Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Put your faces back on, ladies: Why the #nomakeupselfie trend has to stop

@jennavalleys/@tammiew/@lynnkelly_/Twitter

A simple U.K. fundraising campaign got lost in translation. The #nomakeupselfie – women posting photos of themselves sans makeup to social media, donating to cancer research, and then nominating others to do the same – has gone on for too long. The road paved with good intentions took a wrong turn: the campaign has crossed the pond – and with it, lost all purpose.

In mere weeks, the campaign has raised £8 million for Cancer Research UK, which writes that it can now fund 10 new clinical trials. These efforts should be applauded. But in my very Canadian news feed, just 1 of the roughly 30 Canadian women posting #nomakeupselfies made any sort of mention of cancer.

On the Globe's Facebook post about the trend, reader Angela Menard commented: "90 per cent of the 'no make up selfie' posts on my news feed didn't even mention the word cancer. I had to google what it was all about. When I got nominated, I posted a pic of a self breast examination."

Story continues below advertisement

Also problematic is the assumption that makeup is masking our true beauty: If you feel like you're not your #authenticself with mascara on, by all means stop wearing it. But let's not forget that makeup can make some of us feel pretty.

I cannot read another "unmasking, feeling so brave" post. The implication of this trend, that makeup is a mask forced on women by society, hiding our true beauty, is #untrue. If the real you feels beautiful with lipstick, apply liberally, I say.

Yes, the era of social media-ing everything has turned us all into self-involved navel-gazers, and this trend is no different in Canada. The unspoken truth of selfies: you took seven photos of a near-identical pose, stuck your chin out a bit more, adjusted the lighting, then passed it off as natural.

For me, the connection between makeup and cancer is unclear: I'm not sure men not shaving in November truly helps the prostate cancer cause, and I'm not sure simply taking a photo without makeup aids in a breast cancer cure. Cancer is horrid – I have friends and family coping with the disease, and I assure you there is more to do than reach for the makeup remover.

Let's be active: I hope that starts with an exam, learning about your family history, and talking to your doctor.

Follow @amberlym on Twitter

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Editor in the Opinion section

Amberly McAteer is an editor in the Opinion section at The Globe and Mail. She has been a homepage editor, online editor and community editor in Features - including Life, Travel, Style, Arts and Books. She's written columns about her quest to run a 10K and find the perfect dog. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.