Me and: Makeup

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Me and Makeup

It was a couple of months ago now that my Facebook timeline was awash with no-makeup selfies. I’m sure you all remember the BEAT fundraising campaign. I was, like I imagine many of us were, tagged. I ignored it.

I wear makeup everyday. I don’t particularly like having my photograph taken at the best of times, but without makeup? Not a chance. I don’t even do the morning school run makeup free; I wear makeup to the gym; I wear waterproof mascara in the pool.

Then I came across the I am beautiful posts, inspired by Vodka Infused Lemonade, via the #AllAboutYou linky.

So I took a few photos one day, under the rather harsh lights in my bathroom, without and then with makeup. I didn’t share them…

The results surprised me. The difference that I see in the mirror once I have makeup on isn’t there in the photos. Yes, I look a bit less tired, my skin looks a little more even; but there was no miraculous change, no sudden confidence boost when I looked at the ‘makeup’ photos.

I have worn makeup for as long as I can remember. I love it. I enjoy putting makeup on. I like the way it looks, I like the mechanics and the artistry of it. I do it for me. Not because I feel I have to, but because I want to. And yes, it makes me feel better; more confident.

But, I have a daughter now and I am becoming ever more aware of the example that I set. I am very happy for her to love make up, as I do, but I want to make sure that she loves it for the right reasons. Not because she feels a need to conform or to meet expectations.

I took these photos back in March. Generally, unless I am really happy with a photo of myself, the first thing I do is make it black and white or sepia; to even out my skin tone, soften the shadows under my eyes. And, my instinct for this post was to do just that. To still hide behind a filter.

Faces Black and White

But, in the six weeks since I took these photos I have found myself wearing makeup less often. I have done my daughters swim class makeup free, saving myself the fight with the waterproof mascara that night, when all I want to do is go to bed! I have done the morning school run without makeup, only putting it on later in the day if I was going out again (other than just for the afternoon school run!). Admittedly, these have been a particularly busy and tiring six weeks, and there has been an element of feeling simply overwhelmed and unable to deal with an extra task in the morning; but in the back of my mind has been the lack of any real difference between the two sets of images.

So, here are the original images. No filter, no altering, no softening…

Faces Original

Now, I am not going to stop wearing makeup; I enjoy wearing it and I can see a difference between the top (no makeup!) and bottom (my ‘day’ makeup face!) images! But, it has been interesting to really look at myself through the impartial eyes of a camera rather than looking in the mirror. To see my face as others see it. To be reminded that what I see in my minds eye is not what others see. To be reassured that this is not a bad thing.

Makeup gives me confidence, it makes me feel good. Makeup is fun. And, it is a part of who I am. But, it is not necessary. At least, not all the time :)

When I took these photos I expected to hate the makeup free images. For them to never see the light of day, certainly not end up the focus of a very public blog post. However, confidence doesn’t come from makeup, it may be assisted by it, but confidence comes from within; from being comfortable in your own skin. And, at the ripe old age of 40, I think I may (almost) be comfortable in mine.

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65 thoughts on “Me and: Makeup”

  1. Sara, I love this! I think you look amazing in both sets of pictures – if I had skin that perfect, I’d never wear makeup! What you say though is so true of me too – I really struggle with confidence, and wouldn’t consider going out without a slick of something on my face. It’s my aim to get to a place where I don’t worry so much about appearances though – I’m still working on it!! A great post lovely! Xx

    1. mumturnedmom

      I think the ‘harsh’ lighting was actually quite forgiving! It’s funny, I feel odd walking out of the house without makeup on; mascara especially, being so fair. But once I’m out, I completely forget that I’m not wearing it… I still wouldn’t/couldn’t go to any kind of meet up (playdate, coffee etc.) without make up on though :)

    1. mumturnedmom

      Thank you Jessica x You’re not the first to say that, I may have to add an addendum with a smiley photo!

  2. You look great Sara! I’m the opposite of you! I’ve just recently started wearing a lick of eyeshadow to liven my eyes up again but often forget ive got it on and rub my eyes!!I’ve never ‘done’ foundation because I can’t apply it properly.

    1. mumturnedmom

      Ah, you need the right foundation… everyone’s skin is different, so different foundations will suit, and be easy to apply :) But, I digress, thank you for the kind comments x

    1. mumturnedmom

      Thank you x I still feel happier with make up than without, but at least I’ve taken a step towards being less self conscious x

  3. What a great post Sara! How brave to take a bold step out of your comfort zone, it’s very inspiring! Like you, I don’t really think it’s about the make up as I only occasionally wear eye make up, but I definitely wear other ‘masks’ to boost my confidence, as many of us do. It is however a powerful message, to remind ourselves that something deeper and more meaningful lies beneath the mask. Thanks for sharing this #AllAboutYou x

    1. mumturnedmom

      Thank you very much, it took me quite a while to actually publish it! I still feel so much happier with makeup on, but I have realised that I am more resilient and confident than I thought x

  4. Awesome post Sara, and a fab experiment. I have problem skin and make up just irritates it so I only ever wear lip gloss and mascara if that. I can’t relate directly to this, but think it took guts! Totally agree that we need to feel confident in our own skin. I think it’s the most valuable lesson we can teach our children xx #sharewithme

    1. mumturnedmom

      Thank you very much lovely x And, I completely agree that’s such an important lesson to teach our children x

    1. mumturnedmom

      Ha! That’s probably not the way to go… but I’ve spent years honing my makeup likes/dislikes/things that work! Maybe I should do a follow up post on makeup :)

  5. Brilliant!
    I don’t really wear make-up unless I’m going for an evening out or there’s something special on, I can’t be doing with all the hassle! I do admit though, after applying I somehow feel more confident… maybe it’s something they put in the stuff?? Great post Sara. xx

    1. mumturnedmom

      Thank you x Maybe it is, you might be on to something there! I have my daily makeup routine down to about 5 mins :)

  6. And good for you! I’m not sure that I will ever be able to actually go out without make up on but I did take a selfie. What I found interesting was the fact that almost everyone (including you) had this kind of dead pan expression, no smile or anything! Make up clearly provides a confidence which in turn causes us to smile :)

    1. mumturnedmom

      It’s been strange for me to leave the house without makeup on, I am conscious of it as I leave, but then I forget about it (until I catch sight of myself in a mirror!) but I’m not going to stop wearing it, I wouldn’t meet a friend for coffee barefaced! I love makeup, I enjoy it. But, I don’t need it all the time x

  7. You are beautiful and good for you for even just being aware of it and how it isn’t 100% necessary all the time. I’ve always been quite lazy with make and up and I hardly ever wear it. I always do for nights out and special occasions, as a I know i do look ‘better’ with it on and though I hardly ever like photos of myself, I do prefer the ones wearing make up, to the ones without. But, honestly, I just can’t be bothered with applying it every morning and taking it off every night. My mum always wore make-up, even just to nip to the shops, and I remember as a teeneager asking why she bothered as she was my mum and she looked beautiful to me without it and I never saw the point in it. Great post! xx #sharewithme

    1. mumturnedmom

      That’s a great point about your mum, my sons ask me why I wear it, to them there’s no difference in what they see whether I have makeup on or not x

  8. First off you are so beautiful with our without it. But I am very much like you, I don’t go anywhere without it even to swimming with waterproof and I am sure the school run it will be done. But I also lately have been so busy that sometimes I haven’t had the time and with planning MM christening slash 1st birthday party and doing the garden and keeping up with my blog and normal duties, my appearance has taken a back burn. Something I never thought I would let happen and lately I don’t care if I only have mascara and lip gloss for a night out and an old dress. Because at least I get to go out. Its a confidence thing for me for sure. I get nervous when people show up unexpected and I have no makeup on. I always think they are going to think I am run down and look ran over because that’s how I feel like I look. You are great to share your photos and be confident to go without. I did the selfie picture on instagram and facebook and it was so hard for me to take it and not filter it at all. lol Great post thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With me. #sharewithme

    1. mumturnedmom

      Thank you Jenny x I have had people ask me if I’m okay in the past when I’ve had no makeup on, because I do look more tired and I’m very pale without it; I suspect that affects how I feel about it now, I feel that I look healthier and happier with makeup on x I can completely understand where you’re coming from; and I have found that it was all the organising etc. that I had to do for the kids parties etc. that finished me off, something had to give! Thanks so much for hosting x

  9. Well done! You look great and it’s great that you’ve got that little bit of extra confidence. I don’t ‘get’ make-up. I’ve never worn it, so the no make-up selfie wasn’t a big deal for me, but I get that is for lots of people.

    1. mumturnedmom

      Thank you Sarah, part of me wishes I’d never started wearing it; but I do actually enjoy makeup – I’ve even done friends make up for their weddings! I do want to feel happy not wearing sometimes though x

  10. Nicola Young

    I think it’s brilliant that you did this. I feel the same way you do, so maybe I should try this for myself.

    1. mumturnedmom

      It was an interesting experiment, seeing that the makeup didn’t make as big a difference as I thought it did…

  11. I used to love my makeup before I had my son, and wouldn’t dream of leaving home without at least lipstick on. Now, it’s only occasionally that I bother with it! So, I understand what a brave step it was for you to share these photos, and you look great!

    1. mumturnedmom

      Thank you Tarana, I’m hoping to find a balance, especially with another hot summer ahead of us x

    1. mumturnedmom

      Thank you x I still prefer to be wearing makeup, but it is good to go without every so often x

  12. Kate Williams

    You look lovely :) I went for about six months post baby when I didn’t wear make up at all, too tired! I think there’s a lot of expectation that you should wear it but tbh I think you’re probably right in that it doesn’t make that much difference.

    1. mumturnedmom

      I think the light makeup that a lot of us wear during the day makes less of a difference than we think; but the mood lifting properties shouldn’t be underestimated :)

  13. Beautiful lady :) And a very brave post – it’s interesting how having children makes us reflect on the crutches we have come to rely on to boost our confidence, and so important – but hard – to try to let those crutches go so that those little people can start with a fresh slate. Incidentally, I think I was one of the only people I know who didn’t get tagged to do a no make-up selfie – but I suspect only because I wear make-up so rarely! I think I’m just too lazy – though when I look at pictures of me with make-up I do wonder whether I should make more of an effort the rest of the time! x

    1. mumturnedmom

      Thank you Sophie x It took awhile for me to actually publish it! I still prefer the makeup me, but I’m happy to let the makeup free version in every so often now :)

  14. Sara thanks for sharing, what a great experiment. You look lovely in the photos. And you’re right, it’s being comfortable in your own skin. Make-up can lift your spirits sometimes. I don’t have time to do make-up in the morning so I always dash onto the train and do it then. Unfortunately, I sometimes have to stand, so end up going to work with nothing on. Then I forget… no one recoils in horror, luckily! Or I would be distressed :) #sharewithme

    1. mumturnedmom

      Ha! That would be distressing :) And, I think it just shows that we are far more aware of it than others x But, yes, makeup can definitely lift my spirits x

  15. You’re so right that it comes from within.

    I wear make up every day, just simple base (to cover up uneven skin tone and spots), and light mascara, although I’ve had a few styes over the last year so wearing that less – it makes me look a lot more tired without it. When I first wake up and look in the mirror I don’t look too bad, but I notice it more by the end of the day when my make up’s rubbed off, or once I’m dressed.

    I’m like you, I like to wear it, and it’s part of my routine, but then it’s fairly minimal so I wouldn’t expect to see that much difference. Not compared to some people – I saw a beauty blogger the other day, who looked like a totally different person, and actually I preferred the much more natural look she had before make up.

    1. mumturnedmom

      Yeah, that’s the thing, I actually wear very little, so I shouldn’t be surprised that it makes little difference! But, it does make me feel better and definitely look less tired :)

  16. I wore make up in my teenage year – as a raging goth it was all black eye liner and a white face – but children and then a career in nursing (5.30am starts!) put paid to that and I rarely if ever wear make up at all! Having a daughter certainly changes your perspective on the beauty industry doesn’t it!

    1. mumturnedmom

      It really does, and although I love makeup and still wear it most days, I want my daughter to see me without it too x

  17. What a great post hunnie!!!… i wear light make-up everyday and to be honest there isnt much of a difference :/ but i only wear abit of bronzer, blusher and mascara… but i would love to wear my Nighttime makeup everyday, but it takes ages to do and i only ever get 5 minutes on a morning to do my hair and makeup :/ I wear make-up for me too, i feel slightly taller when i walk and i sort of look more awake lol #BrilliantBlogPosts

  18. You look beautiful with or without and like you love my make up-it’s my armour and love the confidence boost it gives me but with 2 kids now, I often enjoy less or no make up! Thanks for this fab post and linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  19. Pingback: Me and: Makeup

  20. Love this post. I don’t wear makeup very often. With two tween daughters, I’m very conscious of the pressure the older one is under to wear makeup. She’s 11. We’ve had a few conversations about it in the last few months and I wrote her a letter on my blog about it. I think you are going to set a fine example to your little one. Looking around my eldest’s friends, the ones who wear a lot of makeup, also have mothers that do the same. As mothers we do influence our children’s choices.

    1. We really do, and I am becoming more conscious of that. Makeup is fun, but it’s not necessary x

  21. I did a full week of no makeup around the time of Aggi’s I am Beautiful posts and wrote a post with pics too. Like you, I’m now conscious of the subliminal messages my daughter is getting by the fact that her mother won’t leave the house without a bit of “war-paint” or “camouflage”. So increasingly, I don’t. I spent years being makeup free, however enjoy the element of grooming it brings now. As with most things in life, if I feel like wearing it, I do, and if I don’t, I won’t! Love this post Sara, and you look so pretty and natural makeup free – the difference is that bit of “finishing” isn’t it? Great #AllAboutYou post, thanks for linking, sorry for the delay! Off to tweet now x

    1. It is almost like another accessory isn’t it, as you say, that finishing touch. Thanks for hosting x

  22. I love going makeup free! You should embrace all the natural beauty you have! It’s nice to feel done up and glamorous, but having a naked face is so liberating!

  23. Rah, good for you! I regularly go out without make-up on, spesh for the nursery run in the morning. I know I look more polished with make-up, but I also know that there’s nothing wrong with going au naturel (on the make-up front, there’s no streaking round Hackney for me) and it’s nice not to have to bother unless the occasion calls for it.

    I think it’s far more important for us all to eat well, take care of our skin and let the real women in all of us shine out.

    Thanks so much for linking up to #AllAboutYou.

    1. I think you’re absolutely right, and polished is a good word. I think I’m reaching a compromise point of a bit of concealer and brush of bronzer/blusher!

  24. You look amazing in both photos but I completely understand what you mean; I wear make up every day too and would never contemplate going out without it on, I even wore some to the spa the other month which turned out to be interesting in the sauna…you are 100% right though, it’s about wearing it because you want to, not because it defines who you are :)

    1. I do the same, waterproof mascara has it’s uses :) I’m still wearing it less than I was, interestingly, and I’m reaching a point where just some concealer and blusher is ok…

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