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My relationship with make up – and me not wearing any

No make up
No make up
No make up
No make up
No make up

Today I am hosting the visual Friend Friday roundup on the theme of no make up.

For my own photos I went safe with black and white and my forgiving 1.8 lense (which is also fixed length, hence the close-upness) and I wore glasses, which frame the eyes nicely. You can see my open pores, scars and wrinkles, but I’m actually really happy with these photos. My skin is so, so terrible just now, red dry itchy skin under my eyes and loads of spots, but it was pretty ok then. I’m so glad I took these pictures a couple of weeks back before it all kicked off.

I have a funny relationship with make up. I wear quite a lot of it, almost every day, but I don’t get excited about it at all. Beauty blogs leave me cold. I have never finished an eyeshadow or lipstick in my life so how people can buy one every months is a mystery to me (not judging, just saying I don’t get it).

I think there are two reasons for my lack of excitement.

Make up as defence

Firstly, make up for me is mainly defensive to cover up the the spots and the shinyness and the uneven skin tone. When I put on my foundation, powder, blusher and mascara (those are the daily items) in the bathroom at work, I don’t feel like I’m making myself look nice, I’m making myself feel not bad.

This is not to say that I lose my confidence when I have a giant spot on my cheek, I am happy enough with myself to not fret too much, and aware that 85% of other people probably don’t notice, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect me. I do feel self-conscious. Because in all my years of reading body love blogs I have never heard anyone say ’embrace your blackheads!’ in the same way everyone is always saying ’embrace your curves’. There is no positive spin on spottiness.

Make up is for me, in the main, about making myself look acceptable, or I suppose a less positive version of the idea of make up as something to bring out our inner beauty discussed by Autumn of the Beheld here. Now that I think about it, that’s actually not a feeling I’m hugely comfortable with, the idea that I somehow need make up, which is why I think its good to explicitly remind myself that the world does not fall down when I don’t wear any every now and then through things like this project. I don’t like to think about it too much really, I use it and move on. It’s a tool that I try to not have much emotional investment in.

Make up as transformation

The other reason I’m not a big beauty girl is because even on the odd occasion when I do actually get excited about a particular make up item I quickly have to admit it makes no discernable difference. I have no idea why, but I have the kind of face on which make up just vanishes. There is a picture from my teenage year where my friend and I dressed up as goths. We covered ourselves in pale foundation and painted both eyes and lips in black khol. My friend looks pretty scary/weird. I look perfectly normal. Maybe like I have some lipstick on, but nothing like a goth.

Partly it is the shape of my eyes, which are round, with very little of the eyelid visible, and the skin going over the inside corner of my eye in a way that is more typically seen in people of South-East Asian ethnicity. So there’s just actually very few places where you can see any eyeshadow. Partly, maybe, it’s because my skin it quite greasy, so product wears off. Having such a strange face does have it’s good sides of course, it means I will pretty much be guaranteed to never look over the top, but then again, it does make wearing make up at all a little bit pointless.

Therefore the other fantasy of make up identified by Autumn, as a tool of creative irreverent creative transformation sold by the likes of MAC does not work on me. I love the idea as a fantasy, but I’ve never got invested much in it, because on a practical level, make up literally does not work for me. Which is probably a good thing.

What is your makeup routine/relationship with make up?

If you posted your own make up free pics, share ’em here via the link tool. Or any non bloggers that fancy taking part, email me your pictures!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • poet 11 November 2011, 8:51 am

    ” Because in all my years of reading body love blogs I have never heard anyone say ‘embrace your blackheads!’ in the same way everyone is always saying ‘embrace your curves’. There is no positive spin on spottiness.”

    This exactly! Somehow wrinkles are okay, but blackheads / pimples / scars are still a big no-no. Even the supposedly “ugly” people in the movies never have any. And remember that Dove craigslist ad where they were looking for people with flawless skin only (which don’t exist)? It’s been something I’ve been mulling over in my head for a while because it really bothers me that there doesn’t exist such a spin. I’ve been trying to find one, but it’s not ready yet… the matter is dear to me because I and a bunch of people I deeply care about happen to have pretty bad skin (or had it, with scars showing). Anyway… I keep thinking and I might let you know if I get something written up by this afternoon.
    poet recently posted..By the banks of her own lagoonMy Profile

  • Cat 11 November 2011, 9:13 am

    You have such a lovely face, Franca 🙂

    I know what you mean about lack of excitement over make-up. I used to play with it much more when I was younger and working in an enviroment full of women using bolder colours and playing with the different looks, but without that sense of shared ideas and skills it rather lost its appeal, and now I find I prefer a rather minimal look most of the time anyway. I just can’t get interested in new items of make-up – they’re functional, though I get the nicest version of functional thing that I can which perhaps says something as well.
    Cat recently posted..In the morning I awake. My arms my legs my body achesMy Profile

  • Nanne 11 November 2011, 9:29 am

    Can’t believe I’m the first one to post! Fun topic. You look amazing in the photos, by the way. I had to use my crappy mobile phone camera to take pictures, I look like a leprechaun:)
    Nanne recently posted..FBFF – Bare FacedMy Profile

  • Sylvia @ 40PlusStyle 11 November 2011, 9:43 am

    Nice post Franco. I wish you would feel a bit happier about your skin. To me your skin doesn’t look bad at all on the pictures, but then you did mention that you took them on a good day. Like you I don’t wear a lot of makeup and tell my story in the blogpost on the same topic. It also raises the question: Is it essential for women (over 40) to wear makeup. I realise that I look nicer if I make an effort of putting on makeup, but I mostly can’t be bothered, as to me the difference is too small anyway. Better to accept me the way that I am!
    Sylvia @ 40PlusStyle recently posted..Makeup: Is it essential for women (over 40)?My Profile

  • Iris 11 November 2011, 11:40 am

    I don’t really wear makeup but, that’s ok. I love these pics… your face looks great!
    Iris recently posted..FBFF: Sans Makeup + BONUS Giveaway!My Profile

  • Courtney 11 November 2011, 11:45 am

    I am so sad that you don’t feel absolutely amazing. I know that is SO impossible. But you really do look absolutely beautiful. These pictures are so gorgeous. You have beautiful eyes. I could care less if make up vanishes in them 😀

    I love the idea of fantasy make up and such for a certain look or style to compliment an outfit. I also love none at all. I just hate when people feel as if they are held captive by it. I feel as if it becomes a trap then.

    Here’s my link to my no make up post. Thanks so much for coming up with this topic. I think it’s fantastic and I’ve been so eager to read everyone’s posts today!
    Courtney recently posted..misfit ten (finally, i finished a challenge!)My Profile

  • poet 11 November 2011, 12:24 pm

    PS: I should add that you look great!
    poet recently posted..By the banks of her own lagoonMy Profile

  • madam0wl 11 November 2011, 1:38 pm

    Those are cool pictures! I think it is fun to see people’s pores once in a while. I very very rarely wear makeup. Like the only time in recent past has been for masquerade type events, like Halloween. I’ve just never learned the art of it, or really cared to. The only time I wear foundation or powder is if I happen to have acne/oil issues during a time I need to look professional/polished, which has maybe been a handful of times in the past, i.e. the most consistent time I wore foundation/power was when I was teaching and pregnant. So pretty much all of my blog / flickr photos are make-up free, but maybe I’ll write a little bit about it later today if I do a Frocking Friday post. It’s a fun post round-up idea and I think it was last fall when I participated in something similar.
    madam0wl recently posted..IN-A-GADDA, EBEW, OMG!My Profile

  • Elissa 11 November 2011, 2:40 pm

    Your photos are lovely! Posting my pics without makeup is possibly the most terrifying thing I have ever done, but I am grateful for the chance to explore why this is. I am the woman who wears a full face of makeup even when I have no plans to leave the house. I rely on it not to accentuate my features, but to conceal those I find unacceptable (which is essentially my entire face.) I’ve never questioned my need for makeup – I just *do*. I enjoy choosing new colors and experimenting with different brands, but the actual act of applying it ever morning isn’t joyful. It’s just something I need to do in order to make myself acceptable for society. Like brushing my teeth.

    I appreciate the chance to participate in this topic. Thanks for hosting!
    Elissa recently posted..Fashion Beauty Friend Friday: No makeup!My Profile

  • Fabienne Jach 11 November 2011, 2:49 pm

    Brilliant topic, Franca. My relationship with make-up has evolved over time, certainly. I love seeing this pictures of your face. They don’t look shockingly different or bad, they just look like you. Without make-up! Thanks for hosting.
    xo, f

  • Rebecca 11 November 2011, 3:12 pm

    I’ve struggled with bad skin too, so I definitely appreciate when makeup can cover a blemish. I think your pictures are beautiful.
    Rebecca recently posted..Thoughts on Makeup (and a 11/10/2011 Outfit)My Profile

  • Alana Mary (@MerryAlana) 11 November 2011, 3:58 pm

    I one hundred per cent understand what you mean about the no visible eyelid thing. Except mine are asymmetrical, as you can tell in my photos. One is visible, one is not. Thanks for hosting this week!
    Alana Mary (@MerryAlana) recently posted..Friend Friday: No makeupMy Profile

  • Kimberlee 11 November 2011, 4:09 pm

    That’s good that your looks don’t change with makeup – it shouldn’t! I hate when girls wear so much that it’s such a dramatic change when they don’t wear it. Makeup should be natural looking. I mostly wear tinted moisturizer to protect my face as an added SPF. Mascara makes you look more awake and concealer doesn’t show your boss how tired you are. You look great – the photos are very flattering!
    Kimberlee recently posted..Visual FBFF: Baring It AllMy Profile

  • DeeDee 11 November 2011, 4:19 pm

    I chose not to post my own photos, but I did write about why. Hope that’s okay!

    I can relate closely to your makeup-as-defense thinking, Franca, especially this part: “I don’t feel like I’m making myself look nice, I’m making myself feel not bad.” But I wholeheartedly agree with what so many others have said here: your photos are really, really beautiful.

    Thanks for hosting us this week!
    DeeDee recently posted..Feeling Fall {Why I Wore It}My Profile

  • Bethie the Boo 11 November 2011, 4:41 pm

    I think I should have done my pictures in black and white too! My face just looks so pale without makeup! Still, this was a neat topic idea and it forced me to be brave and go bare!
    Bethie the Boo recently posted..Visual Friend Friday – To "makeup" or not to "makeup"My Profile

  • Emily McIntyre 11 November 2011, 5:56 pm

    I hear you on using makeup as a defense. I tend to flush a lot and have some fluctuations of skin tone, which I counter by using a foundation most days, even if nothing else. I do have days when I don’t wear makeup, but like you, I tend to not feel quite as confident and comfortable with myself then.

    I didn’t begin wearing makeup until my early twenties, so it still has an excitement about it. I guess you could say the novelty hasn’t worn off!

    By the way, you look wonderful!
    Emily McIntyre recently posted..Learning to BreatheMy Profile

  • Maven 11 November 2011, 7:41 pm

    I’ve never worn much makeup, but a few years back I decided to make the effort to get comfortable with how my eyes look without (minimal) liner and mascara. I was unthrilled by the idea that I didn’t feel “myself” without a wee bit of makeup on, and even less thrilled by all the expectations surrounding “beauty work” for women. My little experiment worked, and as a result, I now rarely wear makeup. And I don’t have great skin, either–at 37, I’m still oily and spotty, PLUS I have some age-related sun damage from all my years of not wearing sunscreen every day–but I just don’t mind very much. I can still do great makeup on special occasions or when I’m performing, and I will always put on eye makeup and lip gloss if I’m going out at night.
    Maven recently posted..Here is the dressMy Profile

  • Megan Mae 11 November 2011, 8:01 pm

    Your photos are lovely! I am not a make-up person. I occasionally get excited thinking I’ll dabble in it, but really my skin hates anything but base moisturizers. Hair products can break me out. So I’m extremely minimal. I have occasional ragged breakouts, frequently have a spot or two, but I just deal. I hate the spots, but covering them only leads to more for me.

    I like make-up though. I think many people enjoy it, and I think treated like an accessory can help define someone’s personal style. It just isn’t mine.
    Megan Mae recently posted..New Silhouette, No Make-Up (Long Post)My Profile

  • Sadie 11 November 2011, 8:10 pm

    I think you look lovely in the photos!

    I’ve posted about this too, though I don’t know if it really counts as I never actually wear make-up – I was too much of a geeky teenager to be interested in experimenting then and never bothered to learn how to apply it or anything, so the idea of posting photos of yourself make-up-free being ‘brave’ seems a bit odd to me!
    Sadie recently posted..Bare-faced cheekMy Profile

  • Krystal (PowerFemme) 12 November 2011, 1:00 am

    Thanks so much for hosting this topic, Franca. I am so happy to participate, I can’t wait to read through the collection of posts. Like many others have stated, you look truly lovely in these photos. Although I am one of those people that does get excited by cosmetics, much of what you wrote about resonated with me, and I explored my own thoughts about ‘needing’ makeup as a defense in my own post.
    Krystal (PowerFemme) recently posted..Bare Faced Beauty: Flaunting my Makeup-Free Face and Thoughts on CosmeticsMy Profile

  • Leah 12 November 2011, 2:09 am

    I rarely wear make up and it is usually mascare and eye shadow. I love playing with colors on my huge eyes. I enjoyed your relationship with makeup it is interesting that you said you wear make up every day but it seems it not really a love realtionship, as I know with some people who really enjoy wearing make up and putting it on. I think I feel that way sometimes where you are just wearing it to cover something that perhaps in your opinion looks bad on your face. I have put foundation on a pimple from time to time without even putting any on at all but that spot. I really love a fresh natural face, when you get older I guess make up is not as fun as it seemed when you were a kid. Good post!

  • Gill 12 November 2011, 7:37 am

    I posted about this, too. I wear make up every work day, but tend to leave it off at the weekend. It almost feels like I have two different identities!

  • Fashion Confessions of a Mommy 12 November 2011, 7:42 am

    Thank you for hosting the visual FBFF and what a great topic.
    Your photos came out amazing. I love the super close-up that doesn’t show the whole face. I should have played around with my photo a bit like this but too late now.
    I am not a big make-up girl either.
    Fashion Confessions of a Mommy recently posted..Shopping for Dad and Visual FBFFMy Profile

  • Veshoevius 12 November 2011, 9:12 am

    I’m probably the opposite to you – I’m too busy to wear makeup most of the time and if I did it is the bare minimum. But I own heaps! When I do wear it I love the ritual of putting it on and the whole painting on blank canvas creativity of it – I wear it to go out and to perform, so I totally get the whole transformative thing sold by the likes of MAC and even invest in make up lessons, as before a show I have to go from barefaced to diva in less than half an hour. Usually people who see me with make up the first time are shocked (in a good way) by the transformation. Makeup is more about the fun of role playing and glamourous nights out for me than an everyday ritual.
    Veshoevius recently posted..InspirationMy Profile

  • THE-LOUDMOUTH 12 November 2011, 6:17 pm

    I love your philosophy. You’re such a badass. And downright beautiful sans makeup!

  • Autumn 13 November 2011, 12:13 am

    Wonderfully articulated! (And wonderful pictures–they look glamorous, actually, which is interesting because glamour is usually so much about artifice.) I love the point you make that others articulate here: That we don’t hear “embrace your blackheads!”–we just assume that of course we “need” to cover them. Now off to read through this awesome collection! (I got bogged down with a zillion things and wasn’t able to participate directly but look forward to featuring this in an upcoming post.) And thank you so much for the shout-out!

  • teeny 13 November 2011, 7:59 am

    Honestly? After getting excema for the first time ever last year, i just said “screw it” i don’t use any kind of cleanser, toner, moisturiser anymore, i figure it’s just society/media/branding saying that to look normal you need to use those things. Like youthful, flawless skin is “normal’ – it friggin isn’t. Normal skin is “flawed” skin. i started taking skin vitamins daily and I wash my face with warm water…. and at nighttime i dab on some calendula oil. that is it. i have some enlarged pores and some blackheads but only i can see them (hehe so i tell myself). I’ll occasionally scrub my face with a hot flannel to dislodge excess dirt and oil. in fact…I’ve had heaps of compliments on my skin since starting this regime (which is weird cos it’s pretty shiny, yet it is also plumper now). My healthy skin is best naked. However, i do slap on mascara, eyeshadow, eyeliner and lipgloss when i got out to something special – why? to accentuate i suppose. Thanks for your honesty Franca, you have a lovely face lady.

  • contrary kiwi 14 November 2011, 5:59 am

    You look absolutely beautiful. I hope that you continue to look at your relationship with makeup and change that attitude of needing it to make you look “not bad” to knowing you don’t need it to look amazing, because you certainly don’t 🙂

  • Becky Lee 19 November 2011, 6:21 pm

    Hey there! I know I’m late to the game, but I just had to get in on the make-up-free post. I’m all about it, and I love everybody’s naked faces. Thanks for hosting this, you’re lovely!
    Becky Lee recently posted..Naked morning faceMy Profile

  • Iz 21 November 2011, 7:28 pm

    What a great post! Thanks for sharing, and your photos are truly beautiful.

    I like wearing make up and I like the way I look with it. I wear quite a bit daily, mostly eyeliner and eyeshadow. My relationship with makeup comes partly from reactions of 2 abusive men I’ve known in the past. It seems to be pretty common that a woman in an abusive relationship isn’t ‘allowed’ to wear makeup. I was in a situation once with a man who tried to wipe off mascara from my eyes, and when that didn’t work he tried to tell me that I didn’t know how to put it on and that I looked ugly with it. I refused to wash it off, and left him.

    Maybe these experiences contribute to me wearing a lot of eye makeup as an expression of my individuality, of my self confidence and my own power as a person to control my own life. The less I care about what people think, the more eye make up I wear. Other than that I only wear minimal foundation on my nose and blush.

    My mom never wore makeup, and I think that was totally badass of her at the time, and still is. But I make my own rules about how I’m going to live my life. 🙂
    Iz recently posted..Never Never on a SundayMy Profile

  • The Style Confessions 25 November 2011, 11:22 pm

    I used to have pretty bad skin, and it is just awful. It’s gotten better as I get older though. I also discovered beautipedia (http://www.beautypedia.com/) a few years ago and the author’s beauty product reviews have helped me to find products that really work and don’t make me break out. It’s frustrating to buy a product that’s supposed to make you look great, but doesn’t work. That might be one of the reasons makeup doesn’t excite you.
    Personally I love makeup. I look OK without it, but just a little mascara and lip gloss make a difference. I really notice a difference when I put on a “whole face” and feel much prettier and sexier. But like I said above I’ve found great products that look fabulous and WORK. That, I think, is the key.

    Honestly I think you look very pretty without makeup and your glasses are really cute on you too!

    Congrats on making links a la mode with this article!
    The Style Confessions recently posted..Playing GamesMy Profile

  • Lindsey Jones 26 November 2011, 1:50 am

    You are absolutely beautiful without any makeup on! And that’s coming from a makeup artist! 😉 Makeup should always be fun! And if it’s not, and you don’t feel any different, then don’t even bother! Work it girl!

  • Sophie 29 November 2011, 9:24 pm

    I love this post. I think you have the exact same views on make-up as I do. You look so nice in the photos but when you mentioned your insecurities I went back and analysed them: I still thought they were fine! I am following you x


  • Lorena 5 December 2011, 10:02 pm

    Well Franca, first y must say you have the loveliest eyes 🙂
    AND just last week i did my “Just moisturizer” day.
    I wear make up, i like to think its minimal (face powder+eyeshadow+mascara+eyeliner+gloss) but now that i read the list its not THAT minimal.
    Like you I put it on to look ok and just walk out of the house. However lately I feel like I NEED IT.
    Maybe its just aging, the funny thing is I have eyeshadows that are 6 years old, foundation that is 4 years old, lipsticks that are 10 years old, this being said I take forever to use my make up entirely….. and I think i may just have the health department knocking on my door soon after this comment. They might come and confiscate my make up case.

  • Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys 6 December 2011, 2:57 pm

    Oh man… I know exactly what you mean by makeup as a defense mechanism rather than an enhancer. I still feel bitter that I’m in my late 20s and my skin has not “cleared up” like everyone promised it would. In addition to there being no “love your blackheads” rhetoric, I would add that nobody says “love your mustache” either. It’s ok to have bushy eyebrows, but not hair on the upper lip, unless you’re Frida Kahlo and making a point.

    Excellent article.
    Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys recently posted..welcome to my castle in the rhinelandMy Profile

  • Michele Wallace 10 December 2011, 4:02 am

    Somehow wrinkles are okay, but blackheads / pimples / scars are still a big no-no. I posted about this, too. Brilliant topic, Franca.