I often leave the house without makeup because, sometimes, I just can’t be bothered. Last week I had one of those days. Within my first three interactions, someone asked me if I was okay, and said that I looked sick, all because I wasn’t wearing makeup. She said, “you look different.”
First things first, if you are a person who does that, stop doing that. It’s rude.
Yes, #iwokeuplikethis and by this I don’t mean I woke up looking like Beyoncé, sadly.
The No Make Up Look
This type of thing usually happens to me when I’m not wearing mascara because I’m a ginger. I don’t have incredibly problematic skin and on this particularly day, I thought my skin looked pretty great after having masked the night before. So, what gives?
I started to think about it more. Does this happen to everyone? Does it come from a place of genuine concern? Do we really not know the difference between someone not wearing makeup and someone who is legitimately unwell?
I took to Instagram to poll my followers to get a better idea of how often this happens. About 70% said that it happens to them, and it sparked some interesting conversation in my DMs.
Someone mentioned that because they feel less confident without makeup, that might come through to others and contribute to why they might think something is wrong.
I got a lot of “yes, and I fucking hate it!” replies followed by how they personally deal with the situation. “I just tell them ‘No, I’m not sick, I’m just not wearing makeup.’ And they shut up,” said one friend. Another said “I just stopped wearing makeup altogether for a while so that people could get used to what my bare face looks like.”
Some replied that they don’t leave the house without (at least some) makeup on.
Women seemed to be bigger offenders, but men got a substantial share of votes in my second poll.
Evidently the reality is a spotless complexion, plump and glossy lips, long voluminous lashes and rosy cheeks mean you’re healthy – you have your shit together. Turn up to work with bags under your eyes and a fresh breakout and you’re SICK. So, we can glamorize overworked, exhausted, surviving-only-on-coffee women only as long as they still have an extra hour in the morning to do their hair and makeup.
I want to make my opinion clear: it’s okay to not wear makeup, it’s actually great to let your skin breathe every once in a while. And you don’t have to apologize or feel bad for looking “sick”. Because you don’t.
So Can We Not?
Luckily, there’s an easy solution to this whole mess I’ve just made out of a comment someone said in passing to me last week.
If you think something might be up with someone, instead of asking “what’s wrong?” ask “how are you?”. If you really care, and that person wants to share, you’ll get your answer without making anyone feel bad or uncomfortable.
Also, sometimes what ails us isn’t superficial – we’re seldom aware of what people are going through just by looking at them. A simple “how are you” could make all the difference, whether it’s checking in on someone or giving them an opportunity to open up to you. A simple “how are you” can change someone’s entire day, week, month, or life for all you know.
So, not only should we stop telling people they look sick, we should make a conscious effort to ask more people how they’re doing.