What women mean by makeup vs. what men mean by makeup.

25 Oct

I’ve been meaning to do a makeup post/series and have just been procrastinating on it, but since Heartiste just did a makeup post, I figured that was motivation enough.

I think it’s obvious to any woman that men who claim they like women with NO MAKEUP WHATSOEVER don’t really mean that.  Unless they’re a true blue granola worshiper or truly get turned on by armpit hair or whatever, most men want to see women wearing some makeup.  They just don’t want to notice it.  (Maybe that’s the man hamster at work; if he doesn’t notice it, then the woman is genuinely that beautiful, meaning he has great taste, aims high, can land hotties with no trouble…as opposed to the ego-crushing truth of “that girl is just average.”)

Basically, a normal woman looks like this with zero makeup:

She has blemishes, uneven skin tone, and dark circles under her eyes.

Now, if she wears makeup, she can look like this:

Her skin tone is evened out, her blemishes and dark under-eye circles are concealed, her brows are defined, and her lips and cheeks are a pretty pink.  Her eyes are defined with mascara and liner, along with some neutral eyeshadow.  This look is what women typically call “subtly enhancing your features.”

MOST MEN WILL NOT IDENTIFY THIS LOOK AS MADE-UP.  MOST MEN THINK THIS IS A “NATURAL” LOOK AND SOME WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO TELL THE GIRL WAS WEARING MAKEUP.  Even if the girl used foundation, concealer, highlighter, translucent powder, eyeliner, mascara, multiple eye shadow colors (possibly including a primer), false eyelashes, brow pencil/shadow, lip liner, and lipstick and/or lip gloss, many men would swear she looked completely natural.  (A skilled makeup artist can use all of these items and produce a fresh, natural look.)

The reason men think that this look is “natural” is because men typically identify THIS as “makeup”:

Then they swear up and down that they HAAAAATE makeup (perhaps it makes them unhaaaaaaapy?) and that NO WOMAN OF THEIRS shall ever be caught dead wearing makeup!11!1!!1!!!!11  Because only ugly, desperate sluts wear makeup or something.



30 Responses to “What women mean by makeup vs. what men mean by makeup.”

  1. Vicomte October 25, 2012 at 12:52 am #


    Also, false eyelashes are creepy.

  2. alpheba October 25, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    Generally true. I don’t wear any, that’s not to say I don’t need to, I just don’t see the point. Once you’re in a realationship, your man will see you makeup-free, blemishes and all. What I’m trying to say is, wear makeup if it makes you feel good, but a lot of women hide behind it and feel unattractive without any makeup on. Shame.

  3. Wudang October 25, 2012 at 2:10 am #

    Sounds about right.

  4. DC Al Fine October 25, 2012 at 4:03 am #

    True that. Nothing wrong with a little foundation and eye shadow, just so long as they don’t apply their makeup with a paint roller like some 13 year old girls do.

  5. Jacob Ian Stalk October 25, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    There is no such thing as a “man hamster”. The hamster is defined as the rationalising mechanism present in the female id. A man’s behaviour may be hamsterish, meaning “rationalising like a woman” but he himself, because he is not a woman, cannot possess a hamster.

  6. taterearl October 25, 2012 at 5:08 am #

    Men don’t generally hate make up. They will hate that if it’s a try hard (the third example). The more you put on…the more it looks like you are hiding something. Compare it to a guy who is giving you the “nice guy” personality.

  7. midorilei October 25, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    That is so true! Great pics! Did you draw them?

  8. Lucie October 25, 2012 at 5:33 am #

    Thanks for my laugh for the day.

  9. Grit October 25, 2012 at 6:17 am #

    Just to clear things up: he doesn’t say “Men don’t like makeup.” he says “the value of makeup is declining.”

    You didn’t actually address his point: women willing to give up sex so fast in a ONS lose their ‘game face’ on the first day they actually meet the guy. Terrible for her chances at commitment if it were happening in a date-before-marriage-before-sex culture.

    PS you rationalize that men must like some makeup. But if you ask most men, i guarantee if she chose to correct those problems that give her acne, dark spots, etc. men would like that better. In otherwords, stop drinking, stop smoking, stop stressing out, stop hooking up, go to bed early, eat right, get proper sun, etc. I doubt women can put that kind of effort out.

  10. M3 October 25, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    Nailed it.

    Tho i have seen women who wake up in the morning au naturhal that look quite cute albeit disheveled, you are correct that most men assume the minimalistic makeup to be ‘fresh & natural’.

    A masterful makeup artist is the one who does it so you don’t think she’s wearing anything at all.

    Tho i have to disagree with Vicomte in one area.. i’ve gotten hooked on the false lashes look, but only for functions like ballroom dancing or something, not an everyday thing. My brain recognizes them as fake (and i so hate mascara commercials and their lies) but they do accentuate when done right, just like a great pair of earrings.

    Ps-men don’t have hamsters. We have the ‘Rationalization Racoon’.

  11. modernguy October 25, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    If women stopped wearing makeup a lot of the approach anxiety and assortative mating problems would go away. Not to mention the inflated egos. But it’s a made up kind of world, so 6’s think they’re 10’s and drug addicts with no job and no future are confident winners.

  12. theprivateman October 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Anyone catch this?…

    “Once you’re in a relationship, your man will see you makeup-free, blemishes and all. What I’m trying to say is, wear makeup if it makes you feel good, but a lot of women hide behind it and feel unattractive without any makeup on. Shame.”

    Say, here’s a novel thought – wear the makeup because it pleases your man. And why should a woman feel shame for feeling unattractive when she’s not wearing makeup?

  13. totalesturns October 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm #


    An important point here is that in modern America (I have no idea what the standards were in other times/places), garish makeup of the type shown in picture #3 signals a serious lack of class. Even if they understand the distinction between #1 and #2, most guys would prefer that their woman err on the side of caution and use too little rather than too much — too little and she might look like she’s having an off day, but too much and she’ll look like trash.

  14. Clint October 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Mostly true,

    However, my former girl friend did not wear make up and I thought she was abslolutely beautiful. She looked like picture 2 without wearing anything. The only make up she owned was lip gloss, and I don’t know if that is officially make up. She was an exception to the rule though.

    I think you are spot on with this post.

  15. Nautilus October 27, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    My sister is a makeup artist/portrait photographer and I’ve had the privilege of seeing many “masks” being put on and taken off. She’s good at subtle changes and is paid to do makeup better than her clients do on themselves. Then she touches up more on wrinkles and imperfections in photoshop. AHHH!

    Rex Harrington said it best in My Fair Lady:
    “Straight’ning up their hair is all they ever do.
    Why don’t they straighten up the mess that’s inside?”

  16. samsonsjawbone October 29, 2012 at 11:50 am #


    I agree with this:


    But not with this:

    most men want to see women wearing some makeup. They just don’t want to notice it…

    Then they swear up and down that they HAAAAATE makeup (perhaps it makes them unhaaaaaaapy?) and that NO WOMAN OF THEIRS shall ever be caught dead wearing makeup

    I don’t know what you’re on about here. Eye makeup looks HAWT (the “smoky eye” look makes me wild), and I like my woman to wear it as often as possible.

    A related topic would be something that I’ve noticed over the years, which is that women generally have no idea which other women men actually find attractive. The number I’ve times I’ve overheard some chicks talking about another chick, saying, “Yeah, Jennifer’s so beautiful, I don’t know why she’s single…” and I’m thinking, uh, yeah, Jennifer ain’t that attractive, girls.

    The reverse is also true: if you remember a few years ago there used to be a HotOrNot captcha, where you had to identify the three hot guys or gals out of a group of nine photos. I always got the female ones, no problem, but when I would try to guess (purely as a scientific endeavour, no homo) which of the men were supposed to be “hot”, I never got it right.


    Anyone catch this?…


    Say, here’s a novel thought – wear the makeup because it pleases your man.



    An important point here is that in modern America (I have no idea what the standards were in other times/places), garish makeup of the type shown in picture #3 signals a serious lack of class.

    “Class” is overrated. It correlates too strongly with pretentiousness, snobbery, and general unpleasant narcissism.

  17. imnobody October 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Completely true. And I am a man.

  18. Samson J. October 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Update, showing how little men know about makeup: tonight I was washing some Halloween makeup off, and my wife said, “Oh, yeah, it’ll come right off… just like regular makeup” – as if I was supposed to know how regular makeup comes off – “just use soap and water.” Oh. Good thing she was specific, because when she told me it would “come right off”, I was just planning to use water.

  19. Franz November 2, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    I won’t say that I *hate* makeup, but I will say that makeup is not a high priority for me and I resent the insinuation that it is. I saw my ex at multiple points on that spectrum and though I appreciated the touches she brought to some of our dates, I did not so much as take one iota of private offense when she wasn’t made up, let alone complain about it. We sweated rivers together in tae kwon do class, so I’m pretty sure makeup was completely absent there. That didn’t hinder my enjoyment of her company. She often expressed bewilderment at my ability to ignore the sweat and dishevelment. Not even leg hair could offend me and she was a porcelain-skinned brunette, so it definitely showed when she had it. So no, cosmetics are not very important to me. Sure, I might enjoy the result when they’re used properly, but I’m not going to demand it and I flatly refuse to be categorized as one who does. No wife of mine is going to blame her own fastidiousness on big bad me.

    That, I think, is the primary source of the “I hate makeup” phenomenon: an aversion to being the scapegoat. Another potential source, probably secondary, is the possibility that a dolled up woman is “high-maintenance” and therefore hard on the wallet. A woman who is hard on the wallet is likely to be a bad marriage risk as well, since divorce will tempt her with the promise of money.

  20. chicnoir November 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    Agree 100% it’s funny when guys see you without makeup if you usually wear makeup( sketch #2) you find them looking at you strangely because they can’t figure out why you look different. When I skip mascara & don’t curl my eyelashes I have guys telling me I “look sleepy” lol.

  21. AnonWriter November 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    Young men have no clue. I was once a young man who professed to not liking makeup or caring about clothes/hair… and yet strangely, I was attracted to women who wore makeup, nice clothes, and had nice hair. I was just an idiot. Do not believe any man who says they don’t like makeup. Just smile at them and nod your head.

  22. WillieMaize24 November 22, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    As for picture no. 2, agree about the skin tone evening out,, defining the eyebrows, and concealing the blemishes, but disagree about the lips and cheeks. They’re pink, not “pretty pink”. Adding color is an obvious giveaway. Lipstick and eyeshadow suggest high maintenance and self-absorption.

  23. fox March 19, 2014 at 2:45 am #

    i know a really young girl who on certain particular days has a natural glow and i asked her once on one of those days, “are you wearing make up?”. She replied “no.”. I was shocked but I believe her.

  24. Martin L. March 19, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    The test of real attractiveness is a comparison of with and without makeup, regardless of how good the makeup job is. The true beauty will look better without than with.

  25. Red March 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    This is true. And to me “no makeup” means “minimal makeup.” At least now I know how to *wear* my makeup.

  26. superslaviswife November 13, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    It depends. A woman between the ages of 16 and 25, with zero-stress, no hormonal imbalances, no excess weight, good sleep and a clean, zero-sugar, zero-vegetable oil diet can look like what men define as “no-makeup”. Youth brings the pinkness into the lips and cheeks, good rest and no stress remove purple undereyes, no stress and no excess weight remove puffiness in the cheeks, clean diet and no hormonal issues remove acne, youth and clean diet allow for far fewer skin scars and sun-blemishes. I know I look like that (when not stressed; right now my skin looks like a pepperoni pizza) and know many girls and women in that age range who do as well.

    So what men are saying is that they like the look of a young, fertile, very healthy woman without makeup.


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