The Ultimate “No-Makeup” Makeup Look

If you clicked on this article thinking, “Ooh, yes please! Gimme some products that’ll make my skin look smooth and contoured, my eyelashes long and lucious, and my lips look full and tinted” then you’re in the wrong place... Sorry. But please don’t click away! I still have a way you can get that “no-makeup” makeup look you so desire: Just... don’t wear makeup. I know your eyes are probably rolling backward in your head right now and you may be thinking, “Not another feminist rant about fighting the patriarchy...”

Sure, I’ll admit on some level I could tell you the act of dressing up your face every morning with an hour-long routine comprised of 15 steps and just as many products is making you complicit in perpetuating notions about the power of the male gaze, and, yeah, I wouldn’t think that’s entirely wrong.

But this article isn’t an attempt to convince you to stop wearing makeup to save you and your feminist sisters from being hypocrites. That argument will only make you feel bad about doing something you love--putting on makeup. And that is definitely not my goal in writing this article. Quite the opposite actually.

I’m saying if the “no-makeup” makeup look is what you strive for--whether it’s because you believe in its purported valuing of the authentic self or because you heard some beauty blogger say this is the next big thing--then wouldn’t it be more efficient if you just... didn’t... wear any makeup? And if authenticity is what you strive for, then wouldn’t your “true face” be one not adorned by layers of toner, then moisturizer, then concealer, then foundation, then SPF, then blush, then yada yada yada?

Personally, I’ve never been one to wear much makeup, if any at all. I’ll add a little red lip once in a while to feel saucy or emulate the iconic red pout of Phoebe Waller Bridge’s Fleabag, but even if I put it on in the morning it’s definitely gone by lunch, having migrated to the white lip of my coffee cup.

I’m not going to lie and say I don’t wear makeup because I am perfectly in love with the way I look every day or that I believe in the ultimate oxymoron that no, really, “my imperfections are actually perfect”. (Although this certainly is a state which I aspire to achieve everyday and I admire those who are lucky enough to have reached this level of self-actualization.) But when I step out of the shower in the morning and stare myself down in the mirror, the last thing I’m thinking about is the multitude of products “necessary” to make me look how I already do in this sopping wet, squeaky clean state. More accurately, I’m frantically combing my dripping wet hair and trying to find an outfit that is going to optimize my comfort level in the ever-indecisive Arizona weather before I need to rush out the door to make my 7:30 AM class.

The absence of makeup is not a subtle and subversive effort to destroy the patriarchy, one less beauty product at a time. Rather, I don’t wear much makeup because 1) I’m lazy, 2) I wake up late, and 3) I’m always on the run. Oh! And I hate the feeling of creamy products on my face. (Is that just me?)

However, you all are not me.

If wearing makeup is something you love to do, you feel more powerful with it on, and you don’t mind starting your day an hour or two earlier to paint the picture-perfect portrait you wear to class, then all the more power to you. But if you clicked on this article because you wanted to master the chic art of looking fresh-faced with the help of an amalgam of “subtle” products, then please, just save yourself some time and use those extra minutes (or hours) to sleep. Your body will thank you.