Jessica Simpson on May cover of marie claire – No makeup and no retouching?

Jessica Simpson appears on the cover of the May issue of Marie Claire…supposedly without the assistance of makeup or retouching. I struggle with the question, “Is this news”. On the one hand, it is news because clearly it is not common practice for celebrities to appear on magazine covers sans makeup. And the amount of retouching that goes on…don’t even get me started!

But, on the other hand, millions of women leave their homes everyday without a single smear of cosmetic product. So…Jessica Simpson doing what millions of women do everyday is news? I guess the distinct difference is that Jessica Simpson is no ordinary woman. She is a “celebrity”. So this minor detail makes her bare faced cover – news!

Having said all that, I have to tell you…the beauty blogger and makeup artist in me doubts that the picture is completely bare faced. I feel like I’m seeing some left over mascara/ liner on those lashes. Other makeup artists out there will understand…you always get that client in your chair who claims to have on no makeup but you can clearly see the eye liner/ mascara residue!

The lips look slightly stained to me. Perhaps the cheeks were pinched for color. And lastly, the hair seems strategically placed to cover up the sides of Jessica’s face. A sleek ponytail would have been more honest, in my humble opinion.

But what do you guys think? Is this picture makeup free and un-retouched? Leave a comment so I know y’all are breathing ;)



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Felicia Walker Benson is Editor in Chief for ThisThatBeauty and Social Media Beauty Editor at Bergdorf Goodman (her glorious day job!). For Felicia's complete bio, click on the "About Felicia" tab. Follow Felicia on Twitter @ThisThatBeauty

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  1. Tsahai says:

    Hi Felicia! Ok…I can go with the ‘Is this REALLY news?’ aspect, but your explanation of why some may consider it news is good. I am NO makeup expert (Rosebud Salve is what I call lipgloss…lol) but it does look to me like there is some eyeliner there. Maybe it’s built up after all those years of constant wear…? I don’t think they retouched the photo (at least not tooo much) as you can see the lines in her face pretty clear.I think she looks pretty though without the ‘extra’ effort that goes into celebrity photos.

  2. Felicia says:

    @Tsahai. Thank you for the comment! I agree, she looks really pretty…and I think that’s the one thing I forgot to add in my story. JS actually looks great! Like you, I def see some very slight mascara/liner…perhaps its residue. Lets go with that angle:) LOL

    As for retouching, I think the lighting was probably very carefully selected for the shoot.

    All in all she looks great…and a shoot like this takes courage! But the skeptic in me cant help but go there….all in good healthy skepticism tho. No haterade!

  3. I love how we are putting in the “makeup residue” category. I would assume that no makeup is a clean – just washed – face.

    I agree that it is not as much makeup as one would usually have on for a cover shoot, but to say its “no..none…nada” makeup is “still” inaccurate. She does look nice!

    Felicia I totally agree! Great article.

  4. Felicia says:

    @Brandalyn. Well put :) I cant help but see mascara/liner on those eyes. Cmon son! LOL

  5. dana says:

    It doesn’t look retouched but she does look like she has on some eye makeup in THAT picture. On their website they have more pictures (I assume that are inside the mag) where she appears makeup free (at least to my untrained eye). I do agree she looks good.

  6. Kelley says:

    She definitely has makeup on.. What has happend and what look like has been lacked that we are so accustomed to is that it is not retouched.. or if any it is very minimal..

    I think a good retouch is so what we are accustomed to seeing therefor when it is not done we look to other things like the makeup, and such…

    She definitely has makeup on though.. but doesn’t look to be alot

    Kelley Woods

  7. She clearly has on eye makeup (mascara, liner & shadow) & I think she has on powder or primer of some kind. So for them to say she is without makeup is a blatant lie. And, yes, who really cares? I always say most women look best with very little makeup or just a swipe of gloss.

  8. Misha says:

    After reading your post, I just had to grab the actually mag and closely look at the cover. Hmmmm. I will definitely have to agree with you. There is clearly as you said some liner and/or mascara residue here. I can not believe that any magazine would release a cover with any retouching as miniscule as it could be. Just my personal opinion. But all in all she does look great, but I’m led to believe there is at least a 5th of make up here, maybe some very sheer foundation lightly applied? I’m no make up artist so I can’t be too sure. :-) But as one, aren’t there many barely there tricks? LOL

  9. tracey says:

    Ummm, I think she has “slight” makeup. It could be residue — liner/mascara. Her skin is mos def not airbrushed — texture and freckles show. I see a little color on her cheeks too. Are her lips that pink? Maybe I look at these kinds of things too closely. Must be the MUA in me. Yea, there is a little slight of hand going on there. I’d love to hear what Marie Claire has to say…Great Post!

  10. Denise says:

    I think she looks great. It doesn’t appear to be a lot of retouching. But this is the “I didn’t remove my makeup last night look.” I’ve seen that somewhere before. *guilty*

  11. Felicia says:

    @Dana. Thanks for the comment. Sounds like we’re all pretty certain on the liner/mascara. LOL

  12. The first thing I noticed was that she has no “bags” whatsoever under her eyes… I think most women have a little puffiness or are a little darker undereye. I find it hard to believe that there was no concealer or retouching… at least in that area. She doesn’t look glamorous, but I still think she had a little help.

  13. Felicia says:

    @Kelley – Yea, we aint blind, right? everyone can see the eye makeup clearly…not just us makeup artists!

  14. Felicia says:

    @Laura – I think she looks very pretty! like you, i’d love to know marie claire’s definition of no makeup!

  15. Felicia says:

    @Misha – Its funny, that eye makeup gook or what ever it is is pretty obvious for us all, huh? LOL. Ok, marie claie – i need a definition of “no makeup” LOL

  16. Felicia says:

    @Tracy. Yes, “slight” I agree!

  17. Felicia says:

    @Denise – Thats a good assessment!

  18. Felicia says:

    @Desiree. Maybe she’s on one helluva skin care regimen these days bc i’ve seen bare pics of her before and they are not this even-toned and free of under eye darkness. Pretty pretty woman, but makeup free?…nah!

  19. BeautySchooled! says:

    I see a little something something… liner/mascara residue? A little powder? Either she bit her lips and pinched her cheeks or there’s also a little blush and lip stain involved for certain… maybe they should have said “not made up” or “fresh faced”??? Definitely not sans makeup.

  20. Nepenthe says:

    Unless she has remarkably dark lashes.. I see the mascara/liner as well. Her lips I’m on the fence about and her cheeks do looked ‘just pinched’. It’s definitely a far cry from the usual flawless/retouched.. but it doesn’t look totally barefaced.

  21. *Please delete the earlier comment… Wrong blog address! LOL! *

    She looks to have on “light” makeup to me… Light brush of powder or an oil mattifier. A lip stain or matte nude lip color… Light blush and DEFINETELY eye makeup!

    Maybe ‘no makeup’ to them is light makeup (not covering freckles or blemishes) or no foundation.

  22. Felicia says:

    @BeautySchooled. I think “stripped down” makeup would have been more accurate. Its clear she’s wearing “something”

  23. Felicia says:

    @Nepenthe. We’re all singing the same song :)

  24. Felicia says:

    @Deborah. Yes i think “their” definition of “no makeup” is much diff from ours ;)

  25. Kenyetta says:

    Saw this post and ran to the mailbox to see if my subscription arrived. After looking at the pic on the post and looking at the actual magazine, she definitely has on makeup. Very little, but makeup with a little bronzing blush and mascara. My two cents!

  26. Christina says:

    I think for this cover shoot she does have a tiny amount of eyeliner on. If you go to Marie Claire’s website they show more photos of her in a small gallery. I think photo 4/8 in that gallery clearly shows no makeup and her true fair eyelashes which don’t look like this cover. She is fair skinned and blond, which is more pronounced in the photos on the site, versus this cover photo which makes her eyes darker.

    I think her skin tone is drastically different than it usually is. So perhaps they meant “no makeup” in the sense of caked on to even her skin tone – but they don’t consider liner or mascara? Who knows, but to me no makeup means a completely bare face with no foreign help whatsoever. I don’t think they should advertise or Jessica should agree to promote it that way unless they do literally NONE. They know their readers will take it to mean “none,” so it’s deceitful to do otherwise.


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