The #nomakeupselfie campaign: Are people missing the point?

Sophia Moir

Social media was awash with no make-up selfies yesterday in what looked like a campaign for breast cancer awareness.

However it wasn’t orchestrated by a charity and Cancer Research UK admits it has no idea where the trend started.

It seems many of those who jumped on the barefaced selfie bandwagon missed the point entirely – not donating money or even linking back to the charity’s website.

Surely that’s not helping anyone suffering from cancer and just a narcissistic way to show off how good you look without make-up?

It first started when we woke up to the trends #cancerawareness and #nomakeupselfie on Twitter – while our Facebook feeds were full of bare female faces, nominating their friends to do the same.

The trends were mentioned thousands of times on both sites but it started to get confusing when people noticed it wasn’t an orchestrated charity campaign.

The pictures seemed pointless and a backlash started, with many slamming those who’d posted no make-up selfies but not donated money. How does that compare to suffering from cancer, they asked?

“I don't get the #nomakeupselfie for cancer? How does it help? I'd rather donate money towards it that take a picture,” said one user on Twitter.

But considering it was such a massive talking point, Cancer Research jumped on board with one of their staff members posting a similar picture and urging people to donate.

“We’re loving your #cancerawareness #nomakeupselfie pics! The campaign isn’t ours but every £ helps #beatcancersooner,” they wrote on Twitter.

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“We started noticing people posting #nomakeupselfies on Tuesday evening, with lots of people asking if this was a campaign we were running; it isn’t, but we encouraged people to get involved, sharing our links to donate,” Harri Murphy, PR Officer for Cancer Research UK told Yahoo Lifestyle.

“We think it came from a breast cancer awareness campaign in the US, but it’s still a little vague at the moment.”

To turn the trend on its head, men decided to post pictures of themselves in a full face of slap in a sign of solidarity for cancer sufferers.

An image of ambulance driver Dave Rose after his makeover was shared by 32,000 people and received more than 400 likes, according to the Evening Standard.

“Right lads if the women aren’t wearing make up for cancer awareness, then I think we should get involved and take selfies wearing make-up as well, because more than one person in every family is affected by cancer somehow [sic],” he wrote on Facebook.

Although it’s easy to criticize those who posted selfies but didn’t donate, it does seem to have worked as Cancer Research have had over 800,000 donations, raising over £1m since yesterday.

If people would like to choose to support Cancer Research’s work to beat cancer sooner, they can visit

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