I Went Makeup-Free On A First Date & It Was Horrible

Seeing the no-makeup movement online and how much it’s boosting women’s confidence inspired me to try going bare-faced myself. Perhaps unwisely, I tried this for the first time on a first date. Needless to say, it was a horrible decision.

  1. He looked me over twice to make sure I was the same girl from Tinder. We all look different in person than we do online, so I was kind of ready for that, but this guy straight up looked me over twice to make sure it was me and I just about died. That was the first strike. Thankfully, he was nice about it so we kept things moving. Still, I couldn’t shake the fact that I looked that different without makeup. I’m usually light-handed with it, but it seems it does more for me than I thought.
  2. I was worried that he might think I hadn’t put in any effort. My date looked exactly like he did in his profile but taller, which is a positive for a tall girl like me. He was dressed to the nines and I could tell he’d just gotten a fresh cut. That’s what guys do to show they care. Women usually put on makeup, but since I didn’t, I didn’t want him to think that I put no effort in. I was in a cute dress but nothing too fancy. Besides, most men know nothing about fashion. Makeup is one of the most obvious things men notice and I didn’t have it on.
  3. The looks I got from other women in the bathroom made me feel like crap. The restaurant we went to had a nice big bathroom, which meant big mirrors. Usually I ‘d be stoked about that, but I felt awkward walking into the bathroom, watching all these women primp for their guys. Whenever any of them caught my eye or gave me the once-over, I shrunk into myself again. I could almost hear them thinking, “Does she think she’s pretty enough to get away without wearing makeup?” I wasn’t just imagining things either. I definitely got a few fake smiles after a judgmental once-over. Women need to stop judging each other.
  4. I couldn’t focus on our conversation. Every time my date’s eyes would dart over my face, I kept thinking about what he was seeing. Did he notice the scar I got from when I burst that pimple? Did he see the little mustache shadow I can’t seem to get rid of no matter how much I wax? It was pure torture, but then things got worse.
  5. The waiter confused us for siblings. Now, this was an innocent mistake. Both my date and I have dark hair and we’re both pretty tall. He laughed it off when we corrected him, but that one stung. Apparently the waiter couldn’t see the chemistry between us, and to make matters worse, he probably thought my makeup-free face meant that this wasn’t a romantic date. Everyone knows that you put your best foot forward when you’re on a date. By this point, I was mentally checked out.
  6. I didn’t feel confident. Everyone says that confidence should come from within, but some of my confidence comes from looking my best. Makeup helps with that. The fact that I didn’t have it on psyched me out. I was self-conscious and it showed. The one time my date tried to pay me a compliment, I brushed it off with a joke. All I could think was that he didn’t mean it. I wasn’t at my best, for crying out loud! I wasn’t the girl he’d swiped right for.
  7. I felt horrible about thinking that I was letting him down. This is the cycle of guilt so many women find themselves in, and I was no different that night. Feminism says that we shouldn’t care about dressing up to appease the male eye, but I felt horrible that I wanted to. The more horrible I felt, the worse the date went. Towards the end, our conversation was stilted. I tried my best, but it’s hard to put your best foot forward when there’s a tape playing the word “loser” over and over again in your mind.
  8. He didn’t kiss me. My date was a great guy and I honestly felt sorry for him. He tried to keep the conversation going and I didn’t do my share of heavy lifting. It was no surprise to me that when he dropped me off, he gave me a quick hug and thanked me for a good time. I understand why he didn’t lean in for the kiss, but it felt like a punch to the gut at the end of the night.
  9. He didn’t ask for a second date. I don’t blame him. Who wants to go out with someone who lacks confidence? I wasn’t myself that night and it was obvious. Besides, we met on Tinder, which isn’t the best place to find love. Personally, I will never go out on a date without makeup again. If you think that’s sad, that’s fine. I won’t put myself in an uncomfortable position just to make a post using a hashtag. Yes, there are many freedoms that women can now experience, but you get to chose whether you want them or not. Don’t feel pressured to change who you are—I know I won’t.
Hannah is a twenty-something-year-old freelance writer, obsessed with reality TV, and all things sweet.