Could you embrace the no make-up trend?

Make up case and products

I’m very on-trend. I’m hitting the zeitgeist. Everyone’s talking about it. Adele’s done it, and there’s even the beginnings of a backlash against Alicia Keyes for doing it.

Decorative cosmetics for makeup. Close up.For the past two months I’ve been appearing in public with no make-up. None. Not so much as a slick of glossy lip-balm.

Now bear in mind I am very, very attached to my make-up. I’ve not so much as stepped out of the house without a sweep of eyeliner and three layers of mascara since about 1987.  There isn’t a brand of eco-friendly illuminating tinted moisturiser that I’ve not tried. I love peach-toned blushers, and own a gorgeous range of vegan angled brushes for just the right contouring effect on my cheekbones.  I got stupidly excited when Urban Decay released their Naked3 palette.

Like a lot of women, I don’t feel dressed without a touch of make-up — according to a 2011 poll, most of us feel more stressed by the idea of going to work bare-faced than by a first date or job interview, and that’s no surprise to me. I’ve probably spent thousands of pounds on cosmetics over the past 30 years — and enjoyed it all.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Alicia Keys attends the Tom Ford Fall 2016 fashion show during New York Fashion Week September 2016 at The Four Seasons on September 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Alicia Keys attends the Tom Ford fashion show (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

You get the picture — I love a bit of slap.

But recently I’ve been wondering why.

The two men in my life – my husband and my son—are both bemused by my obsession with cosmetics, and genuinely don’t notice when I wear make-up or not. Annoying, frankly. My son actually thinks I don’t look better, just ‘weird’, when I carefully apply-and-blot three layers of lippy.

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So now no make-up is the ‘it’ thing? I didn’t mean to be so darn trendy. It happened accidentally. Here’s how.

I got a stye on my upper eyelid at the start of the summer holidays. I’ve never had one before; it was very sore, red and swollen — not a good look. Not being able to wear my usual make-up added insult to injury. Of course people were very sympathetic. What I wasn’t expecting was how defensive I felt about my make-up-free state.  I found myself making hurried apologetic noises, and consequently drew attention to my swollen eye — often before people had noticed it.

Adele without makeup selfie

Adele without makeup selfie

Then we went on holiday, and like a lot of people I don’t bother much when I’m away — too much hassle with the panda-eyes and anyway, no-one knows me. I took the bare essentials with me just in case I felt I needed to ‘look my best’ while we were away, or if we visited friends on our travels, but in fact managed the whole time make-upless.

I thought I’d crumble going back into work. After the first scary day, and a couple of furtive, ‘Do I look alright?’ conversations with well-chosen individuals, I’ve stopped thinking about it all the time.

True, the residue of the summer tan helped — the natural dewy-glow look — and restful, stress-free time off has probably made the usual under-eye concealer redundant. But actually, I don’t think anyone has really noticed anything different.

This isn’t me trying to make a statement, or flick a middle finger at the cosmetic industry, but I do feel a certain sense of liberation. I’m not blessed with perfect skin, and my eyelashes are not dark and lustrous.  But I’ve got used to seeing my face without make-up, and it’s ok. In fact, I quite like it.  And no-one’s running away, or treating me as incompetent. Plus, I love having an extra ten minutes in the mornings.

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So will I go back to make-up? I’m not sure. Like a newly-reformed smoker, I’m not throwing away the tools of my old habit quite yet. It’s only September. Come February, when my skin’s looking grey and dulled by an English winter, I may feel differently.  But for now, I’m with Alicia and Adele. This is the new me!


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About Anna Wilson

I was born in Devon 44 years ago and have lived in Nottingham since 1995. I've been working in FE teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) for 15 years. I live in Sherwood with my husband and son and celebrate their amazingness every day.