There a lot of images of us editors on Byrdie looking very made up and polished. Of course, it's our job to provide beauty inspiration, so it makes sense that we'd publish photos of us looking our best. But after a while, it starts to feel a little… uncharacteristically perfect. After all, we don't always look (or feel) so put together in real life.
To bring some much-needed realness to the equation, I challenged my fellow Byrdie editors to take a selfie with zero makeup and zero filters (good lighting was allowed) and tell me how it made them feel. It sounds simple, but it actually got way deeper than expected. Because we're all friends here, we figured you wouldn't judge our sleepy under-eyes, shiny foreheads, or freckles. Keep scrolling to see our editors' no-filter, no-makeup selfies.
"I'm really comfortable going makeup-free—perhaps a little too comfortable. I don't wear makeup during the day (unless I have a big meeting or have an unprecedented amount of time in the morning) and sometimes even go out on the weekend sans product if I'm feeling lazy. This, however, wasn't always the case. I wouldn't dare to step outside without something on my face—I find we, as women, are pretty much trained to feel uncomfortable without a little bit of enhancement. It wasn't until a few years ago when I decided enough was enough. I started to wonder When does wearing makeup stop being about confidence and begin to veer into self-doubt? I'm a beauty editor and I get the opportunity to use such nice, luxurious skincare products. It just feels like a shame to apply face makeup after massaging my face with the industry's newest and most innovative. The takeaway? People still think you're pretty. Your face is your face, it's just hard to remember that sometimes." — Hallie Gould, senior editor
"A few years ago, the idea of taking a makeup-free selfie would have freaked me out. I started wearing makeup at a very young age and wouldn't be caught dead without my thick black winged eyeliner and trusty concealer. As beauty trends have shifted from Barbie to au naturel, I have learned to embrace my imperfections and under-eye bags—yes, even if they aren't designer. I think going outside during the golden hour with no makeup on and taking a selfie is insanely empowering, whether it is for your Instagram feed or just for yourself." — Zoe Glaser, Byrdie editorial intern
"Posting a selfie feels akin to buying lingerie to impress a new love interest—will they like it? Will I look ridiculous? Is it too over the top? Who am I? I'm certainly not against selfies (my Instagram is proof) but have avoided the no-makeup kind at costs because 1) I'm not a model showing off her perfect bone structure, and 2) why would I want to show anyone what I look like without makeup when my face is round like an orb? The only time I'll ever post one is usually when my makeup looks particularly good (or when Pat McGrath's latest launch adorns my face)—yet here I am, allowing Amanda to show my makeup-free face to the world (or at least you, Byrdie readers). I will say that I'm 1000% more comfortable with a no-makeup selfie now that my brows are microbladed (thank you, Eyebrow Doctor!), which I consider a wonderful loophole on the no-makeup front. Other than that, I guess it's strangely liberating to have my naked, bare face out there on the internet—it's almost a little thrilling, like stripping and running naked into the Pacific Ocean (a personal life goal). The lighting must have been particularly good in our office today because I now have the strange urge to post this photo on my Instagram." — Faith Xue, editorial director
"I so badly want to be the girl who never wears makeup and feels totally fine about that. And it's weird because it's not my skin that I'm self-conscious about. I like my freckles and don't mind my tired eyes. Instead, it's more like, how I'd feel self-conscious if I left the house wearing a plain gray sweatsuit. It's just so unflattering and has no personality. I guess I just don't feel like myself with a completely bare face, which sounds messed up, I know. What's worse is that I've been brainwashed to think that going to work or out to dinner with no makeup is like, dirty or lazy in some way. It's complicated. I'm trying to get over it. I think posting this selfie on Byrdie is a part of that." — Amanda Montell, associate features editor
"While I regularly work a no-makeup look on my days off, I'm not one to immortalize it with a photo. I adamantly avoid getting photographed sans makeup, and I feel ridiculous taking selfies—so a combination of the two is a rarity indeed. In fact, in my phone's entire camera roll (which I haven't synced with my computer in over a year, apparently), my only makeup-free selfies feature me making absurd faces (not intended for the world to see) or the occasional post-workout snap (which also gets posted nowhere). Though I've never given it much thought before, this pattern makes a lot of sense. First, selfies—especially sans makeup—make me feel uncomfortable, so a goofy expression offsets some of the vulnerability. Second, I feel most attractive as my fresh-faced self right after exercising—when my cheeks are flushed, I'm glistening with sweat, and I feel proud of pushing myself. So a quick snap (usually for my eyes only) is a low-key way to document my small success." — Dacy Knight, weekend editor
"It was oddly empowering and cathartic to take this photo. I've been so self-critical for the majority of my life—something that has manifested a lot in altering my weight and appearance when I can't control other things—so this image feels like hard proof of a personal journey I've been on toward self-acceptance over the past year or two. For the first time, I'm really comfortable in my skin, and that thinking has definitely overlapped with my beauty choices—I like wearing less makeup and leaving my hair as natural as possible, for example. Putting my un-made-up face out to the world kind of feels like my last hurdle. The fact that this doesn't feel as terrifying as I thought it would kind of says it all." — Victoria Hoff, news editor
"Unfortunately, I still haven't gotten that whole model-off-duty thing down. Showing my face off to the internet world sans makeup is something that I didn't expect would be as scary as it is. I hardly ever take selfies, in fact it has been over seven months since I've posted anything on Instagram (I know, I'm slightly ashamed). The point is, this is new territory for me. Although I am often too lazy to apply a stitch of product before I leave the house without a care in the world, it feels a bit different on here. There is also a sense of relief that I feel. I can show people I'm human, with flaws, and I'm okay with it. Pimples are the bane of my existence, but I have them. And that's okay! It's freeing to go unfiltered online. I mean, at the end of the day, you are who you are, and at some point we all have to accept that." — Mary Nunes, Byrdie editorial intern
"No makeup is my norm. I've never been a big makeup person, not because I don't enjoy it, just because I've never felt like myself. I favor a good sunscreen over foundation along with some Carmex. Living by the beach plays a huge part in me not wearing makeup on the daily because I always want to be able to jump into the ocean at the end of my day and not have to worry about my mascara running. Also, I will be the first to admit that while I'm very diligent with my skincare routine, I'm super lazy about taking off my makeup at the end of a long day, so it's better for me to keep my makeup to a bare minimum in the long run. That's not to say though that I don't absolutely love a good bronze eye shadow with my trusty Nars Dolce Vita lipstick." — Tehya Frank, Byrdie editorial intern
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This story was originally published April 28, 2017, and has since been updated.
Show us your no-makeup selfies on Instagram by tagging @byrdiebeauty!