You may have noticed a new trend in social media: the no makeup selfie. Like many, this viral phenomenon has become popularized by celebrities. Stars like Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Lupita Nyong’o have bared their faces sans makeup on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie, inspiring countless others to follow suit.
The movement organically, albeit perplexingly, got attached to cancer awareness in Britain, raising more than 8 million pounds for Cancer Research UK. Some speculate that the premise for the link is that showing the world your “real” self creates a sense of vulnerability that is familiar to the struggles of a cancer patient. The organization did not start the campaign and the chief executive, Harpal Kumar, has said that they “are overwhelmed by the support people have been showing us through the #nomakeupselfie trend.” Text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3 on the fly.
But no-makeup selfies were popping up long before they were tied to a cause. Which begs the question: Why? The Guardian assumes that the images resonate “on an emotional level rather than an intellectual one.” I’m inclined to agree. There is bit of bravery that goes with posting a picture of yourself bare-faced, along with a dash of confidence and a lot of humility. In a time when so many of the images we look at are over-produced, these shots feel authentic. Most of all, I think these images are so appealing because they convey intimacy. These pics show individuals as their families see them without makeup, often without their hair done, or even lying in bed upon waking. Through them we get a glimpse into a person’s private life.
The images may also give us insight to how we all really feel about cosmetics. A paper published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology found that both men and women find women most attractive with 40 percent less makeup than they normally wear. Interestingly, the same participants thought that others would prefer more makeup. Perhaps we have been overdoing it because we think it’s what the average person finds attractive?
What do you think about the no-makeup selfie? Is this a trend you have or would participate in? Do you find the pictures as sweet and compelling as I do, or is it just silly and self-indulgent? If you do decide to bare it all, don’t forget to hashtag your image with #nomakeupselfie and #babblebeauty. I’d love to see your beautiful faces!