For most of the last 20 years I have been a size six, before then I cycled between a size 12 to 22. I thought I had come to terms in my relationship with food and found a comfort zone in which I could live. My body has betrayed me as I turn 56 and menopause intrudes. I’m a size eight; I need new clothes. My shirts and sweaters all seem too short and my hips to protrude at angles.
The weight that settles bottom heavy affects the way I think about myself, inside and out. At this point I would have thought I was beyond that, and could embrace my curves and throw aside the creepy thoughts in my head. A friend of mine remarked, “Where did you gain weight, in your pinky?” I know better.
The picture in Beutiful Magazine of emboldened women in bikinis is an affirmation of acceptance. I’m not there yet, but I never think of myself as recovered, or struggling, but ascending.
I have been plus size my entire life. I come from a long line of plus size women. Plus size women who put themselves and others down for being heavier. Plus size women who settled for anybody because they didn’t think they could get better because of their weight. I grew up disliking myself because of my size (which made me depressed so I ate more of course). I was told I needed to be smaller if anyone was ever going to want me. However, the older I got and the more I came into my own I realized that I was more desired than the average skinny minnie. I embraced my curves and took chances with my wardrobe. I learned to do my hair and makeup and more importantly, I learned to LOVE ME. And now at 27 yeatd old I can say I am just fine with Kristina and her size 18/ 20 frame. I am fabulously fluffy honey and I love it!
“I hate shopping for bikinis just as much as I hate shopping for jeans. I find them both a daunting experience.
However, I LOVE summer! The sunshine, the warmth, blue skies and ocean waves. It’s my favourite time of year! I’ve always been most comfortable in a one piece or with shorts and a top while at the beach. Flab and cellulite are a fact of life.
But this year, I thought – screw it! Screw society and it’s idea of the “perfect body”. I may not have an ultra toned bod like the girls in the magazines, but I’m embracing my body and having fun in the sun doing so!”
“This summer, I’m going to remember that my body is already bikini-ready and needs no alterations (from diets to Photoshop) to be perfectly perfect. I will embrace my body by doing and wearing what I want, and I will practice recovery by telling my eating disorder to #$&% itself.”
“When I was younger I was picked on for the way I looked. So I would feel insecure with my body when I would wear a bathing suit in public. As I’ve grown up I’ve realized that the people that pick on you for the way you look have insecurities of their own and that you shouldn’t change yourself to make someone happy. I’m more confident with the way I look because I picked the way I want to look.”
“My name is Stella and this is my bikini body!
I truly believe the way to change the way ‘society’ responds to a particular ‘normal’ or ‘perfect’ is to embrace the perfect body that you already posses. I only care what I think of myself, why waste time on what others think? Take back the power and believe that you are enough, you are beautiful and you can have that swimsuit / bikini body you crave. Just put one on and enjoy your sexy self!
What am I doing to embrace my body? Putting on my bikini and rocking out no matter what anyone else thinks. Shouting out loud and proud all the way from the bottom of the world (NZ) that I love my body and you should love yours too!”
“Heya, I’m Krystal. I’m taking each day at a time while my confidence grows. I am smart, strong, and beautiful. My size doesn’t determine who I am and I love my curves. All woman are beautiful and the sooner we stop caring what society thinks, the sooner we will be living in a happier world. All bodies are beautiful. I’m ready for the beach!”
“For me, wearing a bright, fun and bold bikini to the beach is a must. It’s weird, because in my daily life I have a lot of moments when I’m uncomfortable with my size or feel awkward in my own skin. But when I’m near the ocean, I feel something that’s so deeply spiritual that it halts my self judgement and internal criticism, and I allow myself to just be fully present. And in those moments, my body and I are totally at peace.”
I have suffered from acne since the 8th grade in middle school and up to present day. There are times where my acne would be severe and then calm down. Today it is not as flared. As you can see half of my face has makeup with mineral powder, blush, eye shadow, mascara, and a little lipstick. I usually don‘t wear a lot of makeup, however I use it at times to cover my insecurities – the dark circles under my eyes and my acne. I am free when I am naked in my face but then at times I feel the need to feel good and use my makeup.
I am trying to learn to embrace myself. I embrace my body but I do not embrace my face. I guess the words of “ugly” and “hideous” and even worse by people stuck with me more than when I was actually told I am beautiful by my loved ones. Sometimes I worry when I go in public without makeup because some people look at me in disgust like I am so ugly or they look at my acne and it makes me feel like they classify me. I wish my face was more than what people perceive me as.
My face does not define me. I am Sara-Loretta. I am me. I am human. I deserve respect and love just as anyone else. Thank you for reading. I hope my story inspires someone else. Just be who you are and never let belittling words get the best of you.
“Hi, I’m Ibicella. I weigh an unabashed 255 pounds, and I just bought my first bikini and got my hair cut short this week! I NEVER thought I would do either of those things. Let me tell you, my husband really enjoyed helping me pick out this suit and taking these pictures! I’m a lucky woman with a great life and a great body, and now that I know that without a doubt…I am free.”
“Loving and accepting my body is a process, but life is so much sweeter on the other side of body hatred. Bring on the beach!”
I fell in love with this project, because every day, I think about those two faces. One everybody sees everyday, with makeup, sometimes hair extensions, and one only my friends, family (and sometimes people at my gym) sees.
I feel bad, because it seems I’m not able to go out without all of this. I feel like a child, a fake adult, whocannot be taken seriously. Maybe because I look more fragile, more vulnerable.
Anyway, taking part of this project is a way to say “I’m somebody, I’m important and remarkable even when my face is naked, and I’ve nothing to hide.
Thanks for this beautiful experiment.
“Wearing a bathing suit I feel exposed, vulnerable and not as confident as I feel when wearing my favorite pair of skinny jeans. What helps me feel confident and portray a healthy view of my body is remembering who I am as an individual. This makes me feel beautiful because inside, I know I am more than just a body.
This summer I am interning in NYC at InStyle Magazine and working to spread the Hello Perfect movement.” – Alexa Carlin, Hello Perfect
It’s time for us to practice what we preach! My name is Patricia Colli, I’m 26 years old and I’m the creator of Beutiful.
So here I am, one side of my face with makeup and the other side completely naked for all of you to see! On a daily basis, I rarely wear any makeup because it makes me feel as if I am “hiding.” When I do wear makeup, it’s only on my eyes and lips because foundation feels heavy on my skin.
However, when I was a teenager I was really insecure about my appearance so I PILED makeup on. Finally, when I was 15, I started to ease off little by little. This journey took a few years but I eventually came to like my face without makeup. It was truly liberating (and saved me tons of time and money)!
Through the Half-naked Project, I would like everyone to see that what is underneath cosmetics is just as beautiful and that acne, wrinkles, dark circles, etc. are normal and shouldn’t be looked upon as needing fixing. The beauty industry is making millions off of insecurities, at the expense of our self-esteem. I want women (and men!) to feel just as confident bare-faced in the morning as they would if they were made up for a night out!
“Hey, I’m Liz and this photo is to say “FUCK YOU, ANOREXIA.” This is the first time I’ve worn a bikini in a long time but I actually feel alright and confident in it. I refuse to let my disorder boss me around anymore. I am now on the road to self-love and happiness. I want to say thank you so much to this blog, it has helped so much in the way of helping me to love who I am regardless of my weight or size.”
I usually let my hair just grow. I prefer an unkept look, maybe it’s just because I am lazy. However occasionally when I do groom I try to do something different. I enjoy testing my confidence by doing stupid things with my hair. It helps me remember not to worry about what other people think.
I’m 24 now and I’ve been wearing makeup since I was 16. I can definitely relate to some of the women in this album when they say they feel more comfortable and relate more easily to their “made up” side. It’s sad but I too only truly recognise myself when I’m wearing makeup.
I find my insecurities can be really crippling. There have been many times that I won’t leave the house if I’m not wearing makeup. Seriously. Not even to walk five minutes to the shops to get milk.
I’m really blessed to be surrounded by people who are so loving and nurturing. My family has always told me they prefer me without makeup. And I recognise that I’m really lucky, in the fact that I naturally have clear skin. But even then, I feel the need to cover up in layers of make up. Insecurities! They really suck.
When I look at my naked face all I see is discolouration, dark circles and occasionally pimples.
Logically, I know that beauty is more than just skin deep. It’s a person’s depth, character and personality that counts. That if you’re beautiful inside you’ll radiate it on the out, etc. But that hasn’t stopped me from being super-attached to my foundation, eyeliner, bronzer, blush, mascara and lipstick.
You asked us what makeup makes us feel about ourselves. And honestly, makeup makes me feel pretty (pretty sure that is the purpose of it anyways!). It makes me feel good about myself and it makes it easier to face the world. Yes, I use it to enhance the way I look but I definitely also feel like I use it as a mask, a barrier, as something to hide behind.
I’ve written you a novella! I really want to end this on a positive note. In the last couple of months I’ve started leaving the house more without makeup; and while I avoid interaction and making eye contact, it’s definitely progress. My wish is that society would stop putting such an emphasis on the physical and focus more on the things that really matter. That is why a page like Beutiful is really special and important. And that is why I am sincerely thankful to you.
I don’t wear makeup to work anymore because as my confidence has grown, I have felt better “going naked.” I wear makeup to highlight my features instead of covering up. I like to try new looks with color but don’t want to change my appearance. I choose bare minerals powder for my face because it covers my redness but allows my freckles to show through. I go without makeup a lot to be proud of the skin I have and show others that women don’t have to change their appearance to love themselves!
“I’ve always hated bathing suits. When I was younger I would usually wear shorts and a t-shirt when I went to the beach or swimming because I wanted to cover up as much as possible. I was very insecure with my body and wearing a swim suit made me feel exposed and vulnerable. Now that I’m older and am learning to love what I have and working on the things that I don’t love so much, I feel more secure in myself and less worried what others think. The GabiFresh swimsuit I’m wearing in the picture is the most amazing bathing suit I’ve ever owned. I feel so sexy and confident, something I’ve never felt in a bathing suit before.”
For my half-naked submission, I have makeup only on the left side of my face.
I’ve never been one to ‘cake’ on makeup. I always saw it as a means to enhance the features I already have. I tend to use a light blush, tinted lip balm, and mascara (though missing here) as my basics. Sometimes I’ll use eyeshadow and liner (like here), though I tend to favor more muted tones. If I’m going to use it at all, my goal is to look as natural as possible.
My hair is currently pulled up into a bun, as that’s how I like to wear it most days. I used to wear a lot of makeup, but being around my friends in college and having a few people call me “beautiful” has changed my outlook.
In this photo I have on eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow, and a little bit of blush and lipstick. I hardly wear foundation or blush because I like my natural skin; it’s not oily and it has freckles when the sun comes out. If I wear makeup, usually its only mascara, occasionally with liner. I had an eating disorder as a teenager, and I’ve realized you can’t put a mark on beauty – it’s what shines inside you.
This was a LOT harder to do than I thought it would be, but it has been a really useful exercise in learning about my insecurities.
The main reason I wear makeup is to hide the acne scarring on my forehead. Once it hits summer and the sun hides those spots, I happily move my foundation to the bottom of the drawer unless there’s a special event. But I still regularly apply eyeliner, brow liner and mascara in spades. Aside from weekends, which are thankfully a makeup-free zone, the only times I go completely face naked to work is if I want to take a sick day and be sent home early. Because everyone can see the difference and agree I look “not myself.” Sad but true.
I actually genuinely hate the feel of makeup on my face. It feels heavy, makes my skin more oily, and because my shades are darker and I unconsciously touch my face a lot, I often leave little smudges on everything I touch. I basically trade one insecurity for another… I spend the day trying to reprogram myself not to touch my face lest anyone see my shameful makeup habit! Because I want to look perfect but I want it to appear natural.
This has been truly enlightening. As I attempt to wean myself off make up, please join me and submit your own half-naked face!
My relationship with makeup started around 15, possibly before that. I started very young because I was very self-conscious about my looks. As I get older, I realize that it’s not about the way you look but about the way you behave and carry yourself. It used to take me an hour to get ready to go anywhere! I would never leave my apartment without makeup on. Now it only takes me about 10 minutes at most to do my makeup!
I am so glad that I have grown to love the way I look without makeup. These days I use it to enhance certain features. I cut out foundation because it just felt like my skin couldn’t breathe. On a normal day I’ll put on some powder, light eyeshadow, light eyeliner, mascara, some blush and my favorite color lipstick. I think I use makeup these days as an expression of my mood. If I’m having a great day I’ll use vibrant colors and tend to stick to nudes on my not-so-great days.
Overall, I feel so much better about my facial features at 25 than I did at 18. I always have and always will have a relationship with makeup. However, it’s no longer to cover up any insecurities but to enhance my already amazing features and I hope to be able to encourage others to do the same.
“I’m going to spend the summer embracing my body by wearing short shorts, crop tops, and bandeaus without shame or apology!”
It’s happened before, ungroomed I kinda felt less of a man. Mainly because unshaven is frowned upon in the professional setting. Walking into a place like a bank where many women generally work, looking ungroomed just doesn’t work lol. When I’m groomed, I feel like the most handsome and sexy man produced – my confidence soars.
“I have been battling anorexia and bulimia for over 20 years. In December of 2011, I finally went to treatment. After 9 weeks, I came home a new woman! I have new self esteem, a new way to look and appreciate my body, and a new outlook on life! With my history of eating disorders, being in a bikini is a big deal – especially in this new body! I hope this is inspiring to others!”
I don’t wear makeup very often because going without it keeps my skin clear and soft.
I like my freckles and I like the fact that without makeup I seem softer and more approachable, or maybe because I’m being ‘vulnerable’ people see me as relaxed. When I do wear makeup I do not use foundation because it makes me feel as though I’m trying to look like something that I’m not, and therefore it never looks good on me. I darken the tips of my blond eyebrows, define the contours of my eyelid and line my eyes. The cosmetic I like best is lip gloss.
Hi, my name is Jenn Lawlor (of The Best Body Ever (is Yours) with Jenn Lawlor). I’m 39 years old and this is me with 1/2 my face covered in make-up + 1/2 naked (no make-up). Although I don’t typically wear much, if any, make-up, I learned quite a bit from the process. Here were some biggies:
1. Putting the naked + make-up sides of my face next to each other instantly sent me into comparison mode. My naked side was judged as “less attractive” — blotchy + imperfect. This made me think about how we, women (and men) are constantly feeling less adequate because we’re comparing ourselves to unnatural images in the media.
2. My make-up side felt like I was wearing a mask.
3. Fear arose when I considered posting my naked face to the public. Somehow, wearing a mask that presents a more “perfect” me felt safer.
“I would like to make a statement about body size. ALL shapes are beautiful. So often I hear people supporting curves (which is great!) but at the expense of bashing skinny and smaller chested girls. As a naturally small and slim girl, I often get quite offended by people, mainly fellow women, claiming that to be a “real woman” you have to be curvy and a size 12. That is NOT the case, women come in all shapes and sizes, just because one woman is a size 6 it DOESN’T mean she is worth any less than a woman who is a size 14. We need to stop criticizing others and focus on making the world a more accepting place. I am a size 6 and won’t be made to feel bad about it!”
I grew up always feeling that makeup was necessary. I was bullied and picked on constantly in my younger years and felt that makeup would make me look more acceptable and give me a way to “fit in.” I’ve learned over the years though, especially now that I’m a mother, that makeup is fun to play with, but it isn’t necessary to make me beautiful. I’ve learned to love myself for who I am, not what society wants me to be and I want to pass that on to my daughter. She deserves to grow up with confidence, knowing that she’s beautiful just the way she is!
“I used to feel uncomfortable being in a bikini but now I’m proud of my body and like how it looks. Being surrounded by positive people helps my body image and even though I’m not perfectly toned I feel like I look great and feel great! I have been enjoying the summer so far and have been taking time for myself and to vacation even if it’s only for the day.”
“I’ve been pretty comfortable with my body for several years, but it wasn’t until the last few months that I realized how important self-care is. Making healthier choices to feel good instead of look good makes a huge difference and it’s had a major effect on my self esteem and body image. I can finally say that I feel strong, healthy and beautiful.
This summer, I’m focusing my energy on enjoying the beautiful weather and pursuing feel-good hobbies like yoga!”
“Want to know how to get a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. Boom. Done.” – Liz of P.S. It’s Fashion
“Although putting on a bikini doesn’t make me uncomfortable anymore, I know how it feels to have bad body image and swimsuit anxiety. I used to be so self-conscious about my body that I would wear baggy clothing all summer. I couldn’t stand the idea of wearing shorts. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I made the commitment to examine and change the way I felt about my body. I’m 26 now – much older and heavier! – but I have never been happier.
I still get self-conscious sometimes, but over the last few years I’ve learned to focus on what my body can do more than what it looks like. Right now, I’m spending the summer training for my second marathon and that is definitely more impressive and rewarding to me than having the “perfect” body!
I decided to do my night makeup on the unnatural side because my day routine only consists of concealer with SPF on my nose, chapstick, and eyeliner – which I do because I feel like it makes me look more awake. People definitely notice when I don’t have makeup on and comment “Are you sick?” or “You look tired.” But I always do my “night” makeup when I go out or when I’m working because I’m in the beauty enhancement business ( Bella Capelli by Tanina ) and people are more likely to trust you and feel you do better work if you look done up. It would be nice if people just based your talent on your actual talent Haha! But I would be lying if I said I don’t like getting dolled up because I do. I am definitely more confident and social when my “face” is on. But I am not defined by it and working on my “naked” confidence thanks to Beutiful!
“When I’m in my bathing suit I feel amazing. I may not have curves like other women but I’m proud to say my body is beautiful and I’m ready for some fun in the sun!”
I don’t wear much makeup because I like to show off my freckles. I wear eye shadow, mascara and sometimes eye liner. I want to embrace my natural beauty.
I don’t wear makeup 90% of the time. The only time I usually wear makeup is when I am going out somewhere where I am dressing up or when my rosacea flares up and I feel insecure about it. Even when I do wear makeup it’s very little foundation, maybe some eye shadow and light blush. When I do wear it, it feels so heavy on my skin that I usually wipe it off without even trying.
My “made up” face feels more natural to me than going without makeup. My daily routine consists of foundation, bronzer, eye primer, eye shadow, eye liner, lash curler, mascara, blush, and lip stain. I don’t feel like myself without makeup on, I use it to enhance my natural features and don’t think I am as attractive without it. The few occasions I have gone to school or work with a natural face, it was a constant barrage of inquiries about the illness I was so obviously suffering from. I’ve recently turned 21 and as I enter this next step into adulthood, I’d really like to gain more confidence in myself and be able to hold my head up equally as high with or without makeup.
I finally feel like I don’t need makeup to look my best. I used to feel wearing makeup was so important, that it helped hide the flaws and improved my features. It didn’t – it just became a chore putting on so much, primer then foundation, concealer. I put on some gloss and mascara, that was it. That’s still all I wear unless I have a date night with my fiance or it’s a holiday, then it’s nice to spend the extra time getting glammed up. But even then, it’s very minimal…and that’s how my fiance likes me!