7 Women Ditch Their Makeup For One Revealing Photo Shoot

Photographed by Terry Gates.
We live in a world of gotcha journalism. Paparazzi can make beaucoup bucks selling photos of stars without makeup on — because, heaven forbid they be seen in such a state! This tabloid fodder has made being snapped sans cosmetics seem like the kiss of death (unless it's a well-composed selfie, of course). But, in reality, we all know that both women in the public eye and us normal folk regularly go without "faces" on. It's just not always splashed across the front page of a glossy.

So, we decided to take the narrative back. Let's put the power back in the hands of the women who are made to feel as though their unmade faces are something to hide. We asked seven ladies in the spotlight — none of whom had ever had a professional barefaced photograph taken (at least not on purpose) — to step in front of the camera. We asked them to come in with the makeup they usually wear, snapped a shot, and then had them take it off for the "after." At the end of the shoot, we asked them how it felt. Their reactions varied, but one thing was clear: Makeup can be transformative, but taking it off can be equally so.

Click through to see these well-known women chuck their makeup — and the poignant results.


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Photographed by Terry Gates.
Oh Land, Singer/Producer

Talk us through your typical makeup routine.
"I brush my brows, and maybe I'll do a '60s eyeliner and a little bit of mascara. But, I don't typically wear foundation or powder. I don't like to wear things on my skin. I like to keep it clean."

Have you ever been photographed professionally without makeup?
"I've had it done by accident a few times before, but hadn't given it much thought. But, since it was a 'before-and-after' this time, I'm definitely more conscious about it."

Were you nervous going in?
"I think because you're comparing [the before-and-after shots], I felt a little bit undressed. But, you know, I knew that it was just inside my own head."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
What was the first thing that popped into your head when you saw the photo of yourself without makeup?
"I thought, Oh, I look younger. I also thought I looked a little bit more modern. With makeup, I looked a little bit more retro."

Do you think this experience has influenced you to go barefaced more often?
"I'm not the kind of person who feels uncomfortable if I go out without makeup. I do that pretty often. But, it definitely gives me courage to also do it for things where I'd typically be wearing makeup — like performing."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
Sharaya J, Singer

Talk us through your typical makeup routine.
"The funny thing is I'm actually like a minimal run-around makeup girl, because I get [my makeup] done so much for shows. On a normal day, I'm really just mascara, clean brow, and a lip. That's it. I might put a little bit of blush on. I don't really wear foundation on a normal day, but I do focus on my skin. I make sure that I do vitamin E and a topical vitamin C. I mix them together; it's like a potion. But, I always make sure I do that first. And then, I do simple makeup."

Have you ever been photographed professionally without makeup?
"This is the first time I'm doing it for a shoot. I've gotten caught without my makeup done. But, for that to be the purpose, this is the first time."

Were you nervous going in?
"You get that little bit of vulnerability. For me, I'm like, if you love me with makeup you've got to love me without it. I was a little nervous, but for the most part, I'm good with it."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
Do you think this experience has influenced you to go barefaced more often?
"Yeah! I'm that way all the time, so now it just encouraged me to do it and not feel any way about it. Just to feel confident enough in my own skin. Because, I do."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
Lo Bosworth, Founder Of The Lo Down

Talk us through your typical makeup routine.
"My typical routine is quick and easy, with a focus on evening skin tone and adding some natural drama to my eyelashes and eyebrows. I start with a Dermalogica moisturizer, and then mix Giorgio Armani Designer Lift Foundation with Make Up For Ever Face & Body. For concealer under the eyes (and to hide any blemishes), I use Clé de Peau concealer. I'm loving MAC blush again all of a sudden — they have some great skin-tone blushes that are really spectacular. My favorite currently is called Blush All Day. I either use CoverGirl LashBlast Mascara or Estée Lauder's Little Black Primer if I want a super-natural look. Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil and a swipe of YSL lipstick #29, and I'm good to go!"

Have you ever been photographed professionally without makeup?
"No, but I do make a lot of YouTube beauty videos and start with a totally bare face."

Were you nervous going in?
"I wasn't nervous at all, actually. I'm very comfortable in my own skin, and really appreciate the natural, effortless beauty of women. The female ideal to me is someone like Tilda Swinton, who looks so effortlessly chic and minimal all the time."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
What was the first thing that popped into your head when you saw the photo of yourself without makeup?
"I was pleasantly surprised at how even my skin looked. Even though I always go light on the color when it comes to my everyday makeup, I rarely leave the house without at least a swipe of concealer on."

Do you think this experience has influenced you to go bare-faced more often?
"I love a natural look — the photos really turned out beautifully. I'm constantly striving to create looks for women to recreate on my YouTube channel that look quite effortless."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
Sita Abellan, Model

Talk us through your typical makeup routine.
"Typically, I'll just wear a little bit of eyeliner and a lip color. Sometimes mascara. I wear concealer under my eyes because I have bags. Since I wear makeup so often for work, and I work almost every day, I don't really do my own makeup all that often. But, I do wear makeup just about every day."

Have you ever been photographed professionally without makeup?
"I haven't."

Were you nervous going in?
"I was a little nervous — mostly because I'd never done it before."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
What was the first thing that popped into your head when you saw the photo of yourself without makeup?
"I was surprised — I thought I looked tired! I feel like I have bags under my eyes, and I thought I just generally looked sleepy. But, I was pretty happy with the way I looked."

Do you think this experience has influenced you to go barefaced more often?
"Maybe. I will usually wear concealer under my eyes. But, for the most part, I think I can go without makeup more often."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
Nicolette Mason, Writer & Founder Of NicoletteMason.com

Talk us through your typical makeup routine.
"For years, I've had a pretty heavy-duty makeup routine. I spend a lot of time in front of the camera (or taking selfies), and years of having problem skin led me to overcompensate with makeup. I would start with a primer, liquid foundation, concealer, and powder, and then go in with a light contour, highlight, blush, liquid liner, half a dozen coats of mascara, and always a bold lip."

Have you ever been photographed professionally without makeup?
"Oh, god — not if I could help it! I definitely have some personal, candid photos taken with friends [without makeup], but professionally, I avoid it at all costs. There have been a few published 'behind-the-scenes' photos of myself with a completely bare face, and I always hated them."

Were you nervous going in?
"Yes! Makeup is first and foremost a form of expression for me, but it also operates like a shield — an armor that keeps the 'real me' safe and protected. There are only a handful of people I've previously allowed to see me with no makeup whatsoever."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
What was the first thing that popped into your head when you saw the photo of yourself without makeup?
"Honestly, I was surprised! I'd convinced myself that I so badly NEEDED makeup, and after seeing the photos I was like, Huh, that's not bad! I left my face bare for almost a whole week following the shoot, and went very minimal with makeup after that."

Do you think this experience has influenced you to go barefaced more often?
"Yes, 100%! My self-perception was really, really off. And, ever since this shoot — and major skin-care rehab care of master facialist Joanna Vargas — I have seriously scaled back my makeup routine! I keep it more simple now with a tinted moisturizer (I'm loving Hourglass right now), a couple coats of mascara, and some bronzer. And, if I'm going out at night I'll add in my liquid liner and a statement lip (the NARS Audacious line is my favorite formula, ever)."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
Cari Champion, Host Of ESPN2's First Take

Talk us through your typical makeup routine.
"Because I work five days a week — I'm on air — and I sometimes am wearing makeup anywhere from two to seven hours a day, when it's my time, and I do my own makeup, it's more of a chore than fun. So, I try to keep things pretty simple, because in my mind, I'm 'recovering.' I'll do eyeliner, I might put a few eyelashes on, and then I'll do a little bit of concealer on my dark spots and under my eyes. And, that's it — I go. I do like a fresher, dewier look when I'm not on camera. If I remember, I usually put on a colored lipstick. Then, I'll fill in my brows. I can do my makeup in five minutes."

Have you ever been photographed professionally without makeup?
"No! But, on my Instagram page, I'll put up a few images of myself without makeup on. I did it once or twice because it's freeing. I'm not trying to hide anything."

Were you nervous going in?
"Yes! When I sat down for the photo, I thought to myself, Wait. No makeup. I forgot. (laughs) I wasn't apprehensive, I was just like, Okay, I'm a woman. I don't necessarily care about what I look like without makeup. But, there is something vulnerable about taking off your makeup and having someone take a photo of you, and seeing your imperfections. I do think there is beauty in imperfection."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
What was the first thing that popped into your head when you saw the photo of yourself without makeup?
"I was like, Oh, my god, I look tired! No, actually, to be honest, I didn't see much of a difference...it wasn't dramatic. I was actually happy with it. It was freeing. Me without makeup is the same person as me with makeup. It's the same confidence, the same goofiness, the same funny, awkward way about myself. For me, there's no difference."

Do you think this experience has influenced you to go barefaced more often?
"Yes, 100%. Because, it is freeing. The more [women] we see [photographed without their makeup on], the more it goes towards a trend. I am waiting on Beyoncé, though, so let me know when she gets photographed without her makeup."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
Rachel Antonoff, Designer

Talk us through your typical makeup routine.
"My normal makeup routine is minimal. I feel my best when I have a little eyeliner on. But, that's really all I know how to do, so it's really all I do. I like Kiehl's moisturizer for my face. And then, sometimes I'll use their Midnight Recovery for under my eyes."

Have you ever been photographed professionally without makeup?
"No, I haven't."

Were you nervous going in?
"I wasn't — it was okay. It's not that I'm so confident in my looks. It's more of an apathy situation. I'm 33 years old, and I've gotten to a point with myself that I feel as if I've accepted myself with what's here to stay — what I don't like, or what I do like, or what's changeable. But, otherwise, I don't really care. I think it's nice to be in [this] field — like, it must be really difficult to be a model, because their field is so based on how they look."
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Photographed by Terry Gates.
What was the first thing that popped into your head when you saw the photo of yourself without makeup?
"I see myself without makeup on so often. And, even though it's not professionally photographed, I'm usually not wearing makeup, so I'm very used to that face. It's not like it's my secret face. I can imagine for some people that would be very uncomfortable. It's like, if I can imagine myself being photographed here naked, that would be very uncomfortable."

Do you think this experience has influenced you to go barefaced more often?
"I think being photographed without eyeliner on is a new thing for me. But, for the most part, this was okay. This felt okay."
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