Stop dating men who stress the importance of ‘the natural look’

(Picture: Ella Byworth for

Alex (pink Alex not glasses Alex) from Love Island has got the whole country wincing.

From his attempts to ‘floss’ to asking wary questions of Grace like a supply teacher trying to gain support from a hostile classroom, he’s the very antithesis of smooth.

What got me cringing out the hardest, however, is his insistence that he prefers ‘the natural look’ in a woman.

It’s something that you hear a lot from men who have not got the foggiest about what that means or why they seem to uphold this viewpoint.

Every woman who wears makeup or has cosmetic procedures will know the drill, because around dudes like this, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

They don’t actually want you just rolled out of bed with unwashed hair and a bit of a sleep stuck in your eyelash.

They want the illusion that you ‘woke up like this’ even though nobody does. It’s no-makeup-makeup and a blow-dry, not nothing at all.

That’s because these natural Neils have no clue the amount of smoke and mirrors that goes into an everyday look for plenty of women. Wear no makeup to work and – trust me – one of these fellas will ask you if you’re sick.

I have pink hair and spend all my money on eyeshadow and push-up bras. My eyebrows are tattooed on and my skincare routine takes me longer than cooking my dinner. I am anything but natural.

That hasn’t stopped multiple guys I’ve dated use that word when referring to me.

Lads, Charlotte Tilbury made this face, not the good lord above. It’s not an accident and my eyelids aren’t naturally sparkly.

(Picture: Ella Byworth for

Perhaps it’s due to the myth of the cool girl. She’s low maintenance and engages in stereotypically male activities.

She loves beer and football but not makeup or hair – that would be lame. Nobody wants ‘high maintenance’ after all.

Or, it could be down to the fact some men feel like they’re being tricked by concealer and mascara. The old ‘take your girl swimming on a first date to see what she really looks like’ meme does the rounds regularly.

On a forum I spent a lot of time on as a student, the question of natural beauty was posed. When men were talking about the celebrities they felt had this look, Jennifer Lawrence and Russian glamour model Anastasiya Kvitko were the names mentioned.

I made my boyfriend ask his mates in the group chat (the content train drives on) and when they said Kate Upton was an example of natural compared to the likes of Kim Kardashian I audibly snorted.

That’s what passes as low-maintenance to some. To look like any of those women, most of us would have to spend hours. Those women spend hours trying to look like those women.

A study by Superdrug last year found that it took an average of 29 minutes to create a natural looking face. L O f***ing L.

You should never trust someone who wants to dictate how you live your life anyway, but especially not when it comes from this weird place of confusion and low key misogyny.

When dating, think of this comment not as a red flag, but perhaps a glittery magenta one.

Of course it might just be a passing comment because it’s what they think you want to hear. But it might just belie some other parts of their personality: Unrealistic standards, a desire to control, and a complete misunderstanding of what they’re even expecting.

Who you choose to date should be aware that you’re not doing anything for them – whether that’s going bare-faced, trowelling it on, or getting whatever surgery you want.

They could also learn a few things so they don’t think we’re all born with highlighter on, and appreciate the effort it takes to get that glow.

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