Why I refuse to take a #NoMakeupSelfie

Just a 'little' makup Image by Shesarii at www.flickr.com/photos/shesarii/4503143533

Just a ‘little’ makeup
Image by Shesarii at http://www.flickr.com/photos/shesarii/4503143533

There’s something really quite wrong about this ‘No Makeup Selfie’ craze that’s been doing the rounds. I have a big problem with it.

I’m not really bothered by the fact that it was meant to raise cancer awareness (and it didn’t), nor do I care that most people out there have cheated by using Instagram filters or they still wore just a little makeup (ultimately they can do what they like)…

The problem I have with this whole phenomenon is the comments people make when someone posts a No Makeup Selfie: ‘You’re just as beautiful without makeup!’ ‘I wish I looked that good!’ ‘Stunning!’

Let me explain.

So a ‘No Makeup Selfie’ is where someone, usually a woman, takes a photo of themselves fresh-faced and makeup-free, then they post it with the hashtag #NoMakeupSelfie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. It was originally put out there as a way to encourage people to donate money to breast cancer research, but like many things on the Internet it spun out of control and the original purpose was lost.

For women who wear makeup most of the time, posting a No Makeup Selfie is a pretty brave thing to do. They are saying ‘Look, here’s the real me!’ They are boldly showing the world what their partners and children and pets see every morning of every day. They are pushing aside the need to be beautiful, right?

Well, that may have been their initial intention. But the way people react means the focus is made even more about the need to be beautiful.

What are comments such as ‘You’re just as beautiful without makeup’ telling women?

They are saying that, whether you’re wearing makeup or not, beauty is the # 1 attribute any woman should strive for.

The worst thing is, I’ve seen people comment on No Makeup Selfies who are obviously lying through their teeth.

For example, the other day I was passing through the tearoom at work and there was some trashy American talk show on the TV. They put up a photo of one of the young, female hosts with no makeup: hair wrapped in a towel, dark circles under her eyes, wrinkles around her mouth, blotches on her cheeks.

Warning: this may sound a bit harsh, but it was not a pretty photo. In fact, I’d go as far to say she was outright unattractive.

But the co-hosts on the panel gushed, ‘Oh, you look gorgeous without makeup!’

‘I love how clear your skin looks!’



Now, I want to ask the question: why do people feel they need to always comment on a woman’s beauty? What is so wrong with being unattractive?

So what should people say when a woman posts a No Makeup Selfie?

How about:

‘I have that dressing gown! Isn’t it lovely to wear on cold winter mornings?’


‘Thanks for lending me that book last week.’


‘Want to take the kids to the park this afternoon?’

Or… Just. Say. Nothing.

It doesn’t need to be about looks. Good looks or bad looks. You don’t need to make a comment.

So, I’ve made the decision to never post a No Makeup Selfie. No matter how many ‘challenge’ me to do it.

One, I don’t want people telling me how pretty I look when clearly I don’t.

And two, I want to do my bit to stop this spreading obsession that every photo of every woman ever shown in public should begin a discussion that focuses on beauty and nothing else.

And I’ll be thankful that, in real life, women have a lot more to offer the world than simply looking pretty.

My 'no makeup' selfie Image by Jessie Ansons

My ‘no makeup’ selfie
Image by Jessie Ansons


Filed under BLOG: The Duchess of Charlestown

4 responses to “Why I refuse to take a #NoMakeupSelfie

  1. Go Jessie! It is such a concern that impressionable girls seek validation through posting ‘selfies” and asking for feedback about how they rate. How I desperately wish they’d see themselves as ‘spiritual beings having a human experience’ who have so much to give to the world of being. Instead, every tiny physical flaw becomes an insurmountable burden to such girls. If I posted a ‘selfie without make-up’ it would not be a pretty sight – but guess what – no-one would give a damn.

  2. Marg jackson

    Well said Jessie – all of it. I agree wholeheartedly. I sometimes say I don’t go out without makeup as I don’t want to frighten the little children. However that’s just a joke. All women should not be judged primarily by their looks. We are much much more than that. The best and most attractive photos are the ones taken casually that capture amazing moments and that show the wonderful complexities of people. Keep up the good work Jess.

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