The Real Reason I Started Wearing Less Make Up


My make-up routine has largely been the same since I was about 17. For five years, I’ve applied my foundation, drawn on my eyebrows, stuck some eyeliner on and bronzed to the high heavens. Every now and then I’ve introduced a new product or new technique (we all remember the LA Girl Pro Concealer contouring disaster of 2014), but on the whole, I’ve always returned to the same bare lipped, cat liner look that I feel has become my signature standard.

But that doesn’t mean I've necessarily enjoyed wearing that make-up. It would usually take me around 35 minutes in the morning, and nearly an hour if I was going at the speed of a snail and watching Eastenders on BBC iPlayer at the same time. Especially if I was waking up early to travel or heading to work after an evening of not-so-great sleep, I resented having to sit in front of the mirror and waste time that could have most definitely have been better spent in bed.

And a lot of the time, I simply felt like there was too much on my face. Anybody who has ever worn mascara in their life will know the relief of rubbing your eyes and discovering that - hallelujah - you’d already taken your make-up off so you’re smudge free. I’ve cycled through a whole host of foundations in my time, but those that managed to stand the test of time (and the test of my extremely sweaty face) ended up feeling like they were suffocating me by the end of the day. That’s not to say that I didn’t appreciate the staying power of Estee Lauder’s Double Wear, but feeling like I could transfer onto any unsuspecting victim with so much as a kiss on the cheek didn’t fill me with the utmost confidence (funny story: I once gave my ex-boyfriend’s dad a hug, and when I pulled away, he had a beautiful orange mark all over the shoulder of his brand new white polo shirt. Nobody said anything, but we all noticed).

Hat - Missguided*
Blazer - old Topshop (similar black blazer here)
Tee - old ASOS (similar plain white tee here)
Belt - Saint Laurent*
Jeans - Topshop
Shoes - Zara (similar ASOS here)
Bag - J.W. Anderson
Shot by Liv Blankson <3



Much like wearing a bra when I really don’t to, my signature make-up look came to be my protective barrier. It was a habit, and a habit that was hard to break. Whenever I really didn’t want to wear as much, I found it difficult to strike a middle ground without looking as if I’d tried to look natural and drastically failed. Instead, I just went 100% bare-faced and remained stuck in my funk of only being able to wear one make-up look, and one make-up look only.

It was all or nothing for me; either I went in on the bronzer and donned my liquid eyeliner as I always did, or I remained completely naked, looking as if I just couldn’t be bothered to put anything on that morning or as if I had a debilitating hangover. And, okay, sometimes this may have been true, but other times when I just wanted to look a little bit more fresh and effortless, the you-can-see-how-much-I-drank-from-my-eye-bags look wasn’t quite cutting it.

This has been my routine for years now, bouncing between a full-face of glam to absolutely nothing at all. Up until about a few weeks ago, that is. One day I woke up, and I just made a decision. I didn’t like the make-up I was wearing. I didn’t like the time it took. I didn’t like feeling like my own face was outside of my control. The make-up I admired on other women as simple, effortless and let their features talk for themselves. If the only thing stopping me from wearing the make-up that I actually wanted to wear was myself, then I needed to just try it, at least, and see how it felt.

To begin with, it was weird. I spent a few days trying different things, cycling between just mascara, mascara and a little eyeshadow and nothing at all, and each time I felt like a second-rate version of myself. When you’ve worn the same look for so long, you worry that people will notice the change and comment on how tired you look - which did happen, to begin with. Unfortunately I'm blessed with under-eye bags the size of the iconic blue IKEA, and no amount of eye cream, sleep or dermal filler has been able to get rid of them. Previously lashings of mascara were able to detract from the dark circles, but now I was bare, there wasn’t much I could do about them.


This is the first outfit look I have ever shot in my entire blogging career without eye make-up on. Even shooting on set, I’ve always requested a brown eyeshadow and layers of liner. Realistically, this is minor in the grand scheme of things, but for me, it was a big step in feeling more confident in myself and feeling like less make-up was the new normal for me.

I'm in the process of breaking a habit of my adult lifetime, made even more difficult by the fact that I've been sharing the same version of myself online for now over four years. Previously, less make-up was saved for lazy days or for days when I was living my life offline, so I've still felt like, when getting ready in the mornings, I've been doing half a job. Make-up for me has been both my armour and a larger contributing factor to forming my own identity, so I've almost felt a little vulnerable heading into meetings and off to work without it, like I was heading into battle with a sword but no shield.

It has been wonderful though. My mornings have been quicker, my eyes are happier and I feel like I look like myself, not a curated version of what I think I should look like. There's something liberating about shedding the superficial, and accepting that these are my eye bags, these are my chubby cheeks, and these are the lines around my mouth that make me look like I smoke 20 a day. Of course, alongside that comes getting asked if I'm tired when in fact I've enjoyed 40 minutes of extra sleep, but the slightly intrusive lines of questioning are not enough to put me off of being a little more fresh-faced.

What is your relationship with make-up like? Up until this point I feel like my cosmetics have instructed me, determining a baseline amount and dictating a look that I felt too nervous to move away from. But now I'm back in control of the bag - I am the wielder of the brush (much artistry, such ~ lewk ~)! I'd love to hear how you feel about your daily routine and if you've always wanted to do something more or strip something back - let me know by popping a comment down below or finding me over on Twitter and Instagram. Until next time lovelies x

  • missgetaway

    Absolutely killing it with your style Chloe! And I absolutely agree with you on the makeup thing – and you do look gorgeous with and without.

    Love, Kerstin

  • Abigail

    Reading this made me feel more confident about my make-up. This couldn’t of come at a better time as today I put on make up and it wasn’t covering my scars and spots as well as I wanted it to and I was stuck between the feeling of caking on too much make-up and not putting on enough to hide the effects of bad skin…

  • Nicola

    Can I just say you look absolutely bloody beautiful here! Killing it as per usual. I’ve been doing the same recently in that I’ve realised that going out without my eyeliner or with one or two (or five) spots unconcealed isn’t going to offend anyone (though to me it makes for a frightening reflection staring back at me). I haven’t been outside of my home without make up on for around 7/8 years (including trips to the doctors) partially down to my terrible self-image, but mostly due to my issue with spots and dark circles. It’s reading things like this from people I admire such as yourself, that make me sit and shout ‘YES’ at my computer because if you can do it, then why can’t I do it too! Maybe it’s getting older, or just the fact that I I want those extra minutes in bed, but I’m starting to care less and less about what other people see and more about how I feel about myself.

  • You look very beautiful in these pictures and that’s such a nice outfit! I’m glad that you’ve become more confident without your usual makeup look. I totally get how you feel, I have some hyperpigmentation on my cheeks and it got to a point where I was always covering it up with foundation or concealer. But after a while, I decided to just not buy anymore foundation or concealer. It took a while but I’m comfortable with my bare face (for the most part haha). Nicely written post girl, have a great week! xx
    Coco Bella Blog

  • Eva

    Well you look absolutely stunning girl! I’ve actually started to try and wear less makeup too, it’s actually so liberating! I’m definitely not ready to go completely bare faced when out and about yet, but it’s a start haha!
    Really enjoyed this post!

  • The more minimal makeup really suits you Chloe! I am totally loving it

    Ellie xx

  • Love this post!! I’ve given up wearing foundation everyday and my skin just feels so much better for it – plus who needs a face full of makeup in the office?! These photos are beaut, the minimal makeup look suits you so well x

  • Love this post and the pictures which you look so beautiful in! I get what you mean about make up, I’m sort of an all or nothing gal as well. I see these people who effortlessly wear a scraping of foundation and a touch of mascara and I tell myself I’ll never be able to pull that off! This post has inspired me to try something different, thank you!

    Lucy Jane | Infinity of Fashion

  • I remember you mentioning this a few days / weeks ago on your Insta Stories (I have a rubbish memory!) I think the more minimal makep really suits you Chloe! I always loved your eyeliner look but you’re so right, it’s so much effort to do that every day. You’re rocking this makeup look and I definitely need to take a leaf out of your book xx

    Ruby –

  • Holly White

    For years I caked myself in makeup and pencilled in my eyebrows so dark so that I could be like ‘everyone else’ but it wasn’t until I finally accepted my fair features and natural look that I started to like myself more. I much prefer the way I can just spend 5 mins getting ready now, rather than taking a good halfback an hour to get my eyebrows looking even. Less is more for me, definitely!

    I think you look gorgeous no matter what Chlo! I always feel like changing up makeup routines signifies the start of something new and exciting though xxxx

  • I absolutely needed to read this Chloe! I have probs had the same make up routine for about 7 years now and I desperately need to break away from the routine! My eyeliner flicks are an erryday thing and I feel like my makeup bag is steadily growing with more bits and bobs that I don’t really need. I am going to attempt to cut down the amount I wear, especially eye makeup. Having that extra 3 mins in bed will feel sooo good. Immy x

  • Laura Rose

    the only time I leave the house without make up on is when I make a quick dash to the supermarket… forever wishing I had the confidence to not wear any! you look gorgeous with or with out make up though, so gorgeous!

    Laura |

  • Recently my eyes seem to have take a dislike to something that I use on them and so I have been having more and more ‘no eye makeup’ days, it feels so good!!!

    Emma |

  • Selina Moses

    I wear very little makeup in general but something that has developed in the past few years is that I can’t be seen without lipstick (unless we’re talking about the gym and that kind of situation). I think I rely on it too much but I actually don’t mind as I wear almost nothing else and I feel like it gives my face and an outfit a lift. I know other people think it’s weird but I don’t feel like myself with bare lips, I feel dull and boring. I can understand how some people feel defined with a particular look thanks to this lipstick addiction of mine so I’m trying to slip in a nude every so often. It’s not doing the trick tbh but maybe I’ll feel more comfortable with a nude shade in the future

  • Adeline B.

    I’d rather be seen without eye makeup than without my eyebrow powder (one day, I forgot it and the kids at the school I was working were all like “ew you look different, like yourself but a bad you, something is off, it’s not the Adeline we used to know, what did you do ? Oh my god, we know, you forgot to wear your eyebrows, please don’t forget tomorrow, we want you back” that was funny but wtf omg xD) lol Anyway, I’m still not ready to give eye makeup free a try as I’m too self conscious about pretty much everything, I used to even put on makeup when I woke up during a weekend with friends, I don’t anymore but only because nobody wakes up “like this”.^^ And I have to admit that I also enjoy makeup.
    You look flawless with or without it <3

  • I definitely know the feeling. As a natural blonde, my face changes dramatically with makeup. My eyelashes and eyebrows go from being nonexistent to smokin, and I can’t help but feel I look ugly without them. I don’t love wearing makeup though, so it’s something I need to work on x

    Martha Jane |


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