25 February 2016

In Defence of Wearing No Makeup

ASOS coat* | Vintage ring | Adidas superstars.

Bar living through the MySpace/emo subculture and dabbling in some very heavy black under-the-eye liner, I didn't bother with any makeup except mascara until I was 16.

I spent the best part of my teenage years in an all girls boarding school bubble. And, subsequently, we spent the best part of our time in our pyjamas or PE kit. Makeup was for celebrities and people on TV.

Then, at 16, I headed to a grammar school for sixth form and it was only then that I realised that makeup was, as it turns out, a pretty big deal. Girls lost an hour of sleep every morning to apply their daily armour, only to end up having to spend another twenty minutes removing it when night fell.

I didn't understand it but I was impressionable and wanted to fit in so, I did my best to jump on board. I was the proud owner of a Chanel foundation and a colourful MAC eyeliner by the end of my first week. There were no Youtube tutorials and I was felt stupid having to ask the other girls what they were all so well-practiced at. I didn't ask, didn't know what I was doing and quite frankly, I looked ridiculous most of the time.

25 next month and having carefully watched makeup artists work their magic on my face and succumbed to a few Youtube tutorials, I think I've finally cracked it. Does that mean that I wake up early every morning to put on makeup? Certainly not. CBA with that.

It's no rarity in London, or at least for a lot of the girls I know in London, to walk around all day makeup free. So, why is it, in 2016, huge media corporations are still calling out women for not wearing any makeup? How is a makeup free selfie worthy of the news? What relevance do headlines such as "Makeup free blah looks worse for wear", "blah goes makeup free on gym date with boyfriend" have any relevance to our lives?

Maybe the women they write about don't take any notice but maybe the clickbait media is ruining the capability for these women to be comfortable in their own skin. It's no wonder unedited photos are such a hot topic at the moment.

As a woman, I'm sick of seeing these headlines and as a journalist, I can't even imagine how shit it must feel to be tossing out such tripe for a very average salary.

To point out the obvious, I'm not wearing any makeup in the photos above, nor have I retouched them. The only editing that's taken place is playing about with the contrast and brightness because I never do anything but that - firstly, I don't know how and secondly, that would go against what I feel that blogging is about. Every picture is worth a thousand words but that's not the case here: I was hungover and wasn't physically (or mentally) up to the chore of wearing makeup but I really liked the location where we had brunch and needed to shoot the coat.

I regularly post photos on instagram where I'm wearing no makeup but there's no #makeup alongside any of them - a quick search currently racks up over 11.5 million photos with the hashtag. Makeup or not, I'm pretty comfortable with who I am and there's no need for me to point out that I'm wearing no makeup or whether I've spent two hours getting ready.

These days, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't - it comes down to making yourself feel the best you possibly can about yourself. Whether that's wearing a little, a lot of makeup or none at all, editing out your spot or calling it Fred and leaving Fred there for everyone to see in his glory, smack bang in the middle of your face between your eyebrows, it's up to you.

My catchphrase of this year is 'give a fuck' (abbreviated for text purposes to GAF). It started as a drunk slur about some of the ridiculous things that happen on a regular basis and it seems to have stuck. Easier said than done but the key is to try and not give one.

p.s. I've yet to read Sarah Knight's 'The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k' but it's top of the to-read list, obviously.
Shona said...

I'm exactly the same! After moving to a mixed grammar school from an all-girls Catholic secondary, I was shocked at how much effort girls were putting in to their appearance for.. school?! (And at such early hours of the morning?!). I must admit I totally succumbed and was applying the full works, however when I went near enough makeup-free whilst travelling for 5 months last year, it's safe to say I'm well over wearing makeup and am super happy just letting my skin breathe with nothing plastered over my face!

Shona x


Millie Cotton said...

I guess it all comes down to personal preference. I was the same with gap year travels, except some face paint here and there!

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