Alicia Keys has given it up for good, Adele famously shared her bare-faced selfies with the world and Cameron Diaz Instagrammed her natural look to promote a book on ageing. It’s fair to say there’s been a bit of a #nomakeup revolution going on of late. But are we quite ready to give it all up?
“Women are exploring the implications (and freedom) of abandoning make-up and chemical beauty products, to embrace a more natural way of living,” says author and blogger Xochi Balfour, who specialises in nutritional therapy and holistic wellness. And with a global movement towards wellbeing, our desire to question old practices is definitely a sign of the times.
“It feels right that as women we dig a little beneath the surface of the messaging we were raised around,” says Xochi. “We are exploring what it really means to be a beautiful female.”
How are we redefining beauty?
For decades, our perception of beauty has been defined by what we see on the catwalks and in glossy magazines. The 60s was all about the androgynous look; in the 80s curves and big hair were back; the 90s brought us sculpted cheekbones and dark lips, and now we have the ‘statement brow’.
But beauty is also about self confidence, a natural smile, subtle and individual nuances…
After years of being looks-conscious, writer and editor Rosee Woodland decided to give up trying to conform.
“I stopped wearing makeup about three years ago, after a serious health scare,” she tells us. “I realised that I’d spent a lot of my life worrying about what I looked like and that being healthy was more important than my appearance.”
Although strange at first, she quickly lost that ‘naked’ feeling and embraced the natural look. “I just stopped thinking about it! I still put on makeup if I’m going to a party and I actually really like experimenting with bright lipstick or eyeshadow when I do wear it.”
But how does she look good without it? “I don’t have a particular ‘secret’,” shares Rosee. “I do drink a lot of water, I don’t drink tea and coffee, and I try to eat good quality food so maybe that helps, but I don’t worry about it and still eat ‘junk’ when I feel like it.”
Another non-celebrity champion of a more simplified approach to beauty is Rachel Hardy, who blogs at All Natural Aspirations. “I originally started thinking about what products I was using on my body when I was pregnant,” says Rachel, whose daughter is now seven.
“I started using natural oils and raw honey to look after my skin, which means it looks clearer and glowing and I don’t feel I ‘need’ so much makeup. I’ve stopped wearing foundation, which has been so liberating – my everyday look is simply under-eye concealer, brows, blush and eye liner, which only takes around five minutes. With such a simplified approach, I save myself time, stress and money!”
The idea of liberating ourselves from the ‘chore’ of wearing make-up is appealing – we love the idea of having more time in the mornings – but what if we actually like wearing makeup? What if we enjoy the time we take for our daily ritual of adding colour to our cheeks and brightening our eyes?
“No one should ever feel pressured to not wear make-up,” says Rachel. “It’s about personal choice, and it’s great that us women are talking about it.”
Is barefaced always best?
In fact, wearing makeup can be empowering, especially during life’s difficult times. Coach and behavioural consultant Jane Hooper was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, and lost her hair during chemotherapy.
“I found having cancer daunting in relation to my body, hair and looks,” Jane tells us. “It was a worry to me, especially as I was single and I wondered if I would be on my own forever.”
To help her feel more ‘normal’, Jane wore make-up and false eyelashes throughout her treatment. “It helped with my confidence, although on one occasion I was in a meeting in Brussels and one of my lashes fell off. Most embarrassing!”
When it comes to make-up, there is no right or wrong. Make-up or #nomakeup, celebrity endorsed or not, it’s how we choose to present ourselves to the outside world. And if barefaced is how you feel at your best, go for it! We salute you.
4 face yoga exercises to try
According to expert face yoga guru Danielle Collins, we have 57 muscles in our face and neck that should be exercised just like the rest of our body. Plus, face yoga can reduce fine lines and promote a glowing complexion. Get started with these simple movements.
Moisturise your face. Place your index fingers just above and parallel to your eyebrows and your thumbs on your cheeks. Pull down with the index fingers while raising your eyebrows and making the eyes wide. Hold for two seconds, relax, then repeat three times.
Circle the eyes
Place your middle fingers at the beginning of your eyebrows. Tap around your eyes following the top of your eyebrows and under your eye at the top of your cheekbones. Continue to the inside corners of your eye, then repeat, in the other direction.
Look ahead. Place your fingers on the top of your neck and stroke the skin down as you tilt your head back. Do this three times. Jut your lower lip out, place your fingers on your collarbone and point your chin upwards, pulling the corners of your mouth down. Hold for four breaths.
5 steps you can take for a more natural beauty routine
Enjoy fresh beauty with no make-up at weekends
Try simplifying your morning beauty routine and going make-up free at weekends. If it’s time-saving that’s important to you, skip the mascara and go to your local beauty salon for an eyelash and eyebrow tint.
Let your skin breathe with a light foundation
Swap heavy foundation for a lighter coverage – Xochi recommends Balance Me’s Natural Perfection BB Cream (£26), which hydrates, protects from the sun and gives a hint of colour.
Water is key to help keep your skin hydrated
Up your intake of beauty-boosting foods like berries, fish, eggs and grass-fed meat. Swap coffee for green tea and keep a bottle of water on your desk or in the fridge.
Reduce your sugar intake bit by bit
If you can, cut down on sugar. “For the majority of acne patients their skin issues are down to blood sugar imbalances and/or digestive issues,” suggests wellbeing coach Amy Saunders.
Be chemical savvy and opt for natural brands
Switch to natural beauty brands like Herbivore Botanicals, Tata Harper, Weleda or PHB Ethical Beauty’s range. Check out naturisimo.com which has a huge selection of ethical and organic make-up and skincare.