Friday, November 1, 2013

Before and After: Thoughts on Makeup and Self-Image

The checkout line at my local grocery store always has a large selection of tabloids. Lately, a popular headline has been "Stars Without Makeup! You Won't Believe How Disgusting They Look!" or something like that. During the photoshoot for book #2 this week, I kept thinking about those tabloids.

I modeled on day two of the shoot, and thought it would be fun to capture the transition from mere mortal to model. I came into the studio with unstyled hair and no makeup (left picture) and an hour later I was all spackled and curled and ready to go!

On the subway to the shoot, I felt embarrassed by my lack of styling. On the way home that night, I felt embarrassed by all the makeup migrating to my under-eye region. You just can't win, right?

My everyday look is somewhere between these two extremes, which I guess is the case for most women. And I think we all have somewhat conflicting emotions about the whole thing. There's certainly no lack of pressure to conform to an ideal of beauty in our world. Think about all the time, money, and effort spent on products to achieve that ideal. It's exhausting! Do we like to read those tabloids about "stars without makeup" to make ourselves feel better? I think once you know how much work goes into a fully made-up look, you can let yourself off the hook a bit.

On the other hand, who doesn't like to play dress up? It's nice to have the option to go all out.

What do you think--do you feel bad about yourself sans makeup? Or do you regularly go au natural?

102 comments:

  1. I don't usually wear any make-up and when I do I just stick with foundation, maybe some concealer and some tinted lip balm. When I was younger I felt like I needed to wear my make-up like a coat of armour, but now I'm not sure if I'm just lazy or what. It is nice to get tarted up every now and again though.

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  2. I rarely ever wear a 'full face' of makeup- meaning foundation, eyeshadow, lipstick, the whole shebang... My daily look is a tinted moisturizer, mascara and a tinted lip balm, if I feel like it I'll wear winged eyeliner with it. This means that I don't really feel bad when I'm not wearing anything on my face, since it's not that drastically different from my normal look. This is actually one of the reasons (apart from laziness) why I don't wear loads of makeup on a daily basis: I'd feel bad about myself on days when I don't have the time or patience for it!

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  3. I like to approach makeup the same way I approach dressmaking: I might not need it but it makes me feel good! Just like I add pockets to everything to make it more functional, I like to add a little makeup to my routine just to spice things up a bit.

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  4. I'm an au natural girl. Aside from having sensitive skin, growing up my mom always wanted me to have curly hair and makeup. As soon as I left for college, the perms stopped and I discovered I have a gorgeous head of straight hair that doesn't need styling. I dropped the makeup when I met my husband because he kept insisting I look better without it. Now if I want to look nice, I simply wear a pair of pearl earrings.

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  5. I have nice skin, and will enhance with blush, eyeliner, and possibly mascara and when I think about it, lipstick. Going all out includes adding loose powder and eye shadow. But, I am just as comfortable in my skin without anything on it.

    My mother had this attitude, and I hope to pass it on to my daughter, too.

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  6. Monday I had a co-worker say, "Are you ok, you look really tired this morning?" I replied, "This is me without makeup." LOL Granted, I was having a rough day and that is one of the reasons make-up had not made it to my face. Since I ALWAYS wear make-up, it was funny to see other people's reactions to me bare faced.

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  7. i fluctuate. i wear full makeup a good amount of the time, but i don't go as heavy on the foundation as i used to. even on au natural days i rarely leave the house without mascara. some people are envious of guys for not having to deal with all of this, but the older i get, i have to say i am glad that we ladies have the option of makeup while they generally don't. on days when guys are tired and look like crap there's not much they can do to camouflage it!

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  8. I wear eye-liner every single day, even when I'm at work in a fly-in mining camp and about to go underground. It's part of my armour, part of my public face, and I don't feel right, or maybe secure? without it. But that's all I wear, unless I'm going out somewhere fancy or out with the girls, then I go the whole 9 yards - just because it's fun!

    Such a strange though, when I put time into thinking about it!

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  9. I keep my makeup to a minimum these days, mostly out of laziness. I have that airfoam foundation that you just kind of lather on with your hands and if I feel fancy I'll add eye-liner. I just feel that by the end of the day my makeup wears off? like my skin eats it. I see all these women who's blush is somehow still there by 5pm.

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  10. I wear very little make up, but more than I did a few years ago. I work in an environment with harsh strip lights and find I need a little bit just to look human!
    I used to be confident wearing makeup, but feel out of my depth when making up to go out. I need a guide on how to deal with my skin as it begins to age. Still like to look glam, just not mutton dressed up as lamb.

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  11. I think we think of "stars" as so perfect and so unattainable, so seeing them without make up makes us feel like we could be pretty, too.
    As for me, most days, if I'm staying in (I have twins), I don't bother with makeup, whatever, man! If I'm going out a little, just a bit of foundation, some mascara and some lipstick. If I'm "GOING OUT" I do the whole 9 yards and feel fabulous.

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  12. Oh Gertie - I heart you. I agree with you, its complicated. I am completely made up every day (vintage style hair and makeup). While it is certainly part of my routine, I am often conflicted about the message it sends to my daughters. On the other hand, first impressions and people being visual creatures...I don't want to set them up to think it doesn't matter either.

    It is hard to strike a balance for me. I have experienced the invisibility and the isolation that comes from me being overweight, unkept and dressed in sweats, and I dont think I want to go back to that. Through changing my attitude and taking pride in my outward appearance I have discovered a whole new part of myself. It led to me joining a running class and making new friends and a better relationship wit my husband and kids.

    In my opinion a woman, no matter if she is wearing makeup, is overweight, naturally pretty etc, is more agreeable (just as a human beign) if she takes personal pride in her appearance and has a smile on her face more-so than if she is disheveled and anti-social. The same goes for men.

    My girls are nine (twins) and, for now, I am teaching them that clean matching clothes, brushed hair , a smile and a good attitude are all they need. Its about what makes you feel good, because when you feel good on the inside it does radiate outside.

    You definitely shine Gertie - makeup or not. I love your blog.

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  13. I didn't start wearing makeup until I was 50. If you can do it, I'm all for the au natural look. I only wear makeup to work now anyway. (I'm 54)

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  14. I'm a 60s girl and I love makeup...I put it on in the morning and forget about my face for the rest of the day. It is part of my routine and just part of me...5minutes and I'm done!

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  15. I think you look the same in both pics. I never feel bad about not wearing makeup.

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    1. Me too! had to go back and look again to see the difference! Not a fan of the daily faceful, kept for photo shoots, performances and very special occasions only. I don't feel I ought to, I just sometimes like to :)

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    2. yip i had to look 3 times before i saw the difference, and i think you look cuter without it. i am biased i dont where make up, hell i dont even own a hairbrush.

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  16. I'm with you on this one, somewhere in the middle for most occasions. I have a friend who lives by the advice, "always leave the house anticipating a chance encounter with Johnny Depp" but that's a bit high maintenance for me. That being said I do always go for full makeup for shoots for my blog because without I always hate the photos! What that says about me I'm not sure. ;-)

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  17. I have gone from too much makeup [high school] to no makeup [20's and 30's] to wearing BB cream, mascara and blush most days [40's-present] I have great skin, but at almost 60 am losing color and my eyes look like little slits if I don't wear mascara. So if I'm going to be home for the day, I try and go natural without makeup; but I always wear it when I go out, or I feel exposed, somehow. I imagine it's mostly in my perception, and not at all what others see.

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  18. I love putting on makeup because sometimes when I go out, I challenge myself to get some head turns. I want my husband to feel like he's married to a beautiful, sexy, confident woman. However, my typical day-to-day routine is just a dash of mascara because I'm blonde and blue-eyed and that makes me look awake. Honestly, I don't really know how to apply all the fancy stuff - apart from what I've seen on What Not To Wear - so I ask my friends to give me makeovers for special occasions. My husband still thinks I look beautiful, even when I first wake up and have raccoon eyes, blotchy skin, and drool on my cheek, so I'm pretty lucky in that I don't feel very pressured either way! I like being comfortable enough to not have to wear it, but I feel pretty when I do wear it!

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  19. I find myself going through phases. I can wear makeup everyday, or go without it for months. But mostly, I feel prettier if I've gotten an extra 15 minutes of sleep than if I had put on makeup.

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  20. I love wearing make up and started when I was around 15 and now I'm 72. Been wearing it every single day of my life no matter what. I just don't feel myself without it. Also don't own any sweats or t-shirt even for home wear. Like to dress in levis yes with colorful knit tops. This is rural Alaska here and I only really dress up in dresses for church on Sundays all of which I have made myself.

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  21. I definitely have conflicted feelings about makeup, but I try (at times unsuccessfully) to avoid judging anyone for wearing or not wearing makeup (myself included) because it's an individual choice with many influences and, as others have said, good hygiene and good attitude are ultimately more important.

    But what drives the issue home for me is the attitude some men (and perhaps some women as well) have about it. My husband is a Redditor, and he's talked about numerous threads that reveal that many men on the internet don't really know what's truly natural any more. They've been conditioned to believe that a woman sporting "the natural look" isn't wearing any makeup at all, when in fact she may have spent as much time on her makeup as someone wearing dramatic eyeliner, layered blush, and bright lipstick. And when this woman is held up next to someone who's washed and combed but not made up and coiffed, it's easy to deem the latter less attractive, less attentive to her appearance, even lazy. Or to assume, as happened to an earlier commenter, that the un-made-up woman is actually ill. It's disheartening to think that an honestly-come-by choice to wear makeup because it makes you look good and feel good about yourself can lead to a situation where those not wearing makeup are perceived as sickly or slovenly, since it's certainly not the intention of any makeup wearers to give that impression!

    What makes it so tough is that it's not so much a change in what's valued (makeup versus natural) as a change in what's perceived as normal--you can make a reasoned case for the value of wearing makeup or not, but it's hard to make people see something they've been trained not to notice. Perhaps the next step is to discuss why, when we wear makeup, there's a desire to convince others that we're not wearing any. Certainly no one wants to look garish, but why pretend that you didn't spend any effort on it? Is it a fear of appearing "high maintenance" or seeming self-absorbed? A fear of being judged for spending money on cosmetics, which might be regarded as frivolous? A fear that we're just not pretty enough without makeup, and must therefore banish any suggestion that a (supposedly) less pretty self even exists? We don't pretend our handmade clothes are off-the-rack or our homemade treats are a big box bakery special, so why do we pretend that we rolled out of bed looking a certain way when in fact we took time and care to cultivate this look?

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  22. I like to keep my daily make-up natural looking and my routine takes less than 10 minutes: just mineral powder to even the skin, a dash of rouge on the cheeks, mascara and defining the brows. If I put eye liner or even eye shadow I immediately feel like I was going to a party. I sometimes go au natural, especially if I stay at home all day, but I don't feel ashamed by it. Only thing that bothers me a little is that my eyebrows are uneven and few.

    I think that kind of "Look how ugly these celebs are without make up" -headlines are stupid. Especially young girls might get the idea that you can't be beautiful without a mask of make-up on your face, which is so untrue.

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  23. I think I look good without make-up but a little foundation never hurt anyone, right?

    Having seen you many times in person, I can say you have great skin and really don't need make-up. Of course, pink hair does seem to demand strong color elsewhere, like on the lips. Why is that?

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  24. Thank you for your thoughtful post and also thanks to those who responded. I grew up in a BIG makeup town (Dallas) and then lived in the mountains for many years. Now I'm back in Dallas and I think about this a lot, partly because my preference is not to wear any makeup but most of the women I am around wear lots of it, and they look great. I miss seeing lots of natural faces everyday, but I do think made-up women look great a lot of the time, and understand why they do it and don't have any problem with it. It's just their choice. Some women (like you, Gertie) can really rock the make up! I wish I had more validation for my choice, that's all. That's why I like this post. I appreciate those who choose to celebrate diversity of personality, style, and women's choice.

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  25. I was heavily discouraged from using it as a kid (super feminist mom) and never really learned how. If I wear anything more than lip gloss and mascara and foundation, I feel ridiculous, and I just don't bother most days. I'm also pale with dishwater blonde (isn't *that* a great phrase?) hair, so too much color on the face makes a pretty solid statement - usually more than I'm comfortable with.

    That said, I do wish that I didn't feel like a clown with make-up on -- it would be nice to have it be an option -- and I have a lot of admiration for people who are good at applying it. My attempts at eyeliner always show my lack of experience!

    I comment mostly because my experience seems to be pretty unique - it seems like most people grow up at least learning how to apply it.

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    1. Charlotte, I admit I liked reading your comment. I was never taught how to apply make-up either and any time as an adult that I've played with friends products, I can only describe the finished product - my face - as 'clownish'!

      I wasn't discouraged by my mum from wearing make-up, it's just that she didn't own a single thing to put on her face, apart from moisteriser. Make-up was therefore never discussed as an option or otherwise.

      As an adult, I've replaced moisteriser with sunscreen for my morning beauty regime and, apart from brushing my teeth, that's the entire extent of my regime. And in the shower I merely run a wet face cloth over my face and it's cleaned. I am quick in the bathroom of a morning! (And I imagine I've saved myself a fair amount of money over the years.)

      As an 18 year-old, I was told by one person that I would be required to wear make-up when I started working, no matter what job I took on. I'm thankful that in the 20 years since that comment, my lack of make-up has never once been commented on by any employer, implicitly or explicitly. And I've worked in a variety of fields including public relations, the tertiary education sector, tourism.

      It's an interesting topic and set of comments, Gertie.

      Sam

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  26. I use makeup very seldom and yet I feel ugly without it.

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  27. it depends on what i see in the mirror - still have days i like it so that i go out au naturale. but more and more i feel the necessity of some color in my face. if t´s only a little black in the corner of the eye for outdoor/sports activities. the more formal the occasion the more product are needed.

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  28. i almost never wear makeup unless it's part of a costume (usu black lipstick or similar). I really prefer myself and most others without makeup. I mean, it's fun but it seems like most people wear it because they're afraid of what they really look like. I guess I stopped wearing it about the time i started being ok with who i am as a person. I wouldn't tell someone they shouldn't wear makeup (to each their own, you know?), but you won't catch me encouraging it either.

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  29. I never wear make up. I don't like to spend the time that is required to apply it correctly and to be honest I don't really know how to use most of the stuff. I am happy this way and my boyfriend also prefers the natural look.

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  30. I rarely wear makeup. I just don't like to I guess.

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  31. You look beautiful without make up too!
    I usually go without makeup. If anything it is concealer and lipstick so that I don't have all my dots and death lips. If I'm feeling feminine I'll add mascara. If I know that I am going out, and especially with my boyfriend, I'll add more and do some fun eyeshadow. Growing up I never cared for the extra effort of looking "pretty". I couldn't get up on time so I never had time. I wouldn't say I know how to do make-up and I definitely can't do hair, which is why I cut mine off. Wouldn't know what to do to it if I had it!

    btw, if you want AWESOME eyeshadow and make-up, check out My Beauty Addiction! https://www.facebook.com/mybeautyaddiction They are Ohio-based and indie! Best products and customer service you can find!

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  32. My usual makeup is mascara with under eye concealer, and a natural lipstick color or tinted lip gloss during the cooler months. I am fair and inherited dark under eyes. No matter how much I sleep they never really go away, and if I don't wear the concealer people tell me I look tired.

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  33. In my 20's no makeup,in my 30's make up for special occasions now im 47 and i look old and tired without makeup.Im learning how to use make up all over again.

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  34. I used to wear almost no makeup and get some hassling from my mother about how I would look better if I just did this or that. I just had no interest unless I was going out somewhere special. Now? I wear makeup pretty much every day. Moisturizer, foundation, concealer, eyeshadow, blush, mascara and eyeliner. Then lipstick maybe once, lipgloss when I think of it. But I do it for me. I like how it looks and it makes me feel a little tiny bit glam to put on my slightly glittery black eyeliner and do cat's eye sweeps. It is noticeable but not super in your face (the plain black felt too drastic to me). I aim for mostly natural and to me it feels nice to care about how I look. Not to the point that it takes me more than 5 mins or so to do my whole makeup routine (because I am still a pretty no-fuss gal), but I have the time and I enjoy looking a little less like I may not have woken up yet (because that's pretty much how I look sans makeup). There is nothing wrong with anyone who chooses not to wear makeup but this lets me bring a little bit of Mad Men into my day since I'm not up to glamming up my wardrobe nearly as much.

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  35. Dear Gertie!
    I saw pictures of those stars without make up, and I thought, well, they look just fine to me!
    I only wear make up on rare occasions, so the world at large just sees me- no fancy colours, no fancy lips, and they seem to cope! I have yet to scare a child with my naked face!

    And yes, I work full time in a professional capacity, make up, or no make up is a personal choice, and you should be able to feel able to be, just as you prefer!

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  36. I'm 53 and never wore make up but that changed after all my hair fell out from chemotherapy. On some parts of your body it never grows back. And let me tell you, a face needs eyebrows. I tried eyebrow tattoos and they didn't stick around. Every morning I use tinted moisturizer and I draw in some natural looking brows in a nice dark brown.

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  37. Patty from FloridaNovember 1, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Well 1st thing 1st. You are a beautiful young lady with or without the makeup. Now to the question at hand. I do wear makeup to go to work and things like that but I don't wear the whole shebang everyday, unless I am working everyday. It isn't good for your skin and I think we put so much in to trying to look like the people on T.V. and most of the time it's not real. I understand how dressing up makes you feel good and all, but like I said we put to much pressure on ourselves to try to look like the models that are airbrushed. I think we need to let young girls know it is good to feel good about yourself no matter what. Makeup is there to enhance your features and cover the ones you don't want people to stare at. lol!! But we as women need to remember we all are beautiful with or without any makeup on and it isn't necessary to have it on just to go outside. Keep up the good work girlfriend, and like I said before you are beautiful with or without the make up Gertie.

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  38. I was never brave enough to wear bright lipstick before my 30's, but now I LOVE it. No matter how I feel or look, a splash of bright red or pink lipstick in my favourite brand makes me feel fabulous and (I think) makes me look super too! You look fabulous with or without! PS I always wanted pink hair too but it may take me a few more years to work up the courage for that yet.

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  39. Interesting conversation! I only wear make up for special occasions...partly because I don't really know what I'm doing, partly because I suppose I feel like I look "good enough" to go without...I do suspect that as I age (I'm 34)I might feel that I need more to look "proper/not tired". I, like some others, have daughters (2) and wonder about how to explain makeup to them..."it makes you look better...? Because you don't look good already...?um..." I kind of feel that by being happy with my natural look I'm inspiring them to love themselves too. No pressure with raising girls eh? ;).
    (I should note that whenever I DO get gussied up, I think I look amazing and should do it more often...what does that say??)

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    1. Luch, I tell my daughters that my lipstick makes me look more colourful, and I like being colourful!

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    2. That's a great response! I have a young son (9) but he asks why girls wear it - actually sometimes he plays with it too! He always tries the eyeshadows and lipsticks at the shops, lol!

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    3. Colourful...I like it! Thanks for sharing.

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    4. Like so much of parenting, it's what you do, not what you say. If you have fun with makeup, but love yourself au naturel, too, your girls will pick up on that. I am also thoughtful about commenting to my girls about all the different kinds of beauty I see in different women around me.

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    5. I have to wear a little something to feel better, mascara and a light foundation.

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  40. I wear make up maybe once a year. I don't really feel that I need it and never have.

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  41. I wear lipstick every day - often bright - and that's it. No foundation, I don't even own any. I do get my eyebrows and eyelashes tinted when I have the opportunity, and like the extra definition, and I will add eye makeup and blush if I am going out (and by going out, I mean to a special event, so possibly only a few times each year). I just prefer things this way for myself. Really can't be bothered building time for full make-up into my morning routine. I suspect that where you live has something to do with how comfortable you are in makeup. I am Australian, in my mid-forties, living in Melbourne. Yes, lots of women wear make-up, but a huge number don't, or only wear very little. I am not even slightly unusual in the amount of make-up that I (don't) wear. And I still take pride in my appearance, but my appearance is only a part of who I am.

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  42. I'm a sans makeup gal. It just makes my skin feel disgusting and I break out like crazy - regardless if its sensitive skin. I wish I could, because I love the vintage look. I would love to be comfortable in a great bright red lipstick. As a girl in my mid-thirties, I guess I've just decided to age like those pre-1900 girls before me and age gracefully (I hope). And after a certain age, it just seems sad to see someone try to be 20 when they are 60. If more people didn't wear makeup or weren't chastised for not wearing makeup, those magazines wouldn't sell. I also find it funny that even though as a society we have seen most celebrities naked, the most shocking thing we can come up with is seeing them without makeup on.

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  43. I live in Seattle, where it is fairly common for most women to wear no makeup or "minimalist" makeup. One of my friends went on vacation in New Jersey recently, and she felt underdressed everywhere because she wasn't wearing as much makeup as other women.

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  44. In my world makeup is a personal thing. I am a full time seamstress and work out of my home...so no one really sees me on a daily basis. In my opinion makeup enhances your natural beauty either way the feeling comes from within! When I go dancing with my Girlfriends on Friday Night I always enhance my natural beauty.

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  45. I only wear a sheer tinted lip balm when I go out. I only wear make up (that is mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow) during the day if it is SUPER special occasion (my graduation or a wedding), but if I go out to something special at night, I do wear it. I never wear foundation or proper lipstick. I think it makes people look fake and I feel plastic with it on and it feels awful on, for me. I wear sunscreen every day - I only started using face cream and sunscreen when I was 30 (now 51). Good Greek genes...
    I saw some girls at uni looking like they just came from a glamour shoot and while I think it looks beautiful and flawless I just can't commit that amount of time to do it. I also think - if I was a boy would I want to kiss that made up cheek? I'm perfectly accepting of me - including the flaws that make me an individual. I like the look on others actually but not on me.

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  46. To be honest, I had to look hard to tell the difference - I think you look fantastic both ways! I think we have magnifying lens on when we (meaning everyone - men, too!) look at ourselves in the mirror and no one looks at us that way. I stopped wearing make-up when I was 19 or 20, after only wearing it regularly for a few months. I noticed that my skin color/brightness had become really dull in the time I wore make-up (this was in 1989, so it's very likely make-up has improved since then) so I stopped and I got my skin color back in about a week. Once or twice a year I'll put on eye make-up just for fun - I feel super glamorous when I do!

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  47. I don't wear make-up, but I think others that apply it correctly look great! I would never judge anyone for wearing it, or not, certainly, but I can see where it could really help with uneven skin/pale eyebrows/eyelashes. Or for a photo shoot/modeling/acting.

    When I was in my late teens (in the 80s), I wore a lot of make-up, but that stopped once I went to college. I will wear lipstick (tinted moisturizer) now and then, but I feel silly. Luckily, I have nice skin and now that I'm 40 I think I look younger without anything on my face. My husband also hates it, so I'm not really motivated to experiment with it to impress anyone (myself included).

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  48. I see makeup the way I see sewing. Both allow me hide perceived flaws and enhance good features. Both can be tailored to occasion, mood and style, era, trend. How you style your clothing, makeup and hair allows you show others who you are instantly. I'm quite new to makeup at 33, I've been blogging my journey because some things have been hard to get the hang of! I feel makeup is both a wonderful tool to self esteem and a quick way to feel flawed.....

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  49. I pretty much never wear make up... unless it's halloween and my costume requires it! I don't even own a tube of lipstick or mascara. Mostly I think I'm just lazy and I have absolutely no problem with the way I look without makeup. I think that's probably a result of growing up with my mom, who takes natural to an extreme- no shaving, no perfume or smelly lotions or anything, no hair product, no piercings, no tattoos no nothing. She has never in her life dyed her hair! And she can probably count on her fingers the number of times she's used hairspray. So I never really learned how to do these things (except shave and dye my hair... I used to dye my hair all sorts of fun colors!). There was a period in my life (like, high school) where I gave into the pressure to wear makeup, but I never really enjoyed it unless I was on stage. So I gave it up after that (except on stage, of course) and I've been perfectly happy since.

    I wish there was less pressure on women to feel like they had to wear makeup. I think people look fine without it! But at the same time, makeup can be a really cool means of self expression. And it can be really fun to get all dolled up for special occasions! I guess I just wish our society had a different attitude as a whole toward makeup- more optional and a tool for self expression than a necessity.

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  50. Oh gosh. Make up. I have so many feelings about this. I don't really wear make up very often and if i do it's light, usually just foundation, mascara and blush. I never use bronzer and hardly ever use eye shadow or eye liner. I tell people I don't wear it because I don't want to be one of those people who gets asked if they are tired or ok because I forgot to put it on one morning. LOL. But then if I do wear a lot of make up one day I have people telling me I look really pretty, so catch 22.

    I do feel like made up girls are prettier than me, but only because they wear make up. I often think the playing field would be evened (so to speak) if no girls wore make up. I never feel un-special or ugly, just less "shiny and sprkly" lol. When I take picture for my blog i usually try to wear make up.

    I could go on.....but I will stop. I think you look just adorable both ways ^.^

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  51. I love this post. As a mother of 4, and 3 of them girls, I think it's important to communicate an acceptance of our bodies and beauty in its many different definitions. i do wear makeup sometimes, but I am proud of my bare face and all it's freckles, wrinkles, and pale lips. Beauty has so many definitions we need to embrace them all!

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  52. Ms. SpoolTeacher wears as little as possible and doesn't look in the mirror. She feels real beautiful that way.

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  53. Ugh, always a love/hate relationship with makeup.

    I've worn makeup since I was 14, and because I cut my hair short at 15, it became a coping mechanism for me as I was mistaken for a boy more times than I want to remember. Almost 15 years later, I feel awkward and naked without liquid eyeliner. I also have to draw my eyebrows else I look weird to myself. Those are the minimums daily. But I also only take 10 minutes to do my makeup.

    I'd like to instill a better sense of healthy self-esteem in my daughter than I grew up with. My mom didn't wear makeup often as a stay-at-home mom and so it wasn't a big deal to her, having been the only girl in a family full of boys. But even though I feel like I need makeup to be comfortable, I don't want my daughter growing up to feel like she needs it as well. It's a great tool and lots of fun, but not necessary. I love a retro style and well, makeup is awesome for that. I also struggle with acne and makeup helps me feel so much better about my skin.

    So yes, love/hate.

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  54. Most of my life, I didn't wear much makeup. It didn't bother me, but it bothered my mom a lot. My mom wore makeup until she entered the hospital for the last time at 94. Makeup helped her feel good about herself. She was beautiful. Now that I am of a "certain age"....I realize that I can enhance my eyes with a little something and since my eyebrows have faded into oblivion, I pencil some in...happy to do it...I wear a little base, blush and gloss...to enhance my natural beauty. Just like my mom and I don't apologize one bit! :)

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  55. I wear makeup to work - foundation, powder, eyeliner, neutral eyeshadow, mascara, all applied with a VERY light hand (I hate the crusty spackle look!). Never blush, never ever lipstick - I don't feel natural or myself with it. I work in a very aesthetically driven industry (interior design), and there is an expectation to appear stylish and put together - the "look" is, after all, what we are trying to sell!

    On the weekends in my 'hood and running errands, I wear nothing. I usually have the remnants of eyeliner anyway, and if I have a gigantic blemish I might conceal it, but otherwise? Who do I need to impress...?

    I have a sister in Dallas with four children 5 and under who is fully made up before she leaves her bedroom in the morning. I have a mother who never wore/wears makeup except for very extra special occasions, and I have another sister who is somewhere between me & TX sis.

    Makeup to me is like most other things - if it makes you feel better, do it; if it doesn't, don't. But for goodness sake, don't judge or shame anyone else for their decisions!

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  56. Oh man.... I really don't remember the last time I didn't do a "full face" unless I was really sick sometime last year. I'm one of those people that feels like if you're going out, you never know who you're going to meet and/or run into, so I like to look presentable just in case. Perhaps I'm vain, but I'm fine with that!

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  57. I don't wear it daily, unless you count suncreen-moisturizer. That product is self-defense since I live at high altitude. But I also live in a no to minimalist makeup culture. Very few women in my area wear more than moisturizer, lip balm (not gloss) and maybe mascara. Heavy makeup mixes poorly with bike commuting and a lunch-time run.

    I come from a heavy makeup culture, though -- going out with only foundation, powder, lippie, brow pencil, eye liner, eye shadow was a bit shleppy because no blush. And it was fun before it became an expectation, and in the time between when I got the hang of it and when I wanted to mess with non-standard applications like curlicues at the end of my eyeliner (it's pretty!) or altering lip shape. Then it was all about conformity and no longer self-expression.

    I think local culture plays a lot in the decision. In my family's area, it's considered a basic courtesy, a means of showing that you value others enough to present within the cultural bounds. Here, it's perceived as a mark of either minor misrepresentation or a surface vanity (though those bike rides, runs and other extreme training regimens are another form of vanity and competition).

    It has a lot of semiotics attached... Though I admit I choose team Why Bother? Morning's too icky anyway!

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  58. This is so interesting - and surprising! I never thought of myself as an extreme in the make-up department, but I wouldn't dream of going to work without foundation, powder, some eyeshadow and mascara. Otherwise I feel naked and undressed.

    My mother never used make-up but I've always thought it fun and practical - if five minutes in the morning makes me look and feel better; then it's well invested five minutes. Even days at home I use at least powder and mascara - to me it's a part of getting dressed. I never go to work in my pyjama, and I never wear it at home for a whole day (unless I'm ill obviously), and it's the same for make-up - more or less depending on my outfit for the day. Just like I wear dresses and hats to please myself, I use make-up to please myself. If men - or women - perfer me this or that way isn't an issue.

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  59. I love that you continue to ask these questions and that you use yourself as a real-world example!

    I don't think anyone really "needs" make-up, but it can be fun to play with and add that little extra boost when looking in the mirror.

    I use make-up only on days when I have plans - work/school/parties etc. I like to give my skin a breather and see no problem in leaving the house without make-up. When I use the stuff I rarely go beyond the eye area, and I make a point of doing it for me and nobody else. Due to a light case of rosacea I'm always met with less-than-encouraging lines as "with your red skin you really need a foundation with good cover" or "I'll cover up all the red skin and then start building up a new skin colour from scratch on your face" at the make-up isle, which I find a bit disturbing if not right-out rude.

    That said, I think this video describes the problems of the impossible beauty standard encountered in every beauty magazine in a most excellent way: http://www.upworthy.com/see-why-we-have-an-absolutely-ridiculous-standard-of-beauty-in-just-37-seconds?g=2&c=mrp1

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  60. I saw that headline; kind of made me want to publish an article with the same headline, and just a load of pictures of male celebrities, just to make a point.

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  61. We put all that preasure on ourselves. Hair, nails, makeup, and worst of all: depilation! Everywhere! Legs, feet, arms, hands, fingers and toes, eyebrows, upper lip, chin, it is exhausting! Make up is the lest of our problems. I can go natural in that sense, but what about white hairs appering in my head, or black hairs everywhere!!! I can go with a moustache!! On top of that, I am Spanish, so forget about fast ways of depilation like razors. It is waxing all the time. I cannot appear in public -or in private if I want to keep my husband, jeje- all hairy, with white hairs in my head!!! So, make up, Gertie? It is the least of my troubles. My rule is only to make up when I go out at night. The rest, a nice BB cream, and a good and fresh perfume is all i need to feel proper.

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  62. I just wish all women could feel comfortable with their own choices about makeup. Once I was in a hotel bathroom with two women friends, we were all getting ready for a salsa dance. I put on lipstick only, both of my roommates were putting on fairly elaborate makeup. One of them said she thought it was really fun, and did it because she liked it. But the other one said she felt like she had to do her makeup everyday, like her natural face wasn't pretty enough to be seen by the outside world, and I just felt like that was so sad!
    I had a hippie mom too, although she did have an overnight bag full of makeup that I experimented with in my early teens. I feel like my current choice to be makeup-free is more about who I am. I'm focused on authenticity and letting my natural self shine through, and I don't want to go to bed and wake up a different person than I am during the day.
    That said, I have absolutely no problem with women who wear makeup because they like it and think it's fun. But I have a huge problem with the pressures which make women think they "have" to do it! I think that's what we should fight against, and teach the young girls we know that it's a choice they can make for themselves.

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  63. I wear a full face of makeup almost everyday, when I don't I look like a little girl, and I have spent a lot of time achieving my 33 years, looking 17 isn't actually that awesome when you have a 12 year-old child! (I get called a sister to my kids a lot by strangers) I'm so pale I'm practically translucent, so bronzer just makes me look human, etc. I like dressing up and feeling glamourous, so I don't wear it to conform to society's views on beauty, but because it makes me feel like I'm put together.

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  64. I went with eyelash extension for about 6 months when I turned 60 - not long ones, I just wanted to see what it would be like to have visible lashes! It felt great - until I noticed that the short, sparse lashes I had naturally became even shorter. It's taken me more than a year to grow them back to what I had. Back to mascara when I want to feel glamorous! Anne-Marie

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  65. I never ever wear any kind of make-up unless i'm going to a special event. I know its me just being lazy but it just seems like to much trouble to go through. There is also the fact that my mother never wore make-up so I never learned how to wear it until my mid 20's.

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  66. Makeup? I have little to no time for makeup, with 4 kids. I barely have enough time for moisturizer and sunblock, which I wear every day even though we currently live in WA and there's little visible sun in the late fall and throughout the winter. Funnily enough, I'm told it has the highest rates of skin cancer - probably because people forget that UV light gets through the clouds. Anyway, because I've always taken really good care of my skin and didn't attempt to tan (I'm naturally quite pale) a lack of makeup doesn't bother me. In fact, I often get comments on how young I look when people find out my age. This has been more frequent since I started dyeing my hair non-traditional colors; it was teal in June and July, then I switched to a deep cobalt blue that ended up with naturally purplish lowlights. With hair this colorful I don't think I need much makeup! The days I do wear makeup, it's pretty minimal- enough foundation to even out skin tone and brush away the under eye circles, a hint of blush and some lip color - usually the Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick, because it's a great color and it's a light formulation. Maybe a bit of mascara if I have the time.

    My 13 year-old daughter doesn't wear makeup and has specifically expressed a desire NOT to wear any. I put a little bit on her for dance competitions, but only a little foundation to blend away any blotchiness from acne and a tiny bit of blush, plus a clear or lightly tinted lip balm. My younger daughter isn't interested in makeup yet, but she's just in 1st grade. Contrast that with my 4.5 year-old son, who says that to be beautiful I have to be wearing a dress and lipstick. And occasionally he says that I need mascara. I'm not sure where he gets that idea, since my husband isn't one to ask me to do my face, unless we're going out somewhere special.

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  67. I've been wearing make up every day since I was 13, I'm 44 now, and I would never leave the house without make up! I do ocassionally have a no make up day at home, but for me it's so much part of my daily routine like brushing my teeth that I'm wouldn't feel right without it.
    I don't wear loads, mineral base and concealor,eyebrow pencil, mascara, blush and a nude lipstick. Takes five minutes.

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  68. Now retired and living in the country (SW France) among hard-working farmers who are very "basic" so I would stand out like a sore thumb in make-up - they would think it's a Halloween tradition. I do wear a pale lipstick to go shopping.
    I've never had a good skin (not like you Gertie, yours is beautiful) but it's better now than it ever was because I'm outside so much.
    When I was working I used to wear eye makeup, and heated rollers every morning (took them out before leaving the house!)

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  69. Whenever I travel somewhere new, I always notice that what is normal for make-up (or lack of make-up) in one place isn't in another. I hardly wear any make-up, usually just a bit of eye liner. Where I'm living now, that is a lot less than what most women around me wear (they have eye shadow, liner, mascara, etc.). But, when I went to London, even with just eye liner, I almost felt like I was wearing too much (the women I saw seemed to mostly have nothing, or a bit of concealer and lip gloss). Basically, how comfortable I was with make-up depended on what other people were doing. Does anyone else find they feel the same?

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  70. I never really got into the habit of wearing make up as a teen, but when I worked front of house in some West End (London) theatres, I did tend to doll up a bit - my sister and I used to do our nails specially too when we worked bar together there. Now I'm a stay at home mum, with three children aged 7, 5 and 3, so these days if I plan on leaving the house I will make sure that I have brushed my hair and put my contact lenses in. Anything more than that is a bonus!

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  71. I recently saw a picture of a Barbie doll without makeup (paint). It looks completely different and like a much more average face. Fascinating. Not sure where I saw it but somewhere on the internet.

    I have been mostly make-up free in my 33 years (except for a very questionable heavy eyeliner period in high school) and never really thought about it. Now I begin to notice that it really helps in photographs so I am starting to wear a little if I think pictures will be taken. I don't want to get to that stage where people ask if I'm sick if I'm not wearing it plus I would like to hold onto my pale-but-young-looking skin as long as possible.

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  72. I don't wear makeup often these days, except maybe for job interviews or days when I want to feel extra pretty. I work a job that involves a lot of moving around, so there's not much point in putting it on if I'm going to sweat it all off. But when I was a teenager, I used to wear a middling amount for the job I had then. I'd use concealer and foundation at a minimum, and then small amounts of eye and lip makeup. Sometimes I look in the mirror and feel frustrated about my acne because, wow, I wasn't this zitty as a teenager! And it's true that they've migrated somewhat, but I try to keep in mind that my self-image is distorted here because I wore makeup back then so regularly. The only thing I need to wear now to feel ready for the day is moisturizer, tinted and otherwise. My skin just feels wrong without it.

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  73. I always wear makeup when I go out, but I don't feel like I have to. If I go to the gym or just out for ice cream, something more relaxing, I don't wear any. To me it's like fashion, I play with it. Also, Gertie you look gorgeous!!!! I didn't even notice you didn't have makeup in the before photo. You're beautiful :)
    -Reyna
    www.MySewingHabit.blogspot.com

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  74. When I lived in NYC I wore makeup almost every day, but since moving to Western Mass I don't feel the need to bother anymore. I wore makeup all the time because I was single in a big city where I often felt lost amongst mobs of the fabulously stylish. Just a year later I'm living a slower-paced life in a place where most of the women don't wear makeup or dress up fancy on the daily, and it has become more of a special occasion/I-just-want-to-feel-extra-pretty-today kind of thing. Sometimes that feels freeing and sometimes it just feels slovenly.

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  75. Except for a brief flirtation with blue mascara in junior high, I've always been au naturel. At times I've experimented with makeup, but I always felt inauthentic, even clownish with it on & usually wash it off without even leaving the house. I don't know why that is. My mom & sister have always worn at least some, but it just doesn't work for me. The exception is lipstick, which I wear b/c it feels comfortable & keeps my lips from drying out, though I do stick to shades that are pretty close to my natural coloring. It probably helps me feel comfortable au naturel that I live in CA, where makeup is more or less optional, and that I have pretty good skin (though I'm about to turn 54, so, you know, it's not what it used to be.)

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  76. I wouldn't say I wear a lot of makeup. I have a hot and sweaty job as a glassblower and putting foundation on to sweat it off seems silly. Yet, I am reluctant to leave the house without mascara and a bit of eyebrow pencil. It is as if I haven't got dressed until then. Funny, really, when you think about it. If I feel a bit gloomy a bright red or pink lipstick works wonders!

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  77. I feel comfortable not wearing make up, but I do feel extra pretty when I am wearing make up. I've always worn just enough to play up my features, and only foundation on very special occasions. Lately I've been trying bold lip colors! It takes confidence to carry it, but it also helps me feel more confident in myself.

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  78. This is a really interesting discussion, and one I think about occasionally. Growing up, my mom was not a big makeup wearer--maybe a little blush/mascara/eyeliner/lipstick, but to this day I'm pretty sure she doesn't own a bottle of foundation. I sort of followed her lead, and I didn't even start wearing makeup until I was 15 and several of my friends had recently begun. I had a selection of eyeshadow, mascara, etc. when I was in high school and I wore it often, but I was always bothered by the thick, cakey foundation and ridiculous quantities of black eyeliner that many of my peers sported. I decided that I never wanted to be a person who wore so much makeup (or so often) that I didn't look like myself without it.

    I've always felt very comfortable with that decision. I don't like to spend a lot of time on my appearance in the morning, and most days, I wear nothing but concealer (I have dark circles under my eyes). I still don't wear foundation, ever. But I really enjoy the transformation when I do get dolled up with eye makeup and lipstick and the works--I feel like it really adds to a dressy look and I like being able to do it.

    I marvel at the artistry of how some people apply their makeup and can change their whole face with it. But I just don't like feeling tied to slathering that much stuff on my face every day!

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  79. I feel bland without eye makeup, just because a nice thick coating of black eyeliner has become so very ME over the years, but I almost never wear anything else. Foundation is not my friend, and I'm usually too lazy for lipstick, although I do have quite a collection that I eye up wistfully every once in a while and then ignore again. I just can't be bothered with getting up earlier so as to have time to do it in the morning, and touching it up throughout the day is realistically not going to happen either, haha.

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  80. I have a quick look that I wear every day to work - I still work in a business formal setting, so it seems silly to have on those clothes and nothing on your face, sort of unfinished! It's just foundation, eyebrows, liner and mascara and lipstick. On the weekends, or for work-at-home days, nothing at all. For evenings out I wear more.

    I am comfortable with my face without makeup, particularly wearing casual clothing and in the right setting, but I do like how makeup can draw attention to features you like and hide less-than-even skin tone.

    I don't understand the all-or-nothing approach in either direction, either all-makeup-all-the-time or no-makeup-ever.

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  81. When I don't wear any make up people (even strangers!) ask me if I'm feeling ill!! I have pale Celtic skin and dark hair so just need a wee bit of eye make up and blusher to make me look 'healthy' LOL!!

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  82. I do not read those articles, nor the ones that show their cellulite, bad clothes, etc. Given what they deal with when they are recognized, I don't blame them for going unadorned at times. I'd look a lot better too, if my job was to look good and I had a couple hours a day to work out, plus people to pick out clothes and do hair and makeup for events. And the plastic surgery many have had. And why is it that men are not often the target of those articles?!?! Ooops - getting close to ranting - sorry.

    I used to wear more makeup, I'm down to BB cream and mascara for work. Weekends - nothing other than moisturizer. I can't wear eye shadow any more, it makes my eyes burn and water.

    Hair - no perms in about 30 years since the last one gave me chemical burns and fried my hair, no haircolor in about 15 years. I'll cut-and-grow until it gets too gray to donate.

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  83. How appropiate! I recently read this quote and loved it. "The most beautiful make-up of a woman is passion" YSL

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  84. I rarely wore make-up when I was in my 20s and 30s. Now in my early 50s, I do wear make-up to work sometimes and almost always for evenings out. I don't feel pressured to do it, but I have a very pale complexion and I like how I look with a little eye makeup and lipstick (never use mascara - it gets under my contacts and drives my eyes crazy). My routine takes me about 3 minutes, because I'm pretty lazy. I'm also a big believer in moisterizer because my skin is also very dry. The biggest difference I noticed in the photos was your hair - it's more styled in the "after" shot.

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  85. I am just stopped to visit your website and I say a great visit anda very good informations..

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  86. I like wearing makeup. It's part of the outfit and I feel "ready" when I leave the house. I figure if I'm going out in the world, then I'll look my best for whatever comes along. You never know when someone wants to take a pic, or you meet a friend out and about and go to dinner. Besides it only takes 5 minutes to look great. I figure it's 5 minutes well-invested.

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  87. I wear tinted moisturiser most days (as it has sunscreen in it too - essential in the Australian climate) with a bit of bronzer (I'm really pale), mascara (again, pale, pale eyelashes), eyebrow pencil and lipstick. I consider that pretty minimal. Occasionally in summer I'll get my brows and lashes tinted, so I can look human when swimming. I feel its part of getting dressed and presenting yourself to the world.

    Just as I wouldn't go out in sweatpants, I also want to show a neat and tidy face to the world. The French understand this - it's about making the world lovely for everyone in it, through your manners, your grooming and your kindness. Makeup is not the only way to achieve this. Good grooming is the most important thing, whether for you that means moisturiser and a regular haircut, or everyday makeup. Just show the world you care, about yourself and others in it.

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  88. I haven't worn makeup for almost 20 years now due to allergies. I love it!!

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  89. Au Naturelle is me and has been since my 20 year old was a tiny baby. My Beaty products gave him an eye infection. I think I look pretty without makeup as well do so many more. I HATE seeing the headlines about stars without makeup on in public. Who do they think we are, stupid for not knowing that how stars appear on tv or the big screen is very made up. BTW, Gretchen, you have beautiful skin!

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  90. I love wearing tons of makeup. In the past year or so I've started learning how to wear fun eyeliner and other tricks, which has been awesome because I've always felt like a makeup dummy that has no idea what she's doing. That said, since I quit my job, I only put on a full face maybe a couple times a week. I definitely leave the house with no makeup on all the time, and I still feel foxy. If you're broadcasting extreme lady confidence, people think you're beautiful even if you don't put any effort into your looks that day. I think you look beautiful in both pictures!

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  91. I don't read tabloids or anything along that line on principle. Their sole purpose is to humiliate, shame, and belittle people. Ugh. Not my cup of tea, to be sure.

    I normally wear mascara and a bit of lipgloss/lipstick but many days find me going makeup free. I have little patience with makeup to start with and the few times I've had a face full I feel as though I am wearing a horrible mask! Plus, the damage that amount of makeup does to your face long-term has me avoiding it anyway.

    You are just lovely, Gertie! I love your pink hair and red lipstick. Your nerdy glasses are also a particular favourite.

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  92. Gertie, you are a beautiful woman, inside and out, with makeup or sans. A quality make up is actually good for your skin. It protects skin from the grime of the city and the harsh rays of the sun. If you want to be kind to your body, some make up must be part of that equation. However, no matter what the ads say, when you wear it, you must remove it before bed.

    Just like our outer garments, our make up telegraphs messages, so depending what we'd like to "say", our make up is minimal, functional or really shouting out.

    I love the verve with which you telegraph your messages with your designs, hair, body art and make up. Now here's the part that I apologize in advance about: please think about being kinder to your hair. It's not about the color because you really rock it, but to keep it under constant stress is pretty hard on it.

    Thank you for a thought provoking post.

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  93. I almost never wear makeup, and now it is partially because if I DO, then people make comments. Not nasty ones, just regular things like 'going somewhere after work?' or 'you look fancy' and I just don't like the extra attention.

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  94. I wear makeup once in a blue moon. Definitely not daily - I'm a "roll out of bed with 20 minutes to shower and get dressed" kinda girl. My skin is changing though now that I'm in my 30s. I've been thinking of developing my "5 minute face" (a la Carmindy of What Not to Wear)

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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