Makeup-Free Special Occasions

Some of the most popular search terms that lead new readers to On the Other Hand have always been related to not wearing makeup. Last year I blogged about why I don’t wear it but I’ve never talked about makeup-free special occasions in depth.

Until now.

Unfortunately there is still a double standard in this area. Women are expected to spend time, money and emotional energy purchasing, applying and reapplying makeup in order to look presentable. Men are not.

So what do you do when you’re headed to a wedding, job interview, family photo shoot or another social situation that traditionally expects women to wear makeup?

1. If you’re transitioning from wearing makeup to not wearing it consider the lipgloss effect. That is, using one highly noticeable product like tinted lipgloss can give the illusion that you’ve used other products as well.

You might not be ready to give up lipstick or eyeshadow right now, but what about cutting out blush, foundation, eyeliner and mascara?

2. Remember, unless you’re using makeup to complete a (pretty awesome, I’ll admit) parrot costume most people don’t notice these things.

Quick, think back to the last time you sat in a meeting or had dinner with family or friends. Who in the room was wearing makeup? Which products and colours did they use?

I’ve only ever paid attention to makeup that is unevenly applied or obviously the wrong shade or colour for the person using it.

3. Don’t talk about it if you’re worried it will be an issue. Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission in this situations so to speak. 😉

In the long term it would be great if all of us who didn’t wear makeup were open about it. Just as with any other unconventional decision it’s easier for someone to better understand it if they know someone who does (or, in this case, doesn’t) do it.

But there are times when it’s better not to be the first to bring stuff like this up.

4. It’s easier to “fool” people if you’re otherwise dressed and behaving as they would expect for the occasion. Wear a nice outfit. Pick an appropriate hairstyle and some great accessories for the event.

5. Etiquettehell.com uses the term beandip to describe polite, subtle topic changes when you’re uncomfortable with where the conversation is headed . So if someone has a strong opinion on what you’re (not) wearing, ask them about the weather, their kids, or anything else to sidetrack the conversation.

Ultimately the only person this affects is you. It’s your body, your money being spent,  and your time being used on applying and reapplying products. There’s nothing wrong with other people wearing makeup but this isn’t something that should ever be pushed. It’s your decision, not theirs and if you’re confident about your decision others are less likely to even see it as an issue.

0 Responses to Makeup-Free Special Occasions

  1. I have to agree. It IS a personal decision and really matters very little, yet some people have very strong opinions about it! I have  a few of these people as friends and their comments sometimes make me second guess my decision to go out in public without makeup. I wear a small amount of makeup, but I’m also not adverse to going out without it. These friends,  however, would disagree and say that it ‘ages’ me!!!

    PS- Lydia…I still haven’t figured out how to change my settings so it doesn’t show Richard is posting! lol FYI…He NEVER wears makeup!!

    • Wow, I can’t believe some of the people you spend time with have actually commented on it more than once. That’s rather rude. :O

      Drew think that it shows as Richard posting because he’s the one signed into Disqus (the commenting system I use on my blog). If you click on Richard Stebbins there ought to be a way to sign him out. 

      Let me know if that doesn’t work.

  2. I don’t wear makeup and I don’t think I’ve ever been given slack for it by anyone… although I might have just been too thick to notice that’s what was happening I suppose… or maybe since I’ve never worn it (with the exception of a weird semi-goth phase in high school) they just talk about it behind me back instead.  🙂

    • Or maybe they don’t expect you to wear any since you never started!

      It’s wonderful that you seem to have such an accepting group of friends. I’m getting to that place myself. The company you keep really does make all the difference in the world. 🙂

  3. My wife rarely wears make-up. (Usually only special occations. ie Weddings, big social outings, etc., and even then, not heavily.)

    Believe it or not, ultimately, I think it is really a guys’ thing. Seriously.
    I can think of a handful of women I personally know who do not wear make-up regularily, and are drop-dead gorgeous! (My wife being one of them!). What’s important is not only that guys actually notice this, but take the next step and casually say so. (You can make these comments without them sounding like a come-on, btw).

    You might hate me for saying this, but I find that (secretly) women are fragile (and even insecure) creatures at times. (So are guys). We all appreciate being told, “Wow! You look good today!”

  4. I only wear coverup on a regular basis, which is more because of my own issue of being self-conscious about my skin (and working in a place with students and trying not to be confused as a student because, of course, only young people have breakouts). Every now and then I buy makeup, but I really don’t wear it (except for Halloween; being born on Halloween, I am dedicated to great costumes, which includes makeup). Anyhow, I have never had anyone say anything to me about not wearing makeup. I haven’t really thought about it much before, but I can’t even think of a friend who regularly wears makeup. A couple of family members, yes–we have a framed napkin from my sister’s wedding on which my great-aunt’s face is immortalized in makeup). 🙂

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