The #NoMakeUp selfie craze – embracing natural beauty and the rise of superfood skincare

Zendaya sporting a fresh, make-up-free face. Picture: Instagram.

Zendaya sporting a fresh, make-up-free face. Picture: Instagram.

Published Nov 1, 2023


The world as we know it has changed.

Blame it on the Covid-19 pandemic and the extensive changes it brought, or the explosive and unprecedented rise in social media platforms and the digital sphere as a whole.

But life and the way society interacts with itself is not what it used to be.

This too extends to the beauty industry, a space which has been lambasted for being superficial and for creating unrealistic standards that have often led to devastating consequences.

But with all the current changes, there appears to be some reprieve and, again, the beauty world finds itself in the spotlight, this time, for the right reasons.

It comes in the form of the #nomakeupselfie movement which has set social media alight and consequently earning widespread praise. The trend is all about embracing authenticity and encouraging others to do the same.

It’s a powerful statement that says, “I am beautiful just the way I am.”

This craze has even been led by prominent celebrities and influencers such as Zendaya, Pamela Anderson, Alicia Keys and Gwyneth Paltrow, who have all proudly shared their bare-faced selfies, inspiring millions of people to follow suit.

This has been largely welcomed by the masses who have grown accustomed to Hollywood celebrities being under intense pressure to look flawless, with their public appearances often requiring hours of make-up application.

Alicia Keys posting a makeup-free look. Picture: Instagram.

This paradigm shift in the make-up world is also in direct contrast to the preceding years, 2016 in particular, which was notorious for being quite heavy in its application. This era was defined by flashy, intense, smoky eyes, clean-cut creases, heavy contouring, matte foundations and thick matte liquid lips.

But the no-make-up selfie movement is not just about ditching make-up; it’s also a celebration of natural beauty and healthy skin.

And for the scores who are not confident enough to reveal their natural faces on social media, the craze also expands to a more minimalistic look where the idea is to tone down the layers of make-up used.

It is a concept that social media influencer and content creator Ashmitha Ramgathi has taken on board.

“As a content creator in the beauty space, I have posted pictures, selfies and videos of myself wearing no make-up,” she admitted.

Ashmitha Ramgathi, also known as @shmithi_beauty on Instagram. Picture: Instagram

“I think that it is something that is so important to do as part of my social responsibility and because I align with the movement against unrealistic beauty standards.

Ramgathi, known as @shmithi_beauty on Instagram, added that photoshopped and heavily edited images are perpetuated on social media and in advertising.

“We live in an age that is bombarded by advertising and we see this in almost every form and this might create a narrative in terms of the consumer that ‘I am not enough or I don’t look like this person on this billboard or on this social media campaign’ and the fact is even those on the billboards or on social media don’t look like that naturally.”

And even when Ramgathi isn’t going completely make-up free on social media, she says that she has adopted a more minimalist approach more frequently.

“I have been practising a more minimalist make-up routine because I believe it can empower individuals to embrace imperfections and their natural beauty which in turn builds and promotes self-confidence and self-acceptance. It’s also a way of being a little kinder to yourself.”

Meanwhile, the no-make-up movement or even the minimalistic make-up craze also promotes health as it highlights the importance of nurturing and maintaining healthy, glowing skin.

This can be achieved through nutrition and diet as well as adopting self-care and skincare practices. It is something Ramgathi has been employing as she admits she follows a stringent skincare regimen twice a day.

And at least once a month, she takes extra steps to look after her skin by doing certain facials and treatments.

Her quest for healthy skin is also supplemented by focusing on gut health and good nutrition as she consumes various supplements, foods and beverages such as liquid collagen, kimchi and kombucha.

“Since I have started doing this I have definitely noticed a positive change in my skin,” Ramgathi said.

Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fats and magnesium. File image

Meanwhile, Nicola Bentley, nutritional therapist and national salesperson for Soaring Free Superfoods, believes that focusing on gut health is key to healthy and glowing skin, and this includes cleansing and detoxing your system.

“Gut health and alkalising your system with greens is very important for skin health,” Bentley, who is also a life coach and yoga teacher, said.

She listed spirulina, chlorella, moringa, barley and wheat grass as a few superfoods which are nutrient dense and also have health, medicinal and healing properties.

Other superfoods she recommended are chia seeds, hemp seeds and açai and goji berries, which all promote glowing skin.

She added that antioxidants, vitamin E, good fats and omega-3s found in fatty fish, for example, reduces inflammation which are also vital for healthy skin.

“It’s also about getting back to basics and eating fresh fruit and vegetables and wholefoods as nature intended.”

In addition, Nicole Sherwin, the founder Eco Diva Natural, also believes that superfoods are nutrient-rich and that they offer a plethora of benefits for your skin and overall health.

“These foods are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that help nourish and rejuvenate your skin,” she said.

Avocados are a popular superfood. Picture: Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.

Sherwin explained that some common superfoods for skincare include:

– Avocado: Rich in healthy fats and vitamin E, avocado provides deep hydration, reduces inflammation, and promotes a youthful complexion.

– Turmeric: With its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric helps fight acne and brightens the skin, leaving you with a natural glow.

– Green tea: Packed with antioxidants, green tea helps reduce redness, soothe the skin, and fight signs of ageing.

– Baobab: Packed with antioxidants and pro-ageing vitamins, baobab offers incredible skin nutrition when applied topically as well as ingested.

– Chia seeds: These seeds are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, which help repair the skin’s barrier and maintain its moisture balance.

– Aloe vera: Known for its soothing properties, aloe vera helps calm irritated skin and promotes healing.

“Incorporating these superfoods into your skincare routine can help you achieve a healthy and radiant complexion.”

This is something that Sherwin can personally testify to.

“I healed my own skin from pigmentation, adult acne and rosacea about 14 years ago through feeding my skin with plant-based skincare, taking care of my gut health and ensuring my stress levels are always under control.

“Ever since then, I’ve had clear, healthy skin but lacked the confidence to go out without make-up on because of all the societal conditioning. I’m so happy that the embracing of our natural selves is now becoming a trend, because all that heavy covering up is quite exhausting.”