Thursday, 19 May 2011

Bare face chic?

A while ago the Daily Telegraph ran an article on going make up free : http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/beauty/news-features/TMG8454043/Bare-faced-chic.html. It caught my eye because a few conversations with others recently revealed how minimal my approach is. Certainly I am typing this with nothing on my face apart from a morning dab of moisturiser. I probably only wear foundation twice a month and even then I dab, more a concealer than anything else. Recently I have developed a dislike of mascara, my little stubby eyelashes don’t really benefit much. If I do go out it is a case of eyebrows, a brief lick of eyeliner top lash only and lipstick. In truth my make up habit is simply a bright red or pink lipstick and this is the only place my money goes.

I actually like the Elizabeth I, Karen Elson look of strong lips agains a pale face with just definition on the brows and perhaps a lined eye.  It is simple, strong and exaggerates the personality of the wearer. That’s not a make up free look but it is minimal,  I was therefore interested in the article.
Fantastic simplified make up.

One thing that struck me and the only person to comment on-line when I first read it, was a suspicion that these claimed exponents of ‘bare faced chic’ looked rather high maintenance. Also some of the exemplars had marvellous bone structure and were models. Otherwise they have fashion jobs and access to skincare. Skin care costs a heck of a lot more than cosmetics, as does a stress-free privileged life, regular hair maintenance and expert eyebrow plucking.  Apply your make up well and you can distract from hair in a scarf and compensate for uneven eyebrows. Go bare and you cannot. There’s potentially a nasty little bit of class snobbery creeping in there, makeup is a help to the harried, working and low-income.

Of course we are over-sold cosmetics and we can see the young and gullible falling for a corresponding over emphasis on looks. This isn’t new. Young women wear lots of slap as its when you experiment and establish your identity. I’m less annoyed by this than I am with the obsessive declarations that as you age your make up must become ‘natural’, it goes with custard coloured hair and beige,,ooops, I mean’t to say sand or sable or toffee or whatever new word for beige is fashionable. I'd rather look interesting and my age. The argument that the media impels women to wear make up they don’t need really kicks in as you are older  rather than younger as your income and insecurities kick in. As a teen Miners and Rimmel were fine, now I head for Chanel and Guerlaine and I need so many more items for an age specific 'youthful' look. However it seems an extreme response to advocate no makeup. It is one of our many privileges as secular, economically active women to be able to paint our faces. To advocate being bare faced as a fashion statement makes me uncomfortable.  I can understand not being bothered with the stuff, I really loather those low-brow gossip magazines that match some poor starlets red carpet maquillage with a badly lit gurning papparazzi picture and a strap line that they are 'just like us' (ie gurning, splotchy and looking crap). Time to stop beating ourselves and others up.
Tilda rocking the bare with lipstick look.

On the other hand  I have always suspected that foundations, eyeshadows, blusher and mascara are probably a bit crap for your skin. The women in my family have never ever worn foundation or blusher, it’s an alien item to us. Putting on a full face in a busy world is a faff for some, but for others it is a cherished ritual. I fall into the faff camp (although I find hair far more of a faff) and the article addresses this, but then posits a facial as an alternative. In what world is making an appointment for a facial quicker that putting on a bit of lippy? A strange world, I’ve never had a facial. Again I don’t trust them at all. This ‘they look bad initially but get better’ thing is unconvincing. You’d get the same glowing effect from a scouring pad and baby lotion. As I read on I grew more frustrated, what next? Perfume is not green enough so we ditch it and all arrange for a small beautician to dab us with distilled water and lemons every morning?
This 'natural' look is extremely hard work.

What I particularly disliked was the inevitable obsession with ‘greenness’ and the resulting evangelical tendency which is what you get in any beauty article in the middle-class press.  I’m happier not to have things tested on animals and I don’t want to coat my face with dangerous chemicals but I don’t mind harmless miniscule traces of things.  My favourite piece of stupidity  in the article was this quote from the founder of steam cream “'I remember stumbling upon a study that proved that eating lipstick would be better for you than putting it on your lips. That way you at least have the digestive enzymes to help absorb it.'  Yeh, but if you eat it your lips won’t look pretty and red. Once I read that completely daft comment I knew where the article was going and inevitably it did. It managed to mention Kate Middleton (everyone has to at the moment, it’s the beauty editor’s rools) and finished with some ridiculous vitamin/oxygen treatment that costs £600 quid and is injected into your face (euww!). Personally I’d rather eat my lipstick…. or even wear it.

Any feelings on this subject? please share! xx

3 comments:

Katie Chutzpah said...

A good foundation is a must! It acts as a protector and screen from pollution and some even have spf factors. Nothing in a mag/on a red carpet is 'bare-faced'. They are all wearing make-up but toned down. Fact.

LollyWillowes said...

I saw that article and it irritated me too. I never really wear make up, I can't be bothered on a day to day basis, I also haven't a clue how to put it on properly because my mother only used it as camouflage, due to having bad burns on her face, so there was nobody to show me and I come from a background where women rarely wear make up. Experimented as a teenager and if I was going somewhere now and I wanted to wear it, it's a very pale face and red lips, a little mascara and that's it. At the risk of sounding conceited, I have good skin at 45 because I don't sunbathe, smoke or drink alcohol, I never have. I moisturise twice a day with almond oil with a little rose and frankincenese oils in it, that's it. I have very sensitive skin too, so have to watch what I use.
If one wants to wear it, do so and not if one doesn't, I really can't be bothered with all this daren't leave the house without it or getting the right, "natural," look while piled high with it all the same. To be honest, I prefer it when obvious...in a good way!... the vintage look, I suppose, although that word is also starting to annoy me nowadays, despite my love of old things etc.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could go 'bare-face', and I wish I had the money and lifestyle that enabled me to have all the treatments necessary for this, but I don't. I have bad skin - spots and scars - which no 'facial' or similar will remedy. I have learnt that people don't react well to spotty, scarred, red-faced people, so I cover up. Magazines never write articles for people who aren't perfect, or who have such problems, they write articles for non-real people, so they can try and sell products to real people, as the original article was trying to do - getting readers hooked on a new lifestyle.

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