Last Wednesday night, Gwyneth Paltrow hosted a party for her pals at her home. Nothing new there, I'm guessing. But there was a requirement for her guests: they were to come to the party bare-faced and make-up free.
The dinner was a celebration of her skincare line, Goop Glow, so guests including Kate Hudson and Demi Moore gave their make-up artists the night off and headed to Gwyneth's house without even a scratch of mascara on.
And they looked... happy! Care-free, fresh-faced and at least five years younger than their actual ages. Gwyneth looked like a teenager, in the best way possible - all toothy grin, crinkled eyes and truly glowing skin.
'A beautiful gathering in celebration of beauty just the way we come,' she wrote on Instagram. Now, whether or not how good they look is down to her skincare line is neither here or there - I'm sure it's perfectly fine but no skincare product is a complete miracle worker. What was so refreshing to see were all these Hollywood A-listers fully embracing a night off from make-up.
They're not the first to brave bare-faced beauty, however. In 2006 the singer Alicia Keys decided to begin a 'no make-up journey'. "I don't want to cover up anymore," she wrote in a post on Lenny Letter. "Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing."
She has been largely make-up free since, even hosting this years Grammys with only a single stroke of black eyeliner. Keys is the poster girl of the make-up free movement, and has sparked a wave of women following suit - including me. As a beauty journalist, I am fortunate enough to have access to lots of make-up. And I very much oblige, happily donning a red lipstick one day or a brown smokey eye the next. But last year I was out of the office on maternity leave and made a conscious effort to only dip into my make-up bag if I was heading out for a nice dinner (er, so hardly ever).
My day to day make-up uniform used to consist of primer, concealer, blush, lipstick, eyeliner and mascara, but last year I would go months wearing nothing more than a moisturiser, SPF, lip balm and a touch of concealer under my eyes. (I needed that concealer.) And like the happy, smiling faces of the A-listers at Gwyneth's party, I feel like the lack of make-up made me look younger and fresher.
But being in the beauty industry I am all too aware of the amount of make-up continually hitting our shelves. Some of it natural beauty-enhancing, some of it positively face-changing, and it's fantastic. But it shouldn't be a given. We shouldn't have to wear our make-up uniform everyday because it's just the thing to do. Although my make-up free stint started because of a lack of time and inclination (a new baby will help with that), once I stopped wearing make-up every day, I didn't feel like I needed to. And when, on a rare occasion, I would apply a little mascara or rub some blush into my cheeks, I would look like I had really made an effort.
What going bare-faced does mean, however, is that your skincare takes centre-stage. I refined my routine down to just a couple of easy products. The key to good skin is in the cleansing, so I would use a heavy-duty balm cleanser to clean my skin every night - and yes, even if I wasn't wearing make-up. It's crucial (the amount of pollution in the air is enough of a reason). The Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, £44, is one of the best around. And my current favourite moisturiser is the 01 High Performance Moisturiser by A.D.C Beauty, £55. Developed by the make-up artist Adam de Cruz, it was formulated from natural ingredients to give the most perfect canvas on the skin. It's amazing under make-up, as you'd expect, but really brilliant worn alone (it leaves a finish on the skin which hits the sweet spot between glowing and matte).
I could go on. There is so much amazing skincare around at the moment that if you wanted to follow a no make-up routine, it's easier than ever. One piece of advice, though - invest in some upkeep for your eyebrows. I would always keep my thick brows threaded and groomed, which made all the difference. Now that I'm back at work and back in the routine of office life, I am wearing touches of make-up here and there, but considerably less than I would have a year ago. I'm all for the make-up free movement. Thanks to the likes of Alicia Keys and Gwyneth Paltrow, hopefully it's a movement here to stay.
Do you find going make-up free empowering? If so, why? Tell us in the comments below