Photo credit: Youth.SG/Brandon Chia

A week without makeup

Going bare-faced for a week was extremely exciting and totally uncomfortable.

Anisah Azmi
Anisah Azmi

Published: 30 November 2016, 12:00 AM

When Alicia Keys went bare-faced in her music video, ‘In Common‘, I was in awe. At first, I figured it was merely a part of the video’s concept.

But when she showed up at the MTV Video Music Awards this year without even a slick of eyeliner or a touch of rouge on her lips, it’s clear that this makeup-free look is now part of her lifestyle.


Alicia Keys has an amazing beauty that outshines her makeup-free look.
Photo credit: Alicia Keys’ Instagram page


After watching more of Alicia Keys’ newer music videos, where she proudly embraces the #nomakeup look, I was inspired. I felt as though Alicia had reached out to me and gave me a wet wipe to cleanse my face, and so I did.

I decided to swear off makeup for a week, and promised myself I would dedicate myself to this challenge. (Thanks a lot, Alicia.)

Going makeup-free is no joke, especially for someone who believes that having good eyebrows equals having a good life.


I wiped off all my make-up because of you, Alicia!
Image credit: Youth.SG/Brandon Chia


On the first day of the challenge, I woke up, took a shower, and stared at the mirror for a good five minutes.

“I’m supposed to go out looking like this?” I thought, immediately regretting my decision to even do this challenge.

Although I saved 15 minutes from my morning routine and did not have to power walk my way to work, I felt extremely vulnerable. I was convinced I looked like the walking dead: just plain, grey, and horrible.

My eyelashes were not pumped and curled, my lips and cheeks were flushed with no colour, and my cheekbones were not highlighted.

The most heartbreaking part? My eyebrows were definitely not on fleek.


My makeup set is probably one of my most valuable possessions.
Photo credit: Youth.SG/Anisah Azmi


I wanted to yell “Don’t look at me!” every time someone turned my way. I even warned my colleagues about my week-long challenge, just in case they are alarmed.

To my surprise, hardly anyone noticed, or quite frankly, cared.

Every time I mentioned I was not wearing makeup, the reaction across the board would be: “Oh? Really? You look the same.”


Clearly, I am no Alicia Keys.
Photo credit: Youth.SG/Brandon Chia


There were days where I thought I did not look as good without makeup. I thought twice before making dinner plans after work, especially since it was with a guy I really like. However, due to that same reason, I did not bail on him.

Although I was ridiculously insecure, picturing scenarios where he would cringe and slowly back away from me, I figured this would almost be like a test. Will he like me without makeup?

Luckily, he turned out to be a prime example of a typical clueless male – he did not even flinch or even noticed at all!

By the time I reached my last day of going makeup-free, I started to feel more comfortable about going out into world. Gradually, I forgot I was even doing the challenge. I even ran out of the house without the thought of makeup crossing my mind.


My #NoMakeUp selfies never made it to my Instagram page.
Photo credit: Youth.SG/Anisah Azmi


I asked myself at the end of the seven-day challenge: “Who was I looking pretty for?” Was I doing it to gain the approval of others, or was it just to make myself feel good?

My honest opinion? Both.

Throughout the challenge, I often questioned myself if I was just being “vain” whenever I hesitated to engage in any sort of physical social interaction. I was worried I would not look appealing to others, and more so, to myself.

As much as I would love to deny it, I do care about what others think of me. However, my own opinions about the way I look will always be the most important one out there.


My eyebrows are the most important feature on my face, and I love them!
Photo credit: Youth.SG/Audrey Leong


I definitely would not mind going bare-faced every now and then, but there will be days where I find myself reaching for my eyebrow pencil before I leave the house.

And I can never deny that that extra touch of dark purple lipstick, which always makes me feel good about myself.

So, if you want to go do an Alicia Keys, or contour your face like a Kardashian, do whatever that makes you feel good. Putting on makeup is more of an art than anything else, and I love it! There is no shame in that.

Remember, you are the only person you should actively try to please.

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