Almost Half of All Women Feel Negatively Without Makeup

February 28, 2012 ‐ By

It’s typical to hear a woman say she never leaves the house without makeup and a new study by Harris Interactive may explain why. About 44 percent of all women view themselves negatively when they have a bare face.

Specifically, about 16 percent of the respondents said they feel unattractive without makeup, 14 percent feel self-conscious, and another 14 percent feel like something is missing. Only a small percentage—3 percent—of the 1,292 women who were polled in the study  said they feel more attractive without any makeup at all.

“Wearing makeup to enhance one’s appearance is normal in our society and often a right of passage for young women,” said Adrienne Ressler, national training director for the Renfrew Center Foundation and a body image expert.”There is concern, however, when makeup no longer becomes a tool for enhancement but, rather, a security blanket that conceals negative feelings about one’s self-image and self-esteem.  For many individuals, these feelings may set the stage for addictions or patterns of disordered eating to develop.”

Not all makeup use was rooted in a need to cover oneself up though. About 48 percent of the respondents said they wear makeup because they liked how they look with it and 32 percent said wearing makeup makes them feel good. For another 11 percent, they wear makeup because it’s the norm: 51 percent started applying makeup when they were between 14 and 16 years old, and another 27 percent began between 11 and 13.

How do you feel when you don’t wear makeup? Do you prefer to be made up or wear a bare face?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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  • Only on very special occasions will I throw on some make up and I hate it because I am always concerned about it not smearing or running.  I feel so much more comfortable and beautiful with no make up.  It saves time too.

  • Teya

    I started using make up a lot this year actually. I’d only wear it occasionally before but I remember last memorial day, me and my best friend did a “photo shoot” at the beach and she decided to wear make-up (because she wears it everyday) but I didn’t. We took some pictures and the ones I took, the poses looked really nice but I looked a bit bland. In her pictures her features really stood out so that was one occasion that made me begin wearing every day because you just never know when you might take pictures or be on camera.

  • RV

    Interesting. Today is my first day coming into the office without make up and someone complimented me on how beautiful my skin complexion is. She said she never noticed before how nice my skin is. I thought to myself “Because it’s always buried underneath make up”. So I will put the make up away until I have a reason to enhance my beauty. Going bare faced from now on! 

  • Mdmt_forlife

    I prefer a bare face over make up. Bless by God to have a clear complexion and even skin tone. I only wear make up when I get dolled up for a night on the town……

    • Me too other wise i just have on chap-stick or lip gloss 

  • TeeBabe

    I wear Loreal True Match foundation occasionally. You know the little compact from the Beyonce commercial. I’m in my late 20’s and I never needed it before. It seemed like as I got older I got ….paler? Does that make sense? I’ve always been kinda lite brite but lately I think I look kinda washed out. The foundation gives my skin a warm glow.

    • Cher1ce

       Oh wow, felt like I wrote this.  I’ve gotten a lot paler as I’ve gotten older too.  Loreal True Match C6 is my saving grace!  I don’t leave home without it. 

      • TeeBabe

        That’s the exact shade I use. LOL

  • Freebee33

    I like makeup I think it’s fun to experiment with it, I have a nice little collection. But I don’t believe in overdoing it though, with lashes, tons of blush and over the top eyeshadow that belongs on the runway or in a magazine. As much as I like makeup I have no problem going out bare faced, actually today I didn’t feel like makeup so I just decided not to apply any, no big deal to me.

  • billionaire

    I wear eyeshadow and blush. I feel great without the crap on my face. If a man doesn’t like me without my makeup he can keep it moving.

  • Vic

    Only a small percentage—3 percent—of the 1,292 women who were polled in the study  said they feel more attractive without any makeup at all.”This is a small percentage. Also, were most of these women white? Can we make the statement ” all women” when there are various differences between women in society. Let stop promoting brainless vanity. 

    • Colliz6

      I do agree with you, i suspect that appreciation for make-up varies depending on one’s ethnicity. It is my opinion that black women care far less about wearing make-up than our white counterparts.

  • Smacks_hoes

    I personally only put a few dabs of concealor under my eyes and on my hyper pigmentation everyday. I definately don’t wear foundation unless it for a apes oak occasion…make up is to enhance not make you look like a different person.