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We Tried Natural Makeup Looks To Show Men What "No Makeup" Looks Like

Wake up, sheeple — we are WEARING MAKEUP.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

There's been a lot of confusion lately about what people without makeup actually look like:

Grace Spelman / BuzzFeed

Hey, dummies: Taylor Swift is wearing makeup. Any time you think a celebrity is not wearing makeup, she's almost certainly wearing makeup.

Look, we get it. Men love having opinions about the way women look. But we just want to make sure that the next time a man opens his mouth about a woman's face, he actually knows what he's talking about.

We're going to lay this out for you real simple. We're going to show you what "no makeup" vs "natural makeup" actually looks like.

We went to Birchbox Soho, where professional makeup artists Annie Kim (below) and Kimi Duncan spent over an hour giving us that natural makeup look.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

Here's a sampling of the makeup that went on our faces:

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

This photo doesn't even have everything in it.

This way, maybe next time you see that "no makeup" selfie, you'll know what's good.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

Below are our befores (no makeup, literally) and afters ("natural" makeup).


Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

I normally only wear a face full of makeup when I'm going out. On a typical day, I only wear a little. I'll do my brows and I'll put concealer on some problem spots on my face (breakouts, dark spots under my eyes). Sometimes I won't even wear makeup to work.

Annie, my makeup artist, darkened my brows and lips, used concealer, and put on a very light mascara — essentially the same makeup routine I do for myself. But Annie put on this crazy green lipstick that adjusts to your PH level? I'm not a scientist, so I'm not sure exactly how it works, but it gave me a nice subtle lip color. Annie used the same product I use on my brows every day but for some reason they looked a LOT better when she did them. (She's a professional.)

When Annie was finished, I wasn't really surprised with my new look. I know what my face looks like when I'm wearing makeup, and I know what it looks like without it. I'm sure other people familiar with makeup would be able to tell I was just wearing a minimal amount. But I definitely think that people less familiar with makeup, men in particular (especially the ones who are quick to comment that "you look better without makeup") would be thrown by this. Most of the time, they have no idea what "without makeup" really looks like.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

I usually wear makeup, because going completely without anything on my face is FINE, but also exposes all of my blotchy, uneven human realness, and sometimes makes me look like a picked-at corpse.

With a professionally-done "no-makeup" makeup look, though, a lot of my skin's issues aren't as readily apparent. There's also some cool Disney-princess aura happening with my blush and the tint she put on my lips, which I appreciate. People gave me approximately 30 more compliments while I was walking around looking like this than they did when my face was completely natural in all its horrors and wonders. Both are totally legit looks for my day-to-day life, but it was interesting to note.

Alanna and Grace's natural lip color gets a boost with Lipstick Queen's Frog Prince. IT LOOKED AWESOME.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed
Jon Premosch / Buzzfeed
Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

Getting photos taken without makeup one is my least favorite thing to do (besides doing laundry and pooping after Chipotle). When I was standing there, I started to go down the line of issues I have with my face: Melasma, acne scars, tired eyes. After looking at the photo, however, I was pretty impressed. What I think I look like in my head is always much worse. You could say I like to look at myself through gargoyle-colored glasses. That said, how I looked before does NOT compare to how I looked with a little makeup. Annie Kim did a stellar job at making my eyes pop. It wasn't a ton of makeup, but it still took ten minutes to apply. Boys, you best LEARN! What matters is that we feel good, not the amount of makeup you think you prefer on women.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

When it comes to makeup, powder foundation to even out my skin tone and hella thick winged eyeliner are my mainstays, so coming into work with nothing on was a very odd and vulnerable moment for me. The idea that my face in its natural state is somehow substandard or abnormal is very much ingrained in my self image, which is a problematic reality I was hoping to address.

My wonderful makeup artist asked me before I got in the chair if there was anything in particular I'd like her to focus on and I told her about my eye bags, which are perfectly normal for a standard sleep-deprived 24 year old who doesn't drink enough water. It was very gratifying to watch those disappear under the makeup, but when I saw my whole face made up to "natural" beauty I was alarmed at how different I looked without them. The thirty minutes of makeup brought my face up to an unnatural standard that I'd probably never be able to achieve on my own, and I felt the weight and texture of the makeup very acutely – this was not my skin or my face. I looked beautiful, but there was nothing natural about me. I don't look like my after picture, y'all. I did not wake up like this.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

I cannot believe I let someone take a well lit, close up photo of my face before I put makeup on. I'm sure there's quiet anger in my eyes in every single shot. I have a lot of skin discoloration from acne scarring, so finding makeup that both corrects the unevenness of my skin tone and doesn't cause me to break out underneath it is a balancing act that I have yet to achieve.

The makeup artist filled in my eyebrows first and in under 10 seconds, I feel like my entire face changed. Now that I had really strong eyebrows, I literally couldn't look anywhere else. It was perfect, simple, fast, and very little product for a very big impact. Now that I was actually seeing other features on my face, I felt like I could let go a little more of not having/never being able to achieve perfect, natural skin. But tbh, there were a LOT of products that went on my face to even out skin tone while also correcting redness and making sure I wasn't ashy, while also creating something dewy and fresh. It was waaaaaaay more face makeup than I ever normally wear, and while my skin tone does look better, this wasn't really an easy or efficient look for me personally to recreate. I'd say it took the makeup artist 20-30 minutes because she was explaining the process to me, and it would maybe take my at least 45 if I had to redo it on my own. I would love this look (with significantly stronger liquid eyeliner and a less pink lip color) for everyday, but also I would love the makeup team to come with it. Hook me up, Kylie.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

I'm actually someone who feels more self-conscious in a ton of makeup than a more natural or makeup free face. That being said, I thought it was funny how strange it felt for me not to do my makeup in the morning before the post. I usually just wear some mascara, sunscreen, tinted moisturizer and concealer, and this made me realized how much I enjoy that process of putting it on.

Anyway, when I sat down in the makeup chair, the makeup artist immediately said she didn't want to cover up my freckles. I was so relieved, because I have come to love my frecks and covering them up looks super weird and not like me.

I feel like the after shot is me 2.0 and I felt a lot more confident throughout the day. Our wonderful team of designers couldn't see the difference between the two, though, and even thought they lost my "after" shot but I could see it, and FEEL it, and that's the whole point, isn't it? Sorry if that disappoints the men out there, but this shit is for me.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

While we were taking our no makeup pictures, our photographer Jon, who is a dude, said to us: "You guys all look fine. I don't think you need makeup."

He was about to learn a very valuable lesson.

When we headed back to the photo studio to take our "after" photos, the first thing Jon said when he looked through the camera was: "Ooooohhh, now I get it."

He is now an enlightened man.

Which goes to show, when it comes to makeup, men often need things spelled out for them:

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed