Monday, 30 March 2009

Make up icons without make up?

I have been left reeling by this recent photo of Dita Von Teese without her makeup:

Yes, she looks pretty, but way older and tired, if you ask me. But more than anything, it's just seriously disconcerting, I mean, this is the woman who wore full makeup to her pilates gym class - and frankly, I took great comfort from that. I'm a person who wears makeup to go to the newsagent, the gym, hell even when swimming I wear some resistant eye makeup! And I never arrive actually in my gym clothes either, I always have my normal clothes and shoes. I thought me and Dita were kindred spirits in that respect...

Dita, arriving / leaving her gym

Dita in full swing of her Pilates class

I feel betrayed! The only other celebrity that would shock me as much would be the equally unimaginable spectacle of Victoria Beckham with a bare face and no shades...

Oh my god - nearly!! Look at that sheer terror and horror on Victoria's face; look at the fear and worry on her stylists' faces! Wow that can't be faked, I recognise that look all too well. Stuff of nightmares!

Some people just look better with makeup, it was the Roman comedy dramatist Plautus who wrote, "A woman without makeup is like food without salt". However, now now girls, he also said, "I would rather be adorned by beauty of character than jewels. Jewels are the gift of fortune, while character comes from within." He also eloquently observed, "No guest is so welcome in a friend's house that he will not become a nuisance after three days." Or, "This is the great fault of wine; it first trips up the feet: it is a cunning wrestler." -An all round funny and witty playwright, no wonder he inspired Shakespeare... Ahem, I digress... coming back to his original analogy, I would agree.

As I've established, he probably did not mean it quite as emphatically as I do.

Madonna is another makeup idol of mine, and makeup certainly is essential for her. Her serious gym visits would not allow for a made up face, so she instead adopts the head down, shades on, stance. Gwyneth Paltrow, her gym buddy, looks annoyingly pretty without makeup: let's not dwell on that.

Madonna and Gwyneth go natural for their intensive workout

Below: Madonna, 2002

And below, ahem, 'refreshed' ... 7 years later


P.S. Ever noticed how every soap has the character with 'the makeup'? In Eastenders it's Roxy (I learnt blending techniques by seeing it crudely mapped out on her face), In Corrie it's Fiz (I swear she wears Urban Decay deluxe eyeshadow all the time), In Emmerdale it's Jennie (similar fondness for bright eyeshadow). I know the older characters wear it too: Pat Butcher has saved me dozens of pounds when I hastily return the blue shimmery eyeshadows back to their counter tops. I just mean it's interesting to see the sort of character who gets picked out to wear the wacky looks. i.e it's always the zany and childish ones. Anyway please don't judge me that I watch these soaps, I mean for chrissakes I was quoting Plautus earlier! But Corrie is a guilty pleasure, it's more a comedy than a drama really, and Eastenders is a bad habit I can't break, Emmerdale is just quite fun. Anyway, I found this interesting website connected to Hollyoaks (which I don't watch, afterall I miss Grange Hill haha) but check it out for some useful breakdowns of their character looks:

They've had a few but I'm not sure if ther's an archive, check out their current Made Up Like: Mercedes McQueen.


  1. I think Dita maybe forgot and didnt do it on purpose - or maybe she has subtle no makeup - makeup on

  2. Very pale people really need makeup to make their features visible...Dita and Madonna are examples of that! Gwyneth frequently wears fake tan, which helps.

    Asian women have very small eyes, which definitely need makeup to pop, and other ethniticites also have beauty issues that need help with makeup (dark eye circles, uneven pigment, etc.).

    However, in general, ethnic women do tend to look better without makeup, IMHO.

  3. Maybe it's because I'm over 40, but I simply cannot see the "old and tired" on Dita's face. When I saw that picture, I was amazed at how good her skin looks and thought it must be the sunscreen she has to use to keep herself pale.

    Madonna's before & after reminds me that laugh lines are not so bad after all.


  4. @ Lizz

    Yeah, I really do wonder if it was a staged thing or it was 'leaked'. My guess is it was a deliberate thing, to prove she is naturally pretty for any naysayers out there. It looks like a bare face... hmmm...

  5. @ Jamilla Camel

    That is very interesting... Gosh I actually think you might be right! That makes a lot of sense... a tan or natural darkness is like 'nature's makeup' or something! That's quite true in fact. Good points, Thanks!! xx

  6. @ laurore44

    haha No.1 I'm jealous, so I have to ease the pain somehow! But I do think she looks somewhat tired and wane - just slightly older than she does in her perfect makeup. But yes let's face it she looks young and beautiful, I know!!

    And as for Madonna, EXACTLY! I do get upset seeing what she's done to her face... Still see her as an inspiration of sorts! xx

  7. I have to disagree with the comment about Dita, I think she looks fabulous with makeup or without

  8. @Stefanie @

    I do completely agree with that, I just prefer her with her face on. She is gorgeous and definitely a major makeup icon to me. Thanks xx

  9. amazing blog!!