Makeup Or No Makeup?

I stumbled across this picture of Emma Stone with no makeup on at Refinery29 a couple of months ago and was stunned by how gorgeous this girl truly is, even when not glammed up. Her face is perfect! But I also thought about makeup, why and how we choose to wear it, and above all, what happens when/if we are seen or photographed without it.

I hate, hate hate - oh how I hate them - those awful magazine pictures of makeup-free celebs with captions saying something catty and petty like "look! She's got pimples! She's got wrinkles! She has facial hair!" I think it's a bit pathetic that women actually need to put other - gorgeous - ladies down to feel better about their own pimples, wrinkles and facial hair. It doesn't make the celebs look more "human" - it makes them look like victims. And those magazine writers? They look like sad, insecure mean-girl bullies.

I used to hate having my picture taken with no makeup. Photos of a bare-faced, over-13 me pretty much only depict me on the beach - that's about the only time I'm not wearing anything except sunblock and moisturiser on my face! But is wearing makeup really a sign of insecurity? I don't think so.

One of my favourite bloggers (who unfortunately is no longer blogging!) is Swedish writer Annika, who wrote this amazing post on the subject. I like it when she says, "I like makeup as a part of dressing up, of putting together a look - but I don't care about it." Just like Annika, I have been told by Swedish classmates that I shouldn't call myself a feminist since I wear makeup and get rid of body hair. Oh, what a gigantic load of bull crap! Feminism isn't about lipstick or leg-wax or hair dye - it's about equality and choice. As long as you're for women's rights, you're a feminist, whether you're groomed to an inch of your life or as pure as nature intended.

Obviously both Annika and Emma Stone are fantastically beautiful - they could go to any Hollywood party with no makeup on and still be the most amazing-looking girls in the room. Which brings us to the subject of the "soap and water" girls (in Italy they say acqua e sapone, which basically means someone who looks very natural and pure).

My best friend is a Mediterranean, olive-skinned, Sophia Loren-esque beauty. I've seen her with no makeup (and in her own words "looking like crap") a million times and her perfect looks never stop blowing my mind. I remember when I just met her and she'd just get out of bed and go, hair falling perfectly, skin glowing with health and no sign of pimples or under-eye circles whatsoever. When she wore makeup, it was pretty much just a smidgen of dark eyeliner at night. I, on the other hand, couldn't even make it to the 24-hour shop to buy a bottle of water without foundation, concealer, sun powder (yes, all year!), blush, eye pencil, mascara and my signature bright-red lipstick. I'm just not a "soap and water" girl. And that's okay.

Since I started wearing makeup on a daily basis as a sixteen-year-old, I've rarely separated myself from it. I really like that sense of playing dress-up - and generally in my fashion decisions, when I find something that works, I tend to stick with it. So, if dark eyeliner and red lips are "me", why should I have to go without?

I've tried to do that "self-esteem" thing and go to the supermarket au naturel. It's not scary and it doesn't make me feel ugly, but I'm never doing it again. I'm sorry to burst tons of self-helpers' bubbles out there, but it did nothing for me. I felt naked, bland and...someone else. A piece of me was missing and I truly didn't understand the idea of downplaying myself and going out of my way to NOT look my best. Why shouldn't I always look good, even if it's just me, at home, working from my bedroom-slash-office? Looking nice and making an effort makes me feel happier, more confident and more efficient. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I actually like myself more if I look as good as I can. Which does not mean going into panic mode if my nail polish chips, my hair frizzes or I forget to put mascara on. I'm still me, gunk or no gunk on my face.

Sure, a bare-faced Sascha exists. She lives on the beach, or in my bedroom on a lazy Sunday. And I like her just as much as glammed-up Sascha. But she's not the real me as much as the high-heeled, red-lipped girl. I think that the "real me" is supposed to be the best version of me. And unlike girls like Emma, Annika and my best friend, I'm someone who shines just a little brighter with some colour on my face.

But to keep up with the theme of this post...here's a totally makeup-free pic of me cuddling with our Milan neighbour's cat, Theo:

...see? I'm even wearing glasses in this one!


  1. Emma Stone is too stunning for words, so I won't even get onto that subject or I'll end up rambling. You look lovely without your make up too.. and I whole heartedly agree with this post. I'm so sick of reading about 'empowerment' that is meant to come from not wearing make up, not making an effort, not doing the things that 'men and society expect us to do.' I wear make up every day, even if I'm just in the house, and I do it because I want to, not because I think I have to. Sure most days I only wear mascara and eyeliner, but i still go out of my way to wear make up. I just feel less than my best if I don't, and I don't see what's empowering about feeling like crap xx

    1. Charlotte, you sum it up perfectly. Empowerment is individual: it's what YOU find empowering. And for me, lipstick is it!

  2. You look really gorgeous in the pic without make-up :)

    1. oh thank you :) this really made me smile!

  3. Currently I wear no make up on and when i do it is just some mascara and lip tint ..
    I used to feel like crap too at first :D but now i am feeling much better xD
    btw You look beautiful with no make up on


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