Should Beauty Brands Worry About The #NoMakeUp Movement?

In late August at MTVs Video Music Awards, Alicia Keys showed up to present the Best Male Video Award as well as honor Martin Luther King Jr. Keys appeared at the event sans makeup and the internet took notice. Tens of thousands of tweets appeared both encouraging as well as rebuking Keys’ decision. One woman tweeted:

@jillianamandaa Alicia keys did not wear one spec of makeup to the VMAs and I wish I was on board with it but I'm just not

This was not Keys’ first public stand on the subject of no makeup. In May, Keys penned a post on Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter explaining her decision to stop wearing makeup. She wrote:

“In one song I wrote, called "When a Girl Can't Be Herself," it says,

In the morning from the minute that I wake up / What if I don't want to put on all that makeup / Who says I must conceal what I'm made of / Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem



No disrespect to Maybelline, the word just worked after the maybe. But the truth is … I was really starting to feel like that — that, as I am, I was not good enough for the world to see.”

The day after the VMAs Keys tweeted: "Y'all, me choosing to be makeup free doesn't mean I'm anti-makeup. Do you!" she added a couple of kiss-blowing emojis and a makeup-free selfie.

Keys is one of the judges on this season of The Voice so millions of women will be seeing Keys without makeup each week. And a quick search of the hashtag #nomakeup returns 12,566,114 posts on Instagram alone. Posts are typically accompanied with a #nomakeup selfie.

So, do brands like Maybelline, as Keys sings about in her song, need to be worried about the #NoMakeup movement?

This week, we decided to poll our community and ask them what they thought about it We posed the following question:

Would you skip wearing makeup for an extended period of time? Here’s what they said:

  • Yes, I would skip makeup for an extended period of time (28.7%)
  • I would skip makeup every once in a while (16.7%) 
  • No, I would not skip makeup (8.5%)
  • I already do skip makeup periodically (25%)
  • I rarely/never wear makeup (21.1%)

We also pulled out a few of the comments from women who responded to the survey: 

“I said yes because I've done it before for no specific reason, just that I was busy with my kids. I love wearing makeup, but it's not my very first priority.”

“I don't wear make up every day. I enjoy wearing make up, but I'm confident enough to go out without it.”

Almost everyone who took the survey also provided commentary to substantiate their answers. This is certainly a strong indication of women’s interest and engagement in the subject.

With close to 30% of women saying that they would consider going makeup free for an extended period of time, the cosmetics industry should take notice. Has this, or will this, trend impact makeup sales? A search on social media shows that so far, there aren’t any cosmetic brands currently engaging in the conversation. Perhaps it’s time that they do listen and engage? What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @SheSpeaksUp.

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