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Honest to blog | Going make-up free

I can't remember the first time I felt self-conscious about my appearance or understood the concept of body image or buying products or clothes to hide imperfections.  This might have come earlier if I'd had an older sister or a social group that wasn't made up predominantly of boys, but as it was my teens were spent riding my bike to the beach to meet people from the next town or watching films and having parties and get-togethers at friends' houses.  At no stage did it involve makeovers, sharing clothes with 'gal pals', or excited trips to Superdrug to buy the latest Rimmel lipstick.  There were two colleges that people from nearby schools went to - one that focussed on sports and offered hair and beauty courses, and one that had a big arts and music department and tended to appeal to the more 'creative types' (I obviously went to the latter).  I ended up knocking around in hoodies and skate shoes, watching the boys in bands practising and going to gigs in Portsmouth.  At this stage in my life I wasn't really interested in clothes (well, not high street clothes, only gigantic flares and band hoodies) and I didn't wear make-up.  It never occurred to me to be self-conscious about this.

Going away to Uni was the first time I really realised how lacking my wardrobe was in 'going out clothes' or anything particularly feminine. I took a part time job in H&M and started gaining an interest in fashion and broadening my horizons in terms of personal style.  However, I didn't buy my first pair of high heels or start wearing make-up until I was in my mid-20s.  I never felt any pressure to and though my now make-up-wearing, self-conscious-about almost-everything-self finds it almost impossible to believe, I still managed to get boyfriends, jobs and be a normal member of society without people recoiling in horror at my cosmetic-free face.

// having recently discovered eyeliner but still largely make-up free; about 22 here
I can't think of any other example of something I quite happily lived without, and then, once I started using it, became a crucial part of my daily life.  All I know is that one minute I was tentatively picking up an eyeliner pencil in Boots and the next minute I was one of those people that covers their make-up-less face when answering the door to the Postman.  When I went running I pencilled in my eyebrows first.  I hated going swimming, to a spa or anywhere where you'd be in public sans-slap.  It frustrated me that in order to go to the corner shop I had to put on a full face of make-up.  It frustrated me for several reasons, firstly because I am a bit of a control-freak myself, ergo, I don't like to be controlled by other things.  I want to be an independent, free spirit that can go and buy a loaf of bread in my natural state (not naked, I mean, with a face free of cosmetics) and not be saddled with the burden of being ashamed of my own face.  Also, I don't know if this is a bit too forward-thinking or if this makes me some kind of militant feminist but I hold a general view that women should be able to do things that men do.  This includes the biggies like run companies and get paid the same but also the little stuff, like not be expected to wear uncomfortable footwear or require an hour's preparation and half a beauty counter before they're deemed aesthetically acceptable to be allowed out of their house.  To top all of this off, by some kind of cruel irony, my skin was really nice and pretty imperfection free before I started wearing make-up, and whether it's through age or being coated with a foundation that can also be used to cover up tattoos every day, it's now not so great.  I have uneven skin tone, under-eye circles and little bumps I definitely didn't have before.  It was time to give my face a breather.

Last week I promised myself I would start wearing minimal make-up to work.  I allowed myself a bit of bronzer, eyeshadow, mascara and eyebrow pencil.  I hope one day I'll be able to go make-up free, but for the moment this is my compromise.  Believe me, it felt weird the first time I went into work looking like this.  Surprisingly they didn't call the local zoos thinking some kind of hideous beast was on the loose.  In fact, no-one said anything at all.


Because I'm being brave I'm now going to post a photo of me with that naked face I mentioned earlier.  This makes me grimace and I'm not entirely comfortable with it but I've come to realise that being ashamed of the face you were born with is frankly ridiculous.


Do you wear make-up every day? Would you consider not wearing make-up to work? Please let me know your own experiences of going make-up free!

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50 comments

  1. Ohh Rosie you're a babeee with or without makeup. I often go without make-up and have never considered it part of my everyday routine to be honest. Like you, I actually only started wearing make-up whilst at Uni and once thrown into an environment with 100 (yup!) fashion students. Loved reading this post sweet, in fact, I'm absolutely loving your blog recently! xxxx

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  2. You look gorgeous in that last photo Rosie! I also grew up riding bikes and 'playing out' with friends, as opposed to ever being into make up until I started growing up and noticed bags under my eyes and spots etc. Since then I've worn make up pretty much every day, but try to give it at least one day off a week (usually when I hide from the world under my duvet and attempt uni work!) but would not feel at all confident going out to even just the shops without at least eyebrow pencil, mascara, and concealer! I find that it's been so long that I've worn make up for, I think it would take me possibly months to get an even skin tone again!

    louisejoyb x

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  3. I actually prefer your face without make yo,but then ive always been that way inclined re make up v not.I used to have to wear a ton of make up for dancing from a young age,which meant I've never really been a regular wearer.I never wear make up to work and if I do wear make up at,weekends it's only ever eyeliner,or very rarely mascara.interestingly all my boyfriends have said I look better make-upless.xx

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  4. I never used to wear make-up to school, and now I'm rarely without it, even at home! You look stunning with or without make up- if I looked like you without I'd be one happy lady xxx

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  5. Rosie you are so pretty - with or without make up!

    I completely understand the struggle though... because I have such fair eyelashes & brows I look really different without make up & get "are you ill" comments because people are shocked that I'm so pale! So annoying! x

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  6. Such a great post - I feel exactly the same as you about wearing make-up. I can't step outside the house without a full face on and I even put a bit on when I'm slobbing around the house! I'm trying to change this too as why should we feel like we have to wear make-up in public? I've made subtle changes eg. I currently use Bare Minerals powder foundation which is great as it gives a far more natural coverage and is better for your skin. It's a small change but one step at a time!

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  7. You are a brave lady but have nothing to worry about :)
    You are beautiful and I am glad you are embracing your natural beauty.
    I don't wear make up at all now, only on VERY special occasions. I spend a lot less time in the mornings on myself which is a bonus! Not only that but it's a bit cheaper in the ol' purse too :D
    Great post Rosie <3

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  8. I don't think it makes you a militant feminist to think that women should be able to do what men do!

    I agree that it's strange when you feel like you can't go to the corner shop without a full face of make up. The shop literally round the corner from my house in 2nd and 3rd year of uni soon got used to my naked face once I braved it.

    One of my friends boasts that she has great skin because she doesn't use foundation and never has. There may be some truth in it, but boys get bad skin as well and they never (hardly ever...) wear make up. So it's a mixture of age, skin type and probably a whole host of other things. (clearly not a dermatologist...)

    I think you look great without make up :) I agree it doesn't make sense to be ashamed of your face and it's great you're embracing the no make up look.

    Great post :) x

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  9. This is brilliant - I've always hated the idea that women feel they have to cover themselves up just to leave the house, and I'm glad you're standing up to it! :)
    I'm only sixteen, but makeup is everywhere around me. I barely wear any at all - most school days I wear none whatsoever, but will occasionally wear a little depending on how I'm feeling or if I get a bit bored in the morning and then I'll wear whatever I feel like when I'm going out for special occasions. However, this is seen as pretty much abnormal by almost all other girls my age. I am looked upon as plain and boring for not wearing any makeup and the only girls who ever get any compliments are those with a complete full-face of makeup on every day of the week. The boys who spend every day at school with us are growing up thinking that this is the norm, when it really isn't! I have been told countless times 'Oh, you could be pretty if you only tried a little harder and wore a bit of makeup', which, quite frankly, makes me sick. Why should we have to cover ourselves up all the time just to fit into society and be seen as pretty? I hate the idea that, one day, any potential daughters of mine will have to grow up in a society like this, because as far as I can see, it's only getting worse, and unless lots more lovely people like you stand up and object, it's not going to stop any time soon.

    www.tenantofwildfellhall.blogspot.co.uk

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  10. I completely understand!
    But I've always used make up since my (very) early teens, I think it was mainly because I suffered from bad skin very early on and got teased a bit, so when I found foundation I fell in love.
    Now that my skins clearer, not perfect, but clearer, I try and have 'days off' when I don't have to go into Uni. I think its great to let your skin breath, but I dont think the world is ready for my naked face just yet!
    x

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  11. I can completely relate to this and try to wear makeup as little as possible, which I can do a lot when working from home, but I will slap on makeup every time I have to leave the house. Fair enough for when I have photoshoots but even to the shop or for a walk. I'm working on getting my skin healthier so I don't feel too self concious to go out naked faced.

    You however look bloody gorgeous in all of the photos you've posted! It's funny, until mid uni I didn't wear makeup either...now I'm a makeup artist!? Who woulda thought.

    http://www.rafflesbizarre.blogspot.com

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  12. I probably wear make up about once a month when I've got somewhere special to go but other than that it has never bothered me. It makes me so sad when I read womens stories like this, you are beautiful with and without make-up and the best thing to learn is the power of choice! You can choose whether you want to wear a full face or not, respecting it as an art form or a form of personal expression, not as a blanket for your insecurities (that are totally unfounded judging from your bare faced picture.) I really hope you find the strength to give it up xx

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  13. I enjoy the whole shebang of putting make up on for a special occasion, but its getting more and more of a chore for every day. However I cant really get away without it for work as I need to look professional and managerial (which I guess I could do without make up but because for 7 years I've been wearing it it would be a lot harder) AND the moment I come in sans eyeliner people ask 'oh are you ill/tired'. I have however stopped wearing foundation to work, and rarely wear blusher now too, but will always wear eyeliner and mascara and do my eyebrows as minumum.
    As I said on instagram the other day you look a'okay with less make up, but I appreciate how hard it is to publish/go out like that when you're not used to it. Last year when I was having such severe eye problems that I couldn't wear any eye makeup I put a few pictures up of me without and hated the lot!

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  14. You're gorgeous. Rock that amazing skin!

    I am sadly covered in acne scars from having bad skin for the past year or two, and it has knocked my confidence massively.

    I do go without makeup if I'm just at home, or out and about not really seeing people, but when I do wear makeup it's mainly foundation and mascara anyway. The important ones! :)

    X

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  15. Love this post!
    I NEVER wear makeup to work, I like to feel special outside of work, and this really helps with that. I also have a job where I have to get dirty, clean a lot and not really look nice (in ANY way!) so I'm happy to go without.
    I think think I look super lovely at weekends when I make more of an effort with the makeup I wear.
    I wouldn't go without on a night out, meal or evening meeting friends for a coffee though. I think that goes back to wanting to look my best, and although I've no problem with my "naked" face, it's not a pretty thing! xx

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  16. I always wear make up to work because I always feel more confident with it on. I like the whole process of putting it on, its my favourite bit of my morning routine. But also it is something I am really interested in now so I think of putting make up on as just doing something I enjoy. I don't really see the problem as long as you're not completely caked in the stuff, I suppose if you use it right it can highlight all your best features.
    I loved this post though, its very honest :)
    Katie
    http://theorytwentyone.blogspot.co.uk

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  17. You look fab without make-up, hun!
    I haven't worn make-up all day, I always make sure to have a couple days to just let my skin breathe and I can definitely see the benefits of it. AND I can relax all day and not worry whether my make-up's faded or liner's smudged, so it's good all round :)

    Laura x
    http://pale-girl-reviews.blogspot.com

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  18. Rosie you are gorgeous without makeup! I think in your generation it's kind of normal that you didn't care much about makeup etc., but in my generation I think people feel much more pressured to feel 'perfect'. It's a confusing matter!

    burgundybeauty.blogspot.co.uk

    x

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  19. great post rosie! and what's wrong with being a militant feminist? ;)
    I was quite lucky, like you in that I escaped my teens without me or my friends wearing much makeup at all. At home it was a house full of girls- but I was the eldest and my mum didn't wear makeup. If I did wear makeup to school it would literally only be mascara and concealer if I had the time. I didn't wear makeup at uni either, only on nights out.

    Now I wear too much, I think, and am trying to cut back- but I know there are girls who wear way more than me on a daily basis. At the moment I'm trying to cut back on foundation and invest more in skincare (cleansers, facemasks) than makeup- that way I trick myself into getting my makeup 'fix' without buying more makeup.

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  20. I have a much longer history of makeup wearing! I think I first discovered eyeliner when I was 13 or 14 and I went through a phase of extremely pale foundation and very dark eyes for several years. My style changed but there's barely been a day where I have left the house without my slap - occasionally for a run/gym but I'll usually have atleast something on. It is a shame in some ways but makeup helps me to feel like "me" and I can't see that changing anytime soon.
    The Life of Emily-Alice

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  21. I love this post Rosie. I only started wearing make up in the year or so simple I started full time work. I was never fussed about wearing make up to university! Now I wear it everyday to work I am not sure if I could do without. I might try to cut down a little. My skin could do with a breather xx

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  22. You are gorgeous with minimal make up! I put on my face every day (that said if I'm just popping to the gym I go sans slap there and back and without fail will run in to ALL the people) but I wish I could go out without my full face but yeah. Don't have the confidence at all! x

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  23. You look absolutely beautiful! I try not to wear make-up whenever possible, my skin isn't too bad and I've never worn much foundation. I've tried BB cream, which is great for nights out or whatever but it feels too heavy to smear on daily. Sometimes I'll sweep a bit of Bare Minerals on but that doesn't feel quite as bad and still looks quite natural.
    Also, I've never had anyone show me how to apply it properly so I've always thought that if people are going to laugh at my face, I'd rather them laugh at my regular face than laugh at the make-up I've smeared all over it (I know that sounds a bit backwards!)
    x

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  24. Rosie you are gorgeous!! I often feel a bit sad with myself because I can't even imagine going out of the house without make up on anymore. It wasn't until my second year of uni (so 2 years ago) that I started wearing makeup 'properly.' I only used to put on a bit of eyeliner and that was on special occasions, and when I think about it now, I cannot believe I went to work without a scrap of makeup on. Because now, it has to be perfect and I have to put everything on, not even missing little steps like eye makeup, it has to be everything. And that makes me a bit sad! Because Im not confident with how I look, and I really miss being able to go out with my bare face on. I wish I could now, but I am too self conscious. I really admire what you're doing, you're are brave and are so pretty without makeup on! xxx

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  25. right Rosie lady, listen to me, YOU LOOK FIT WITH OR WITHOUT MAKEUP. I obviously cannot comment on how hard it is to cut down on wearing it, because i'm a naked face, but it's just so nice to wake up and not have to worry about it (although my friend bought me blusher for christmas and sometimes i now sneak it on hahaha!) that's as far as it goes.
    honestly though, tom loves you regardless, as do i, and bodhi. so that's all that matters xx

    The Littles.

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  26. Such a great post! I think going with or without make-up can be such a hard habit to break. I never used to wear much up at all (honestly, I still remember first learning to use pencil eyeliner aged 19!), then started to wear more and more, and now I'm trying to tone it done because I don't see the point in covering over my skin everyday. I do think a huge part of it though is having the confidence to brave it (make-up or not) the first few times, as any change will feel strange at first :)

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  27. You look beautiful without make up - you have incredible skin! Well done you though; I think I'd struggle to go without make up and have it on the internet!

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  28. You are beautiful. I think like you say, society is far too obsessed with a made up face these days. I feel my most comfortable without make-up. I always feel my skin looks at it's best when I just wake up, rested and moisturised. The only real reason I wear make-up is because people always say I look ill if I don't wear eyeliner. Especially my Mum, she's like are you ok? I think it's mainly down to the fact that I don't see many people without make-up. I could gladly go shopping without make-up, things like that don't bother me. I'm not very self conscious, I have a kind of 'fuck off' attitude. This whole society of young girls slathering on fake tan and preening themselves in to an inch of their lives, saddens me. Mainly because men will only accept them that way, which is a shame. Mainly because young lads today have been tuned to like that sort of girl, through media. I am so proud that my brother prefers natural looking girls, hopefully that influence came from me and Mom. Although, my Mum will NEVER, EVER leave the house without make-up. Most the time she sleeps in false eyelashes...now that is stemmed from a lifetime of insecurity...it breaks my heart. xxxx

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  29. I am trying to do a day a week without make up - just to do some good for my skin. The rest of the time I do wear quite a bit, although I have to say a lot of beauty bloggers seem to slap it on way to heavily when they are all naturally gorgeous!

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  30. I only ever really wear eye make up, my everyday make-up is liquid eyeliner on top and mascara with lip balm/a nice lipstick. I never wear foundation in summer, I only wear it occasionally in the winter and when I'm going on a night out. I'm lucky in the sense that I don't have bad skin, however I think due to me always having a minimal approach to my make up, this could be part of the reason my skin is as good as it is. I have a cousin who wears far too much make up and does not apply any of it correctly, she's your typical orange faced faked eye lashed girl and it does not look good, she's always had bad skin and it won't get better as she refuses to not wear any foundation and has no idea how to use little amounts of makeup to enhance what she already has. I've always used small amounts of make-up and I'm usually happy with how I look. :)

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  31. I also feel like now I wear foundation to cover up things that make up probably put there in the first place. I think ur very brave and inspiring, and I'm sure it's true that most people wouldn't even notice the difference anyway, thus proving the problem Is mainly in our heads!

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  32. This is a great post and looking at all the comments its obviously something that a lot of people also have issues with or thoughts about. I've been wearing make up since I was in my early teens, and am now 31 so can't really remember life without it!

    I wear make up everyday and occasionally when I don't, I get asked if I'm not feeling well or a bit run down.

    I'm happy to carry on wearing make up as I enjoy the 10 mins I spend putting it on, its not a chore like say, the 10 minutes brushing my teeth at night is!!

    However there is a lot to be said for not getting into the habit of wearing make up, I know lots of older ladies who I work with that have never wore make up and look fantastic without it and have aged better than those who have. I guess its just what makes you comfortable.

    If I didn't enjoy make up and putting it on I'd definitely stop wearing it and people would just have to get used to me looking unwell! It would also give me at least 20 minutes a day extra in bed!

    Maybe that's the real reason people who don't wear make up age and look better, they just get extra sleep!!

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  33. i really don't bother day to day. i like to put a little bit of foundation on most days when i'm at uni or whatever but as for going to the shop etc. i don't even fuss myself with that. i think it's a huge thing to go without though after wearing a full face of make up for so long and you should be really proud of yourself xx

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  34. I don't wear much makeup through the week when I'm at work, but I feel like crap the whole time. Ten extra minutes in bed wins every day, though, and I often sleep in makeup when my boyfriend is there to avoid him seeing me without. Even though he HAS seen me without billions of times...

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  35. Well done for being brave enough to do this, it sounds sad but I honestly don't think I could and that's a shame. You still look beautiful! xx

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  36. I wish I looked half as good as you without make up, you look amazing! If I was you I would ditch it for the everyday and especially to go to the shops!!! Xx

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  37. Interesting post. For the record, I think you look great without make up! I often wear no make up to work. I work with kids who don't care/notice if I'm wearing make up or not. I do generally wear make up, but I don't bother if I'm going to the gym or just to the shops. xx

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  38. Errrrm Rosie, hello? You look absolutely lovely without make up! So fresh faced...I'm jealous!

    - Tabitha at scaredtoast.com x

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  39. This is a great post and it's sad that you went such a long time without make up and now feel a bit lost without it, though unfortunately so many women feel like this. Personally I love what make up can do, but I don't wear it that often. I have very sensitive skin so I don't wear make-up every day, at most I'll slick a bit of lipstick on (no liner or anything like that) and neaten up my brows. I feel more pressure to wear make-up when I go out in the evening but I don't always bother - I'm so used to my face without make up that it doesn't phase me to go without. x

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  40. I really enjoyed reading this post :) While I'm ok with going to the corner shop makeup free (although it is literally a minute down the road) I wouldn't even consider going to work/shopping/anywhere else without foundation, mascara and eyebrows... You've definitely got me thinking! And you look lovely without makup! xxx

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  41. Hi Rosie!
    I have to say that i felt the same at uni. I started to wear make-up everyday and while I didn't feel I couldn't go out without it, I felt prettier and more confident with it.
    Now, I go to work everyday without make-up and wouldn't dream of putting on a full face to go out. I live near the beach so I spend a lot of time in the water anyway and when I am at work, I own a bakery so my make-up would just melt off altogether.

    My next comment is said from the bottom of my heart because I genuinely love reading your blog, but I think you look so much younger and so fresh faced without make-up.
    I would love to see you brave the natural look more often because it suits you down to the ground.

    Samantha xx

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  42. Hey,

    I was kinda the opposite- I started wearing eye makeup from my early teens- not even well applied- and dabbled in foundation and powder here n' there- but it was only when I started my 'proper' job about 2 and a half years ago that I decided not to bother at all. On my first day I had literally no make up whatsoever, just moisturiser (not even tinted). I did it so that it wouldn't be a 'thing' if one day I didn't have time or couldn't be bothered to sort my face out. I now wear a bit of natural collection powder and blusher but that's it. I sometimes wear full slap at weekends, particularly whilst I've had blue hair and wanted to get some nice photos. Overall, I feel liberated but sometimes I see people with flawlessly applied make up and wish I knew how to do that too.

    Anywho, I think you have a lovely face sans make up xx

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  43. I was bullied from the ages 11-14 when I first started secondary school. The people that I thought were friends were so horrible and cruel, just made me feel ugly and pretty worthless to be honest. I was like you too, playing out on my bike, rollerskating (I really want to go skating now, actually, haha,) or skateboarding with the boys. I had girlfriends at primary school, but we weren't at all concerned by the whole self-image thing. There were some that experimented and what not with make up - but that was just them.

    So I started wearing makeup (a little green eyeshadow and clear mascara, haha,) and then I got interested myself into make up (perfectly healthy,) but my attitude to it now and how it was then is similar to your plight! I hate looking at myself sometimes because I just think like how I thought when I was fourteen (I am twenty two now, by the by,) that I need it to look normal, or at least in a way, pleasing people... So I wouldn't get mocked, or bullied again. Silly right? I'm a big girl now, and know better to trust my gut when I meet new people - harsh, but a reality.

    I do try and tone it down, but I think (I'm waiting till I actually have a valid reason to go to the doctors,) I have rosacea, or at least just very red cheeks all the time, so I don't feel right without at least tinted moisturiser and mascara on. :/

    I think though, you're right. I want to be carefree too, not give a flying fig if I am in tesco and the checkout girls wearing false lashes are looking at me in horror... ;) xx

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  44. As a teacher, I used to wear makeup every day. I began noticing the 14 year old girls covered in makeup and how ridiculous they looked. I did not want to look like them. I also noticed that my aunt never, ever, ever wears makeup and I had not noticed for years. I decided I would rather not cover my face in chemicals and then damage my face by scrubbing it all off every night, ruin my clothes by staining them with foundation and mascara that rubbed off of my face, and all of that. Furthermore, I'd rather my students pay attention to the words I say and the tasks I have them complete to further their learning, and not how gorgeous their teacher is when she is painted like a picture. ;)

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  45. I loved this post, I love makeup but I don't wear it everyday. I'm makeup free more days than I am made up! It's never really bothered me that I don't wear makeup all that often though when I first started blogging I started to think I was a little strange for not wearing makeup all the time as there's such a big emphasis on wearing makeup and buying makeup in the blogging world. Right now I can't ever see me feeling the need to wear makeup everyday, I'm happy to have a face free of makeup. It makes the times when I do wear it, for example if I'm going somewhere nice, even better as I can take pleasure in applying my makeup without it seeming like it's just a normal part of my routine. By the way you look lovely with and without makeup :) xx

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  46. Loving your beautiful face, make up free, or not. I sit on the fence with this issue- I wear make-up everyday that I go to work, I don't hate my face without it, I just look SO MUCH BETTER with it. But the evenings and weekends, they tend to be make-up free whilst I'm pottering about at home, or stopping by the supermarket or whatever. Going out is slightly different, but that doesn't happen often.

    I also highly highly recommend, if you've never tried it, mineral make up. I've been using it for over 5 years, and it's a fresher, lighter, kinder to skin make up alternative. I couldn't go back, these days.

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  47. I still go without makeup most of the time. Honestly only wear makeup more lately because I may take a photo for the blog. And usually it's just mascara. Very minimalist. I understand that this is part of why I was ostracized in school. But I didn't care and still really don't. It's strange how just not wearing make up during my youth gave me the ability to see peoples true colors. I'd say more but I think you've just inspired for me to do a post about this issue myself!

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  48. P.S. You are beautiful without makeup.

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  49. Thank you for this fantastic blog post! You look extremely healthy and all together lovely without makeup.

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  50. How anyone can be so beautiful!!!!!

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Thank you in advance for your lovely comments, they mean the world to me! If you have a question or want to get in touch, tweet me at @rosieoutlook.