Is a Makeup-less Face Okay? Style Blog Talks #Selfie Fundraising

As fellow users of social media, I’m sure many of you will have caught onto the recent internet fundraising trend taking the name of ‘#NoMakeupSelfie’. Although personally I’m a fan of the feminine fun and confidence that makeup can create, a girl should never feel that she cannot appear in public without a full face of beautifully crafted makeup achieved through a time-wasting morning ritual. However, as many of you are probably aware, this is easier said than done.

Young women today, although perhaps unaware of it, are influenced to a certain extent by the media, film industry and social figures to wear makeup in order to enhance their appearance. Whilst this isn’t always a bad thing when taken in moderation for positive, ego-boosting purposes, it can also inhibit the ways in which women allow themselves to be seen in public. For this reason, I would like to believe that the recent #NoMakeupSelfie craze has been a good thing.

When a notification popped up on my Facebook feed telling me I’d been nominated, at first I passed it off as just another internet fad. I’d seen many young girls posting pose-y selfies on Facebook and Instagram with just the hashtag ‘#NoMakeupSelfie’, with no reference to donations or awareness, claiming to have some sort of tenuous link to Cancer Research UK. What’s more, the ‘nomination’ nature of the trend seemed far too similar to the dangerous ‘Neknominations’ of past months. For these reasons the trend seemed quite shallow and vain to me, I couldn’t see how this online craze was better than organised charity fundraisers such as Race for Life or other sponsored runs.

However, as the hours passed my Facebook timeline filled with girls screenshotting their text and online donations to Cancer Research UK. After this evolution of the trend, I started to realise that fundraising can take many forms – hey, you could do a sponsored abseil off the side of a building dressed as Spiderman if you really wanted to – why should a young woman exposing her natural state be such a cause for concern? Particularly if it’s in the name of one of the most worthwhile charities in the UK…

It was at this point that I realised that these seemingly vain selfies actually represented a lot more than the outside onlooker first realises. The trend originated from author Laura Lippman who supported actress Kim Novak against criticisms for looking ‘ugly’ at this year’s Oscars. This is an example of the pressure that exists nowadays for women to conform to societies’ ideals of women; a lot of the time these stereotypes come from other women!

A lot of men and some women don’t realise the courage it takes for unconfident women to go out in public without makeup on, let alone post a photo on the internet where scrutiny is at its highest. Whereas some see the #NoMakeupSelfie trend as a shallow response to Cancer Awareness, those that understand the enormous big deal it is for girls to go out and do this will see that a) these selfies represent a lot more than a cry for attention, and b) they are a way for girls that aren’t into/able to carry out physical forms of fundraising to get involved.

After all, just 48 hours after the #NoMakeupSelfie trend went viral £2million was raised for Cancer Research UK. Now several days later, a total of £8million has been raised that will go towards 10 research trials into new treatments for sarcoma, acute myeloid leukaemia, neuroblastoma, liver, head and neck, breast, prostate, bladder and oesophageal cancers– an amazing outcome. After I read these figures, I found it impossible to write off the selfie trend as futile. To me, this figure represented thousands of women and even men with their #makeupselfies coming together to raise both money and awareness for Cancer Research UK, and show younger generations that it’s okay to adopt au naturel style!

Furthermore, the chain nomination nature of #NoMakeupSelfies applies perfectly to fundraising scenarios. When a girl is tagged by her friends, it gives her no excuse to not give to charity and tag others to carry on the chain of donating – you’d have to be a really cold person to refuse to give a couple of pounds to charity, even if you are a student. Here in Southampton, those few pounds may have gone towards one of Jester’s Jesticles, but Cancer Research UK is a far more noble way of spending your precious pennies.

My only concern is that there are thousands of other great charities out there and whilst Cancer Research UK is a very worthwhile cause, in comparison it is overfunded. Following the #NoMakeupSelfie trend, I would urge others to donate to charities more close to home in their situation, whether its cancer, heart disease, mental illness, Alzheimer’s etc. or even charities for those that don't have a voice, like Water Aid, women's charities in the Middle East or animal welfare charities like RSPCA.

Although, to disregard this huge sum of money and its benefits, on the grounds of whether or not you agree with online viral trends/overfunding, would be incredibly insensitive. In the end, as long as everyone participates in some form of charity through their own choice, the end result can only be positive, right? The internet now needs to focus on ways of preserving this influx of charitable donations. People shouldn't need an internet trend to spark a donation to charity – it should be something we should all continue to participate in anyway.

Oh and here’s a thought for reflection: next time you sit opposite your mirror in the morning ladies, why not put down the foundation and concealer, and embrace your natural beauty. Through #NoMakeupSelfies we’ve already achieved wonderful things, why not make another positive change today.