Makeup or no makeup — the choice is a wonderful thing. Makeup allows us to do all kinds of creative things to our faces, from making our eyes look bigger to hiding imperfections that make us feel insecure about ourselves. And in some cases, people can use the magic of makeup in incredibly innovative fashions, creating looks that transcend what you think is possible with a little eyeshadow and a lot of time.
But as fun as makeup can be, however, few people would deny that there’s tremendous pressure on celebs to look perfect all the time, and a makeup routine is a big part of that. That’s especially the case for women, who are scrutinized for the smallest scar or a single gray hair. To that end, it takes a special amount of bravery for celebs to bare their natural faces to the world. And when they do, often it can downright break the internet.
So of all of the makeup-free selfies that celebs posted this decade, which made the biggest splash? And just what did the stars look like without their war paint? Read on to see the biggest stars who broke the internet with no make up pics in the past ten years.
Katy Perry's morning snapshot with no makeup surprised fans
When it comes to having an arsenal of ever-changing makeup looks, pop star Katy Perry has a big one. She always looks super glam when she’s waking the red carpet or lighting it up on stage, which is pretty impressive given how much work she also puts into each one of her performances.
But if there’s one thing that Perry doesn’t do, it’s go to bed with a full face of makeup on. “I never sleep with my makeup on unless I’m, like, spending the night over at a guy’s house. Then I wake up an hour early to get that natch look,” she shared in an interview with Elle. “No, not anymore. I used to do that a lot when I was younger. Now I’m like, what you see is what you get.”
Clearly the latter was the case when her now-ex-husband Russell Brand posted a quickly-deleted close-up of Perry wearing no makeup in late 2010 on his Twitter page (via the Daily News). Now we all know what Perry looks like after a good night’s snooze.
Fenty empress Rihanna showed the world what she looks like with no makeup
Singer and beauty mogul Rihanna is clearly a fan of makeup, given that she launched her own line of makeup called Fenty Beauty. That was something she was inspired to do after watching her mom in the business growing up. “My mom pretty much worked in the beauty and perfume industry for a long time,” she recalled in an interview with Interview magazine. “She did makeup for people and was a makeup artist so I always loved that.”
But believe it or not, Rihanna didn’t get to dabble in her mom’s cosmetic stash as a child — she had to wait until she was of a certain age. “I was not allowed to wear makeup for a very long time,” she continued. “But I would watch her in the mirror doing her makeup, obsessed.”
Well, if you ever wondered what the Grammy-winning singer looked like with no makeup, wonder no more: She showed the world her glowing fresh face in an Instagram post in 2014. She looks pretty radiant, no?
Miley Cyrus shared a selfie featuring no makeup
Even though Miley Cyrus has been famous ever since she was a teenager, she hasn’t always had an imperfection-free mug. Rather, she had to cultivate a skincare regimen that would ensure she’s always looking clear. “I always had really bad skin growing up, so I’m obsessed with taking care of my skin,” she revealed in an interview with Byrdie. “No matter what, I don’t pass out in my makeup. Like I will make sure I zombie walk [to the sink], no matter how late, and wash my face.”
Additionally, the singer doesn’t let makeup artists work on her due to some bad experiences in the past. “I do my own makeup, because I’m so obsessed with being clean,” she continued. “My skin was always so bad that I felt like any time anyone else did my makeup it would just take me back.”
Clearly all of that hard work has paid off because Cyrus looked pretty incredible with no makeup in a September 2019 Instagram post. What a glow!
Taylor Swift's morning selfie with no makeup broke the internet in 2015
Taylor Swift’s makeup game is always on point. With her signature bold red lipstick and perfect wing-tip eyeliner, the singer is seldom spotted without a perfectly made-up face. But that’s something she’s had to cultivate in more recent years, as she used to be more cavalier in her makeup choices. “After my teen years and early twenties of sleeping in my makeup and occasionally using a Sharpie as eyeliner (DO NOT DO IT), I felt like I needed to start being nicer to my skin,” she revealed in an interview with Elle. “I now moisturize my face every night and put on body lotion after I shower, not just in the winter, but all year round, because, why can’t I be soft during all the seasons?”
But even when she’s just waking up to the world, Swift still looks amazing. This was made known in 2015, when she posted a selfie wearing no makeup with one of her cats on Instagram (via InStyle).
Boy George wore no makeup and looked amazing
Long before Jeffree Star was a cosmetics juggernaut, Culture Club singer Boy George was famous for his unmistakable femme look, which included long hair and a full face of makeup. That was a side of himself that he’d been nurturing since he was a young boy, even though it was a struggle due to the norms of the time. “I was different, you know. Even from about the age of six years old, I was kind of made to feel different by other kids,” he recalled in an interview with NPR. “I was a quite pretty kid, and I got called girl a lot and woman and all of that.”
Fortunately for Boy George, his uniqueness was part of what made him and his band so popular back in the ’80s. And to this day, Boy George still sports plenty of makeup, although you can catch him with no makeup occasionally, such as in one 2017 Instagram post. We have nothing but respect for this gender-bending pioneer.
Tyra Banks proudly rocked no makeup with a selfie
When it comes to celebs with staying power, look no further than the beautiful Tyra Banks. The model, who became an author and television personality, has been killing it in the entertainment business for decades, breaking barriers along the way.
When it comes to posting makeup-free selfies, the America’s Next Top Model star isn’t afraid to let the world see her in all of her natural glory. For one, she shared a very vulnerable selfie on her Instagram page back in 2015. “You know how people say #nofilter but you know there’s a freakin’ filter on their pic? Or maybe there’s a smidge of retouching going on but they’re lying and saying it’s all raw & real? Well, this morn, I decided to give you a taste of the really real me,” she wrote in the caption. Yas, queen!
Banks also surprised her millions of followers in 2018 when she shared several selfies sharing her look with no makeup from a glamping trip.
Lady Gaga shared a pic of herself with no makeup and was, of course, stunning
Lady Gaga is a woman with many, many faces. The pop star and actress has done it all — from over-the-top, shape-shifting makeup and costumes to her seemingly bare-faced look in A Star is Born. So to say that Lady Gaga understands the power of makeup is an understatement.
Gaga first fell in love with makeup while watching her mother apply it. “She would look so, so beautiful, and so strong,” she mused in an interview with Allure. She added, “I grew up with this understanding that you can be brave in many different ways, and one of those ways is makeup.” It certainly can be everything, from armor to war paint to a total disguise.
You can see Gaga with no makeup in a February 2019 post on her Instagram page, accessorizing solely with the famous Tiffany Diamond that she wore to the 2019 Oscars.
Cardi B wore no makeup for a video and made headlines
When it comes to authenticity and being true to yourself, no one does it better than Cardi B. The Grammy-winning rapper is an open book about pretty much everything, from her history as a stripper to the way she feels about her body, and Cardi B’s stunning transformation has been inspiring. But when it comes to beauty, Cardi has her own unique spin on what exactly that looks like. “I think beautiful is like looking like you take care of yourself,” she explained in an interview with Elle. She went on, “I feel beautiful without makeup on, but when I do put makeup on, it just gives me this extra pop. Like, I want all of my ex-boyfriends to see me. I wanna go outside and I want everybody that I don’t like to see me.” Now that is a mood!
Just as Cardi is open about who she is, she’s also not afraid to show the world exactly what she looks like, even if it means stripping away all of her makeup. That much was obvious in 2018, when she posted a video showing herself with no makeup on her Instagram page, in which she gushed about her fans and thanked them for their support.
In 2016, Gwen Stefani shared what she looks like with no makeup
It’s not often that you’ll see singer Gwen Stefani without her signature makeup look: black eyeliner and a bold red lip. So often is she made up, in fact, that her children just expect her to be wearing makeup all of the time. “[Makeup] says a lot, I think,” she shared in an interview with InStyle. “Even my kids are so used to me wearing makeup that if I don’t, they’ll be like, ‘Wait are you gonna put on makeup?’ I’m like, ‘Of course I’m going to.’ It’s just who I am. Always have been.”
But that doesn’t mean that Stefani refuses to show her face without her go-to makeup on. For one, she stepped out at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards in a much more natural look, although not everyone was thrilled about it, according to Glamour. Fortunately, when she shared a photo on her Instagram page showing herself with no makeup, the post was flooded with comments telling her how beautiful she looks. We agree!
Kylie Jenner let freckles take center stage when she showed off what she looks like with no makeup
Kylie Jenner loves makeup, and, frankly, makeup has been more than kind to the young beauty mogul in return, as her cosmetics business minted her as the youngest self-made billionaire of all time. Of course, she already had an existing platform, but her accomplishment is impressive nonetheless.
Jenner’s success all started with a passion for beauty products. “Makeup is something that makes me feel empowered, makes me feel good, and I think it’s such a positive thing,” she revealed in an interview with Paper magazine. “There’s no harm in playing around with it and feeling good about yourself.” Amen, Kylie!
But if you ever wondered what the youngest member of the first family of reality television looks like with no makeup on, wonder no more: Jenner showed her gorgeous face sans makeup in a post on her Instagram page in April 2019. It looks like she still has those adorable freckles, too!
In 2014, Nicki Minaj's shower selfie revealed what she looks like with no makeup
If there’s one thing you can count on from Nicki Minaj, it’s that she’ll always make a splash wherever she goes. Part of that is due to her always-evolving hair and makeup looks, which are often super flashy and bold. “I’m really into contouring to change the shape of my face,” she explained in an interview with Hello! magazine. “When it comes to putting on fake eyelashes, I use a little imagination, a lot of eyeliner, a steady hand and no fear! For me, more is more!”
But when the rapper exits the stage and goes home, she’s careful to take good care of her skin — and it shows. “I never go to bed with my makeup on — ever,” she continued. “I drink tons of water and slather myself in cocoa butter.”
Fans of Minaj got a glimpse of what that routine might look like when she posted a shower selfie on her Instagram page back in 2014, showing off her appearance when she has no makeup on (via India Today). We wonder if she sings in the shower like everyone else does, too…
Alicia Keys vowed to stop wearing makeup in 2016
Arguably the first person that pops to mind when you think of the #nomakeup movement that blossomed in the last decade is Alicia Keys. The Grammy Award-winning singer famously all but quit wearing makeup in 2016, after she was able to realize her natural beauty in a photo shoot. “The universe was listening to those things I’d promised myself, or maybe I was just finally listening to the universe, but however it goes, that’s how this whole #nomakeup thing began,” the sometimes coach on The Voice penned in an article in Lenny. “Once the photo I took with Paola came out as the artwork for my new song ‘In Common,’ it was that truth that resonated with others who posted #nomakeup selfies in response to this real and raw me.”
Ever since then, Keys has been the face of the #nomakeup movement, showing off her face with no makeup both on social media and at high-profile events. Way to show women that they’re beautiful no matter what, Alicia!
Kim Kardashian West, the queen of breaking the internet, did it again with a no-makeup selfie in 2019
It would be difficult, if not downright impossible, to discuss breaking the internet without mentioning Kim Kardashian West. The reality star famously did just that with her cover shoot for Paper magazine back in 2014, when she showed her bare backside for all the world to see.
Since then, West has slowed her pace a little bit due to her family duties, and that includes how much time she spends on her beauty regimen. “I think it was just evolving and realizing I don’t have to wear that much makeup,” she shared in an interview with Elle. “Especially when you’re on the go, whether you’re a mom, whether you’re just working, whether you’re in school [and] you only have a little bit of time.” That’s definitely relatable.
West once again broke the internet when she posted a picture of herself with no makeup on to her Instagram page in 2019. And chances are she’ll break the internet again in the future.
Katie Holmes shocked fans when she went out with no makeup on
From the start, it was evident that actress Katie Holmes radiates a natural beauty, when she broke out into Hollywood playing Joey in the teen drama Dawson’s Creek. From that point on, Holmes was an It girl in the entertainment industry, which meant that her free time was permanently in short supply. “My schedule is pretty busy, so I’ve learned to do my makeup quickly because I prefer to sleep,” she revealed in an interview with Into the Gloss. “I’ll wait until the very last minute to wake up and get ready in about 20 minutes.” She added that she even does her makeup in the car sometimes, which is surprising given how put together Holmes usually looks.
Holmes is not afraid to step outside with no makeup on, even if it means that the cameras might catch her. And that’s evidence of Holmes’ confidence in her authentic good looks!
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