Going Natural

binx walton

Photo: Binx Walton from Garage Magazine

I’ve been doing something in St Lucia that I have not done in years. It’s wearing no make up (almost) daily. Hardly ground breaking but it strikes me that I said: “in years.”

Since when did I get addicted to wearing make up in the first place?

I remember talking to a friend once who said that her boyfriend told her he liked her without make up. Have you noticed how guys say that? Saying it’s what they prefer in general with women? I don’t buy it. Although I’m starting to buy into the concept.

It’s easy for me to say all this, bumming around in denim cut offs in the Caribbean with no work related people to face (I leave tomorrow). But living in big cities like New York and in London, I’ve noticed that going bare faced or with hardly anything is rare for anyone I know – even on their good skin days.

The cosmetic industry probably has us hooked but maybe going with less isn’t that horrific? I watch women sitting in front of me on trains applying their make up from nothing to everything but sometimes they honestly look better if they stopped two minutes earlier. I’m not sure I WANT the look of ‘colossal’ and ‘mega lash extensions’ according to the commercials.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going through a black liquid liner phase and before WDUGT, I belonged to makeup alley.com for years. But the concept of natural, semi transparent make up is calling even with the skin maintenance required (I just downed more water again). Barely there make up is pretty badass – pun intended. It’s boyish and sort of goes with fashion’s nod to the seventies. I can justify anything.

Of course, there are ways to enhance your natural beauty that do not involve makeup too. For example, one of my friends has the most gorgeous smile. She recently had her teeth professionally whitened by a Dentist in Newmarket and this treatment has really boosted her confidence. She wears so much less makeup nowadays and instead relies on her dazzling smile to win people over. Ultimately, this just goes to show that there is no harm in subtly improving what you already have.

Let’s see how hard this is in a big city when the Caribbean is a million miles away.

Question: Have you tried going sans make up or with as little as possible?


  1. Taranimale says:

    I am probably the wrong person to comment but it is rare (like maybe 5 times a year) for me to wear makeup, and if I do, it means mascara and lipgloss. Then again, I live in Seattle and I think it’s much more the norm in the Pacific NW than in NYC to go without makeup. Though I never wore any in San Francisco, either! My husband says he likes me without, and I never really figured out how to apply it–plus I don’t have to SEE myself! I think many women look stunning with makeup, and many look gorgeous without. My sister is great with makeup and she looks lovely–I’ve never figured it out and feel like a clown when I try eyeshadow. But I do think I look a little rough sometimes when I see pictures of myself but that may also be due to the fact that I am well past 25! There’s probably a happy medium somewhere. I think YOU are beautiful FWIW, Karen. Cheers!

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Interesting that where you are it’s more the norm to not wear make up. I agree that some women look great without make up and there are those who wear it still even though they look just as good if not in some ways better without! I think it’s confidence too.

  2. xoxsamira says:

    I’ve been trying to use less makeup during the summer because just like people never seem to stop wearing makeup in the city, people never seem to stop wearing it at school either! It makes you feel like everyday you should have you’re runway face on, which can be quite tiring at times!


    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Ugh that must feel like maintenance to feel like you also MUST wear make up because everyone is

  3. Natasha Bowen says:

    I barely wear make up (maybe a bit of mascara and matte powder on the oil slicks!) apart from when I go out for dinner or drinks. I like looking totally different when I’m going out… If I wore it all the time I’d feel like I need to add more layers on. My ten year old daughter always comments on how good I look with makeup, but also without… She says it’s just different types of ‘beautiful’.

    I also think that my skin is as good as it is because I don’t wear makeup regularly… after all how can your skin breathe with so much product on it? Not to mention the amount of chemicals!! When I see totally made up women I do think they look good but how long does that all take to put on and then take off?! I can’t be arsed!!

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Different types of beautiful – I LOVE that.

      I do wonder about how good or not covering our skin is from a long term perspective

  4. Caroline Howden says:

    I used to live in Southampon, UK…and I always wore makeup, as I dreaded the thought of bumping into someone I knew without wearing any. Getting ready for a big night out was always a bit ‘Essex’ – the whole shebang (including fake tan!). Now in London it’s sooo casual, plus there’s less chance of me bumping into anyone I know ;-). I wear the minimum for work such as; BB cream, mascara, sort the ole eyebrows out, bit of blush. I’m not a morning person, so I don’t have a lot of time to get ready. I also see those ladies on my train applying makeup in the mornings, including one lady that was painting her nails! Weekends I don’t wear any – good to let my skin breathe. A rare night out? – I do try to get glammed up (as much as London let’s me) also getting ready for me, is still part of the fun 😉 I’ll text my boyfriend now and see what he thinks…

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      OMG fake tan! I bet your boyfriend will say he’s cool with less or none

  5. Malu says:

    Honestly, you look absolutely beautiful without make up on. I love a natural look and I myself dont really wear makeup too often because I feel as if I look weird with it lol. I am a sucker for lipstick and lip colors but otherwise, I just keep it simple. I have also heard from many guys that they do like the more natural look and I believe them! I always say less is more. Great post and even greater pictures!

  6. Lisa says:

    I’m not really a fan of makeup. I make the effort with mascara and maybe mineral powder but it seems more like a chore. Given that I grew up in Jamaica, a face full of makeup in the heat is not really practical.

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Oh I agree the Caribbean is the last place for a full face and it amazes me how the locals can from the few office girls that do it. I wonder what mineral powder is like

  7. Veniece Wesson says:

    I am not a fan of make-up anymore. I think I wore more in my teens and twenties than I do now. (Although I was never one for foundation but I wore the powder, eyeshadow, lipstick, blush, mascara, & did my eyebrows. Now that I have three teen age boys. I wear nothing but a little concealer & lip balm. I also no longer have to deal with the task of taking it off nightly. (Added benefit it takes less time to get ready in the morning.) The only time I wear make-up now is for professional photo shoots. Men still find me attractive without it. And yes, I hear a lot of men say that they prefer a “woman without all that make-up.” I live in Los Angeles and though it is more laid back then it is NY. I am very much into clothes and fashion and often work as a stylist. But I am just not into make-up. Although I have seen some women with make-up on that look great, I also have seen some that look overdone. I think that each person should find what works for them and do that. Not because of what the make-up or fashion industry dictates, but because it looks good on that individual and it works for them.

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      The night time removal process is indeed exhausting and I agree – everyone is different and should approach the whole thing as such regardless of what the industry suggests

  8. Veniece Wesson says:

    Also, great post by the way and lovely natural photo.

  9. Olivia says:

    I don’t wear make-up on the week-ends, even if I’m going out shopping or whatever. I have to do that all week.

  10. Jayla says:

    I loved this post!! I am with you on the makeup thing. I have found that I don’t wear as much makeup a I used to. I really love a nice brow, a little liner, and mascara…that’s all. I usually pop on a lip color but it’s the simplest of makeup looks. I feel more comfortable this way. The take down process is what turns me away from wearing so much honestly. I just can’t be bothered these days with taking time to apply a bunch of makeup.


  11. tsp says:

    the only time i wear makeup is when i’m going out to meet a friend, or going to an event. i actually don’t wear makeup on a daily basis. the times i do go out, i’ll wear tinted moisturiser, mascara, eyeliner and lippy.

  12. Nodumo says:

    A beautiful picture, and a great read (what’s new). For me, the question should actually be, “Have you ever worn a significant amount of makeup.” I hardly wear makeup on a day to day basis, and I’m in my early 20’s. This is primarily because I just don’t think I’m artistic enough to apply it well. I have albinism, and I think with my face, it’s easy to cross the line and make the look unnecessarily dramatic for everyday. I also just don’t feel comfortable with the idea of changing the colour of my brows and lashes, because that defeats the idea of simply accentuating them. I don’t know if that makes sense. I do definitely think it’s time for me to at least try wearing a little more than lipstick though and I love the way you apply your makeup, so I may take a leaf from your book, the day I find light blonde mascara 🙂

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      I think had I asked it that way around most would say no since I don’t think anyone likes to think that they wear a significant amount of make up, even if they do – it doesn’t sound good KWIM? I’m sure light blonde mascara exists somewhere. What about browns? or light browns?

  13. Diana says:

    I rarely wear make up… only for special occasions these days or if I need a pick me up. Most times, I’m just super lazy and can’t be bothered. Especially in the heat. 😉

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Ive always admired how you go without

  14. Sinead says:

    Interesting that you should mention this today. The Atlantic just came out with a story citing a report that says women who wear makeup are, in general, treated better, paid more, and are more well thought of. I will leave it to others to discuss the sexual politics of this, but I will say that unless I’m asleep, I am NEVER without makeup. I don’t judge those who do otherwise, but I like makeup and have now reached the age (wrong side of 40) where I feel that I also NEED makeup. I have had men say that they “prefer” less makeup, to which I have always replied that they should feel free to wear less! 🙂 My long-term companion says that he appreciates the effort. And there’s also this: I happen to love makeup. This dates back to my childhood, so I don’t imagine I’ll change my mind about it at this stage of the game. While I don’t quite go to Charlotte Tilbury’s lengths (she says she wears makeup to bed and that neither her first nor her current husband have ever seen her without it) I can understand the sentiment. I like to show my best self to the world. For me, that requires the “assisted living” that wearing makeup provides.

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      hmm I can see why for that article even though it’s clearly unfair. I love your honesty as always Sinead. “assisted living” = brilliant

  15. coffeeslag says:

    My boyfriend notices when women wear a lot of makeup and he usually comments on it on a negative way. I think he notices more when women wear a LOT of foundation and eye makeup. I’ve asked him before if he prefers me with or without haha, and he always manages to sidestep by saying I look just fine without.

    Anyways, I actually prefer to wear less makeup. I’ve been very into letting your skin shine and be flawless and then just throw on some mascara to define the eyes. Add a nude lip and that’s my go to. Sometimes I feel so naked though, when I see all these girls with gorgeously lined and made up eyes. And then in photos, I just don’t come out as well when I wear less makeup. I feel in person/movement, less makeup looks good but in photos it just looks washed out. So if I know I’m taking photos, I tend to do a lot of eyeliner.


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    • Karen Blanchard says:

      I know what you mean about photos. I feel that liner just defines the eyes versus nothing at all which can look a little washed out on me but hey I’m up for experimentation in the Margiela-like arena. Heck it’s all play anyway.

      LOL @ the boyfriend side stepping your question.

  16. PamelM says:

    I don’t wear make-up like I did when I was a teen or in my 20’s. I’m now almost 55 and I have found what really works for me. Well groomed brows, nude gloss and a little mascara. Since it’s summer, my brown skin has been kissed a coppery bronze which I love. That’s it. I’ve been blessed with good genes, too so any signs of aging are minimal. I even keep it simple when I dress up. Maybe add a smoky eyeliner and a red gloss.

    • AverageMe says:

      At 62 I still wear my makeup very light like I did way back in the stone age……I have never ever worn foundation. I don’t like it and I truly feel it ruins your skin over time. Just some blush is all I do. When I was younger I always did up the eyes to total perfection…Perfect shadow/liner and and lots of mascara. Now it’s just a little shadow, eye liner and sometimes mascara but not if I’m just going to the store. Since aging and needing to wear glasses all the time for some reason I felt why bother doing up the eyes so much. Besides the older you get the less makeup looks better. Maybe my routine has worked. I have hardly any wrinkles 🙂

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Your tan sounds like it doesn’t need any additional enhancers.

  17. Jasmine says:

    Living in the UK where the climate gave me a constant grey complexion, full coverage felt necessary for me to seem human. I’d wear bright red or black lipstick to lectures without a second thought. But after I moved to California and now Australia I find I’ve gradually eliminated most make-up from my daily usage to the point where I just fill my eyebrows and dab concealer on the dark circles, and leave it there. I’ve never been particularly skilled at applying make-up either so it’s very freeing (and probably much better than the Joker-type alternative) to go without.

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      ‘Seem human?’ OMG LOLOL!! I love how you’ve adapted based on when you’ve ended up moving.

  18. Jo says:

    I’m in London and I often go without makeup to trot about in public on weekends; my work version of no makeup is only powder foundation but I don’t do that as often as I should. Often though if I am feeling a little self-conscious about my skin I whack on a bright lipstick shade – it makes me feel more ‘done’ and fees like it’s distracting from any bits I wouldn’t like!

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      I feel the same way about the lipstick

  19. Brandi says:

    I hardly ever where makeup & even when I done a full face it’s a barely there full face no highlighting or contouring ever natural is the new black lol, all minimalistic everything. Ps, I showed all of my friends your makeup video you did a while back perfect everyday face.

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Thanks Brandi! I agree I think it may become the new black

  20. crazygemini12 says:

    I’ve never really worn a lot of makeup (when I’m old, I’ll wish I had this skin back, so I just show it off now) but I always make sure I do my brows, line my eyes (mine are really tiny and that makes me look less sleepy) and at least put on some tinted lip balm.

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      I’m looking for a good tinted balm!! I too like to do a little brow

  21. Joyce says:

    I don’t wear make up unless I’m going out even in London. You don’t always need it,enjoy your face 🙂

  22. Linda Wagabaza says:

    I am yet to wear faux lashes, which were introduced to me 7 years ago, I am also too lazy to always wear makeup, but I also find that I am uncomfortable with it on, I can’t touch my face like I am used, and my boyfriend also hates when I wear make up. I feel that my skin picks up light better with no make up.

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      I know what you mean about not touching your face although it’s apparently not good to touch it anyway. I heard it gives you spots and I noticed on me that it does if i touch it with my hands.

  23. Tatyanna Hunter says:

    You look beautiful. Love your freckles. I have worn a full face of makeup only once in my life. The only thing I wear now is mascara and lipstick and it is still very rare. I grew up not wearing makeup so I’m use to being natural. I think makeup is great on occasion, but I definitely wouldn’t wear it daily. Everyone love yourself made up and natural! <3


  24. Kristen P says:

    Yes! I used to wear quite a bit, and last year I just got so tired of having to wake up early to put make up on when my husband also told me he liked me better without. So I switched to wearing just toner, mascara and filling in my brows. It was so liberating! Although, when I feel like I”m looking a little rough I revert back to my old ways, but it never sticks.

  25. Katie says:

    I too don’t buy it when men say they prefer no makeup. I don’t think men can even tell how much a woman is wearing unless she’s troweled it on.

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