Bare – No Makeup, No Skincare, What’s Left?

bare emily jayne no makeup

Makeup has always been my weapon of choice – having a down day? I’d reach for the red lippy. Got a hot date? Smokey eyes it is.

It’s a way of expressing myself, of feeling groomed and ‘finished’ for professional purposes, of presenting my best possible face to the world. If I feel like I look good, my confidence is boosted and never mind the fact that it’s just fun to play with!

Skincare is my indulgence. A ritual at the end of the day, little pots and potions, delicious smells, relaxation, a ‘wake me up’ in the morning to feel fresh and clean.

As a stylist and blogger, both makeup and skincare have kind of become part of my identity.

So, you may understand that I’ve been slightly knocked for six by having both things pretty much taken away from me recently!

First it was the lipstick – I’ve been suffering from dermatitis for nearly a year now, particularly on/around my lips, and I’m in an ongoing process to try and find out what on earth is the issue. Although I can stand to wear some lipstick for short periods of time when my lips are in a reasonably good state, it’s now something I have to ration out (“No lippy today because I need to wear it on Sunday when I have a big styling event coming up”) once every week or so, rather than a no-brainer part of my routine every day.

Then it was the skincare. A visit to the dermatologist a couple of weeks ago saw me being prescribed a large pot of something that I can only describe as vaseline-like, and told to use this, and only this, to wash and moisturise my face and body until my patch testing appointment comes through. (And who knows how long that will be? I was initially referred by my GP in March). “What? No anti aging serums?” I asked with horror, “Ah,” the kind dermatologist replied, “You don’t need anti ageing products!” All I could think was ‘that’s because I’ve been using anti ageing products!”

Then, this week, it was eye makeup. Saturday morning I woke up all sleepy, rubbed my eyes, and managed to poke myself in the eye with my finger. It hurt a little, but to be honest I didn’t really think much more of it and carried on as usual. (Which, unfortunately, also meant wearing contact lenses for a few hours on both Saturday and Sunday). On Sunday evening my eye became increasingly uncomfortable – I had to get Dan to stop the car at a service station as we were driving home from visiting friends so I could take my lenses out and pop on my glasses. I noticed my eye was really pink and sore looking, and there was a mark at the bottom of it. ‘Great’, I thought, ‘I’ve scratched my eye’, and when we got home gave the NHS advice line a call (111 – a brilliant service if you’re ever not sure about whether you should be going to A&E, going to the docs, going to the pharmacy or just waiting something out) and they asked me a few questions and suggested that I get an opticians appointment the next day to get it checked out, which I did. I think I knew there was something pretty wrong at the point where the optician called another, more experienced colleague in to look at my eye, and then sat me in a corner whilst they phoned Birmingham Eye Hospital, and dispatched me straight to their emergency department. Long story short? I hadn’t just scratched my eye, I’d actually poked a hole in it (eeeewwwww!) and it had got infected over the rest of the weekend, resulting in a small ulcer. So I’m now in for a series of follow up appointments at the hospital (already had one, and fingers crossed it’s looking a little better), lots of antibiotics, no contact lenses for 6 weeks, and, of course, absolutely no mascara and very limited eye makeup. (When I explained what I did for a living the specialist said I could wear a little shadow/liner for public events etc. but to try and steer clear whenever I can.)

So I’m now 5 days into wearing no makeup at all – I think the longest I’ve been for a very long time when I haven’t been ill in bed! It’s been amazing the effect that it’s had on me to be honest. I’m fully aware that in reality this is a very minor thing, that everything could be a lot worse, that I’m basically being a bit of a baby, and that 100s of women wear no makeup on a day to day basis (I meet lots of them through styling!) But I think it’s been no coincidence that I’ve pretty much stayed inside this week, working from home, only venturing out to the hospital or to do yoga (which I wouldn’t wear makeup for anyway!) or to pop to the local shops (again, which I would happily do without makeup anyway!) I haven’t filmed planned you-tube videos, my selfies have been limited to one post hot yoga showing off my tomato-red face!

As the weekend approaches I’ll have to end my self-imposed exile – I have plans with friends and a public styling event to do on Sunday. I can, at least, still wear some foundation/concealer to cover up blemishes, but am a little concerned that this will look even worse, like a feature-less mask. Or maybe I could just make up one eye and go for a clockwork orange-inspired look?!

You see I’m not one of those people who is frightened to show their bare face –  All of my friends and family will have seen me without makeup, and on the blog / youtube I’m happy to do before and afters, but my gosh I love being able to reach for the ‘after’ when I want to!

It’s going to be an interesting experience, this, being a beauty blogger with very limited makeup and skincare for a few weeks! (And please just everyone keep your fingers crossed for me that I’m not told I’m allergic to wearing colourful clothes in the next couple of weeks as I honestly don’t think I could take it! 😉 )

In circumstances like this*, I find it’s always best to turn to Buffy…

No makeup, no skincare, take that away and what’s left?


*Well, any circumstances to be honest.


  • Rosana McPhee

    I don’t think I could go bare for more than a day. Strange how we hide behind m-up. R

    • Emily_Jayne

      It has definitely made me think about this – I really didn’t think I was that reliant on it until this happened!

  • Kaye Ford

    I regularly go bare for work as I just can’t be bothered as I work in a small office, but I couldn’t imagine being without it every single day
    I hope your health improves also and you get better quickly x

    • Emily_Jayne

      Thank you – absolutely, there are lots of days when I wouldn’t wear it anyway, but it’s so odd not being able to reach for it when I want to!

  • Bhavna Patel

    As someone who rarely wears make-up, I don’t always understand why people can’t go without. But then it’s not really part of my personality or “make-up” as it were to do so, as I’m more inclined to spend that time having a snooze! Interesting to read why it’s important to you and hopefully your skin will improve soon though and you can get back to your lippies! 🙂

    • Emily_Jayne

      Thanks lovely, I do think it’s mascara in particular that I miss as my lashes are so blonde naturally! Even on ‘no makeup days’ I would often reach for a little brown mascara! x

  • Losing something you think of as part of your identity is hard! I do not always wear make up but jet lag has most certainly had me reaching for the eyeliner to try to look more awake. I hope you find a solution that works for you soon xx

    • Emily_Jayne

      Thanks – at least I know the eye thing will just take time, fingers crossed I solve the lip issue soon! x

  • Oh Emily, that sucks. I hope you eye has a speedy recovering. Can you go for the mysterious rock star look with a massive pair of shades?

    • Emily_Jayne

      thank you! Unfortunately not as I don’t have any prescription sun glasses so can’t see!! 🙂 (Although I’m thinking this is a good excuse to buy an awesome pair of prescription sunnies now!) x

  • Linda Hobbis

    I rarely wear make-up since I had kids. To be frank, apart from one or two blemishes on your chin, I think you look fine. You have beautiful eyes. Perhaps this a chance to really value yourself and accept you really don’t need make-up. Because at the end of the day, you don’t.

    • Emily_Jayne

      Hi Linda, thanks for your comment – I absolutely do value myself, and am not an ‘always need to wear makeup’ type of person, but it has been an interesting experience having the choice taken away from me. It has really made me value having that choice of whether to wear it or not, and miss that form of self expression. But absolutely, there are lessons to be learned in every experience 🙂

  • As a total makeup lover myself I can understand how difficult it must be for you not to be able to enjoy the makeup like you used to. But your well being is far more important. Hope you’ll be able to wear that smokey eyes soon! x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

    • Emily_Jayne

      Thank you – another hospital appointment next week so keeping everything crossed that I’m on the mend! x

  • ♫ Alison M ♪

    Eek poor you, your eye sounds sore. I hardly ever wear make up, just on special occasions. I do like to wear mascara though and have been missing that recently due to puffy eyes due to hayfever. I hope you improve fast

    • Emily_Jayne

      Thanks Alison – I pretty much always wear at least mascara, even if I’m not wearing anything else as my lashes are quite blonde at the ends – can’t wait till I get it back!

  • Ouch for your eye poke!! That sounds very scary!! I hope it gets better soon.

    I go barefaced a lot, mainly because I’m lazy. I often wish I had bothered with makeup sometimes as my skin is often problematic (currently nursing some lovely cystic chin acne) but I’m somehow still not motivated enough! LOVE slapping it on for a night out though.

    • Emily_Jayne

      Absolutely, my laziness means I don’t really wear it for working from home / nipping to the shops etc, but I so miss it for nights out / work events!! Thanks for the well wishes, another hospital appt tomorrow so hopefully I’ll get good news re healing!

  • Heidi Barnett

    Really good post, sorry for your probs! It does make us feel more vulnerable going ‘bare’ I think. Im bare faced most days if I’m home due to chronic illness, but I don’t like going ‘out’ without some make up, even if it’s just a little. I guess many of us use it as a ‘mask’ or a kind of uniform
    Heidi x

    • Emily_Jayne

      Thanks! I think vunerable is a really good word for it. Can’t wait till I get my mascara back, but this experience has at least really made me think about makeup and why I wear it!

  • Calonyr11

    Your journey has so many parallels to what I’ve been experiencing for the past 2 years. Please consider gluten sensitivity. The chin acne, red cheeks, tired baggy eyes, red rashy flakey lips. I get all of this when I ingest any form of gluten. These are common signs of GI problems in general.