One Year’s Worth of Make-Up in a Single Day

By Katie, 5:53 am

Seven bottles of foundation.

Three lipsticks.

Two bottles of eyeshadow.

Two bottles of blush.

In “Natural Beauty,” a short video from directors Lernert and Sander, the model has 365 days’ worth of make-up applied to her face in just one day. Apparently it took nine hours to complete the shoot, and the poor woman had to eat and drink from a straw the entire time.

(Warning: we’re talking a year’s worth of make-up here, people. It’s pretty disgusting by the end.)

Honestly, I’m torn about this video. On the one hand, I appreciate the fact that it gets us thinking and talking about make-up; you can’t watch this video without questioning yourself the next time you go to apply it. Do I really want that goop all over my face?

I also appreciate that the video’s title – “Natural Beauty” – implies that the model is most beautiful before the make-up application begins. The pressure women feel to wear make-up cannot be underestimated; in many ways we are conditioned to feel “naked” or “unattractive” without it.

But a part of me thinks this video goes too far to the other extreme. Instead of simply telling us we don’t have to wear make-up, the short film seems to imply that there’s something wrong with us – maybe even that we’re disgusting – if we do. 

To me, the best part of feminism and the positive body-image movement is its emphasis on choice. I don’t think we should be spreading the message that you have to wear make-up, but I also don’t think we should be saying that you can’t or shouldn’t.

All I want is for women to feel free to make that decision for themselves, based on what feels right for them personally. For some people, that means no make-up, ever. For others, it means a little make-up every day. And for most, it means some happy medium between the two. But the best part is realizing that the decision – to apply or not to apply – doesn’t have to be based on society’s standards or what your best friend is doing. It’s entirely up to you.

What do you think of the video?


What are your thoughts/feelings on make-up? Hate it? Can’t go without it? Somewhere in between?

28 Responses to “One Year’s Worth of Make-Up in a Single Day”

  1. I think wearing make-up is a very personal choice. I personally choose not to wear any make-up most days. But that’s my choice. I like the reminder that we don’t have to wear make-up to be beautiful. But I think it’s important to remember that it’s still a choice.

    The video and your points above remind me of a Women’s Study class I took years ago in college. The focus was on how girls are raised in working class vs. middle class homes. The readings and the instructor where great, but what stood out to me was the judgment of one particular student by many of the other students. There was one very “girly girl” in our class. She wore lots of make-up, “fancy” clothes, “big hair,” etc. Most of the other students wore no make-up, jeans, etc. It was unbelievable to me how other students dismissed her and how poorly she was treated (side comments when she was talking, looks, rolling eyes, etc). Now that I’m an instructor myself, I feel like the professor should have intervened somehow. It’s not okay to tell women that they have to wear make-up, but it’s also not okay to treat them poorly because they choose to.

    • Katie says:

      AMEN! I completely agree with your assessment, and it’s sad to hear that that kind of unfairness happens even in a Women’s Studies class, which is supposed to be a space of acceptance.

  2. Dani says:

    Wow. That was a pretty crazy video!

    But, I agree with you. I think using make up is a personal choice. I think you should do whatever makes you feel the best. Like you talk about owning appropriate undergarments, I feel applying make up is a similar thing. At least for me.

  3. Very interesting that you post this, Katie as I have recently had a change of heart about make-up for myself. Way back when, I would not leave the house without full make-up – like the kind that takes major time to apply. And then, one day, I was running really late and didn’t wear any make-up to work. And a girl at work told me that I looked dead without make-up on. Needless to say, it really hurt my feelings.

    And recently, I think I was going through a sort of rebellion against what she said and I stopped wearing make-up all together. At most I would wear mascara but most days, nothing.

    But, just this weekend, I bought make-up and wore it for the first time in a really long time. And yesterday, I wore make-up and didn’t even leave home. But, the truth is that a little make up does make me feel good. What I have learned though, is that I am pretty with or without it. I don’t have to wear but I can if I want to.

    • Katie says:

      I feel like that’s how it is with so many things that are pushed onto us as women; they aren’t inherently evil, but it starts to feel that way when we feel like we aren’t given a choice in the matter. What matters isn’t whether or not we wear make-up, but that we do so on our own terms, without feeling like we HAVE to. (Also, I’m so sorry about what your co-worker said to you. Totally inappropriate and uncalled for.)

  4. I got through phases with makeup…when I worked outside the home, I wore it a lot more often…and I am also just right this second realizing that when I was at my heaviest, I tended to wear a lot of makeup. Now, I wear it if I feel like it and if I don’t feel like it, I don’t wear it. There are certain situations/events where I feel more like I “should” wear it, but it’s not so much a “should” that it’s an issue, if that makes any sense. :-)

    It surprised me that they didn’t put any mascara or eyeliner on the woman in the video….imagine if they had!!

    • Katie says:

      I thought about that too! Especially since mascara is one of the most common pieces of make-up women wear! So interesting about the connection between your weight and your make-up use…perhaps there’s a blog post in that? :)

  5. For work or going out, I do wear makeup – concealer, cream blush, eyeliner and mascara. Sometimes I throw on some shimmery shadow, but I do that because it’s fun and I like to get “dressy” – not because I feel like I’m ugly without makeup. I don’t always wear it on the weekends or if I’m just relaxing at home. My mother is the complete opposite – she has to have a full face just to go take out the mail!

    • Katie says:

      I feel like you just said the keyword – “fun.” That’s how make-up should feel, I think. Something we put on because we enjoy it, because it makes us feel good, but not because we HAVE to.

  6. You must be reading my mind. I have been writing a post for the July “Beauty’ word on this exact topic and really really have a lot to say about this topic. Just because we wear makeup doesnt mean we want to fix ourselves or dont love ourselves. I do it because I LOVE it. I love the act of doing it. It is for me, NOT for outside approval or to fit ideals.

  7. Alexis says:

    I don’t see anything pro-female here.

  8. Meg says:

    I always, always… come back to your blog for thought provoking posts. It’s been so fun to watch your blog evolve. :)

    I like wearing makeup because it makes me feel “put together”, because I’ve loved to play with make up since I was a little girl. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate good quality make up because it lasts longer and is kinder to your skin. Most days, I wear tinted moisturizer, bronzer, and mascara. Sometimes I like to play around with eyeliner pencils, eyeshadow and fake eyelashes.

    For me, it’s play, and I honestly feel more uncomfortable when I feel like I’m wearing TOO MUCH makeup. While I don’t generally go out with NO makeup (except the gym), I never feel uncomfortable when anyone sees me without makeup. I think like anything else, we have to feel good about ourselves and who we are first and foremost.

    • Katie says:

      Thanks for the kind words about my blog, Meg! It’s certainly changed significantly since when I first started. And I totally agree with everything you’ve said in this comment.

  9. MK says:

    I wear some make-up most days. I wear eye make-up because I enjoy it, and because it allows me to bring one of my personal favorite features, my eyes, out even behind my nice thick lenses. But I wear foundation/concealer mostly out of habit/duty. I feel I should look “put together” as a professional at work, and one of the ways I do that is by wearing make-up. As much as we’d like to say that it’s all a matter of personal choice, “professional and put-together” mean make-up for women in many industries.

    • Katie says:

      Really good point. The pressure to wear make-up doesn’t just come from a societal push for women to look “pretty.” There’s also the professional aspect to it.

  10. Mandy says:

    The first thing I noticed was that she looks as though she’s wearing makeup before they start, so I think it’s a bit of a mixed message right there. Tons of makeup is “disgusting”, but God forbid we see a woman truly without it?

    For myself, my skin is frequently awful, about which I am painfully self-conscious, even at the age of 35. For this reason, I don’t like to leave the house without some kind of makeup, mostly because my skin is sometimes so bad that I just wish I could hide, but I can’t – I have to go to work and live my life, so I’d prefer to feel a little better about myself while doing those things.

    However, on those rare occasions in life where I’ve had good skin, I’ll wear makeup for work and going out because I think it’s fun to play with and it makes me feel more polished. I’ve even gone completely without it for weeks at a time without thinking twice about it. I’ve never worn a lot of makeup, but it’s something that gives me pleasure. While I may not agree with someone’s personal aesthetics when it comes to makeup, whether someone chooses to wear it or not should be entirely up to them. If it makes them feel good, who am I to judge?

    • Alexis says:

      I took accutane when I was 27 for mild cystic acne. Best thing I ever did. Not only my face was affected, I couldn’t wear anything backless or low cut. Since accutane, I have not had one blemish anywhere.
      Also I got laser treatments for sun damage, redness and broken veins. There is a laser for just about every problem, and if not for yours, there’s different skin peels that covers what lazer doesn’t.
      I never wear foundation or blush and I’m always complimented on my skin. I’ll tell ppl exactly what I had done if they ask. No reason not to share the wealth.

      • Mandy says:

        I’m really glad Accutane worked for you, I know it’s worked for a lot of people – but I tried it and it helped me for a year, then everything came roaring back. The other complicating factor is that my husband and I are trying to start a family, so Accutane is a huge no-no since it’s linked to hideous birth defects.

        This is why I had a doctor say to me “um…you know there’s only so much we have in our bag of tricks, right?” It felt awesome…

        But I do appreciate the advice. It’s been really hard for me to pinpoint what’s been different when my skin has been good, but I’m sure it has a lot to do with lifestyle and hormones.

        • Katie says:

          Count me in with the troubled skin saga! I took Accutane a few years ago, and it was really helpful for about a year. Then the breakouts started coming back, although they are not nearly as bad/deep/cystic as they were before. I think there’s a blog post in this topic…

  11. I rarely wear make up and the main reason is that I am lazy and don’t like to commit time to put it on! The other reason is that I work in a fitness setting and it’s not ideal with sweating all of the time!

    I don’t feel self conscious at all and don’t care if people see me all natural.

    I do like make up though and appreciate the times I get dolled up for a special event!

  12. Kelly says:

    I NEVER wear makeup ever. I sometimes will put on mascara but that’s all. I hate it. I don’t see the need for it. I think women are beautiful without it. Thankfully Keith agrees. I remember one night I put on a bunch of makeup before going out and Keith never commented on how I looked. I asked him later…and hee said honestly he hated the makeup. He said he felt like he wasn’t with me but with some other version of me that was supposed to (in theory) be better but wasn’t. I love that man.

  13. Cristina says:

    I am one of those girls who finds it a chore to put makeup on and I really only feel compelled to do it in certain situations. I work in a relatively small office and work with women who wouldn’t fathom coming to work without a full face of makeup. They have commented to me about the fact that I don’t wear makeup to work usually and I can tell they think I’m crazy. But I think THEY’RE the crazy ones to care so much about what they look like around the same group of people they see every single day. I don’t know, some women just really feel unattractive without it and I think it’s sad. Men walk out the door with a shower and a swipe of deoderant and they’re not looked at any differently. Just seems a little unbalanced.

    • Katie says:

      Good point! It takes my husband all of 15 minutes to get ready: 10 to shower and 5 to get dressed.

  14. PlumPetals says:

    Hmmm I haven’t made my mind up about the video. I think it is very artistic, but I don’t know what to take away from it. Even if a person wears a lot of makeup, surely they’ll wash it off that night to keep their skin fresh? Anyway. I think it’s definitely a personal choice – if someone needs to wear makeup to feel confident and enjoys using it to express themselves, that’s great and vice versa. I never leave the house without at least eye-liner on. I feel too self-conscious about it. Nobody has ever said anything to me, it’s just a personal thing I do for myself.

    • Katie says:

      I agree that the video’s goal is to be artsy rather than realistic. I think the message is that we shouldn’t feel like we HAVE to wear make-up; our confidence can come from within, and then any external stuff – our clothes, our make-up, etc. – can simply supplement our inner validation.

  15. Bubu says:

    I never felt pressured to wear make-up, quite the opposite: I came from a very intellectual family and social background (lots of academics) and any sort of interest in clothes or make-up was seen as a sign you were not serious or smart. It took me until my 30s to admit to myself that I am a girly-girl who enjoys clothes and make-up, and that this fact in no way diminishes my intelligence or depth… plus I feel more confident, both physically and mentally, if I dress and adorn myself in a way that I feel is flattering. So I agree 100% that it should be a choice and women should do what makes them feel best. But also, echoing some of the other comments, we, and women in particular, should be careful about judging each other based on what choices we do or do make in our personal presentation – it’s still what’s inside (both the soul and the mind) that counts most!

  16. I can go without makeup, and actually I have for most of my pregnancy so far, except for special occasions or when I need a lil pick-me-up, because everything feels like maximum effort these days. :) However, makeup for me is fun and creative and a true art form of self-expression. I used to wear it just about every day, because I just wanted to for the sheer enjoyment. I love the way it feels, I love all the colors and textures, and I like how it has the power to transform. I wouldn’t say I “need” it, but it definitely gives me a mood boost and, yes, a confidence boost when I wear it. But I’m just as much “me” with or without it. I have tons of it and sometimes just enjoy pilfering through all the colors even when I don’t put anything on. I love how it can be used to softly accentuate a woman’s best features or allow her to make a funky, bold statement if she wants. Yet I also appreciate a natural, clean-scrubbed face sometimes. I think your stance on this is very balanced. :)

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