Makeup is the real-life version of a Snapchat filter. You’d be surprised at the difference in some people when they have a full face of makeup on versus without it. It’s not a bad thing to use makeup to feel a little more confident in yourself and to enhance your unique features, but wearing heavy makeup more often than not can change the way we see ourselves when we aren’t wearing it. 

Discovering Your Natural Beauty

An anonymous woman took to Reddit recently to share an experience she had that changed how she felt about herself without makeup. She said at age 29, she had always put on a full face of makeup which made her feel attractive, but when she’d take it off before bed she’d cry, because without it, she felt ugly and insecure. When she started dating her boyfriend though, things started to change. 

As they spent more time together, she would stay at his place and need to take her makeup off before bed. Or they would do outdoorsy activities where she couldn’t wear a full face of makeup. She noticed that he would regularly see her barefaced when she woke up in the morning or when she went hiking with him, and he appreciated her natural beauty. She says, “I realized through these experiences that not only does another person see me as beautiful for who I am, but so do I, barefaced or not.” 

“Not only does another person see me as beautiful for who I am, but so do I, barefaced or not.” 

It was around this time that she began going out more often without makeup on. She said it was so freeing being able to get dressed and head out the door without worrying about putting on makeup and feeling insecure. Her feelings about makeup also changed during this time, and rather than it being a security blanket to hide behind, makeup felt “fun, decorative, and something to enjoy, but not something needed to make me more whole of a person.” She started embracing her natural beauty. 

Studies Show That Men Prefer Less Makeup

Women wear makeup for a variety of reasons – to cover up our own insecurities, to look nice, to impress the other women around us, and to inspire men to admire our beauty. But too much makeup can actually be counterproductive when it comes to men. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology published a study that gave 44 women different types of makeup, such as foundation, blush, lipstick, and mascara, and told them to wear makeup as if they were heading for a night out. Photographs were taken of the women before and after they put on any makeup. The researchers then altered the photos so they had around 21 images of the women with various amounts of makeup on. The images were shown to 44 Bangor University students, who were told to pick which photo they thought looked the most attractive. 

Both men and women preferred the photos of the models with 40% less makeup than they initially put on. The authors of the study concluded, “These results suggest that women are likely wearing cosmetics to appeal to the mistaken preferences of others. These mistaken preferences seem more tied to the perceived expectancies of men, and, to a lesser degree, of women.”

The List published an article called “Things About Makeup Guys Can’t Stand,” highlighting a few points from a man’s point of view on makeup. They sometimes find bright lipstick to be off-putting, as it can feel like too much at times and makes them hesitate to go in for a kiss. They also find it cringy when the foundation isn’t blended, and the makeup stops at the neckline. Another point from men that contributed to the article was that they don’t like eyebrows that look painted on, and they also don’t like it when a girl looks totally different with makeup on than without. 

Bright lipstick can make a man hesitant to go in for a kiss.

I think the main takeaways from these studies are that men prefer a natural look. They can appreciate makeup if it’s done to enhance someone’s beauty, but feel that it’s too much when the makeup makes them look like a completely different woman. And they feel more comfortable making a move when there isn’t much makeup on your face. 

Let’s Reassess Our Relationship with Makeup

Makeup can really boost your confidence and make you feel more presentable and polished when going out in public. Yes, men like the natural look, but that doesn’t mean you have to be barefaced all the time. The clean-girl aesthetic or the French approach to makeup both use a light hand that has a very natural-looking end result. Makeup can add to your overall appearance, making you look more attractive and put-together. Depending on your face shape and features, the way you apply makeup will be different person to person. But try to remember a few key things to avoid looking fake: Find shades that enhance your natural skin tone, blend everything out (no one wants the foundation neckline), and less is more when it comes to application.  

There are TikTok and YouTube tutorials galore to help you learn the correct way to apply makeup and the right shades for your skin tone. The more you practice, the better you’ll be. But don’t feel like you need makeup every day. The less you wear makeup day to day, the more confident you’ll feel in your own skin and the easier it will be to apply less of it. If you’re feeling insecure to the point of tears when taking off your makeup everyday, that’s a sign that you should pause and reevaluate your relationship with it. Take a makeup detox, even if it’s just for a week, get to the root of why you feel as if you can’t live without it, and learn how to appreciate your natural beauty with nothing on.

Closing Thoughts

How often or how much makeup you wear is completely up to you. But the more often you wear makeup, the more you might become dependent on it. The woman from Reddit found a new outlook on life just from wearing less makeup. She realized she had natural beauty, and that could be appreciated too – by others and, more importantly, herself. 

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