Real Talk: Why I'm Over No-Makeup Makeup

Updated 07/10/18

You know when you repeat a word or phrase over and over again, and it starts to sound like a jumble of syllables that don’t mean anything? That’s how I felt with the phrase “dewy skin” while I was in New York for Fashion Week. Dewy skin. Doo-ee sken. Du-ee skyn. I probably heard it at least once at every show I covered backstage—and it’s no surprise, considering the fresh, glowy, no-makeup makeup look is evidently one of spring’s biggest trends. But here’s the thing—I’m so over it. I know, I know—how could I possibly be against this female-empowering mindset that Queen Bey herself spearheaded? (See: the Yoncé-inspired #Iwokeuplikethis hashtag, most likely still trending on Instagram.)

In fact, I’ve written many a story myself extolling the virtues of “no-makeup makeup” and how exactly to look like you rolled out of bed looking, well, perfect. But, as I watch the beauty world trend towards all things (faux) natural, I can’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment. Actually, dismay might be a better word. But before you start hurling your lipsticks (or should I say sheer balms?) at me, hear me out—keep scrolling to find out the real reasons why I’m over no-makeup makeup. 

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First, let’s establish that in no way am I saying that “I woke up like this” makeup is in itself a bad thing. Who can deny that this shift has helped countless women embrace their unique beauty and learn how to accentuate their best features in a natural, subtle way? I’m definitely not. With no-makeup makeup as the celebrated norm, no longer do we have to feel the pressure to pile on makeup to feel put together and attractive—no, just a smidge of well-placed concealer and highlighter is good enough, thanks. That’s all we should really need to look and feel beautiful, after all, right?

But herein lies the problem. There’s a clear difference between Beyonce-level “I woke up like this” fabulousness and actually looking the way you do when you wake up (which, in my case, means swollen eyes, cracked lips, and blotchy skin). The S/S 15 runways in New York were proof: Even models, with their impeccable bone structure, had their under-eye bags covered up, blemishes painted over, cheeks dabbed with cream blush, and lashes tinted for a final look that was just the right amount of undone-yet-still-flawless. The truth is, very, very few people actually look that way without any makeup on—and touting this “perfect” version of natural isn’t doing anyone favors when it comes to embracing our own inherent beauty.

For example, I accepted the fact that my cheekbones weren’t going to become any more pronounced and that my eyebrows were never going to reach Cara Delevingne status years ago, which is why I take the time to pencil them in every day and apply highlighter—a fact I don’t feel like I should ever have to hide. But with this current bare-faced trend, I find myself taking extra time to make sure that my brows look especially natural, because, hello, I totally woke up like this (no, I didn’t). By now, we all know that it’s quite a slippery slope when we fall into a mindset of adhering to only what society deems is “appealing” or “acceptable”—especially when it comes to how we present ourselves.

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Here's another qualm I have with "I woke up like this" makeup: It seems to imply that trying is a bad thing. The whole point of the barely-there look is to make it appear as if you simply rolled out of bed looking this amazing, which is great and all, except for the fact that you, well, didn't. Isn't it ironic the lengths we go to make it appear as if we don't try? I spend quality time with my numerous palettes and makeup brushes before going out—and I'm not ashamed to admit it, nor should anyone. What's wrong with making it look like you've actually put some time and effort into your makeup? Because it seems to imply that you're not perfect and naturally glowy-skinned? Newsflash: No one is (well, except maybe J.Lo). I don't think we should buy into this culture of associating effort as a negative and something we should hide, while putting "natural" perfection on a pedestal—it puts us in a dangerous position of falling into outdated, backwards thinking.

And finally, I have to admit that I have a selfish reason for being over the no-makeup look: I really just miss bright makeup. I miss makeup that makes me gasp when I witness it, I miss seeing a perfect, stunning shade of purple, maroon, or even blue on a models’ lips, or an otherworldly glittery sheen on her lids. I miss makeup that breaks boundaries, drops jaws, and makes me want to drive to the nearest beauty counter and snatch up five different versions of whatever product the person is wearing. But, like I said, that’s a purely selfish reason (hopefully I'm not alone in my thinking—someone chime in with me here!).

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Why We Should All Channel Pharrell and Get Happy

Here’s the (not very original, but still hopefully positive) solution I’ve come up with: Why not just focus on wearing what makes us happiest? I feel my best when I’m wearing bright lipstick and a flick of liquid liner. My best friend might feel her best in BB cream and a swipe of mascara—and who’s to say that one of us is “embracing” her natural beauty more than the other? Makeup, like clothes, is a reflection of you—and if “you” means a bright, glossy, fuchsia lip with flecks of glitter, then by all means, work it. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

Are you a natural makeup fanatic, or is your beauty style more dramatic? What do you think of the no-makeup makeup trend? Sound off below!

 

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