In defence of make-up

The barefaced selfies that are sweeping through Facebook and Twitter have generated much debate – some have questioned the whole idea, citing vanity as an objection, but it has raised hundreds of thousands of euro for the Irish Cancer Society so it’s hard to see how it can be bad thing. If in doubt, read this excellent piece by cancer survivor Emma Hannigan.

Some other online rumblings have been about the wearing of make-up at all. Why do people wear make-up anyway, what’s the big deal about posting a photo with no make-up, sure aren’t we all more beautiful without it.

I for one, can stand up tall(ish), hand on heart and say no. Not in any corner of the universe, not in any tiny figment of my imagination, not even with my eyes scrunched up and all the lights off, while a little bit drunk could I ever look better without make-up.

It just is what it is, as they say. For some of us anyway. I know, I know; in a perfect world, it would be true to say that we all look better unadorned by a chemical filled, man-made liquid in various beigey colours, with names like “biscuit” and “nude” or just “01 Fair”. I mean, cave-women didn’t have make-up and sure weren’t they fine. And natural beauty in nature is something to be celebrated, so shouldn’t humans reflect this too. But, the reality is, some of us just look better with a little bit of help.

For me, having make-up on means I don’t have to think about it anymore. I can do a presentation at work, I can give my opinion at a meeting, I can chat to my boss, without worrying about how I look. It’s not vanity, it’s self-preservation. I know that if I didn’t have my cosmetic armour, I’d be self-conscious and distracted. And I do understand that some people will read this and think it’s ridiculous to be self-conscious or that a layer of Clinique can be the difference between confidence and no confidence.

But others will read and understand. People like me who don’t leave the house without at the very least some tinted moisturiser or some BB cream (isn’t BB cream great!). People who maybe took a few discarded barefaced selfies before capturing an image that wasn’t going to break Facebook.

And more than that – some women, including me, enjoy wearing make-up. It’s not just a defensive barrier – it’s like putting on a nice top or some lovely shoes. Especially when going out at night – when there’s a chance to dress up, to try something new, to feel even a tiny bit glamorous. Or shopping for make-up – not the functional stuff that you buy because the bottle has run out – the fun stuff, like a new blusher or a gorgeous eye-shadow palette in one of the swish ground floor make-up emporiums of the fancier department stores. A Benefit highlighter or a Smashbox primer or a gorgeous Chanel lipstick.

So in a way, this post is my barefaced selfie – I wear make-up, I rarely leave the house without it, I enjoy buying make-up and I’m unapologetic. Well unapologetic with a pinch of defensiveness 🙂

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11 thoughts on “In defence of make-up”

  1. All this talk of bare-faced selfies has got me thinking too. Yesterday I didn’t wear makeup and I could sense people looking at me and possibly thinking ‘is she ill?’ For I am a pale creature with the Irish skin..
    Today, I absolutely had to wear makeup. The kids had me up last night as well as a toothache, so without the makeup I really do look ill. I was also feeling a bit guilty about my 4 year old daughter wanting to wear makeup to become ‘pretty’ like me…I enjoyed this post. Thanks for helping me find some middle ground on this whole issue!

  2. Thank you for writing this – I think you’ve said it really well – for some of us it IS self-preservation! Next time my husband moans about my make-up I’m sending him a link to this post.
    Suzy recently posted…Guilt, SAHM-styleMy Profile

  3. Well, if I had your skin I would ditch the make-up. You glowed! There is no way I’d have done a close-up make-up free eventhough I rarely wear it but I just don’t have great skin. I enjoyed this post.

    1. Joanna, the glow was my very nice Clinique moisturiser!! I don’t have great skin either, never have done, hence my love affair with all things cosmetic.

  4. you should post your no make up selfie with this post and show everyone how great you look without makeup. And I think every female tried out a few no make up selfies poses before braving the net.

    1. Yes, I guess I’m not the only one who didn’t just go with the first picture – the scary thought of being up there forever with some terrible selfie taken after two glasses of wine on Saturday night prompted me to wait until Sunday morning 🙂

  5. Coming from the person who wouldn’t even let the hens out without mascara on, I couldn’t agree more. I don’t wear alot of make up but I wear it all the time. I love wearing make up, not because I feel that absolutely need to wear it but because I know that I look better with it than without it, and who doesn’t like to look their best
    Elizabeth MacDonnell recently posted…Clock WatchingMy Profile

    1. Elizabeth I am cracking up at the hens and the mascara! But you’ve put it exactly as I feel – I don’t feel pressure, I don’t feel I’m conforming, I don’t do it for anyone else – I just know that I look and feel better with it on!

  6. When I was younger one of my favourite dreams was getting locked overnight in a supermarket. In the sweet aisle. Now it’s an ambition of mine to hide in a window display until everyone has gone home and then come out and play with all the make-up. But there must also be a chilled section containing wine.
    Wonderful Wagon recently posted…Mother’s DayMy Profile

    1. I will join you there, and yes, wine – I never thought of that. Brown Thomas maybe? Oh just imagine…

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