When A No Make-Up Selfie Goes Wrong

I knew my kind would not be welcome in the no make-up parade.

You know what I’m talking about. Oh you know. Don’t pretend you don’t know, because you KNOW.

I speak of course of the #nomakeupselfie. Not one of you can have escaped the frenzy, whether you took part or were subjected to the many pictures on you Facebook and Twitter feeds. We were all so selfless in our embracement (it’s a word) of the campaign, and a good job too – more than £8million raised for Cancer Research is a spankingly lovely result.

But now the dust has settled, I shall share the REAL story behind my #nomakeupselfie. When I have finished I hope you will share your stories too.

Before we get started, can I just check that you have all donated to Cancer Research? Text ‘beat’ to 70099 right now. If you’ve already done it, do it again.

Now to my tale…

As you may have gathered from my Obvious Beauty posts, I am fond of make-up. I can bear to go bare-skinned, but I’m seldom seen without eye make-up given my blonde lashes and I rarely go out in public without mascara and a teeny feline flick of eyeliner to lessen the roundness of my eyeballs. Make-up free, I look…I don’t know. Less jaunty?
Besides, this was the sort of thing I was up against. (Admittedly I don’t think this was specifically for the #nomakeupselfie campaign, but she is reportedly make-up free. She haunts me…)

No one can be this naturally beautiful, Gisele!!!….I think I should ask her out…

But taking part in this campaign was a no brainer; many members of my family have been affected by cancer, and I have lost loved ones to it. Statistically, it is more than likely that I will be diagnosed with some form of the disease in my life time, so fundraising for Cancer Research is essentially investing in my own future.

As Facebook filled with friend’s faces free from foundation, I posted my offering.

The Demon Gin #nomakeupselfie, no make-up selfie, no make-up selfie disaster

Me without a stitch of make-up on!

Ohhhh just kidding! One shower later, I set about taking my real picture. Cue ten minutes of selfies from all angles. Then it was just a case of pestering the beau to pick his favourite one, screaming at him for not liking all of them, sobbing into a pillow, and hastily shoving the damn thing online.

Don’t ask

I Instantly regretted my choice.

Literally anything would have been better than this one. I mean…what the hell? What am I doing? I’m completely expressionless! It’s like staring into the eyes of a dead sheep! Oh why didn’t I post the smiling one? I had one of me smiling but I foolishly discounted this because I thought it showed up my squint*. Oh why didn’t I post the one of me pulling a funny face? That one was SO much more ME.

But noooooooooo. No, I decided to go with the non-smiley blank one in which I made sure my eyes were REALLY wide to cancel out Mr Squint.
 Terror setting in, I foolishly looked back at my various friends’ selfies. Oh GOD!!! Apparently they all wake with bluebirds and fawns hoping around them, basking in the kind of radiant facial glow that heals the sick. My older sister somehow managed to capture THE SUN to create a golden glow around her. There she was, all tousled hair and beautiful first thing in the morning, looking as if she spends her days skipping through lavender fields.

I, however, resemble an alien. And not a good one, I’m talking The Man Who Fell To Earth kind of alien.
Within moments of me sharing the picture, a male acquaintance on Facebook who I barely know popped up on the photo’s comments and said that I did, indeed, look like a squinty alien.
(Taps fingers on desk)

Okay. Lesson 1 on making jokes about a woman’s appearance when she has bared her face on the internet: don’t.


Urgh. But none of it matters, I told myself. These pics aren’t about looking good (even though they are), they are about aiding Cancer Research. It’s fun and for a good cause, and only my friends would see it. I went to bed.

And that’s when it got worse.

I awoke the next day to find that the same male acquaintance had shared my picture on his own Facebook wall. Without explanation, or permission.

What the what?! You don’t share people’s #nomakeupselfies, you don’t sharethem! They are a collective effort, don’t separate me from the pack! You might as well stand beside a long dusty road, flag down every car that passes and shove my picture against their window saying “this person is not wearing makeup. Give money to charity”.

I know that he didn’t mean to cause offence and was, in his own way, trying to raise awareness (he eventually removed the photo and apologised). But still – COME ON!!!!

Every woman who took a #nomakeupselfie probably worried that strangers might see it and judge them for it. Well you can all rest easy now, chaps, because I took the fucking bullet on that one.

Even you, Beyoncé.

Lovely Beyoncé, fresh faced from January
Further proof that the woman should be queen of somewhere

But! There is a lesson to be learned from all of this indulgence. (I hate it when there’s a lesson, it really gets in the way of me being constantly furious).

Going make-up free takes a fraction of the bravery required to face, battle and beat cancer. It is nothing compared to the pain my grandmother endured when she had a mastectomy, that my aunt and uncle suffered when they buried their daughter,  that too many of my relatives have fought through during treatment, or that someone you know is experiencing right now.

My selfie may have been weird and uncomfortable and WEIRD, but with any luck, it has made you point, laugh and donate even more money to Cancer Research. Well done to every sister who took a #nomakeupselfie and donated, and well done to anyone who supported her with further donations.

What about you lot, then? How did you feel taking and seeing your no make-up selfies?
And what shall we do next to raise awareness of a worthy cause?

*That’s right. I have a slight squint in my right eye. It’s not massive, but it shows up in pictures. Perhaps because whenever I’m photographed, I pose so hard in an effort to look natural that I end up twitching and contorting into a mad-eyed she devil.**

**I realise that by revealing my squint, most of you probably briefly abandoned this post in order to trawl through my Facebook pictures and jab your boney fingers at the screen going “aha!!!! Squinty squint squint! Old Sinead McSquint the Third, the Royal Squint, would you like some After Dinner SQUINTS?!” If you have done this, you have to donate to Cancer Research again. It’s the law.

One thought on “When A No Make-Up Selfie Goes Wrong

  1. I hated mine – but I did it, dutifully, and I donated. I know people who donated without doing it and that is fine as well. What really got me was people who refused to do it, didn't donate and criticised everyone else for getting on the bandwagon. Sod it, quit your moaning and see the bigger picture here – it's to fight cancer. As bandwagon's go, that's one I happy to not only jump on, but let the great big wagon wheels run all over me and squash me facedown into the mud which knowing my luck will probably have a cow pat there. As long as it raises money at the same time.

    Becs x


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