In 2016, the American singer Alicia Keys declared war on makeup in her song “When A Girl Can’t Be Herself”, claiming high and loud: “Maybe all this Maybelline is covering my self-esteem.” Did she know she was then launching a global movement? Decoding.
The skin is socially marked by lifestyles. In the era of selfies, no one is fooled: where a covering foundation would hide flaws, nude would be - on the contrary - the expression of great self-confidence. A clear and natural skin sends a rewarding image where an excessive makeup would give evidence of a lacking self-esteem. As explained by the anthropologist Séverine Enjolras, “Nude responds to many codes that should be known. It is something cunningly sophisticated which also fits a more global trend: coming back to an ideal of simplicity, like eating organic and local, wearing natural fabrics, living in the countryside”.
Back to the sources
“To be genuine”: the expression that crowns an authentic personality. For the semiologist Anthony Mathé, CELSA (French school of media and communication) professor, it is important not to confuse the no makeup and nude trends, with differing intentions: “Nude equates a healthy glow. And it is a lot of work; first with creams, and then makeup. The no makeup is a manifesto. It is about no longer subduing oneself to images. Not everything is instagrammable!” For the Hollywood stars who initiated the movement, it is also a violent questioning of the seduction expected from them.
Everyone agrees, a beautiful nude starts at home with meticulous treatments, daily makeup removal and a perfectly mastered environment: “Evidently, nude is in line with all skin care. It forces a very respectful care and the moisturizing necessity”, continues the anthropologist. Indeed, no “nude” can be realized on a shiny or dull skin
After all, nude is a discipline and an art which starts well before the most sophisticated makeup techniques. Skin is a genuine scroll on which life imprints with the passing years. This is what makes it beautiful, its secret and unique character; as Valéry wrote “What is deepest in man is the skin”.