Whatever your reason for wearing or not wearing it, whether you wear it or not should be your choice. No woman is sitting down to craft a lethal cat-eye winged eye because someone is in her ear telling her she should. But, because of how people treat us differently, sometimes it feels like we have to shape our appearance to get the reactions we want.
And that's messed up. We shouldn't be treated differently based on how we look, but that's often the way it goes. These women's stories show just how much people change just based on what goop we're wearing or not wearing on our face that day.
For Shannon, People Are Way Nicer To Her In A Full Face
Shannon says that when she goes out and wears full makeup, people are, on the whole, extremely nice to her. She gets approached by men even when she's got her husband at her side and often receives compliments on her makeup from other women. She gets treated so well she often feels like she can say "nothing wrong."
On the other hand, she feels like an "average person" when she's wearing minimal makeup because she doesn't often get approached. Which is a relief to the introverted Shannon, but it says a lot about how we judge the way others look.
One Day, Amanda Didn't Wear Makeup To Work And Her Coworkers Alerted Her Boss
Amanda Kennedy works 14.5-hour shifts, to which she usually wears makeup. One day, she showed up without makeup and she got a host of strange reactions from her coworkers. Many asked if she was doing "okay," and she assured them she was. People got so concerned that they went behind her back to express their concerns to her boss over her well-being.
After explaining to her boss that she just wasn't wearing makeup, she said they laughed about the situation. What do you think about the way she treated was in this situation?
"The amount of times I've been approached for escorting offers is uncountable"
Ash Sab says that when she wears makeup a lot of people don't approach her, saying she's too "intimidating." She says she's been struggling with "people not taking the time to get to know me before they make assumptions based on how I'm looking" and that she's been misidentified as a night worker multiple times.
When she's not in makeup, Ash says people still seem shy around her and won't make an effort to introduce themselves. "All I know is I'm the same person in both situations. It may be just the different attitudes towards makeup," she wisely says.
Pro NBA Dancer Rachel Says Treatment There Is A "Night And Day Difference"
For Rachel Renee, a pro-NBA dancer, going without makeup means getting treated like she's "just another person." She has pleasant interactions with both men and women, and she says she rarely gets hit on when she's bare-faced.
However, when she's wearing makeup, Rachel's had close female friends say she comes off as "intimidating." On the romantic side too her life gets lively—Rachel says she often skips lines at clubs, gets marketing job offers, and "rich men and athletes take me on luxurious dates." She even experimented by going on a date bare-faced—and never got a call back.
Emily's Had Her Share Of Struggles In Professional Environments
Emily Marsico says that's it's never been easy for her to blend in with the crowd while wearing makeup. She's been approached on the street by men, gotten messages flooding her inbox when she posts a photo, and has even had men at work and men with partners make advances on her.
She thinks that when she's not wearing makeup, women are generally friendlier toward her, and men treat her more as a friend. Even though these two sides of her life are hard to reconcile with each other, Emily says she finds personal growth and value in wearing and not wearing makeup.
Dawn Rarely Gets Dressed Up Because She Doesn't Enjoy The Added Attention It Brings
Dawn prefers her makeup-free self, not because of how she looks without it, but because of how "differently" she's treated. She remembers an experience when she was in a restaurant in her work clothes and no makeup and watched as a group of men leered at a dolled-up woman because they thought her appearance gave them permission.
Dawn says, "My world is a small one and I love it that way. To suddenly get attention is uncomfortable, especially when it is unwanted, looks-based attention...And it's frustrating that I can't make myself look and feel pretty without suddenly being a target for this sort of thing."
Even Just Taking Her Lipstick Off, Sunny Gets Asked If She's "Sick"
Sunny Nguyen says she rarely wears foundation or much other makeup, but lipstick is her one go-to product. Even though it seems like going without this one little thing shouldn't change how she's treated, that's not the case.
Sunny's been asked if she's sick and been told to go put her makeup on because she "looks terrible." While, despite feeling the same, on the days she wears makeup she has been told she looks "refreshed," or people don't acknowledge her appearance. It's almost as if people expect her to dress up.
Giang Wears Makeup To Be Treated Like A Woman Instead Of A Girl
Giang Nguyen says that when she wears makeup, she tends to go on the heavier side—to look older than how she thinks she does (16). On these days, she says she turns heads, she gets approached and hit on, and she can buy alcohol without getting carded.
But she says it gets tiring when she's out without a full-face because she always gets stopped by security. "It's annoying when I hit the bar and don't want to have 5 kilograms of makeup stuff on my face," Giang says.
People Only Approach Karina To Ask What Cosmetic Work She's Had Done
Not all attention when you're wearing makeup is good—that's something Karina knows all too well. She says she rarely gets approached by men or women when she's out. And if they do approach her, it's often rude, as people ask her if she's had "lips done or any cosmetic surgery."
When she's not in makeup, people tend to think she's a teenager and ask if she's sick. Karina doesn't let it get to her, though, saying, "It's simply a fun art/pastime and you shouldn’t depend on it. We’re all beautiful!"
For Khrysty, When Presenting As Female, Makeup Makes All The Difference
Khrysty Phillips says that makeup is a tool they use to present their gender identity to the world. They say that "I do get treated differently when I'm wearing makeup mainly because when I’m wearing makeup I am presenting as a woman. Otherwise in my day to day life, I present as my normal male self."
When Khrysty is presenting as female, she has had largely positive experiences where people treat her as the woman she is then. She recalls a time when she showed up to work on Halloween as a female and her coworkers made her feel as if she "fit right in."
Cierra Struggles With People Taking Her Seriously In The Workplace
Despite being the manager at the retail store she works at, Cierra says she has to deal with customers disrespecting her on the daily because of how she looks. Since she works in a fast-paced and warm environment, she doesn't wear makeup. But she finds that without it, she looks younger than her 21 years and customers treat her like a kid.
It's a different story when she has makeup on. Cierra says people are often nicer to her, men hold the door, and she receives a lot of compliments on her appearance.
Sometimes Makeup Helps Shimanti Cope With The Pain Her MS Causes Her
Makeup, for Shimanti Guha, used to be something she used to blend in by covering her freckles and other spots. She's since grown out of that self-consciousness and is comfortable in her own skin. But she still wears makeup sometimes when she's not feeling her best self.
"I have MS, and sometimes feel like my muscles are ripping me apart with tension. I feel in pain and I can't walk or talk much. Often when I feel like that, and go out, I dress up. I NEED the attention in the supermarket or the affirmation from the parking attendant that I can’t get from myself."
Dana Feels Like She Can't Win Either Way
Like most of us, Dana Flecther feels conflicted about the way that people treat her when she's going with or without makeup. She says she feels like she can't win either way, and even though you can barely tell in the photo which side of her face has makeup and which doesn't, she believes it makes all the difference.
She says she's been called vain, insecure, and fake because she wears makeup. But on the flip side, she's told she doesn't care about her "image" if she doesn't. Do you think that's fair?
Panisa Finds Men "Like Her More Without Makeup"
Panisa Littleman finds that she gets more attention from men and women when she's not glammed up—because she has "some of the features that a lot of women try to replicate with makeup." She says people often approach her for skincare advice, and her partner likes her with or without makeup.
Like a lot of us, Panisa wonders if she's unapproachable with makeup on. She's tested this theory by setting her Tinder profile with both makeup and no-makeup pictures, and the no-makeup photo always gets more likes.
Laura Thinks Clothing Makes More Of A Difference In Her Public Treatment
For Laura Traveller, makeup isn't the determining factor in how she's treated in public. She feels that when she's wearing "tight/revealing clothes," she notices a clear difference in how people treat her as opposed to when she's wearing baggy clothing. However, she says she's been treated inappropriately when wearing both.
She recalls an experience when she was wearing no makeup and casual clothing when she was stalked as she was jogging. Laura says, "People seem to think that when a woman goes out in public, it is every passerby's right to judge her looks. You can’t win no matter what you do."
Despite Being 34, Krysta Gets Asked All The Time If She's In Highschool
Krysta Storer says she's "been told several times that she looks younger without makeup." She had an experience when she was visiting her ill mother in the hospital where a few nurses asked if she was in high school.
Despite this strange reaction to her bare face, Krysta doesn't let it stop her from having fun and experimenting with makeup. She says she enjoys "wearing it, and it makes me actually feel like an adult. Especially with the response I get when I'm not wearing it."
Holly Thinks She Acts Differently With And Without Makeup
Holly Watson thinks that not only do people treat her differently, but she thinks she behaves differently with makeup on. She wonders whether she acts more "assertive" wearing it.
Without makeup, she feels less "suspicious" of the intentions of people approaching her, and she feels she's friendlier overall. It's interesting to note that she might be anticipating people's reactions to her appearance and acting accordingly. It's crazy to hear how makeup can create such a difference inside and out!
For Amanda, Everything Changed When She Started Getting Better At Her Makeup Skills
Sometimes it's not you, it's your makeup skills and knowledge. That's something Amanda Duese found out as she started building her makeup skills. Before, when she would wear makeup people would tell her she looked "better without." But after building her skills, she says, "I think we can all agree I look better with it on."
Whether that's true or not isn't the point, but it does raise an interesting point about the difference in reaction someone's makeup repertoire can make. I think it's important to not get discouraged or get turned off makeup entirely if you're not great at it to start—if you like doing it, you should keep playing around and having fun—who cares what anyone else thinks?
For Akshara, Her Parents Have Never Been Very Supportive
Akshara Joshi, like a lot of young women, can often have a hard time getting her parents to understand her love for makeup. She says her parents often ask her to "dial it down" when she's wearing it, but when she's not wearing it, people ask her if she's sick.
Hearing such differing opinions gives Akshara perspective. She writes: "It doesn't matter if you put makeup on or not. If you love putting on makeup every day and that makes you happy DO IT. If you find makeup is too much for you and you love staying bare face DO IT."
Even When Wearing Makeup, Hannah Often Gets Mistaken For Not Wearing Any
The fair-colored Hannah Elizabeth feels like without makeup her blonde eyelashes disappear. She'll often get people asking her "where'd your eyelashes go?" Not only that, but when she's bare-faced, she'll get the classic line of questioning if she's sick or not.
When she is wearing makeup, people often think she's not wearing any. Hannah says, "If I am wearing mascara, people generally think I'm not wearing any makeup and think my eyelashes are naturally black. You gotta be kidding me if you think my eyelashes are naturally 'very black'."
For Alyss, The Main Difference Is How Her Age Is Perceived
When she's wearing makeup, she finds she's simultaneously assumed to be closer to her age but also treated less seriously when talking about serious topics. Without makeup, she's carded by bartenders more often but gets a lot of compliments on her skin.
Debo Notices A Huge Difference At College Parties
Debo is 20 years old and while wearing makeup, especially to college parties, she notices that she gets much more attention from her male counterparts than when she doesn't wear any. However, she doesn't know if that's because she looks much younger without makeup.
Her Main Critiques Are From Her Parents
Claire loves experimenting with bold makeup colors, but is often met with criticism from her parents that she's wearing too much makeup and should "tone it down". However, when she wears no makeup, they tell her she's not trying hard enough.
Calypso Notices The Biggest Difference In Treatment From Other Women
This is extra frustrating for her since she believes women should do more to uplift each other. As an example, female store associates will happily accompany her when she's wearing makeup, but, when she's bare-faced, they don't even greet her at the entrance.
For Sue, It's The Worst When Out Shopping
Sue loves to do her makeup for special occasions and will have lots of other women ask about the products she's using. The biggest difference she notices is when she shops makeup-free at cosmetic stores like Sephora where employees treat her like she's absolutely clueless.
Makeup Makes Her Feel Much More Confident
When she goes without makeup, she is often treated like she's a child or simply cute. However, since she's pretty talented with makeup, Sandra feels much more powerful and many people love to compliment her application skills.
People Are More Friendly When She's Wearing Makeup
While out, she finds that people might ask her if she's tired more often when she's bare-faced. When she does wear makeup, she finds that everyone is more friendly toward her and will start conversations with her in lines or even in restrooms.
Michelle Notices She Gets More Daily Perks
Michelle frequently doesn't wear makeup because she simply is too lazy to go through the effort of applying it. However, when she does, she gets far more free things (like avoiding cover charges and whatnot) as well as a lot more looks/stares/general attention—from men AND women.
Charles Just Loves How He Feels
Charles, to be fair, wears minimal makeup, focusing on a more natural look to cover up blemishes and wearing a touch of nude lipstick. He's noticed second glances from time to time from a cashier or passerby while he's in public since men aren't expected to wear makeup. He personally loves how makeup helps him feel more confident and attractive.
If someone has a problem with it, that’s their problem, and he's not worried about their opinions.
Phoebe Finds The Biggest Different Is Mental
Phoebe used to think that people were nicer to her when she had makeup on when she first started wearing makeup, but as she got older, she realized that this was all in her head.
While wearing makeup gave her a confidence boost around new people, it was more that people treated her like she was more outgoing and confident while she was wearing makeup because she was acting that way.
However, Appearances And Treatment Go Beyond The Personal
The reality is that people, but especially women, are treated differently based upon their appearances. The term "pretty privilege" has been thrown around recently in reference to the way good looking people often are treated better by society.
It's Not Just Speculation
Researchers at the Metropolitan State University of Denver ran a study that demonstrated how attractive women experience advantages at even college level. The study found that women participants labeled as "good looking" received higher grades in the classroom, but lower grades online. However, for men, there was no discrepancy.
It Affects Public Life As Well
In an ABC news study, two actresses—one deemed attractive and the other one somewhat plain—dropped an armful of books onto the ground in front of others while walking on a busy New York City sidewalk.
...It Was Clear There Was A Bias
The woman who was deemed "plain" received help from strangers less than 50% of the times she dropped the books whereas the woman who was considered "attractive" received help over 70% of the time.
On All Fronts, There's A Difference In Appearances, Treatment, And Gender
Obviously, men face differences in treatment based on their appearances, but it's not nearly on the same scale as women do. Women's abilities to secure a job or be taken seriously professionally often are swayed by their appearances.
Being Pretty Isn't All Fun And Games Either
There's a psychologically proven phenomenon called "beauty penalty" where humans tend to have higher expectations for attractive people and will punish them more harshly when they don't perform as well as we think they should.
Women Also Face Stigma's Around How They Alter Their Appearances
For example, women who are perceived as wearing too much makeup are often frowned upon, but women who wear none are frequently told they look "sick" or aren't trying enough.
"Natural" Beauty Isn't Even Natural
Especially with the increase in social media these days, "natural" looks are praised despite the fact that many of them are achieved through light makeup, expensive skin care routines, and sometimes plastic/cosmetic surgery and procedures.
None Of This Can Change Overnight
Of course, these issues are deeply rooted in our society and can't be fixed overnight. Simple changes like altering children's television/movies from always having an attractive hero and frequently using an "ugly" villain can have large impacts in the long run.
Do Your Best To Be Conscious Yourself
On a personal level, try to consciously consider if you're being biased toward someone based on their appearance, especially when it comes to women. Most of all, remind that your appearance doesn't define who you are, despite what society might think.