The Concealer and The Concealed: The Hypocrisy in Makeup Shaming

I’m pretty sure every guy I have ever dated has voiced some form of the sentence, “I think you look better without makeup.” The funny thing is, while most of these bros were convinced they were getting a completely makeup-free me, in reality, 9 times out of 10 I have on a light foundation and at least a layer or two of mascara.

It took me a while to find makeup that really looked natural, and when I finally did, my first instinct was, of course, to rejoice! But over the years these comments began to make me feel incredibly self conscious about wearing any makeup at all. I worried that if I wore makeup that actually looked like makeup, any potential suitors would immediately notice, judge me, and completely lose interest. All this agony just because mama wants a golden glow and lashes that make my eyes pop?? Finally, I thought to myself, honestly dudes, I’m not doing this for your benefit, I’m doing this for me. I like the way that I look with makeup.


For the past few years there has been considerable pressure from the media to ditch the makeup and “go natural.” While the goal behind #nomakeup trending on social media might seem well-intentioned in encouraging women to feel beautiful just as they are, this campaign for natural beauty presents itself as deceptively undemanding.  If the ultimate purpose of #nomakeup is to free women of the pressure to look a certain way, then the movement itself is inherently hypocritical.

While the “no makeup look” purports effortlessness, in reality it is likely being achieved by multiple visits to the dermatologist followed by costly and time-consuming skin care procedures. For many people, wearing makeup is not about wearing a mask or concealing their true self, it just more affordable to wear drugstore foundation than to get an $800 Vampire Facial. Yes, I’m talking about the one where they pump your own blood into your face. Next time you run into Kim K, you can ask her about her experience.

While the #nomakeup trend champions being honest about the way that we look, it doesn’t seem to encourage the same honesty about the effort and cost that it takes to maintain skin that doesn’t require makeup. Using makeup to get a glowy complexion is considered “fake,” but spending hundreds of dollars on dermatological treatments like peels and facials to get the same effect is authentic? The #Nomakeup movement places a high value on the guise of effortlessness, which ultimately undermines its mission of making women feel liberated.

We tend to categorize people who wear daily makeup as being shallow, fake, or lacking in self confidence or self esteem. Kind of a catch 22 right? The media tells us to practice self-care, but is a completely bare face without an ounce of foundation the ONLY way to truly love yourself?  Am I not a brave person because I don’t post #nomakeup selfies on Instagram? Sometimes it can be fun to spend an hour contouring and perfecting the smokey eye for a night out on the town. Other times, I just want to hit the snooze button, sleep an extra twenty minutes and not deal with makeup at all. Sometimes I might even want to throw on a pair of black Lulus and a hoodie and go HAM with black liner to get that Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook vibe. Whatever your makeup style, the point is that it’s your style and your choice, and maybe Gwyneth Paltrow’s no makeup beauty tricks just aren’t your thing.

If you have suffered from acne in your life, you might have acne scars, discoloration or general roughness. Sometimes applying your daily foundation requires two layers: one to conceal the scars, and a second layer to smooth out the complexion.  But even if you aren’t wearing makeup in order to hide anything or cover up imperfections: THAT’S OKAY. It’s more than okay. We don’t need to always equate makeup with camouflage! The bottom line is that makeup is an art and a form of self expression, and if wearing makeup makes you feel good and confident, then whip out that beauty blender and layer on that liner girls and guys!  

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