Makeupless Maura to Make Muse: 4 Years Later

This article is published on September 1, 2018 in celebration of 4 years passing since Maura embarked on her makeup-free year. 


When I was sixteen, four years ago, a typical Friday afternoon suddenly became not-so-typical.

On Fridays, my friends and I would always spend the afternoon getting ready with each other for whatever outing we had scheduled for the night. We would talk endlessly about our makeup, hair, and outfits for later the night on the walk home and during the getting-ready-rituals. Every. Single. Week.

On this particular Friday evening, I was in the midst of this recurring conversation with my friends. But this time, untypically, I could not help thinking about how much time, energy, and money are devoted to looking “perfect.”

I surprised myself by saying, “Guys, what if I went a year without wearing makeup?”

A few days later, I inaugurated blog-style Instagram account @makeuplessmaura to document spending the next entire year makeup-free. For the next 365 days, I posted makeup-free selfies, self-love quotes, rants on the beauty industry, natural makeup recipes, interviews with others on real beauty, and, of course, updates on my own experience with makeup and body image.

 My goal became to dive as deep into the issue of makeup in society as I could. I hoped to inspire people to reconsider the idea that beauty means makeup and to be aware of the many flaws of the beauty industry. Promoting overall self-acceptance was a key goal.

Today, living a makeup-free year still remains a defining period in my life. However, after my makeupless experience, watching the 2016 political climate in action, and holding my first job in a corporate setting, I came to the conclusion that beauty standards are not the only expectations for females that need to change- in beauty, politics, workplaces, and so much more.

DAY 365!! I am so so so excited that in only 4 more hours it will be September 1 and I will have spent an entire year without wearing makeup. I never imagined the day it would be over- I don't even know what to do now or how to react. What started as a simple idea one Friday afternoon last year has affected my world so much. People now know me by "makeupless Maura" which is very cool, especially since at the beginning I didn't tell really anyone about the project. Sooo was makeuplessmaura a success?? I think so! I never knew what I wanted to come out of it and it was nice to have such a relaxed approach. I ended up learning so much about not only real beauty, but the media industry, the real ingredients in makeup, and alternative beauty enhancers. I became comfortable in makeup free skin and I hope I inspired at least one other person that beauty is not makeup. I think I proved that makeup isn't necessary to have a fun and fulfilling life. So what's next?? Well, tomorrow I will be wearing makeup. I have to confess that I'm almost nervous to apply it because I'm scared I'm going to mess up since its been so long! I will be posting something on that tomorrow. After that, makeuplessmaura will officially be over. I plan on updating this account from time to time with an relevant news about makeup or myself if that is something that people would like. Maybe someday I'd like to set up more formal that summarizes my project, such as a website or book. The emphasis would be on what I learned this year specifically and perhaps touch on my own experience. As for makeup, I will "permit" myself to use it, but I don't think I could ever wear it everyday. It will probably be light and saved for special occasions. After this year, I see little need for it. I just want to thank everyone for being a part of this. Hearts for you all ❤️❤️❤️ I am officially now back to makeup. #day365 #nomakeupforayear #makeuplessmaura #challengecompleted

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Make Muse, an online news and media site and print publication, is a continuation of Makeupless Maura and as well as a response to these experiences. 

Make Muse tells the stories of individuals doing cool stuff on any scale, rather than focusing on known-names or celebrities. Covering a wide range of intelligent topics- body, fashion, career, education, government, activism, wellness, community, art, and entertainment, we know that young women are not solely interested in style or food or art. We care about the world, are worried about their futures, and want to have fun in the midst of our global chaos, too. On top of that, being a young woman, non-binary, or femme individual comes with unfair societal standards and expectations. Our online content and print magazine are about challenging gender roles and encouraging our readers to be daring, action-oriented, and most importantly, who they are, despite whatever society says they should be like. 

As a feminist and go-getter, I hope to prove that ALL existing and emerging societal standards for females, trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary people who are significantly female-identified- must be challenged.


Author: Maura Sheedy