Thought Catalog

100 Women On What It’s Like To Go Makeup-Free

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The first human women to line their eyes and stain their lips were the ancient Egyptians, their aesthetic efforts an attempt to mask features of their face to make them appear less closer to death. After millennias of cosmetic evolution, and of course, a less animalistic approach to partner selection, it seems modern women are faced with a conundrum: is makeup an art and a liberation, or does it mask who we really are?

We like to throw around the politically neutralizing phrase: “whatever works for you!” especially when it comes to aesthetics, yet we rarely talk about the multitude of perspectives women have on any particular issue, especially one that is so closely married to society’s concept of what it means to be successful, beautiful or wanted.

Makeup is a personal choice, not a social obligation, and photographer Steve Osemwankhae recognized that there was an opportunity to let women respond on this very front. His photo project, the No Makeup Series features over 100 women in a series of portraits, sharing with the world both their faces and their thoughts, completely stripped down.

“The idea for this series came to me on the MBTA’s commuter rail one morning,” Osemwenkhae told HelloGiggles in an interview. “A woman was tussling through her bag as I was trying to get a quick nap. With all the commotion, I looked up and saw she was applying makeup. I couldn’t understand it as it is something I am not familiar with. As she layered her face with lotion and foundation, I started to think about how to showcase natural beauty. At that moment, I decided to take on the no makeup project with a few friends.”

Yet, he makes it clear that he in no way judges or condemns the use of makeup. Rather, he just has an interest in the different ways we celebrate and express beauty, and how women think of themselves with and without the magic of a mascara wand. “It’s a vehicle to showcase natural beauty, but also to change the narrative on how we define beauty as a whole.”

1.

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“I think that makeup should be an option for people who want to wear it, but not a requirement. As a woman and a college student living with four other females, I feel pressure to wear it from the people around me, and often get comments pointing out that I do not regularly wear makeup. I think everyone should feel beautiful in their own skin and not self-conscious of imperfections that we all have. Instead, I think we should embrace the beauty that we were given and use makeup more as a highlight of that beauty than as a mask to create society’s idea of beauty.” – Lydia Lee

2.

“Makeup is expensive and takes away from the natural beauty that we have been blessed with and given. But there are so many different things you can do with makeup. So many different aspects to it and many different styles. The power of makeup is truly amazing, especially when it comes to photos. You can cover up anything, but also create beautiful masterpieces with it as well.” – Raha

3.

“When I was growing up, makeup was a way to change who I was and emulate those I admired. Nowadays, it’s more about being comfortable and owning my own skin … It shouldn’t be about changing or hiding things, but about enhancing the features you love and what makes you unique.” – Elissa Garza

4.

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“I like what I see when I look in the mirror. It took me years to be able to actually say that out loud. Makeup, for me, is a tool to enhance what’s already there. I enjoy experimenting with different eyeshadow colors and shades of lipstick to make me more beautiful, but I realize that I can be just as beautiful without all of that.” – Aisha Lomax

5.

“I don’t hate makeup, but I’m not in love with it either! I’m for whatever makes a woman look and feel wonderful! When I’m not at work, a little lipstick and mascara are enough for me.” – Vivian Terzian

6.

“I don’t necessarily ‘love’ makeup, but I have also just started wearing makeup about one year ago. I’ve always been a plain jane for most of my life and only wore makeup for special occasions … I still do not go full-on five layers of makeup. My makeup consists of just eye color and lip gloss. No foundation for me, even though I have tons of blemishes. I love my plain jane JLo as much as done-up JLo.” – Jennifer “JLo” Lopez (Not the singer.)

7.

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“My mom never wore makeup, and she always told me I didn’t need it and wouldn’t let me wear it. So I never got in the habit of putting on makeup. I don’t hate it or love it, I just really value my mom’s opinion.” – Kayla McGarrell

8.

“Growing up a ballerina made some of my fondest memories associated with stage makeup and performing, but I don’t think anyone should be judged or deemed less beautiful because they choose to show off their natural beauty.” – Camille N’Diaye-Mulle

9.

“I wear makeup to the degree that it pleases me; I always think about who I am doing it for and what it does for me.” – Halah Ahmad

10.

“I have an unconditional love for makeup. My profession is Makeup. It is my business, it is my passion, it is my livelihood. However, I’m a believer that makeup is not something that every woman NEEDS. It’s a tool to help enhance all the natural beauty that all woman already possess. Or for an expression of creativity. I wear makeup almost every day as I am a representation of my craft, but I also wear it for ME.” – Lisa Roche

11.

“I love makeup as an art, I’m just too lazy to do art on my face every morning.” – Miranda Tyson

12.

“I definitely have a love/hate relationship with makeup. Being an actress/model, makeup is a regular part of the job and my life. You have to wear makeup on most shoots, even if just going for a natural look. I LOVE getting my makeup done professionally by someone else, but I do not necessarily enjoy doing it myself for auditions or shoots where you are required to do your own makeup.” – Tre Alexander

13.

“There is something transforming about makeup. There’s nothing like the feeling that a pair of fake eyelashes and a swipe of red lipstick gives me; I feel empowered, ready to take on the world … The disadvantage of makeup is how the ads that sell it portray perfection. In a world of airbrushing and Photoshop, I’m concerned about the images that we are showing to the girls of the next generation.” – Jesse

14.

“The makeup industry intimidates me. I can’t keep up with the most popular brand or hottest trend. Every time I turn on the television, drive on the highway, browse through a magazine or even sign on Facebook, ad after of ad of gorgeous airbrushed women take over selling you lipstick that can plump up your lips or mascara to make your eyelashes longer. You can’t escape it. So many women feed into the advertisements, hoping they can replicate the image being sold by the makeup industry. It is just too much for me. I don’t have the patience or money for it. I do find makeup artists very talented and respect their craft. I guess I am just too simple.

When I do wear makeup, I go for a very natural look. I don’t feel comfortable with a lot of makeup on my skin. I wear it to accentuate my eyes or have a pop of color on my lips. Makeup doesn’t define my beauty. I feel beautiful with or without it. As I get older, I am learning to embrace the flaws on skin such as the blemishes from my teenage years and dark circles under my eyes from aging. Foundation and corrective concealer can hide it, but won’t magically make the flaws on my skin disappear. The best makeup in my opinion is a good night of sleep, a good skin regimen, lots of water, and a healthy diet. Embrace your natural beauty.” – Jessica Zamansky

15.

“I used to wear tons of makeup in middle school like colorful eyeshadow since it was artsy and I’m an artsy person but I was still bullied by some boys for wearing colorful eyeshadow. In high school and college I wear minimal makeup which looks more natural; I wear it to highlight some parts of my face so I look presentable to people!” – Susan Yim

16.

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“I personally look at it as an art.. I think it’s a form of expression. I do think some depend on it so much that it affects you on the inside to a certain degree. And its important to appreciate natural beauty in all of us.” – Marcy Hodel

17.

“Media definitely has a huge influence on our idea of beauty and what is “appropriate” in the society. It projects the trends that are in the fashion industry and therefore guide women on what is the current “thing” to do. In my opinion it’s fun and a cool way to express yourself, experimenting with different looks, making yourself look different. Personally, it gives me more confidence and I believe I look prettier with makeup on. BUT the important thing for any woman is to feel beautiful in any situation, with or without makeup and that’s where the media isn’t helping, as it portrays perfection (skin, eyes, lips) and we try to reach that perfection through makeup. We are all perfect in our own way.” – Evelina Tolstykh

18.

“Makeup is really creative and fun. I love makeup. But is nice too to go natural. Makeup brings different sides of someone’s personality.” – Genevive

19.

“I have always been afraid of clowns. When people used to ask my why, I would tell them that it was because they made me nervous because it felt that with their painted on faces they were hiding something. Over these past few years I have struggled a lot with depression and self image, and it made me question all that I was hiding. I remember how at some times the only time I ever felt confident was with my own painted on face. Is this makeup’s fault? I don’t think so. But there was something that I did realize after coming out of whatever dark place I was at: on the days that I am happy, I feel so much more beautiful than makeup can ever make me feel.” – Sioned Kay Kirkpatrick

20.

Do you remember the first day we met? I told you how beautiful I thought one of your models was. And I told you that it was because she looked so happy. Happiness is beautiful. If makeup makes you happy, then wear it! If not, then don’t worry about it. Regardless we should all strut our stuff, be confident, and be happy, because that’s what true beauty is.” – Jayne Costello Goode

21.

“Makeup, or the absence of it, is one accessory that I use to express a mood, an attitude, or image at a particular moment, in a given situation. Sometimes, the most powerful way to project strength, is to wear no makeup at all. War paint does not make the warrior princess.” – Amber Skye

22.

“Makeup should never be a necessity… Every body has natural beauty. I believe a smile is the sexiest thing you can wear… And you can do that without makeup. Makeup is a fun playful thing to use to accentuate the natural beauty you already have… When you have the time for it…. But I’d rather just get up and go and let my natural beauty shine.” – Kris-Ellen Gillette

23.

“I really don’t like makeup, I feel like it gives people who don’t wear it more reasons to feel insecure and uncomfortable with how they look. The people who don’t cake their faces in makeup shouldn’t have to feel insecure or uncomfortable because people around them hide their blemishes and their own insecurities with concealer and cover up.

But makeup clearly helps other people to feel better about themselves so it can’t be all bad. Make up can help people boost their confidence by hiding their dark marks and blemishes. If makeup helps you go ahead and wear it be confident in yourself, if you don’t like wearing makeup don’t but don’t let the ones who do make you think less of yourself.” – Kayla Daly

24.

“I have hidden emotionally behind make-up ever since I was allowed to wear it. I had always had problem skin as a teen that caused huge insecurity for me. As I grew older I think it became more of a mask to symbolically hide my emotions, hiding anxiety, insecurity, depression. I go no where without my makeup. When I heard about the No Make Up Series I knew it was a challenge I needed, not one that I wanted. As a business owner, music therapist, and licensed mental health counselor, I always have to appear like I “have it together.” So I went, hiding behind a smile and BB Cream which I was asked to wipe off. I took my photo with a familiar object to help calm my nerves (guitalele) and left. I cried the rest of the day. Authentic self-love is a battle worth fighting. We owe it to our children and teens to show them it’s worth the fight. Loving oneself shouldn’t be a privilege, or earned, it comes with living. You are beautiful, you have a purpose, and it’s to be you, authentically.” – Shannen Kim

25.

“I love makeup because it gives me confidence. I hate makeup because it gives me confidence” – Isadora Laveau

26.

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“I would say that I enjoy makeup but I feel we rely on it too much. We forget to embrace our natural beauty because of societies standards on how women should look. We don’t need all this highlighting and contouring of makeup to be beautiful, just a simple smile. It’s taken me a long time to not only get comfortable but also embrace my naked face but I’m so glad that have. Not only have I saved a ton of money, I have also saved myself an extra 10-15 minutes while getting ready!” – Ali Baldassare

27.

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“Reasons I don’t like makeup is 1. For the obvious reason of – I sweat for a living so I want my skin to be able to breathe naturally and freely. 2. I’m completely comfortable and confident without makeup on and it’s a way to express owning who you truly are.

Reasons I like makeup: 1. Same reason I don’t like makeup is one of the reasons why I do – on days when I feel off or like I need a little facial “pick me up”, a little makeup helps me look and feel better. When you spend day in and day out in spandex and sports bras, a little makeup brings back the femininity, the elegance of getting dressed up and feeling pretty in a different way and it’s the perfect touch to creating a specific look.” – Kinsey Osborn

28.

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“I wear makeup every day. I like it because now a day there are healthy skin make up options that actually enhance the overall health and appearance of your skin. I wear it to heighten the look of my favorite feature, which are my eyes. This makes me feel even more confident and comfortable than I already do about my appearance and face. It’s just another form of expression with all the different colors and product options.

What I don’t like about make up sounds so lazy. You can’t just wash your face and go to bed. You have to use makeup remover and then wash your face to be able to then use your nightly products. It’s time consuming and can be a pain. If you don’t your make up smears all over your pillowcase. No fun.” – Amanda Beattie

29.

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“I love and hate makeup, just like I love and hate anything that is both creative and destructive. Treating women’s faces like art is a beautiful idea, but attaching our worth to a mask of ourselves is absolutely destructive. Each woman has to find her balance.” – Kendall Baldwin

30.

“I love makeup because when I put it on I feel so confident but when I take it off I see that I still like the way I look and can love myself and be confident regardless of how much time I spent getting ready that morning.” – Laura Gonzalez

31.

“I LOVE the raw beauty of a persons face, the natural look to me is pure, flawless beauty! I am also intrigued how MAKEUP can transform a persons look, that’s the creative side that I admire, but deep down I don’t love or hate makeup, I’ts a love and hate thing. No woman should ever feel more or less just because they wear makeup or they don’t.” – Catalina Ibarguen

32.

“I love makeup because you can enhance or hide any feature you want; it’s like magic.” – Tabata Depontes

33.

“I hate wearing making up when it is to “perfect” myself; I love to wear it when it is to look different from usual.” – Elisabeth Dewailly

34.

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“I hate makeup because it makes me feel like I’m covering my face with someone else’s face.” – Amanda Mozea

35.

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“I love makeup because it is a beauty option that is easily accessible to me, but I don’t need it to feel strong or proud.” – Dutchesslu

36.

“I LOVE makeup… I love watching videos, reading reviews, going to Sephora and trying new products but makeup is my mood enhancer… It’s not everyday I need my eyebrows “on fleek” or lashes to heaven or a bold lip… I don’t leave the house face “beat to the gods” to go to the grocery store… I don’t ever cover up my freckles, I don’t get my eyebrows done, but that’s just me… I just don’t feel the need… Don’t get me wrong I can and I will, but I am comfortable with a clean and fresh face.” – Rebecca Reusch

37.

“I love not wearing makeup because it allows me to feel so natural and free. It’s nice to feel relaxed in my own skin. I do like experimenting with all the different possibilities that makeup can offer. It’s fun to try new looks sometimes.” – Molly Flynn

38.

“Moisturizer, Serum, Primer, Foundation, Concealer, Powder, Blush, Bronzer, Eyeshadow, Eyeliner, Lipstick, Highlighter, Mascara. I walked into Sephora yesterday to buy a new eyeshadow and walked out an hour later with $100 worth of makeup I didn’t necessarily need. I was first exposed to makeup at a young age. I grew up studying dance so I was always required to wear it for competitions or performances. In high school I started training classically, which meant I was wearing a leotard and tights everyday. That’s also when I started wearing makeup everyday. I hated myself and my body, but at least my face could look pretty. I realized much later that it doesn’t matter how flawless your skin looks, or how long your eyelashes are if you aren’t happy on the inside. It’s mind boggling that a multi billion dollar industry can be built on the foundation of women’s insecurities. Insecurities that are fabricated by a team of marketing executives.

Is it ironic that I’m pursuing a career in marketing in the beauty industry? But why wouldn’t I? Beauty standards have been shoved down my throat since I was a pre-teen. It’s the one thing I can confidently say I’m an expert in. Talk about a vicious cycle. My hope is that I can play some small role in changing those standards of beauty. I’m a firm believer that when you look your best you feel your best. Makeup is fantastic when it is used to enhance natural beauty – not mask it. In my opinion, confidence is the best makeup.” – Kerri Rocha

39.

“When it comes to makeup… I barely wear any! I don’t have anything against makeup, it’s probably because I’ve never had the patience or talent to learn how to properly apply it so I’ve gone without. I’ve always felt confident in the skin I’m in.. all natural.. however imperfect it may be. On rare or special occasions, I’ll put on some foundation, mascara, and eyeliner. I’ve always admired women who have the ability to express themselves through makeup. It’s definitely an art.” – Janelle Mckenzie

40.

“I do not wear makeup everyday. I go bare face to work and my regular day to day. The only time I wear make up is to an event or if i’m going out for the night, and I keep it pretty low-key. I do not hate makeup, but I want women to know that they do not have to cover up their face with pounds of makeup to feel gorgeous. What makes women gorgeous is being confident in their body and owning all their imperfection. Makeup only enhances that already radiant confidence you have, but doesn’t create it.” – Anonymous

41.

“Many days I don’t wear any makeup, and many others I use just a quick dab of concealer and a swipe of eyeliner. I love using shea butter and argan oil on my skin, and I’m trying to remember to wear sunscreen on sunny days! However, it’s important to me to not feel like I need makeup to present my face to the world. However, I love having the option to brighten up my look on an early morning, or dress up in the evening with bold red lipstick. I also always have fun with wild makeup on Halloween and for themed parties! As long as it stays fun and doesn’t become a necessity, I really enjoy playing around with makeup. ” – Laura Chassaigne

42.

“Personally, I love makeup. I think that skincare is a ritual and way in which you express love for your own beauty (inside and out)! If you take good care of your skin (and limit exposure to sun), then makeup is just an added bonus. As I am now 30, I realize that I am much more careful about how I care for my skin – I want it to look, but even more importantly feel good.

I love putting on a little luminizer to highlight my cheekbones, mascara, and a lip color. It’s funny how just a little touch of makeup can make such a difference in making a woman feel like they are pulled together. Wearing a lip color that I know and love, I always feel a boost of confidence, especially when I am in new and unfamiliar situations. Makeup, to me, is another way to tap into self expression and self love, by treating your skin to a little extra TLC. (it is your largest organ, after all!)” – Natalie Chassaigne

43.

“I love makeup. I hate that I rely on it.” – Mallorie E.

44.

“As a 6th grader I remember putting makeup on at the school bus stop away from the watchful eye of my mother, blue eyeliner, blue eye shadow, pink lipgloss. I am ever grateful that selfies did not exist yet.

As a teenager I was a practiced goth, imitating the finest makeup artists in history with nods to Japanese kabuki and 1920’s film stars like Louise Brooks. I actually wore theatre makeup to work and school everyday and would have been really troubled to be seen without it.

In my 20’s and 30’s my makeup shifted to daytime professional, but club nights reverted right back the look I’d perfected – epic cat eyes and red babydoll lips. It was all very daytime Selina Kyle, Catwoman by night.

Thinking about it now, I believe wearing makeup as a young person was as much to try on new characters and personalities. I’m now my own person, no need to be anyone else, so the role of makeup as mask, costume or cloak is less interesting. Now I wear makeup only when I need to be polished for work or evenings out, but today it’s light, more to glow than to play a role or act a part. I’m happiest in my own naked skin.” – Brigitte L.

45.

“I love makeup because it’s like a second wardrobe. I’m able to customize my looks to how I feel and want to be perceived each day. Like an accessory, I get to create looks that match my outfits and my attitude. My favorite part of my morning is drinking my coffee and watching my face transform with each stroke of my brush. My face is a canvas I get to create anew each morning.

I hate makeup because I feel like it’s so expected in today’s age. Sometimes I feel like letting my natural self show and I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been asked if I don’t feel well. I feel if we didn’t have the expectation to be made up each day according to society and our culture, we’d be able to appreciate each other’s beauty more thoroughly and intimately.” – Jessica Fahlberg

46.

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“There’s a lot that I love and hate about makeup. For me personally, I was never a fan of face makeup simply because being bi-racial, it seemed like nothing ever matched my skin tone, nothing was ever for ‘me’. In the process I learned to love my freckles and found out everyone around me did as well.

As for eye makeup, I love eye makeup because I’ve always been a fan of accentuating my eyes. Growing up, I would have these moments of jealousy of how come I never got my father’s green eyes. Then over time I learned to love and appreciate my darker eyes, accentuating them with eyeliner, colorful eyeshadows, and mascara. They’re my favorite feature on my face and I learned that as long as I loved them, it didn’t matter what anyone else thought.” – Leah Rice

47.

“As an actress, I love wearing makeup because it allows me to play a range from 16-26, and upward with the right effects.

As a woman, the ability to appreciate my own natural beauty once I’d seen what makeup could do was something that took time, but as I’ve grown I’ve found even my natural, ‘just woke up’ face is beautiful, too.” – Emma Lyn

48.

“I have a love/hate relationship with make-up. I hate how make up perpetuates the idea that women must be “perfect” at all times. I sometimes see women wearing makeup to go to the gym or hear how they’re afraid to be in front of their significant other without makeup. We become obsessed with fitting into society’s unrealistic standards on beauty.

However, I think makeup can also be used to enhance features we really like about ourselves. I love going out and wearing a lipstick color that makes my smile pop.” – Emelie

49.

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“I find it liberating to be bare faced and in my purest form. I think it’s so important to remove my make-up and embrace my imperfections. We all have flaws and that’s what makes us unique and beautiful. Make up is fun and should be an enjoyable way to enhance features. I always remember to take off my make-up and not my confidence.” – Jana

50.

“Makeup can make me feel beautiful: makeup can make me feel fierce. Winged eyeliner can transform me into an Ancient Goddess; bright lipstick can turn me into a pop star, and foundation can promise me youth.

And just by offering that, it’s a kind of liberty. More or less, we all use the same makeup, so how I wear it gives me a say in which parts of me make me up and if that means not wearing makeup, that too says something about me. Whether or not I wear it in itself speaks for my inner self and what it wants to look like.

In that freedom, there’s identity. And if that identity genuflects my inner ferocity or my inner intensity, how I made up might just say a whole lot more about me than what it looks like.” – Reejuta

51.

“I love my boyfriend and I put makeup on so he feels appreciated. This worries me because it seems anti-feminist. I wouldn’t wear it for just myself, but I want to look good for him and show him that I like to make little efforts for him.” — Elizabeth S.

52.

“I think makeup is a beauty enhancer and to each is own. However, the less I’m wearing the prettier I feel.” – Olivia Connors

53.

“I love makeup because it has the ability to brighten me up on days when I look as crummy as I feel. Mostly, I only wear black kohl, since it is tradition in my family and my culture. I’ve started wearing lipstick more because of my mother. I grew up seeing her wear dark lipstick everywhere. She dresses well even to go to the grocery store! I think it’s a good habit. After all, you never know who you’ll meet.

I used to think it was evident of a sexist society that most women wear makeup to boost their confidence, while men seem to be blessed with an annoying over-abundance of it. Now I just feel bad that there is still a stigma surrounding men and makeup. I think that is more sexist. Men would look gorgeous with some black eyeliner (Captain Jack anyone??!)” – Rita

54.

“The concept of beauty to me is very moving. Everyone has there own perception of what beauty is. I don’t consider myself flawless but I am beautiful. Many people use makeup to enhance their beauty. Honestly I know nothing of that world. My mom doesn’t wear makeup( or if she did it was very little). She never taught me how to use so I never felt the need for it. I’ve always been too scared it would break out my skin anyways.

The most I have done is fill in my eyebrows and that is in itself very seldom. I’m a simple girl with a simple attitude. I like my life simple. If I have to spend an extra 30-45 minutes just to finish my makeup I’ll be too tired and end up staying home lol.

I love my no makeup lifestyle. Tee shirt, sweatpants, sneakers, beanie… and I’m out the door. I’m beautiful… oh yeah and so is my mom with her no makeup self. P.S. I don’t know how to put it on anyhow!” – Itohan

55.

“Make up is like music to me and I love rockin’ all type of looks. My mood decides my make-up application, just like my mood decides the music I’m listening to. I’ll rock red lips and a smoky eye when I’m feeling sexy, some mascara with a light lip gloss when I’m chilled out and no make up at all when I’m feeling casual and relaxed.” – Jill Strada

56.

“Ahhh yes…make-up. It wasn’t until I got into my 20’s that make-up seemed pretty darn important. Constant run-ins with beautiful friends and their newest MAC collections peaked my interest, though it was never really my “thing”. It made me feel like someone else.

I never wanted to be that person who took off my make-up at the end of the day and was unrecognizable. Women seemed to be hiding themselves behind it. So, a little eyeliner here, a little bronzer…some lip gloss there, that’s how I would wear mine. I hated the raccoon eyes from the humidity during summer, much like my frizzy hair and after long nights of clubbing.

Fast forward to now. Almost 2 years ago I was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation. Much like myself other groups of women I’d met were going through the same journey of lost eyebrows and eye lashes and again make-up was there to cover up and make us all feel “normal”, just like a safety blanket.

I thank God for not only being cancer free today but for instilling in me the confidence to go barefaced and to let women everywhere know, that no matter what tone, what hair, which eyebrows you have (or lack of), you are 100% special and no bronzer can take that away from you. Today, I challenge you all to feel beautiful in the skin that your in.” – Shanda Foster

57.

I remember being a little girl, backstage at various dance recitals, filled with excitement the moment that I got to pop that bright red lipstick on and prance around in my tap shoes. I have always loved makeup. There’s something exciting about being able to tap into different parts of my personality and express that through my makeup, clothes, hair, etc.

I don’t hate “makeup” per se; I just hate the way that I feel about myself without it. I have sat here wondering when the hell the idea of not wearing makeup began to make me feel less beautiful. I hate the way makeup can be presented with an underlying subtext that tells women they are less beautiful without it. Every woman should feel beautiful and confident with or without makeup.

It felt incredibly liberating to spend an entire day without makeup for this photo series. To be honest, I was amazed at how quickly I forgot that I wasn’t wearing makeup. I’ve begun wearing less and less makeup in my day-to-day life as a result and have felt more and more comfortable and confident in my own skin. It feels so refreshing to be unapologetically myself and to embrace my “flaws.” I have also gained a whole new appreciation for the art of makeup and feel more excited to apply it rather than feeling that it’s something I HAVE to do.” – Kaitlyn Quilty

58.

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I love spending time on my makeup Friday and Saturday nights. Monday morning, the last thing I feel like/care about doing is taking the time to make sure my eyebrows are perfectly shaped.

For me, there is a time and place for a full face of makeup. With the exception of mascara and chapstick. Yea…the more I think about it…I would succumb in a zombie apocalypse without some mascara and chapstick.” – Cara Brindisi

59.

“I have feel like I’m in an abusive relationship with make-up. I hate it. I love it. I know I could do better without it, but it just makes me feel so good. I actually just recently embraced makeup. I was a former plain-jane. Hardly ever wore it, and preferred to be a makeup free and ponytail kinda of girl. But as I have gotten older I appreciate how it enhances some features, hides some of my flaws and can turn up the amp (ironically, one of my favorite lipsticks is called Up the Amp) on my best features.

I normally wear make-up to work Monday through Thursday and Friday (thank you dress down Friday) through Sunday, I am make-up free. I absolutely LOVE shopping for make-up and then I’ll get home and play dress up and wonder if I’m just fooling myself that I could ever pull it off.

This year, I made a promise to myself that I would wear lipstick more often so I would stop feeling like a clown when I did wear it and just feel pretty. As you can tell, the love-hate thing with make-up is very real.” – Linaris Falcon

60.

“I love makeup because it gives you the opportunity to express yourself visually; same as fashion, and hair. Makeup allows you to look and feel differently than you would normally.

That being said, I believe, perfection is a disease of our nation. Woman and more importantly, young women, feel that they can only be perfect with makeup and that is what I hate about makeup. You should be happy and feel beautiful before you experiment with makeup, in my opinion.” – Anna S.

61.

“One of my earliest recollection as a child is watching and observing my mom delicately apply her makeup in the mornings for work or for our family gatherings. I remember wishing that time would go quickly so I could be old enough to have my own makeup bag so I could play around with all the latest products, just like she did. As most girls I assume, I would sneak into my mom’s bag and try use her eye shadows and mascara when she wasn’t looking.

As I grew up and got to experiment with makeup, there’s nothing like glamming up in the morning and starting my day with glitz and glamour. However, there definitely is something liberating and natural about being bare face in the comfort of your home or out in the streets. Besides the fact that you let your skin breathe, people have the ability to appreciate and embrace a woman’s true beauty.

I think that after being in this wonderful no makeup series, I will not only go out more often with nothing but a natural glow on my face, but also feel more confident doing so.” – Nataly

62.

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“I love that as a woman I have the advantage of being able to conceal imperfections with makeup…I hate that as a woman our imperfections are expected to be concealed with makeup.” – Tina

63.

“As long as I can remember I have loved makeup! I would draw pictures of people, and the females always had red lipstick. When I was a little girl I used to watch my mother put on her makeup. I always wanted to wear lipstick. Sometimes she would put a little on me and I would just love it, I’d prance around the house and look in the mirror! I loved the scent of her Maja face powder and blush. I admired her skill in drawing in her eyebrows and darkening up the beauty spot on her cheek.

I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup until I was 15. Wearing makeup officially made you a young lady in my world. When I had my “Quinces” 15th birthday party, which is similar to a Sweet 16, I was allowed to wear makeup for the party and my aunt was the makeup artist that day. I was very excited and felt all grown up. I love makeup and I enjoy trying new things and experimenting with colors and styles. I don’t wear a lot of makeup but I own a ton of it. It is fun and it makes you feel dressed up. On the weekends I go totally natural with only moisturizer and chapstick! I love both my full made up face and my natural face!” – Eve Lyn

64.

“As for makeup, I love it. I use it more to enhance certain features rather than for hiding imperfections and try to keep it to the bare minimum. I started regularly using make up at about 14 or 15 but I’ve noticed I really cut back as time went on. I think it’s because I learned to appreciate my own natural beauty and that of others. Makeup should be fun, not a requirement to fit in.” – Caroline C.

65.

“The reason why I hate wearing makeup is because “you get what you get” when it comes to me. I shouldn’t have to mold my self worth or my physical appearance to be accepted by a person. Love me for me or don’t love me at all.” – Julia Garcia

66.

“I don’t like makeup much. I feel as if it takes away from my natural beauty. I’d rather wear my freckles instead of trying to hide them. I guess that’s just me.” – Mandii

67.

“I don’t love or hate make up its just that I don’t need it , it’s not my style and I look beautiful without it “natural beauty.” – Rashida Ellis

68.

“It makes me feel like I live a life that I choose when I don’t wear makeup. I’m just me, I’m not here for anyone to please them or look pretty for them or conform to whatever their ideas of me are.” — Adrienne W.

69.

“I don’t like makeup and its everyday usage in our culture. When I was younger, having a mother who was a makeup artist made it seem unavoidable. I used to feel like I needed to wear it to get noticed, to “fit in.” I knew how unhealthy these thoughts were, so I decided to break them. I went a year without wearing any makeup. These were some of the most rejuvenating times for my self image, a breath of fresh air.

When I wear makeup, I feel more self conscious. I find myself needing to check up on it constantly; asking myself, “Is it running? Am I wearing too much blush?” Stupid things we shouldn’t be concerning ourselves with when life is so short. Yes, it can make me feel very pretty in certain situations, but I don’t prefer wearing makeup. I like the thought of being exactly who I am. There’s no need for me to be anyone else, I couldn’t be if I tried. What you see is what you get.

Aside from your new waterproof mascara that you can party all night in, or that bronzer that gives you that sun-kissed touch in the middle of winter, what do you really care about? At the end of the day, it’s what’s inside that really matters. We can’t improve our looks as we get older, but we can always improve who we are as people and the mark we leave on this earth. Let your experiences make up your life.” – Jamie

70.

“When I was younger I wore much more makeup than I do now. I wanted to look older, to cover my flaws, and to make myself look like someone else. As I got older, makeup became something I used to enhance my natural beauty.

During the summer, I usually just wear some mascara to make my eyelashes longer to look younger. I will use some cover up just for covering acne and some powder to help polish the skin to make it appear smoother. In winter I’ll add a bit of blush so I don’t look so pale. I do not like or use liquid foundations anymore because they feel heavy. I also think it settles in my wrinkles and makes me appear older. I also feel makeup irritates my skin and makes my acne worse. It also is quite expensive and a pain to wash off.

Makeup is fun to use if you want to change your look, making you appear older or younger. I feel more comfortable wearing less and less as I’ve became more confident in myself. I feel a confident woman is what makes a woman beautiful, makeup or no makeup.” – Dr. Stacey

71.

“I love makeup. It’s like a shield when I go out. I feel more powerful.” — Dena P

72.

“I really enjoy the versatility of makeup, but I also love being able to take it off and be naturally beautiful.” – Chantal

73.

“Makeup is an amazing way to show self-expression, it enhances your beauty and it really is an art form when done correctly. I will never be able to give up makeup because of its versatility and the power I feel when I have the perfect wing eyeliner. However, there is a flipside, and that flipside is skincare.

Wearing makeup everyday, especially foundation can cause a bad reaction for some. In my mind, there is always a happy medium of light makeup and making sure to keep the skin moisturized, sunscreened, and makeup free. What’s important is how you feel, whether you feel more confident with makeup or without, there is beauty there no matter what.” – Ari

74.

“I like makeup because it can show girls they’re beautiful even when they think they are not. I dislike makeup because you cannot really show what you truly look like under all that makeup; it’s always nice to go a few days with out makeup to show off your natural facial features.” – Tiffany

75.

“I’ve never really been a big makeup girl, probably because my cluelessness and unsteady hand usually led to some colorful disaster on my face. I feel so much prettier without makeup. I actually hate the weight of makeup and how it makes you feel as if you can’t be free, for fear it might rub off on someone or on your clothes.

When I do wear makeup it’s usually a little blush, some eyeshadow and a touch of mascara; it’s very natural, unless I am on stage filming, then I will wear foundation. I feel liberated when I can finally rub makeup wipes over my face and rid myself of that weight.

Nonetheless, I just recently started having more fun with makeup, especially lipstick. It’s so grown on me. I love choosing a color based on my mood or what kind of statement I want to make when I go out. Still, I think its important to love the blank canvas, because that is the true masterpiece. I love being naturally me!” – Betty

76.

“Makeup can help you feel good about yourself: however, when that is taken too far, you lose who you are under a mask. Our unique imperfections are what make us beautiful.” – Phoebe Stoye

77.

“No makeup to me means simply natural beauty. The idea of being a part of the No-Makeup photo shoot realized a deep longing for just being me, like it or not – letting go of the social culture that conform an ideal of tainted beauty.

I believe in the message projected in this shoot and appreciate the invaluable message behind it. Women should be rebels of natural beauty and not give in to stereotype of what women should look like. We should love ourselves for who we are, instead of what society wants us to be or how it wants’ us to look!

Be free, be beautiful – without makeup.” – Maria Moreno

78.

“I hate wearing making up when it is to “perfect” myself; I love to wear it when it is to look different from usual.” – Tabata Depontes

79.

“We are NOT born with make up ON and everyone always says how beautiful babies are…I think it should stay that way until we grow old. My name is Mabelle Cassiel and I am 8 years old. I think beauty comes from inside of all of us.” – Mabelle Cassiel

80.

“I love makeup as a form of self expression. I’ve had the pleasure of working with professionals from the beauty industry and they are wonderful artists and scientists. I believe people should do what they like, what makes them feel good. If that’s makeup, that’s awesome. If it isn’t, that’s cool. I don’t believe in “brain washing” on a mass scale and I think the individual is responsible for which beauty products he or she uses to express and/or care for him or herself.

I wear makeup as a professional actor/model at work but don’t always prefer it for my everyday life. I love the idea of adornment and celebration of the self, or expression of ideas through fashion and beauty as artistic mediums. I love the ritual of being a performer where the transformation stage in makeup/wardrobe is such a key moment for me.” – Mary Beth

81.

“Never mind the fact that every time I have a full face of makeup (i.e foundation, concealer, eye shadows, powders etc.) my face inevitably breaks out the next day. I do think makeup is a pretty cool enhancement.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the natural look. I love a beautiful bare face; I go towards that look primarily. However, I do find myself enjoying the art in applying color components to the face that enhance your features, when done the right way; that’s cool with me.” – Therlande

82.

“I wear very minimal makeup; a little under the eye concealer, mascara, eyeliner and some blush is the most I’ll ever wear on my face. I don’t like the feeling of makeup on my face, it feels unnatural for me. I just started wearing lipstick which I actually love! But that will only come out when I want to feel like a vixen. Ha!” – Bory Sok

83.

“I’ve always loved makeup. Not so much the face makeup that all guys get upset by due to a female’s insensitivity to fresh white t-shirts. I’m talking about the eye makeup, the colors, the mascara.

I’m not one of the girls who believes makeup is a necessity. It’s an accessory, and like all accessories must be used to compliment what’s already there. Some women think makeup is a way to cover up and attempt to blend in; however, I see it as another dimension to our personalities. Plus, there’s nothing more mysterious and sexy about a pretty mouth in a flawless deep red or an eyeliner that kills with one look.” – Stephanie

84.

“When I wear makeup it’s fun because it feels like art on my face; however, it also feels like putting junk on my face, so I only do it for special occasions. In addition, makeup looks best on healthy skin and for skin to be healthy you need to let the pores breath!” – Johanna

85.

“I love not wearing makeup, I feel so fresh and so clean, clean. But I love wearing a little bit because it makes me feel pretty.” – Dawn Marie

86.

“In a world of no makeup, confidence makes up for makeup.” – Pamela

87.

“I don’t like the idea of putting artificial, chemical, or drying things on my face!” – Paulina

88.

“Makeup is pretty cool in the sense that you can play with it. You can mix colors, add some stuff, take away some stuff and make it all your own. If you play your cards right, a little can go along way. And there is SO MUCH out there! But I believe that a woman should have her staples; mine are lipstick, mascara, eyeliner and shadow.

I hate makeup because too much of any one thing is not good. We live in a society that encourages flawlessness and perfection and I think that is detrimental. We all have flaws, and while one should be able to enhance their appearance, hiding is something else. We should be encouraged to embrace our imperfections, not shun them, and sometimes makeup is an enemy. While makeup can help, it also can hurt.” – Natasha

89.

“I have a love/hate relationship with makeup. Mostly because of my sensitive skin, but also, taking the time to apply it. When I was younger makeup made me feel more confident. Now I see it as art. I still think it’s bad for your skin. Without makeup I feel more clean and free without having to worry about touching up. Also, I see who really likes me for my natural self versus my made up self.” – Wendy

90.

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“I was never one for war paint. I think, when I was younger, it was more of a feminist rebellion, the same reason I didn’t get my ears pierced. In my mind, NOT doing the things that society made standard for females, made me stand out as a confident woman who didn’t need to conform to anyone’s idea on what a girl should or shouldn’t look like.

After some more growing up, it became an issue of just plain not wanting or needing to put on makeup; shit, I don’t even know how! I’m fortunate to have a decent complexion, and I like the way I look sans makeup. I have freckles sprinkled across my nose, big eyes, and an Italian nose; I think all those things compliment me just fine without any help.”

I still stand strong in those values today. I think finding beauty within yourself is crucial. We don’t need all these illusions to make us pretty, we are pretty. We’re fucking gorgeous creatures, every one of us. No matter what size, shape, or color we may be, we are all beautiful.

It’s a shame that society has made women completely afraid of true beauty. We need to stand up and take back the pretty!
OWN IT!” – Leah V.

91.

“I love makeup because you can enhance your best features and cover your “flaws” or when you want to be glam. Day to day, though, I’ve found I get the most compliments when I don’t wear makeup or when I’m not “trying so hard”. So maybe those “flaws” matter only to me.” – Tiffany

92.

“I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with make up. In my every day life I hardly ever wear it, but love the way I look when I see my face all made up. I think you have to practice moderation when it comes to make up. I never want to hide behind it. Make up is intended to enhance what God has already blessed us with!” – Stacie

93.

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“Makeup is fun, it’s exciting and it’s creative. But there’s also nothing better than a natural beauty. No pretense, no coverups, just you: naked and beautiful!” – Precious Lopez

94.

“I have tired eyes. Because of this, I like to wear a small amount of makeup to conceal the lack of sleep; it makes me appear slightly more vibrant in my pale skin. I enjoy a natural look so a minimal amount (of makeup) is all that I need.” – Sofja

95.

“I hate to wear makeup because I feel like many people use it as a mask to hide behind. I think everyone should be comfortable in their own skin. I also believe that society is placing some unreasonable expectations on women today to fit the “supermodel” mold. We should be able to accept ourselves as we are. Beauty is meant to be natural!” – Chelsey

96.

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“Makeup can help change your look, your mood, your personality. When i’m feeling blah, sometimes just getting ready and putting makeup on helps me to feel ready for the day. Or when I’m going out for the night, it helps to set the mood and how I may act for the night – demure, classy, flirty, sassy…makeup is almost like a costume or a character I take on, allowing me to tap into other areas of my personality. I think I learn about myself that way too.

Makeup, unfortunately can be used to bury who we are because of insecurities. I think I’m guilty of even using at as crutch. To cover up things I don’t like about myself. Society can make you feel like you should even think about leaving the house without it; especially after seeing magazine after magazine exploiting “Celebrities without Makeup,” as a negative thing, but then have an article on the “10 Things You Can Do To Love Yourself,” it’s a very confusing world.” – Megan

97.

“I actually don’t wear makeup so much anymore, which is funny because I absolutely adore makeup and spend way too much money on it! But my face, and others, is my canvas. I do my makeup when I feel inspired; it’s a fun outlet to create something new.” – Lilliana Jimenez

98.

“I’m Armenian. Eye liner and mascara are all that exist to me. Maybe a little lip gloss but the REAL makeup? High mother fucking heels.” – Christina N.

99.

“I have a love/hate relationship with makeup. Mostly because of my sensitive skin, but also, taking the time to apply it. When I was younger makeup made me feel more confident. Now I see it as art. I still think it’s bad for your skin. Without makeup I feel more clean and free without having to worry about touching up. Also, I see who really likes me for my natural self versus my made up self.” – Wendy

100.

“I love makeup but it’s nice to be free every now and then.” – Lisa Bello TC mark

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    • http://indepthwoman.wordpress.com indepthwoman

      Great article! Its nice to know that I am not alone. I don’t hate make up, I just don’t own a huge collection. People think I’m wearing makeup when I’m not. They always ask me, what shade is that on my lips and what eyeshadow am I wearing and when I tell them, I’m not wearing any, they are shocked. To bring out the color of my lips, I scrub them, lol. then I ad a little lipgloss with a tint in it. I like a little eyeliner and mascara but I hardly wear it, so on average, buy mascara probably 4 times a year. I take full advantage of the 3 months of mascara and I only wear a little. My eyeliner last me for a really long time. I just take care of my skin. The I’m afraid that if I do wear lots of makeup. I may look horrible with it off. No offense to women who wear it, but we’ve all seen how a lot of women look when they take it off. I feel makeup should enhance what you have, and less is better. I might do my eyes or wear eyeshadow if I’m going out but I don’t own any. I’ve been on tv sets and I hate when they come around with that face powered and foundation. I feel it clogs your skin and it feels heavy. No make up, makes me feel free just like being home and naked, LOL TMI, I know but us as women, have to love the skin we’re in :) I seen women go grocery shopping in heavy makeup and dressed up. I’m in my sneakers and yoga pants and men still hit on me, LOL. Sometimes I wonder what is their problem, LOL…. but I see men like natural women. I think it also has to do with how you feel inside and it radiates outside too. When I feel good and I’m at peace and love myself, my skin glows and the light shines in my eyes. When I’m not feeling my best and feeling tired. I feel like I need a little makeup for a pick me up, because sometimes when you look good, you feel good. But when my mom was alive, and she let me wear makeup, there had to be a balance. If I wore mascara then go light on the lips, or vice versa but I always make up my eyes, because I like them and I’m not being conceited. To many times we don’t like what we see in the mirror. It took me a long time to look in the mirror and like myself. I was called horrible names by my father, because he hated who he was and no father should do and say the things he said to me, or my mom when she was alive. So now in my 30’s and even in my late 20’s I started to get really comfortable with myself. And I look like my mom, thank God, so I love who that and who I am. I’ve been told by friends to wear more eyeliner, get my breast done and meanwhile this girl I knew, had on foundation, concealer, lip liner, eyeliner, fake lashes, contacts, blush, I couldn’t see who she was. Just writing that made me tired, lol. I asked her why was she wearing all that?? And what was she trying to hide?? And she finally took it off and but she didn’t lover her self and like who she was and never felt pretty and felt this would make her attract men. Make up is expensive. I spend less that $10 quarterly, LOL.

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      […] 100 Women On What It's Like To Go Makeup-Free | Thought Catalog […]

    • https://juliemarramakeup.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/no-makeup/ No Makeup – Site Title

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