If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t think twice before grabbing your camera and heading out with it on hand just so you can capture that perfect moment. It could be something as simple as taking a picture of friends at a party or maybe snapping a candid street shot while walking around town. The point is, I’m always ready to go whenever my mood strikes and I have no qualms about getting creative if there happens to be someone worth photographing along the way. This means that on more than one occasion I’ve taken random pictures of people who happen to look interesting while they were going about their day.
I recently stumbled upon this image I took last year of a guy at work wearing only jeans and sneakers, his face covered by a black baseball cap. He looked kind of dorky, all scruffed up and unshaven, which was actually pretty funny considering he had a full head of hair normally. As soon as I saw it though, I knew I wanted to try shooting similar images again with different subjects, because even though it wasn’t done purposely, something about it felt really cool. So here we are today, trying to find 10 great examples of celebrities showing off natural beauty sans makeup.
Let’s get started!
Red Riding Hood
This photo isn’t necessarily meant to show how amazing Charlize looks when not wearing any makeup whatsoever. Instead, it serves as proof that sometimes less is truly more. Not everyone has the privilege to walk down the red carpet looking flawless every single time, especially during awards season where it seems like everyone wears heavy foundation, tons of eyeliner and loads of eye shadow. There’s nothing wrong with using makeup, but too much can make anyone look tired instead of beautiful. Which leads us nicely into…
The Devil Wears Prada
Nowadays, most actresses these days do whatever they want with their faces. Some wear minimal makeup so they can seem real, others use heavy contouring and highlighting techniques to achieve extreme effects. Whatever works best for them. In the case of Emma Stone, you’ll often see her with barely any makeup on at all, letting her naturally dewy skin shine through. When asked why, she said it helps give a “fresh start” to each new scene, allowing viewers to forget they’re watching a celebrity altogether. For other actresses, such as Natalie Portman, having very little makeup on is part of the character they’re playing, meaning the viewer gets to experience a true representation of the role. Either way, both women look absolutely gorgeous without any help from makeup artists.
In this particular example above, Jennifer Lawrence demonstrates the power of light properly used. Most actors would likely consider themselves blessed to have photographers capturing their moments throughout the film, but JLaw takes it a step further. Her entire appearance in Mockingjay is captured entirely on set, where she spends hours filming scenes and interacting with co-stars. She doesn’t need to worry about lighting or changing outfits between sets because her makeup artist does those things for her. And since she already knows exactly what she wants, the rest is left to the professionals.
Jennifer also mentioned that it makes sense to keep her costume simple, since she needs to focus solely on acting and delivering quality performances rather than worrying about whether her eyebrows will be perfectly arched or her lips lined correctly. Although many actresses choose to put on elaborate costumes designed specifically for closeups, JLaw opts to stick with simpler ones that won’t distract from her performance.
A Clockwork Orange
Although A Clockwork Orange may not be considered a mainstream blockbuster, Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 cult classic still managed to garner critical acclaim across the board. Many critics praised director/writer/producer Kubrick for creating a dark yet unique world filled with unforgettable characters. One of the main reasons for its popularity was how well cast the two young stars – Malcolm McDowell and Alex Siddig – played their roles. Both men portrayed Andy, the leader of Stanley’s gang, extremely convincingly despite being 12 years younger than him. However, it’s hard to appreciate their efforts until you realize how difficult it must have been for them to pull off without proper makeup. Their greasy hair and stubbly facial features alone wouldn’t cut it. Luckily, there’s a lot Andy and his buddies can accomplish without shaving.
Another acclaimed science fiction flick directed by Ben Affleck, Argo tells the story of six Americans held hostage in Iran after a CIA operation goes horribly awry. With little hope of ever leaving safely alive, seven members of Team ARGO risk everything to save their lives. They manage to escape and return home, but unfortunately, their heroic mission comes with serious consequences. Despite losing almost 30 hostages’ lives, President Carter later commends the team for risking their own safety to help ensure the safe release of the remaining captives. If that weren’t enough, it turns out that none of the original group survived, including lead actor John Goodman, who died after returning stateside due to complications related to diabetes. His death hit them particularly hard, forcing the surviving cast to reevaluate their purpose in life.
Luckily, Goodman didn’t have to deal with harsh makeup applications, since his character lived outside Tehran. Still, the producers did decide to apply prosthetics to cover his nose and mouth, making him appear disfigured. Unfortunately, they couldn’t hide his wrinkles completely, causing the audience to question his age. Even worse, they decided to add additional CGI to create the illusion that he aged significantly since the events of the film.
Mad Max : Beyond Thunderdome
We end this list with perhaps the toughest challenge of all. While Mad Max is one of the few movies that actually attempts to portray realistic human conditions, beyond the plotline, the actual makeup applied to Tom Hardy’s body seemed unrealistic. In fact, one critic described the final product as resembling a “glossy Halloween mask.” To prove the point, Hardy agreed to participate in a photoshoot sans makeup so fans could compare. Needless to say, it’s quite obvious that he spent an enormous amount of time covering his whole face, neck and chest area with layers of thick paint. Considering how long it took him to complete the task, it’s safe to assume that he used multiple products over several hours to finish, resulting in severe irritation. In addition, the makeup needed to stay intact for extended periods of time, so he’d have to reapply it frequently, slowing down production considerably. All of this made it impossible for Hardy to act like himself, and audiences got to watch him awkwardly struggle with the process.
Hardy eventually went back to applying his own makeup, but it should serve as another reminder that although it certainly gives certain celebrities an unfair advantage, it’s important to remember that not everybody has access to professional makeup artists. Also, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that some famous folks prefer to let their natural beauty speak for itself. After all, why bother putting on fake tanner or bronzer when you can simply wake up tomorrow morning feeling fresh and healthy?