Eventually, I plan to include them all, but I doubt lead will make the list because, as I have already explained, it’s not an ingredient used in cosmetics. It’s a trace substance found in some dyes and those will be the ones I’ll list in my dictionary. I’ve already written a post about lead though, you can check it out here I don’t think you’re gonna like it though. It’s based on the true results of scientific studies, not their misinterpretation by people who mean well but, because they don’t have a scientific background, can’t really understand them properly.

        I’m sorry that my website makes you mad. My opinions are all based on science and if science doesn’t prove that something is bad, then I have no choice but to state that. Just like you have a choice to keep believing what you prefer.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      Dtmoss, yes, I do realize what chemicals are in cosmetics as I’ve been studying them for years now and I can assure there is nothing in these products that will kill you. It’s illegal to put toxic substances in cosmetics. The dangers of these substances are very often exaggerated by well-meaning people who don’t know how to read scientific studies and thus get scared easily.

      How dangerous an ingredient is depends on its concentration and its ability to penetrate the skin. The purpose of the skin is to keep things OUT of the body and it does a wonderful job at that. Most of the chemicals we apply on our skin remain on its surface. Those that can penetrate inside it are more strictly regulated to make sure they won’t be harmful. Also, many ingredients used in cosmetics are also added to foods so, if they are found inside the body, they very likely got there when you ate them, not when you applied them topically on the skin.

      In addition, an ingredient that can be harmful in high doses is perfectly safe in the minuscule amounts that are used in cosmetics. Not to mention that most of the studies that found that an ingredient is toxic, carcinogenic or otherwise dangerous were conducted on animals, which were usually exposed to very high doses of it. Thus, these results just don’t translate to humans.

      The research on phthalates is, at this moment, inconclusive. The FDA claims that, at the small levels used in cosmetics, these compounds are not harmful. Many companies have decided to stop using them anyway as that’s what a lot of customers want, so you can simply choose to buy products that don’t contain them.

      Lead instead isn’t included in cosmetics. It’s a trace product that can be found in some dyes used to make lipsticks, but again the quantity is so minuscule to be harmless. Even if you ate your entire lipstick you wouldn’t get enough lead in your body to cause an illness. Besides, do you know that water contains small amounts of lead too, and yet we’re recommended to drink 8 glasses of it a day? Our livers and kidney do a marvellous job at getting rid of toxins when they are present in the body in small amounts, so you shouldn’t worry about that.

      Of course your health is much more important than makeup. You shouldn’t put your health at risk but you shouldn’t become paranoid either. The truth is that, at the minuscule concentrations at which these substances are used, they aren’t dangerous. And even if they were, you can be sure that the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe, which are all very polluted, will kill us off much, much sooner. Those are the things we should be worried about, not makeup.

      I’ve checked the link you provided, but those claims have been refuted by scientists. Again, they refer to when an ingredient is used in high concentrations, is ingested or inhaled, but don’t apply to topical cosmetic application. When science will prove that one of these ingredients is really dangerous, then I will stop using it and advice everyone else to do the same. But until then, I don’t see any reason to stop.

      Organic products aren’t safer. Many organic products contain synthetic ingredients that aren’t natural at all. Besides, there are lots of plants that have estrogen-like effects, just like phthalates, or are simply irritating, yet no one seems to complain about that. Why? There are some good organic products out there, but most of them are a waste of money and aren’t safest in the least.

      Finally, while I hate the way our society is obsessed about looks and beauty, and I agree that we should rebel against that, I still think that women who choose not to wear makeup aren’t brave. If you decide not to wear makeup, the worst that can happen to you is to be considered less attractive, but you won’t be ostracized nor risk your life, so where’s the bravery? You need to run some risks to be brave and by not wearing makeup you simply don’t.

      • Dtmoss says

        Thank you for replying to my comment.
        First off, I want to say that I may not a scientific background but that I do have a background and career which requires that I have knowledge of potentially harmful chemicals. I question that statement that you have a scientific background. Your A-Z list looks like you got the information off of wiki-pedia and only read the intro.
        The fact of the matter is that, yes in small concentrations nothing is harmless but we are not dosed with small concentrations. And yes, we are all entitled to our own “opinions” but I think you forget that we live in a capitalistic and materialistic society. Money is what matters for people these days and these people who make that money don’t care about putting you in harm’s way for a quick buck. That being said, I would advise you to use your critical thinking skills and ask yourself… should I really trust what make-up companies are telling me? Do they have my health and best interest in mind or is the amount of revenue they gather every year more important to them? How strict is the FDA? Did you know, miss beautifulwithbrains, that here in the great USA a company can use any chemical new or old until someone or some organization PROVES with a heavy amount of evidence that this chemical is harmful to humans. In the EU (European union) a company must prove that something ISNT harmful before it can be placed on the market. Now, using my own critical thinking skills, I’d say that I’m not going to put my faith and my health in the hands of huge corporations out to make a buck.
        Furthermore, although, yes you say that small amounts of these chemicals are in cosmetics will not harm us but will it harm us if this “small amount” is combined with other “small amounts” and more and more and more. It’s like transfat… you may think eating one slice of cake with transfat might not be all that hazardous but when combined with the other 25 choice things you decided to nibble on throughout the day, it becomes a little bit more dangerous. With these chemicals it’s the same. The problem is that yes, they are in cosmetics, and yes they are in food, and sure maybe in the water– but their also located in unstable plastics. These unstable plastics, which contain the very same phthalates that you believe to be harmless, are leaked from these plastics (from wear and tear creating microscopic rips between the bonds). You know that plasticy smell? Yeah, that’s not supposed to happen. Plastic SHOULDN’T smell. If it does, it’s because you’re smelling the release of a various chemical. These chemicals thus leak out into our food, our water, onto us, and yes, into our already chemical-filled make-up. I don’t know how great of a mathematician you are but last time I checked adding the chemicals you’ve been contaminated with equals a higher number in the end, and a likelier chance of disease, infertility, and so on.
        Thus being said, I am not just some concerned citizen “who misinterprets scientific studies”. I think it is you who misinterprets. Or choses to overlook what she doesn’t want to see. And I’m not overly worried or paranoid— I am simply well aware of what’s actually going on. My career requires that I have knowledge of these things because guess what sweetheart—I’m the one who decides what a new shoe should be made out of or if the interior of this car should be plastic. Because I am a woman, I take my knowledge and extend it a little farther to make sure that I’m correctly educated about cosmetics as well. Your website just angers me because it gives false hope. You are incorrectly educated those who seek knowledge about make-up and because your website is called “beautywithbrains” I’m sure a lot of people think you have some sort of credible background to educate the masses. I only ask that if you must continue this dribble of a website that you a least attempt to put correct information out there. Just because the FDA says something is safe, doesn’t mean it’s actually safe. The FDA, miss self-proclaimed beauty, is a heap of horseshit run by lobbyists and corporations alike. You actually believe that if something is toxic, they won’t allow it to be added to your everyday products? Sister, I make those products and believe me, there are a whole lot of people who could care less if you can produce because you were exposed to too many phthalates. There are actual designers out there who make and design a product because it looks cool. They will use whatever plastic filled with whatever chemical they want because they can—they are hidden behind huge corporations like General Electric who don’t have to give us, their suppliers, or our government any information on the stuff that goes inside of their products. I don’t know if you heard but trade-secrets are kept secret. Chemical companies don’t have to tell us and sure as hell don’t have to tell the government.
        Lastly, go ahead and do your own research on the matter. The FDA has banned 9 chemicals. 9! You really believe that there are only 9 chemicals out of the thousands and thousands of chemicals that are toxic? Only 9???? The European Union has banned over 1000 chemicals. And us, only 9. You should also keep in mind that a lot of products aren’t made or produced in the United States which opens a whole other box of problems. Just because something might be banned in use here doesn’t mean it’s not banned in China and guess what? Those products are still allowed to come over and be sold here because once again… they are “treat secrets”.
        What I see here is you, a poorly informed individual… attempting to educate the masses, and allowing the FDA and all the other companies pull the wool over your pretty little mascaraed eyes.

        • beautifulwithbrains says

          I do no get the information for my ingredient posts from Wikipedia. I never use it for this blog because I know it’s not a reliable source. Instead I get my information from sites like, paula begoun’s dictionary, and other sources that base their information on science. If the language I use is so simple is because I’m trying to make cosmetic chemistry, which is a complicated and, to most boring, subject, accessible to everyone. If I used a more scientific language, no one would read it.

          Yes, I know that big corporations aren’t angels and they care too much about the money and too little for the people, but that doesn’t mean they are putting toxic stuff in their cosmetics on purpose. In fact, that would be a very stupid thing to do. The purpose of any company is to make money and that’s very difficult to do when you kill off your customers. If they added toxic stuff, people would get ill, maybe even die, and as a result, they would get bad publicity and probably even be sued! And no one would buy from them again. I do not trust many of the claims they make (their products won’t make my wrinkles disappear or make me look 10 years younger), but I also don’t believe that they will harm us on purpose. That would eventually backfire on them.

          Besides, it’s not really the big CEOs or bosses that make cosmetics. They wouldn’t know how to. They probably don’t even know what the ingredients in cosmetics do. Cosmetic chemists make cosmetics. Sure, they may have instructions. Their boss may tell them to add a certain amount of plants to a product so they can claim it’s organic or to include a particular ingredient because it’s popular at the moment, but I can’t see them saying, “Oh, add a few ounces of lead and a pinch of mercury while you’re at it.” Why would cosmetic chemists want to kill us?

          As for accumulation of cosmetic ingredients in the body, that’s not really a concern because it doesn’t happen. Women don’t apply an entire tube of lipstick and an entire jar of moisturizer on their faces in one go. They use a minuscule amount of each product and even if they applied a full face of makeup, they would still get exposed to a much smaller quantity of chemicals than they do when they drink a glass a water! Besides, as I have already mentioned, skin does a great job at keeping things OUT of the body. This means that the vast majority of ingredients we apply on our skin never penetrates inside the body, and if they can’t penetrate, how can they accumulate? There are some ingredients that can get inside the body, but even then you would be exposed to only a very, very, very tiny amount that will then be eliminated by the body. It’s the kidneys’ job to eliminate all the dangerous toxins and they do it very well.

          I am not misinterpreting scientific studies. Simply put, a lot of them are conducted on animals, which are injected with massive doses of a chemical. It’s not surprise that as a result, they get sick and die. But still, these results don’t apply to humans. If you want me to believe that my cosmetics are killing me or preventing me from having children or whatever then you will have to show me studies that show there is a direct link between the way these ingredients are used in cosmetics and these diseases. When that’ll happen, I’ll be the first to boycott the products and will update all the info on this website. Until then, I don’t see any reason to do so.

          It’s true that the EU has banned a lot more chemicals, but did you know that most of the ingredients on the list is stuff that isn’t used in cosmetics anyway? What’s the point of banning something if no one uses it anyway? After all, adding an ingredient to a product costs money and I doubt cosmetic companies would want to spent money to add some chemical that’s unnecessary, unless it’s a plant extract they can use to attract naive customers.

          It doesn’t matter where a product is manufactured. If you want to sell your cosmetics in a country then you will have to follow their laws. That’s why MAC had to change their policy on animal cosmetics when they decided to start selling in China. The Chinese government requires it and they had to obey. Likewise, if they want to sell in the USA or Europe, their products have to comply with the laws of those countries. If they don’t, then they are illegal. Also, there are some formulations that are trade secrets, like fragrances, but the law both in the EU and USA state that the ingredient list must be printed on the label, so you know what your cosmetics contain.

          I agree that the FDA could use stricter standards, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t care about the people and that it’s not protecting them. If all these chemicals were so dangerous, then why hasn’t no one died because of a lipstick yet? People get ill because we live in a polluted world and we eat crappy food, not because we apply moisturizer in the morning! I’m really sorry to see that your body has made you so cynical. Companies do a lot of things they shouldn’t for money and it’s thus hard to trust them, but that doesn’t mean they want to kill us all off.

          And yes, I live in Italy. Most of my readers live in the USA which is why I often mention the FDA. I do sometimes mention the legislation here in Europe when it is different from the one in the USA. Again, if I kept referring to all the different organizations in each post, it would be boring and dry and no one would read it, so I just include what is most relevant to my readers. The FDA could be given more powers for sure, but I still believe it’s a reliable organization that does the best it can for its citizens.

          • Viv says

            Good answer. I love this blog – and (with all respect to the lovely Gio) that’s what it is – a blog. It is NOT a scientific journal; and I’m sure Gio would never say that it is. It is informative, very tempting, and well written (in my humble opinion). It is also lovely that Gio always takes the time to reply to comments – much appreciated. I read many blogs – beauty, political and others – and often disagree with what I read. I am too lazy to comment too often with reasoned arguments about what I read, but when I do I hope that I would never make very unpleasant personal comments. If I don’t like a particular blog, I stop reading it. Gio has replied to this in a very sensible, balanced way, without resorting to being personal. Go Gio!

            • beautifulwithbrains says

              Viv, thank you for your kind words. And you’re right. This is not a scientific journal, it’s just a blog. Everything I write here is my personal opinion ( which is based on scientific studies and research) and should be taken as such. I don’t claim to have all answers and scientific knowledge is subject to revision and refinement as new data appears, but I do a lot of research before publishing something as I wouldn’t want to recommend to people something that’s bad for them.

              People will always disagree. I just hope we can express our opinions in a civil way.

            • Viv says

              Actually – sincere thanks for that website – I’ve got numerous allergies, and I am actually pretty careful about what I use – this is a great source of info for what to avoid :)

            • beautifulwithbrains says

              Dtmoss, I’m already familiar with that website and I’m afraid it can’t be trusted at all. I’m sure the EWG means well, but they don’t understand science at all and very often misinterpret, twist and exaggerate the results of scientific studies. In fact, whenever they release a report, you only have to wait a day or two before scientists refute it. Unfortunately because headlines such “your lipstick is killing you” sell more than those that say “your lipstick is fine”, the press dedicates more space to the EWG reports than to the real findings of scientists, and as a result, lies and half-truths are spread and believed by many well-meaning people.

              Besides, the EWG isn’t as innocent as it seems and some of its practices are questionable to say the least. They refuse, for instance, to remove from their websites brands and products when request by their owners and it seems they have been violating tax laws too. You may want to check out these links:



      • Dtmoss says

        Also, your about me says you are from Europe. Why did you mention the FDA? Wouldn’t it be the EMEA in Europe? Surely, you know that the FDA and EMEA are very different. One protects you and one could care less. And if it is the case that you are from europe, my apologies. The EU does a much better job of protecting it’s citizens than the US. That being said, I still stand behind all of my comment. If you are from Europe but now living in the US than you are just unaware of the United State’s policies on chemical control– it lacks… severely. If you are currently living in Europe, I ask that you at least take in to consideration that you might have American readers whose government doesn’t restrict or protect it’s citizens to the extent of the EFSA or the EMEA, whatever it may be.

  9. says

    Just wanted to say, I love the balanced, substantiated information that you offer on your website. There’s too much misinformation out there.

  10. a secret says

    I have to say that in todays society and depending on the situation I do believe that not wearing makeup is in fact “brave”. The definition of brave is in fact “Endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behavior) without showing fear: “we had to brave the heat”.” Hence the conditions part. With todays society if one is going out without makeup, and usually wears it, they have no idea what to expect from others and it is in fact very scary and these people DO deserve praise. I will not be replying again, thank you.

    • beautifulwithbrains says

      A Secret, thank you for your comment. I see your point, but I do not agree entirely. I have gone out without makeup several times (I usually wear it) and nothing bad has ever happened to me. No one even commented about it, let alone isolate me or worse because of it. And I’m not the only one. Imo, it’s only the media who cares about these silly things and makes such a fuss when someone goes out barefaced. Most people just couldn’t care less whether someone wears makeup or not. Those who don’t wear makeup don’t really have to endure any unpleasant conditions and they surely shouldn’t be afraid to go out without it. It never really crossed my mind that I should worry if I decide not to wear it. Maybe you’ll occasionally find someone who makes a negative comment about a woman not wearing makeup, but then there will always be rude people around who will find something to criticise just because they can.

      • Olivia says

        I have to disagree with your reasoning because of the way that you are thinking about the “unpleasant conditions” that you’ve mentioned. To clarify, you’ve said that you haven’t experienced anyone pointing out your flaws when not wearing makeup so therefore you and other women not wearing makeup should not be afraid to go barefaced. However, I think the largest issue that a woman might face with not wearing makeup, especially in a society where the use of makeup is so prevalent, is if she has any issues with self esteem and feels less than attractive herself. I think that it has less to do with others comparing her to made up women and more to do with holding her own level of beauty to these standards. When thought about in terms of a woman overcoming an internal conflict (as opposed to “standing up against society,” or what have you), it seems far more deserving of being deemed a brave act.

        Also, referring to a clean floor as “shining” does not mean that the sun shines any less bright; the same goes for the various degrees of what is considered brave, where one brave act does not eclipse the others.

        • beautifulwithbrains says

          Olivia, I agree with you that, if a woman has low self-esteem, then going out without wearing makeup is a big deal to her. And that her low self-esteem is, in large part, due to the unrealistic and impossible-to-achieve ideal of beauty the media bombards us with. Yet, to call women who don’t wear makeup brave simply reinforces this message, implying that the real you, without makeup and other embellishing tools, if something you should be ashamed of. We need to stop this way of thinking, and start challenging the unhealthy messages the media promotes, if we truly want to help women raise their self-esteem. Women believe that something horrible will happen to them if they don’t always appear perfect to the world, because that’s what the media wants them to believe. But in real life, nothing like that will happen, and if women tried, they may actually realise that and start wondering what other lies the media has fed them. Linking the word brave with not wearing makeup instead sends a very dangerous message imo.

  11. Gwynhwyfar says

    Interesting debate! I’d never given much thought to the ingredients in makeup, but I will now. As for “bravery”, that idea also never entered my mind, in regard to wearing or not wearing makeup. Coming from the 60-70’s g-g-generation, I didn’t wear any makeup (except to a horrible prom my mother forced me to attend!) for many years. It just wasn’t something we cared about.

    If I did, it was later, as I began going out partying and dancing. It was done for fun, to get into the spirit of the thing, not so much to alter my looks. My girlfriends and I would even have photo sessions in which we’d dress up in vintage clothing (1950’s prom dresses, for example, and imitate the cosmetic look of those days). Again, more fun than function.

    The one cosmetic I used lots of was absorbent powder, due to my oily skin, which persists. My main complaint about wearing makeup is that it clogs pores and ages you if you don’t remove it before bed. It probably does those things while you’re wearing it. And, being one of the laziest people on Earth, I often chose simply to wear no makeup rather than fuss with removing it before bed.

    As I age, however, I find more of a defensive “urge” to camouflage my years (to a point) with makeup, but not overly so. I used to laugh at the other moms, when my son was in primary school, who would show up to drop their kids off, dressed to the nines and made up as if for a photo shoot! Whom were they trying to impress? Other women, of course. That’s a big part of the problem I have with makeup. Most MEN will tell you they’d rather not see women with their faces plastered with mascara, eye shadow, blush and fire-engine red lipstick. I agree.

    Many’s the time I’ve wished that my favorite actresses, like Kate Winslet, would remove their makeup (she wore far too much as an Edwardian socialite in “Titanic”, for instance!). It’s not a matter of bravery to me, but my view that they just don’t need it. Sure, some people (including men) DO, such as those who have large birthmarks or scars they would rather camouflage. Again, that’s personal preference.

    However, I must say that even my 88-year-old mother can still look beautiful and even glamourous when she makes up for an outing with her friends, though normally, she wears no makeup at all. Her dolling up is fine, because it makes her feel good–and what’s better than that?

    Like BODY IMAGE, it should be a personal preference when it comes to wearing makeup. (Though I would add that accepting excess weight or not enough of it, is much more of a health issue than a cosmetic one…or should be).

    One thing I’d like to add is that lifestyle has a huge impact on how good someone’s skin looks. When you’re healthy, fit and avoid things like cigarettes and alcohol, your skin has its own inner beauty–and that can’t be faked. I wish more people would focus on their health than their looks, myself included!

    • Gio says

      Gywnhwyfar, thank you for such a thoughtful and honest comment. I’m glad that I got you thinking about the ingredients in your cosmetics.

      About makeup, personally I love it. I find using it and wearing it so much fun (although removing it is a chore). But it really annoys me when people say you must wear makeup to look good. You don’t. No one does. Makeup should be something you use because you enjoy how it makes you feel, not to impress others. Unfortunately, I know it is a lot easier said than done in our society, where we all tend to focus more on outer than inner beauty.

      And you’re right, accepting yourself as you are, and leading a healthy lifestyle will do much more for your looks and well-being than all the makeup in the world.

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