Heartbreaking Video Shows What Can Happen When Women Skip Makeup

Beauty blogger Em Ford stopped covering up her acne and started being bullied online.
Jul 3, 2015·
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Thanks to campaigns such as "30 Days No Makeup," the movement to encourage women to embrace what they look like without cosmetics has picked up steam in recent months. But for ladies with less-than-perfect skin, posting images of themselves on social media without concealer, foundation, powder, or lipstick can bring out the bullies.

As you see in the above video from London-based beauty blogger Em Ford, a woman with acne is a prime target for disparaging comments.

“Three months ago, I began posting images of myself without makeup on social media. The following film contains real comments that were left on images of my face,” wrote Ford on the video’s YouTube description. Indeed, the clip is titled #YouLookDisgusting, which is one of the comments Ford received about her appearance.

Comments such as “Her face is so ugly” and “revolting” appear on the screen next to footage of a makeup-free Ford. We then see her applying an array of cosmetics, which effectively camouflage the bumps on her face. Ford taught herself how to put on makeup to cover her acne, and many of her YouTube tutorials teach other people with skin problems how to achieve the same results.

So, Why Should You Care? Covering up acne, scars, or birthmarks isn’t merely a matter of vanity. One 2011 study found that women who wear makeup are seen as more attractive, competent, likable, and trustworthy. Indeed, the positive feedback Ford receives when she covers up her skin eruptions—comments such as “You look amazing” and “You’re so perfect”—makes it easy to see why wearing makeup gives some folks with acne such a confidence boost.

“One challenge many face today, is that as a society, we’re so used to seeing false images of perfection and comparing ourselves to unrealistic beauty standards that it can be hard to remember the most important thing—You ARE beautiful,” Ford wrote.

However, not everyone appreciates Ford’s covering-up skills. Some viewers have commented that what she’s doing “is false advertising” or “should be illegal.” Still others wrote hurtful things such as “You’re so ugly. That’s why you wear makeup.”

RELATED: 5 Glittery Images That Depict Unrealistic Beauty Standards

Hundreds of people, many of whom have acne, are leaving comments on Ford’s YouTube and Instagram pages (with over 130,000 subscribers and 328,000 followers, respectively) saying they can relate to the comments the blogger has received. Some of them are sharing stories of being bullied and harassed to the point that they contemplated suicide. Still others are writing how grateful they are that Ford is putting the issue of how they’re treated because of skin imperfections into the spotlight.

As for Ford, her message is simple: “You are beautiful—no matter how flawed you feel, no matter how upset you may [be] about the way you look or how hard you find it to make friends, or be confident,” she wrote. “Believe in yourself, and never let anyone tell you’re not beautiful—not even yourself.”