Five Things I Learnt from Five Makeup-Free Days

Makeup Free Days

A few week’s back when I headed to the Lake District, I did so extremely streamlined with just a pair of trainers and walking boots, two pairs of trousers, five tops, a hoodie, a waterproof jacket, PJ’s and a lighter than usual wash bag lobbed into the boot of my car. No heels, no hair tools and surprisingly no makeup. Ok wellΒ – I did pack a lip balm, an eyebrow comb and a pair of eyelash curlers but that doesn’t count as makeup, right? Wearing no slapΒ isn’t an alien prospect to me. I do so very often, but usually in close vicinity to my home which means I have 20 red lipsticks within arms reach should I feel the urge to spruce up. Comfort, you know? But being 300 miles away from home with a pretty empty looking toiletry bag under my arm, over my five makeup-free days I learnt a few things…

1. Getting ready is so quick. Seriously – so quick. Shower, shave, brush of the hair into a ponytail – done. I think my morning regime may even have been faster than Mark’s. Factor in another two minutes to slather on SPF, a step I missed on Day 1 and suffered the consequences for (see Point 4).

2. You’ll pack so light. Oh my word. If you’re familiar with my holiday packing guides of last year then you know that packing is both joyous for me and done with military precision. I love it. I pride myself on never forgetting anything and having a wash-bag that usually takes up half my suitcase. However this time it closed. Madness. And it didn’t even look like it was going to pull the hook off the bathroom door when I hung it up. Even more crazy.

3. You won’t care. I’m comfortable without a full-face of slap anyway, but not having access to it at all meant that I went without in situations where I’d usually reach for something, even just mascara and concealer. It’s surprising how little you give two hoots.

4. Your skin will not miraculously become like J.Lo’s. Have you seen her no makeup selfie? I was under the illusion that leaving things bare was a sure fire ticket into a celeb-like complexion, but apparently not. Spot city along with the delightful phenomenon that is windburn decided to have a little parade on my face. When talking to my mate Mel about the matter she had a little theory that perhaps without the layer of cover-up to protect it, the barrier was down and therefore the redness and pimples had a party. Who knows?

5. You will get a spot. Fact. By Day 3 a huge puss-y sucker had erupted right in the centre of my forehead and by Day 5 it resembled a third eye. I found myself looking longingly at other women in the campsite bathroom who were beautifully blending in concealer and secretly hatching a plan to scout out the nearest Boots for an emergency purchase. Miraculously I survived without, but that blighter is still present today. Thank gawd for Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage.


  • Great post Anna! I love having no make up days, thanks for sharing! x


  • Love the fact you had to bring your eyebrow comb with you!! Gotta keep them under control!!

  • I’m fine without my makeup, but I can’t go without my skincare. Gotta prevent that acne as best as possible!

  • Miss N

    Loved this most!
    Need to have a no-makeup day soon!

  • beautyholicsanonymous

    Makeup-free holidays are the best. Don’t have to worry about over-packing, don’t have to worry about makeup breakage/spillage AND you get extra sleep in. What’s not to love? πŸ˜‰

  • Love&Blog

    I love you packing guide – every time (!) I’m packing for any trip I’m digging through your posts and packing videos to get some inspiration and just to listen to you talking – love you! xxx

  • Great post, I would find it so hard to leave the makeup at home but it must have been liberating!

    CassandraMyee | Beauty | Fashion | Life

  • Bella

    I often go without makeup on holiday, but I ALWAYS take it with me. It’s my security blanket. Just to know that I can, you know ;)? I love the tent photo!!

  • Zazie Bibi

    I love going makeup free, but whenever i get a spot doing so i just think to myself “how? i thought this meant my skin would be clear?” oh well, that’s life haha x

    A Little Treat | Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • The joys of exam block is that its a solid month of no makeup days (and no human contact) yet, I have found that a new procrastination technique of mine is to apply a full face of makeup AND then test out new skincare products to take it all off again! I clearly need to get out more, also the lake district pic looks so lovely x

  • Valeria Hel Capellaro

    I always bring concealer with me. Just in case.

  • ModernGrace

    I often go without makeup at home, but I love lipstick too much to let it go. And I’m sure J. Lo has very expensive facials to keep her skin that way. πŸ˜‰ I use Sunday Riley Good Genes to get the glow.

  • I love camping, great post Anna πŸ™‚

    Kate xo //

  • I did a post on going makeup-free a couple of weeks ago, I totally agree with everything you said!

    ellabooxo β€’ beauty & lifestyle

  • you look like you had a fab time camping, sometimes it’s nice to be one with nature

  • Avanti

    Getting away from home and going camping is great because you realise how much time you truly have and you really get to appreciate nature.


  • Rivenstar

    I think a lot of it is what your skin is used to. I’m a stay-at-home mom to a 16 month old, so most days I’m make-up free, and my skin looks great. Of course I take care of it with good skincare (often recommended by you and other beauty bloggers). I only wear make-up maybe a couple times a week, and while it’s fun to put on, I can’t wait to take it off again, and if left on all day – that can break me out because it’s foreign to my skin.

  • I’m glad too know that going without make up doesn’t actually give you perfect skin! Makes me feel less guilty!

    The Velvet Black // UK Style, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

  • Loved this Anna! And just in time for my lil Maldives getaway next week!

    I think beyond the SPF, your regular skincare still needs to make an appearance. I’ve found that if I just slather on SPF alone, I break out, but if I moisturise and have my serum on underneath I don’t breakout.

  • ellaturney

    I also went to the lake district, but i wore a bit of concealer, powder and blusher, no eye make up! i was very proud of myself, but i fear without some concealer, my dark eye circles would scare people haha! xx

    • Catherine ThΓ©berge

      I feel you girl! I am extremely fair and have quite deep hollow under my eyes so I basically look dead without concealer! But with it I feel a thousand time better!!

      • ellaturney

        Yes same!

  • Iris

    You have such great skin that I almost always think you had makeup on in your videos, until you apply foundation the next second πŸ™‚

    Love your writing! It always gives me a good laugh.

  • Your skin is pretty much flawless already x

  • Love this post! It’s a good reminder to go makeup free more often! πŸ™‚

  • Haha I love this! x

  • It’s now a fuzzy memory, but year 9 camp (note: in the wilderness camp..), certainly showed the women from the girls at my school. My friends and I (like yourself) coped fine without the luxury of a hair straightener and a foundation, some of the others though…. Majorly found make-up-less struggletown. πŸ™‚

    Beth. x

  • i seriously love going make-up free, but i get you on point 5 – wearing make-up for a bit and then allowing it to breathe and some little unwanted friends appear – so annoying !

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography –

  • Manouk

    I’ve been makeup free since Friday and I’m still going strong πŸ˜› Also, I got a spot on my chin πŸ™

    WOMANOUK (beauty and portrait

  • You are one brave lady I couldn’t do it!! πŸ™‚

  • A few years ago I went on a five week camping trip where I didn’t wear makeup, and it was so liberating!

  • Hemylle Karollyne

    hahahahahaha Lessons learnt. I feel great without make up, but I sometimes feel weird because I wear it all the time, so even leaving home without eyelines sometimes feel strange. Have a great day, dear!


  • Fair play to you for not even taking emergency back ups, not sure I could do it!

    Nic x StrawberryBlondeBeauty

  • I could leave everything EXCEPT for concealer in emergency cases like #5

    annie |

  • I find that when I’m on vacation, I don’t wear much makeup anyway, so I tend to pack lightly. It really does free you up to do other things…like more time on the beach…or sleeping in even later! πŸ™‚

    • Same here! I recently went on a business trip and vacation with little makeup. No one noticed, not even my BF who sees me everyday with makeup (granted he seems oblivious to that stuff anyway). I think I would pack more skincare stuff though. I’d be horrified to have an angry blemish on vacation.

      In-Flight Essentials | Refined Lately

  • Kate

    I just couldn’t do this. It wouldn’t be fair to any small children or animals in the vicinity…. x
    Kate Louise Blogs

  • Michelle Glassow Schroll

    I often take makeup-free days and it just feels amazing πŸ™‚

  • Becky Foster

    I have to say, that this post really makes me think. I’m going to the lakes at the weekend and this has really helped me think logically about what to pack. Thanks Anna! xx

  • Looks like you had an absolutely lovely trip! I’ve rarely gone more than a day without makeup, but I do think camping would be the perfect opportunity to let go and accept a bare-faced lifestyle for a while πŸ˜‰ Great post, as always! xo

  • I’ve tried to go several days without out wearing make up, but I can barely last one x

  • Liz

    I find if I’m gonna go makeup-free I step it up in the skincare department πŸ™‚ This was such a great post, by the way. You always seem to find really interesting takes on topics.

  • Going makeup-free is actually a very difficult thing, especially if you are used to wearing it everyday!

  • Make up free days feel good! But I also find having make up really amazing! So I get you on point no. 5!
    Love this post <3 πŸ™‚

  • Going make-up free is sooo refreshing. If I’m working from home I’ll never bother with it, although I do then get really worried that I’ll bump into someone I know while I’m walking the dog! xx

  • Sybil Mae

    I love going makeup free, I feel like it is a nice break for my skin πŸ™‚

    Beauty and fashion YouTube channel – Sybil Mae

  • I tend to have a lot of makeup-free days in the summer, mostly because I try to stay near the water as much as possible. Who needs mascara when you’re sailing anyways!

  • That sounds like it’s so refreshing and a good escape to go free from the makeup every once and again! x

    Soup || UK Beauty Blog

  • Pippin

    This is one of the best blogs you have written πŸ™‚ down to earth, back to basics, something everyone can enjoy even if the cost is a spot!

  • emiller1233

    The acne is always the worst, I’m fine with no makeup…I just have to keep up with the skincare.


  • Hey,

    I live in Keswick and I’m trying to figure out if that photo is of Derwentwater or not! Haha Hope you had a lovely time anyway!


  • Kendall

    What a great post! I went to the beach this weekend with friends, and we had plans to go somewhere afterward, so I had concealer, mascara, and eyeshadow in tow. Ended up not even bothering to touch any of it. Summer is the best for rocking a makeup-less face! feels so good.

  • Joycelyn Steib

    Oh wow….#5 was a crack up for sure!!! πŸ™‚ a third eye ? LOL yes you gave us a lot to think about!! Thanks for sharing once again!!!

  • Mikayla

    I’ve noticed the same thing happens to me when I take a couple days off. I find myself justifying not washing my face with “I didn’t wear makeup today, therefore nothing to wash off” and then wind up with a massive one. I’m glad you enjoyed your holiday though!

  • I’m totally convinced that the light layer of makeup I put on everyday protects my skin: as long as I remove it religiously well at night my skin is way better when I wear makeup that when I don’t!

  • Daniella




  • I just love your style of writing. Never fails to make me smile! X

  • Sarah Nunn

    Anna you look flippin’ gorgeous without make up on! My problem is I’m so fair my eyebrows / lashes appear completely non existent when I’m bare faced. I do happily go without make up some days though xxx

    Sarah Nunn | UK Style Blog

  • Love it.


  • Love it! I get so used to no makeup in the summer, but I still always reach for it when I have a family bbq or anything like that. I envy people that are bold enough to just go no-makeup on an average day to work or something!

    Lauren |

  • Allison

    I go without makeup pretty much any day I can just as a breather for my skin and I can’t say I notice more break outs with or without makeup on
    Allison from

  • I went camping last weekend after two years away from tent πŸ™‚

  • Rachael

    Good for you Anna! I bet you shaved off a lot of time getting ready. I still break out without makeup too πŸ™

  • Carolyn Wolfram

    I wish I could go without makeup. My face is having such a crisis now that I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving the house without covering that mess up. *sigh* You look lovely and dear god do I miss the Lake District. Still looks beautiful! πŸ™‚

  • Cate W

    I’m always so surprised how much I like myself without makeup, especially when I don’t wear it for a few days. Even in pictures!

    I found your observations spot on!


  • nueyork

    I love packing light, but I always seem to “what if” and weasel in a few makeup items that I never end up using!

  • Loved this post, Anna! It’s quite liberating indeed to go makeup-free. You look just as lovely without makeup!!

    Carolyn |

  • Sarah Pradolin

    This is a fantastic post! Great tips. You produce wonderful content on your blog daily xx

  • I always love your opinion πŸ™‚
    Miki xx

  • Frankie Clarke

    Love this post, your honesty is what gets me hooked everytime!

    Frankie Boo Blog

  • Brodie White

    It’s somewhat insane how your skin behaves when you think you’re treating it nicely and taking a day off from all of the makeup! Even if I’m just sitting around the house all day I still put on a bb cream because when I don’t I end up looking like a grease monster & you’re right; without fail there will be a pimple to join the grease party!

    Lovely post, wish I looked as fresh & lovely without make-up!

    Brodie|brodu-soup xx

  • Sophie K

    HAHA so true! well done for not taking any, I usually take some “just in case” xx

  • Maybe it’s your lovely camera but you always seem to glow w/o makeup.

    Having had to endure the no makeup challenge for over a week, let me just say–you “learn” not to give 2 hoots about it, especially when you’re not alone with this struggle.

  • Holly Hutcheon

    haha I this this is my new holiday mantra, being a big overpacker this will be a nightmare but a blessing in disguise!


  • I do love a trip away as an excuse to go make up free!


  • Emily Hewitt

    If I’ve worn a large amount of makeup for an extended period of time, I *always* break out after. I’ve just committed to going makeup free several times a week to let my skin breathe.

  • I don’t even understand my skin. If I go without makeup I’m super oily and I get spots. Still! So you think you are doing something great by letting your skin breath, when really it likes to be piled up with gunk. =[

    Carolyn | BLOG

  • Sometimes it’s so good to just ditch the slap and not give a hoot! X

  • Never forget the SPF!!! I did on the first day of a beach holiday and rocked a bright red tomato look for the rest of the trip! // timidlioness

  • Nicole

    Jennifer Lopez’ “no makeup” selfie was bogus; her skin is awful without makeup. IF she truly went makeup free to take the photo (and that’s a big if), then she was just having a good skin day (we all get one). So don’t feel the need to compare yourself to her again because it’s really not necessary. I’m sure your skin is much, much better than her is anyway.

    I always thought you had decent skin without makeup, and are one of the few YouTubers and makeup bloggers that doesn’t look like death warmed over without it. You look basically the same with or without makeup, which is fantastic. You use makeup in a way that enhances what you already have, rather than completely transform yourself so drastically, that you look like two different people when you’re not wearing it. I consider that to be a makeup skill most people don’t possess (or perhaps don’t want to possess).

    Anyway, thank you for blogging about your experience going a few days without makeup!

  • Jade Harris

    I always go holidays with my makeup and summer perfumes! A must! Giving them up would be challenging!

  • MacKenna

    Hi Anna,

    I’m usually just a blog lurker but the boots in the picture on the left with the wraparound chain detail have made me break my silence! Would you mind telling me the brand/style?


  • Goya AB

    Another highly import bonus of not wearing make up: no need to cleanse at night, and may be the morning preparation time is super quick, but there is no pleasure of morning make up meditation…

  • LindaWando390

    Well-timed piece ! In case , if your business needs to combine PDF or PNG files , my husband ran across post here