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Here's why it's important to see almost-bare faces like Pamela Anderson on major red carpets

pamela anderson beauty
Pamela Anderson goes barefaced on Oscars nightChristopher Polk - Getty Images

The rise and rise of social media and influencer culture once made beauty democratic for all. Suddenly, everyone from a Hollywood make-up artist to the lipstick-loving accountant from Leicestershire could share their own personal approach to make-up and hair to the rest of the world. Any prescriptive beauty rules – like choosing to highlight just one facial feature or only wearing eyeshadow that flatters your eye colour – went out the window as looks became even more experimental and the line between beauty professional and beauty consumer became blurred.

But somewhere along the way, driven by new-gen 'It' girls and reality show stars, came the emergence of the "Instagram face". Lifted feline eyes, artfully sculpted cheekbones and overdrawn lips (which, it must be said, is a key part of the beauty culture for Black and Brown people before being co-opted by Caucasian celebrities) became the look du jour, achieved by not only make-up, but through tweakments that include filler and wrinkle-relaxing injections like Botox. While one's beauty choices is purely up to the individual, the advent of this cookie-cutter look (followed by micro-trends on TikTok which span from 'clean girl' to 'strawberry girl') meant that the most radical beauty move now is to not wear any make-up at all.

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Jeremy Moeller - Getty Images

That's exactly what actor and model Pamela Anderson did last October as she attended fashion week bare-faced with her signature long blonde hair left breezy and loose. It was an active choice she made when long-time make-up artist Alexis Vogel passed away in 2019. "She was the best… And since then, I just felt, without Alexis, it’s just better for me not to wear make-up," Anderson shared with ELLE US.

Seeing an iconic face go make-up free was liberating for many who've felt inundated by glammed-up, filtered faces. It opened a discussion surrounding why women are thought to be "brave" when embracing the skin they're in, as well as the conversation around ageing as Anderson, alongside fellow actors Andie Macdowell and Helen Mirren, proved that the best way to age is to do what makes you feel good; regardless of how that manifests beauty-wise.

Last night at the Oscars afterparty, Anderson maintained her low-key approach to hair and make-up with seemingly no coverage on her complexion and only gentle hints of mascara and lip colour. Although as someone in the public eye, it's safe to assume that Anderson has access to some of the finest skin experts and aestheticians available, it's refreshing to see her expressing herself in a way that feels right for her.

pamela anderson
Jamie McCarthy - Getty Images

There's no denying the artistry required to create many of the show-stopping glam looks on Sunday night, but with Anderson's minimalist approach, perhaps we are once again embracing the many facets of beauty, whether that's high-octane glamour or something understated.

Hopefully this normalises seeing women with no (or barely-there) make-up on major red carpets and special occasions. Acne, wrinkles, pigmentation and scars are part of being a living, breathing human being and there's nothing more joyful than seeing someone thoroughly enjoying and embracing themselves.

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