The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

78° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: The no makeup conversation gets loud

    Tobey Schmidt
    Erica Gonzalez, a criminal justice junior, poses for a photo without any makeup on on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

    A woman’s decision of whether or not to wear makeup should be a personal choice, not an obligation.

    Makeup and cosmetic enhancements have been a part of a woman’s daily routine for decades. As modern cosmetics have been developed, changed and reformulated, the expectations of the modern woman’s face have changed. 

    Women have more cosmetic products available to them than ever before, with products to shape, plump, contour and brighten their appearance as desired. 

    With more to work with, the expectations have increased. We see celebrities in the media with flawless features, all thanks to makeup.

    The cosmetic industry is currently one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., as women are sweeping  trendy products off the shelves for their own makeup collections.

    As fast as lip kits, bronzers and highlighters are moving from shelves and online stocks, there is also a trend in the other direction.

    The No Makeup Movement was set in motion this summer following singer Alicia Keys’ announcement that she would no longer wear a fully made-up face, including in her public appearances. 

    RELATED: Constantly comparing yourself to others is no way to live

    Keys turned heads as she arrived at the MTV Video Music Awards wearing a natural, no-makeup look. Key’s bare face was one of the most talked-about looks at the VMAs, sparking comments and criticism from viewers on Twitter.

    Fans commented on Keys’s decision, saying it was inspiring and empowering. Others were not as impressed. Some social media users claimed that Keys needed some concealer and a bit of lip balm, while others commented saying they too would go bare-faced if they had the money to have flawless skin.

    An action that was both courageous and well-intentioned was quickly turned negative, as some viewers accused Keys of being anti-makeup.

    She responded to the criticism by tweeting, “Y’all, me choosing to be makeup free doesn’t mean I’m anti-makeup. Do you!”

    Keys isn’t the first celebrity to choose to go makeup-free, and she certainly won’t be the last. Actress Gabrielle Union has already followed in her footsteps. 

    The reaction to Keys’s decision to wear a more natural look gives us insight to where we stand as a society. We celebrate individuality and uplift those who want to lead different lifestyles, but our reactions to small situations such as this one prove we don’t always think outside the box.

    The way the concept of not wearing makeup has blown up on the internet—with celebrities getting hateful comments—is evidence of a larger problem in our society. We’ve been conditioned to think more is better, and a fully made-up face is the standard of what is considered beautiful. 

    Keys is sending a different message: Less is more.

    We want to empower women to be who they want to be and wear what they like to wear. Women often look to celebrities for style inspiration, and having celebrities who don’t wear a full face of makeup would help at least some women feel more comfortable wearing less makeup.

    RELATED: Volunteer yourself to be less stressed

    Keys, among other celebrities, are onto something we seem to have forgotten: Makeup is a tool of enhancement, not a mask. With so many beauty products designed to make the old feel young and the young feel more mature, getting caught up in it all can cause us to lose our way. 

    We should be carrying an appearance that we feel comfortable in, not one we feel bullied into.

    The hype of the media surrounding women who choose to wear more natural looks or no makeup at all is proof we still live in a society in which people equate beauty with full makeup and bare skin with imperfection.

    We’ve been conditioned to think we need these products to change how we look. We want fuller eyelashes, accentuated cheekbones and fuller lips. In reality, many of the women we model our appearances after don’t have the features we strive for.

    Using products to enhance our appearance is a subject of personal preference. It shouldn’t be breaking news when a woman chooses to go without makeup.

    Follow Leah Gilchrist on Twitter.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search