Asian woman applying lip color

The bare face reveal has been an ongoing trend for a few years now. A refreshing departure from the hyper-contoured, “plakado” beauties in magazines, television, and then on social media, the bare-faced look has sprouted both campaigns and conversations about the unrealistic representation of women and the beauty standards that these impose upon the masses.

However, as the trend grew in popularity, so did the awareness that beauty is not one or the other — it can be both. Well-meaning women who merely wanted to share their bare face inevitably found themselves questioned for their privilege, that is, the privilege of being conventionally pretty. They weren’t , but rather, inadvertently revealing the harsh truth that women will continue to be measured for their appearance, whether they wear makeup or not.

And so, an age-old conversation has emerged. Just as women can wear whatever they want without being responsible for how others react, they can also wear as much or as little makeup as they wish. This isn’t to say the bare-faced trend did not work; it did — by opening the floodgates to an inclusive and more well-rounded understanding of beauty.

In this article, we talked to four women who love wearing makeup about how this trend has impacted them, if at all, and the role that makeup plays in their everyday lives.

Beauty is a Personal Journey: You Do You

The love for makeup runs in the family of veteran beauty editor Dinna Vasquez. “I started wearing makeup when I was in grade school. I went to an all-girls Catholic school in the late ‘70s and at that time, our school was run by German nuns. So, I was the girl everybody thought had ‘loose morals’ because I always wore makeup. I remember my aunts were never without makeup on during the day and they looked so glamorous to me. I also loved the actress Rita Gomez. I wanted to look like her,” Dinna shares.

Known in the industry as the Lipstick Queen, Dinna has 100 lipsticks at any one time, 30 of which she uses.

She remembers how this attitude towards makeup was still prevalent even in her adulthood. “I remember when I was still working at my old newspaper job. The girls (all younger than me) there would talk to each other about themselves (no makeup) and other women (who wore makeup) and they always say, ‘Ang asawa ko ayaw sa babaeng makapal ang makeup.’"

"Well, guess what? I don’t apply makeup for your husband. I apply makeup for myself and other women who may like looking at my face with makeup," Dina says.

Ina Jacobe, who is in her 20s and works for a Filipino makeup brand, has a similar love for beauty. “My extroverted lola was a big vibrant pink lippie fan and would swipe on one whenever she had guests over (which was every day). I feel like when you look your best, you’re also being your best self for the day regardless of whether it’s for yourself or other people,” Ina shares.

When asked what she thinks when she hears or reads comments along the lines of, “She’d be so pretty if she didn’t wear so much makeup,” she agrees with Dinna, “If you think they’re doing it for you, they’re not! I think the trend of having a is cool if you’re confident enough to do it. If you’re not confident to do it, it’s okay too. Let women do what they want, again they’re doing it for themselves.”

From Trend to Conversation: Checking the ‘Pretty Privilege’

Meanwhile, Mika I., who does campaigns and content for a popular social media app, uses makeup to give herself a boost, not just in terms of confidence but also energy. “I love makeup for its ability to improve my productivity. When I’m wearing my go-to eyeliner and tinted sunscreen, I always end up doing more errands. I guess makeup gives me that extra push to face more people on any given day,” Mika says.

She admits she was more experimental with makeup in her 20s and has pared down her arsenal since, but her love for it is still strong. She’s never personally received comments about wearing too much makeup, but she does have a comeback prepared if anyone did have something to say.

"If anyone told me I’d be pretty if I wasn’t wearing makeup, I’d ask them point-blank: 'So are you saying that I don’t look pretty right now?’ Let’s see how they’re going to get out of that hole,” she jokes.

Mika's take on the bare-faced trend? “If there’s no new insight that we can gather from the discourse, then it needs to stop. Women experience varying degrees of insecurity and social anxiety, so we shouldn’t feel pressured to hop on any trend or feel bad for not having the confidence to expose ourselves online."

She adds: "We don’t owe the online community our vulnerability. Most of the time it’s preachy and rooted in toxic positivity anyway. A woman can be her true, bare self even with a full face on!”

For fashion illustrator and writer Maura Rodgriguez, it’s easy to say one would be beautiful without makeup if one was born beautiful and with perfect skin. She started doing makeup to cover acne, dark circles, and enlarged pores, which she admits are insecurities. These days, she does it to be happy and help with her mental health.

“I really think makeup should be about what makes you feel and not what you want others to feel about you,” Maura shares. While she does love how women are showing up on social media with a bare face, she also wishes it went a little deeper.

“I wish that it's more of a conversation about being okay with the skin you're in despite not being flawless. It's easy to say, ‘To hell with makeup!’ if you're conventionally pretty and have good skin. But what if you don't?" Maura muses.

She adds: "Some girls (celebrity or not) don't realize that setting unrealistic standards for how your skin is supposed to look can be crippling for someone who doesn't have perfect skin or is struggling to cope with their current skin condition. Instead of showing off , it should be a conversation about feeling good and confident about yourself without or without makeup.”

Dinna says wear makeup or don’t but always wear sunscreen – never go out with a naked face. Use POND'S UV Bright Sunscreen, which also brightens the skin while protecting it from the sun’s UV rays. You could use a vitamin-rich moisturizer, such as POND'S Watermelon Jelly Moisturizer. It contains nourishing vitamin E and watermelon extract that moisturize the skin, soothe inflammation, and strengthen the skin barrier over time.

How do you embrace a bare face? The short answer is you don't have to. Wearing makeup isn’t mandatory for women, and neither is going out with a bare face. Ultimately, wearing makeup is a personal choice and the experience is best when you don't let other people's comments faze you. As they say, you do you, and let others do the same.