Do men really prefer women without make-up?

The other night I found myself watching First Dates Hotel (don’t judge me, I can occasionally be found watching trash TV such as this, Dinner Date, and A Very British Brothel). On the off chance you have more self respect than I do and don’t know the programme, the format involves a couple going on a blind date, and then for maximum humiliation they have to tell the cameras whether they want to see each other again.

Anyway, there was this one date which seemed to be going well until the guy rejected the girl in spectacular fashion.

“It’s just I don’t normally go for girls that’ve got, like, make up ‘n’ that. It’s not a bad fing, you look great in your make up, I just don’t want it all over ma face,” said Adam, 29 from Manchester, with about as much eloquence as Spud from Trainspotting crossed with Rocky Balboa.

The thing is, his date (Kate) was gorgeous, and the amount of make-up she was wearing was nothing out of the ordinary. I genuinely couldn’t understand why some bloke (who looked suspiciously like he was wearing fake tan himself anyway) was acting as though she was Dame Edna Everage just because she’d put on a bit of eyeshadow.

Yet it appears as though Adam is not alone in his not being a fan of “make-up ‘n’ that.” In fact, here’s a Really Credible Study, plus an entire article on a dating website which confirm that men really DO prefer their women to look more natural. Sorry ladies, looks like those Ancient Egyptians really dropped a clanger when they first rocked the feline flick back in 3150 BC, and we’ve been getting it wrong ever since. If only Really Credible Study had been carried out sooner, we could’ve saved shedloads on Estee Lauder Double Wear and the Elizabethans would never have had to rub egg white on their faces.

Hang on a minute though. Do women actually care what men think? Considering only one in 10 females say they wear make up for a man, the answer is probably not. Personally I’m not that bothered about the opinion of someone who doesn’t know their Beauty Blender from their BB Cream. (Case and point: I once discovered a former boyfriend had been using my Urban Decay primer as a moisturiser when he got sunburn, that is the level of cosmetic knowledge we’re dealing with here.)

Which brings me to my next point. Most men giving it the “I like my women natural” don’t have a bloody clue what ‘no make up’ looks like, as evidenced by these Tweets collected by @neverjessie:


Can they not see the contour? The highlight? THE PHOTOSHOP!?


Speaking of Jesus, if Rihanna was born with that eyeliner then it might just be a modern miracle.


As off the wall as Tyler likes to think he is, there’s still false eyelashes, lipgloss, and, you know, the fact she paid for her entire face.

I’ve recently finished watching Westworld (it’s good, watch it) and there’s this recurring scene where Dolores wakes up and her hair is strewn across the pillow in perfect golden curls and her skin is all dewy and her eyes are bright. And the first time I saw it I was mildly outraged because when I wake up my hair needs a serious go with the Tangle Teaser and my skin is blotchy and my eyes are all tiny like little mice eyes. And then it all makes sense, because Dolores is in fact a robot (not a spoiler, that’s pretty much the premise of the TV show) and of course she is, because no human being would ever wake up looking so perfect ever. Just like no real person without make up looks remotely like the photos above.

Men don’t seem to realise this, however, and it’s not even their fault. The creatively curated world of Instagram would have us believe that the robot look really is the norm. Here are a few examples of celebrity ‘I woke up like this’ selfies.


Because of course Kendall woke up with her eyebrows filled in, lashes on and a slick of eyeliner.


Well, they don’t call her “the face” for nothing I suppose. Maybe they should call her “the lipstick” too.


^ My personal favourite, obviously.

Basically, thanks to good blending and a carefully-selected Instagram filter, men like Adam now think this is the definition of ‘natural beauty’. As though there’s only two types of women, those with the raw candid radiance of Miranda Kerr, or those of us who slap on a bit of lippy and immediately transform into Eddie Izzard.

What most of these “we like you natural” types don’t realise, however, is that they’re only really a YouTube make-up tutorial away from discovering that the ‘natural look’ takes about the same amount of product as a smokey eye and a statement lip. To date, Urban Decay has released four different Naked palletes giving us a grand total of 48 different ways of looking like we’re wearing no make up whatsoever.

Having said that, the fact that men like Adam don’t understand make-up is really more of a jokey aside. What’s really important is that no woman should ever be made to feel bad for wearing make-up, whether it’s a touch of concealer or full on Bianca Del Rio. (And at the same time, no woman should ever be made to feel bad for NOT wearing make-up. I’m sure there are some women who really do wake up looking like a Disney Princess, it’s just that I look more like a baked potato.)

People wear make-up for all sorts of reasons. I wear it because I have freckles and I never quite learnt to love them. Some people wear it to hide blemishes; others to feel more confident. David Bowie wore it because he looked fucking fabulous. The list goes on.

Frankly, considering we now live in a world where a bunch of men can decide what women can do with their bodies, I’m certainly not going to let anyone tell me what I should or shouldn’t be doing with my face. Really Credible Studies aside, if there’s one statistic I can rely on it’s that most women don’t give a toss what men think about their make-up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s payday and there’s a new Charlotte Tilbury lipstick with my name on it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s