When did going without makeup make you brave?

08/26/2014 6:48 PM

08/26/2014 6:49 PM

My daughter and I were stuck in a waiting room with a TV blaring. I meant to get some work done while sitting there, but I just couldn’t stop watching the train wreck called daytime television.

The female host walked on to the set and proclaimed apprehensively that she was not wearing any makeup on the show today and that she had asked her female guests not to wear makeup either (horrors!).

I could definitely tell that she wasn’t wearing any makeup, and not just because she wouldn’t stop talking about it. Her skin tone was uneven, her eyes lacked definition, and her lips were colorless. She also had a wide-eyed look of fear — that expression you see when you accidentally open a restroom stall door on a stranger — that made the whole situation uncomfortable to watch.

Did she look bad? No, she just looked like she wasn’t wearing any makeup. No big deal.

No longer linked to its once noble cause of cancer awareness in the United Kingdom, this fascinating craze is persisting, and women are acquiring accolades for their “braveness.”

I glanced over at my daughter to gauge her reaction as she said: “You know, it’s OK to just not wear makeup. But when it becomes a big production about not wearing makeup, it’s obvious just how far we have to go on this.”

The host announced breathlessly that her first guest was Carmen Electra. She had been asked not to wear makeup for the show and originally agreed. But as the show date drew closer, Carmen called to say that she was chickening out. I believe her words were, “I was so worried, I thought I was going to pee in my pants.”

So — good news folks — she agreed to come on the show wearing only mascara, cover-up and lip gloss. The fans hooted with delight. This was amazing! Just mascara, cover-up and lip gloss! Huh? How do they even say this with a straight face? For the record, I saw eye shadow, too.

I have some surprising news for viewers: People don’t watch Carmen Electra because of her mind. It’s not like she discovered a cure for cancer or developed a vaccine for Ebola. She’s famous for her looks. And wearing makeup has helped her success. It’s all part of the show. Just like the stilettos and the skin-tight black dress she was wearing.

Why stop at makeup — what about hair? No one seems to be posting natural hair selfies. Why? I remember auditioning once for an historical period film, and the director told me it had been almost impossible to find a woman with unprocessed hair to accurately depict the era. Apparently we all “do” our hair to some degree.

What’s really bothersome is when these makeup-free selfies are not even representative of what being makeup-free really looks like. They’ve been doctored by filters to look glamorous. You can do wonders for looks with the right light. I haven’t seen anyone snapping pics of themselves under harsh fluorescent lighting coming from straight overhead. And too many times we see the posting of a makeup-free face with mascara, eyeliner or lipstick. Is anyone fooled by this?

Quite frankly, I am OK with women wearing makeup. Or not. Makes no difference to me.

I just don’t understand what is so empowering about posting makeup-free pics. Why not go big — just stop wearing makeup altogether and be quiet about it? Commit. Maybe that would be empowering. If nothing else, it certainly would give you more time in the morning.

But just one pic? It’s like going vegan for the day and then heading to Five Guys the next day. What was the point? One day — or one pic in this case — just isn’t worth this much fuss.

I wear makeup when I get dressed up and usually when I am in public. If you catch me at Hy-Vee without any makeup, it’s because I was in a hurry and not because I am trying to make a statement. And if that happens, please, no photos.

Freelance columnist Lori Allen writes in this space once a month.

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