How To Look Good Without Makeup

I don’t know about you, but as a mom with a two year old, I spend many days feeling run-down, burnt-out, draggin’-ass tired. That directly affects my appearance.

The problem is that when I looked around for ways to spruce up my everyday look without going crazy, I couldn’t find many options. Have you seen the makeup aisle lately? It’s a wall of chemicals! Plus, I’m actually not really into smearing stuff all over my face every day, either.

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t hate makeup. I still have a small selection of eyeshadows and other natural makeup to prettify myself for special occasions. And I can say without a doubt that if I was doing what Stephanie does every day – promoting books, speaking at events, and making TV appearances – I would be caked in the stuff. Going to the grocery store and going on camera are very, very different things!

Want to know how to look good without makeup? I’ve got a few things to share with you.

Your health directly impacts your appearance. A lot of the physical appearance problems that are blamed on poor hygiene or genetics are actually things you can totally eliminate with diet.

Acne, dingy hair, stained teeth, or dry lips can best be resolved with a whole foods diet rich in healthy fats, clean proteins, and plenty of produce. I know because I have suffered through many years of those exact problems before just a few healthy changes started to turn all that around.

My biggest triumph was when the darkness under my eyes and around my mouth started to clear up. I found out that it was both a hormone problem and an allergy to wheat that was causing the skin discoloration. That simple diet change has caused a dramatic improvement in my overall appearance.

I’m not claiming to be a shining example of health, I still have a lot of improvements to make. The point I’m trying to make is that by achieving some of my health goals and seeing that it’s possible to improve my appearance that easily, I have begun to feel beautiful.

Do you know what happens when you genuinely feel beautiful? You shine. You smile. You hold your head higher and you walk a little straighter.

Which brings me to the second key to natural beauty: confidence.

Some days I’m just not feeling the beautiful thing. Some days I just can’t be bothered to shine. On those days, I let my confidence carry me. I still smile and hold my head up because I have confidence in not only my appearance, but who I am. Beauty goes beyond your skin and hair. It also comes from within and letting your whole person shine through. Feeling beautiful leads to confidence, but feeling confident can also lead to feeling beautiful.

If you’re struggling with that confidence bit, remember that beauty is purely subjective. I see so many people, men and women, even children, who struggle with the concept that beauty cannot be objectively judged. You’re not tall enough, thin enough, blonde enough, perky enough, muscular enough – it’s never enough!

Enough compared to what?

If you are the beholder, then you have the power to say you’re beautiful; you have the power to say you are enough, period! Some people might not agree, and they might be big enough jerks to say something, but why do they matter? You are what you believe you are. If you believe you are beautiful, then you are.

Expanding your own view of what beautiful means also helps. Beauty does not mean attractiveness. It does not mean youth. It does not mean perfect genetic expression, or symmetry, or anything scientific, either.

If you break down your preconceived notions of beauty, you’ll find that there is a much broader definition than what advertising agencies and fashion moguls tell you. Wrinkles are beautiful. Grey hairs are beautiful. Chubby cheeks and thin lips are beautiful. All shades of skin are beautiful. Stretch marks and freckles are beautiful. Lumps and bumps and sagginess are beautiful. Short hair, thin hair, no hair โ€“ they’re all beautiful. You just have to be willing to see it.

Will you let yourself be beautiful?

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  • Lisa Waszkiewicz / Franny Bolsa
    March 5, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    I so needed to hear that today. You are beautiful. And I’m grateful that you share it with the rest of us.

    • Cassandra
      March 5, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      Aw thank you! I get the feeling we’re all going to be going “You’re beautiful too!” today.

  • Stephanie
    March 5, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    I totally agree that how you look is a reflection of both physical health and mental health! That’s why the pimples on my jaw line that have shown up the last couple of months have me worried, I know they are indicative of something else going on inside!

    • Cassandra
      March 5, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      It’s funny, the only place I get breakouts is on my jawline too. I used to get them all over the sides of my face and my forehead. Something to ponder.

  • Leanne
    March 5, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Great post! I’ve always had dark circles under my eyes and wonder if I have the same problem that you did. Did you eliminate wheat from your diet completely?

    • Cassandra
      March 5, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      Hi Leanne, I eliminated it completely for a short time and the darkness went away. Now it’s obvious I’ve eaten wheat because I look like I’m exhausted even when I’m not. My 2 year old has the same thing. If I have a really bad sugar day, the darkness will also appear. I’m not sure what mechanism is causing this to happen, but it’s so obvious the two are related. I’ve heard of people having similar problems with other foods, so it might just be an allergy thing.

      • Michelle G.
        March 13, 2013 at 5:26 PM

        Wow! You are describing my problems exactly… never had acne until a few years ago, and darkness under the eyes and around the mouth – I break out on the chin and jawline all the time. I’ve just started transitioning my family to “clean” eating because I’ve been SICK SICK SICK. No energy, falling asleep, Type II diabetes is out of control despite watching my diet. I think the last 4 years of working part-time, going to school full time and raising 2 little boys (one being born in the middle of it all!) has destroyed my system. Just introducing Fermented Cod Liver Oil has begun to really help. Now I’ve been eyeing cleaning up our grains… since I suspected that is where most of my problems stem from. I was having a “good” (non-sick/tired) day on Sunday, and we happened to be out and about so I ate a cheeseburger and fries for lunch… ended up “crashing”. Fell asleep for FOUR hours and felt like I had a horrid hangover the rest of the day. Stupid of me, but that and your post have confirmed… I have to figure out how to get my carbs cleaned up! If I could get rid of the undereye circles and acne, I’d look pretty good makeup free!

        • Cassandra
          March 13, 2013 at 7:35 PM

          I had PCOS as a teenager and that’s where the dark skin mostly comes from, though I suspect it has more to do with general “metabolic syndrome” than actual PCOS (which would include diabetes). My eyes were still pretty bad because I continued to eat a large amount of wheat and other grains. It’s not so much your carbohydrate consumption as it is grains specifically, kind of like an allergy. I think I commented to another person that it seems to be a generic allergy response, not necessarily to wheat or grains. BUT wheat and grains will still contribute, especially if you have any other metabolic issues. I can’t recommend enough the book Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas. As you mentioned having diabetes, I think that book would be that much more helpful for you as she discusses ketogenesis and how it benefits the body.

          • Molly
            March 18, 2013 at 1:01 PM

            Its very interesting reading these comments – I think you guys would find “Wheat Belly” a really interesting read. Dr Davis talks about wheat causing breakouts and I found this to be very true.

            I came off wheat for two months as an experiment (and also because the book horrified me ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and my skin cleared up for the first time in my adult life. I then went bonkers on the wheat – good stuff mind you, organic sourdough. Within 24 hours I had HUGE cystic acne spots on my chin and jawline, and then more across my shoulders in a way I haven’t had since I was a teenager. Hmmmm… Coincidence ? I think not !!

            The only problem I have is balancing the whole Paleo diet thing with dieting craziness. I’m reading a lot of Intuitive Eating and HAES stuff at the moment, having lost the plot doing Paleo on and off for the last couple of years.

            I just can’t reconcile the non-crazy Intuitive HAES approach, which makes a lot of sense to me, with the obvious health benefits of a Paleo approach, which drives me crazy with deprivation :/ And I’m a good cook ! I’ve got a recipe for gluten free vegan brownies which you’d sell your grandmothers for. *sigh*

            Anyway, I’ve got the e-book for freezer meals, which seems to be a good start – so maybe that will help me to get going on a non-crazy version of a healthier diet ! Oh and I am SO going to lose wheat again ! MY SKIN !!!

  • Becky
    March 5, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    For years I tried to make my ethnic nose disappear with makeup and chemically straighten any frizz/wave out of my hair in hopes of being viewed as โ€œbeautifulโ€. I never correlated confidence to beauty because confidence was something my parents never had so the example was never set during my childhood. I think it’s important that as mothers we teach our children (especially our daughters!) to embrace who they are. Light attracts light.

    • Cassandra
      March 5, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      I’m so glad you brought up the idea of an “ethnic” feature because that is something that sticks out to me the most as needing to be changed in beauty ideals. The fact that only whiteness and white features are considered the peak of beauty. It’s so rare to see someone of a different race be a model with any “ethnic” looking features. It’s hard for me to talk about race issues and ethnicity because I am white and I will never know what it’s like, but I remember growing up and thinking all the black girls were so beautiful and I wish I had their amazing skin and I love the kinky curly hair. It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned about the history of what different races have done to themselves trying to appear more white. The worst part is that nothing has changed! Like I know in some Asian countries, cosmetic and skin care companies only use white models for their ads to convince them to want to be more white. I do know of the pressures to destroy my health for the sake of appearances, but I think those pressures are way more pervasive and have a bigger impact when it comes to race.

    • Stephanie
      March 5, 2013 at 7:40 PM

      I can’t remember how old we were when we first met, Becky, but I distinctly remember you carrying around a straightner in your backpack, to touch up any fly away frizzy hair! It must have been 1995. You were probably the very first person I knew to own a hair straightner! For what it’s worth I always thought you were gorgeous.

    • Anna
      March 11, 2013 at 4:37 AM

      Have you checked out It celebrates and offers ideas on how to take care of wavy to tightly curled hair. I also like the book “Curly Girl”. From about 11 until 17, I hated my hair. It was either frizzy and wavy, or frizzy and greasy looking. I read the book and learned how to take care of my hair and discovered that I actually have beautiful curls!

  • Taylor
    March 6, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Great article! And Stephanie maybe the pimples near your jaw are caused by bacteria from your phone leaning against your face or your hands touching your face. If you are already so healthy and cant think what could be causing it, it couldn’t hurt to wipe your phone with an antibacterial wipe at night and see of it helps ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Stephanie
      March 7, 2013 at 1:44 AM

      Could be! But they only showed up a couple of months ago, and they are under my jaw, not really where the phone would hit my skin..

      • Michelle G.
        March 13, 2013 at 5:59 PM

        That’s where mine are too! I’d love to know what you find that “cures” it. Mine are a bit better after supplementing with FCLO… I was on the low side of normal for Vitamin D.

  • sarah {findingabundance}
    March 11, 2013 at 4:48 AM

    You are truly beautiful, Cassandra, and thank you for writing this lovely post!

  • Sherra Kinder
    March 11, 2013 at 5:16 AM

    Beautiful article on real beauty Cassandra-THANK YOU! I’ve been struggling with not wearing makeup (gave it up altogether about 14 months ago) because 1-all the chemicals (don’t want to increase chances of cancer) and 2-a little rebellious on the whole Hollywood makeup/perfectness drama and not wanting to taint my daughter (or son as he looks for a mate) with that mentality either. I like that you share how you achieved balance when and when you don’t wear it-those thoughts you shared have helped me get another step closer to resolving this in my mind and create balance and I appreciate that.
    I do want to ask if you would share what hormone problem and allergy did you find to have because I too have dark circles under my eyes often. Also, what is your favorite natural makeup? Thanks for your time! Kudos to confidence in yourself and whom God created you to be! ๐Ÿ™‚