June 16, 2021

Are the You Look Young and You Look Sick Without Makeup Passive Aggressive Comments?

Good Morning!

Wakey wakey my friends! I hope you’re having a great week. The weather cooled ever so slightly in Gotham and it’s not nearly as hot as it was last week. I hope you’re living your most comfortable life ever over there and it’s not too hot in your corner of the world.

I have no makeup on today!


I went out of the house without a stitch of makeup on today which is incredibly unlike me. I’ve used makeup as a mask for so long it feels weird going out without it. I mean, I have my sunscreen on but that’s about the extent of the effort I put into my look today. I’m not seeing clients today so that might account for why I’m feeling so damn brave over here.

Last week, I forgot who, someone said to me, “….those comments when people say “Are you sick?” when you aren’t wearing makeup!” I’ve actually only ever gotten that particular one once but I was actually sick at the time haha! But I get the “Wow you look young!” one when people see me without it! Makeup def makes me look a lot older and I take comfort in that because I feel like it makes people take me a lot more serious than when they see me with less of it on or god forbid I scare their children without any on at all.

I actually don’t know how to take either one. They seem like sort of backhanded comments. Especially the “Are you sick?” ones…jeepers creepers! What in the world? Why would you say someone is sick if they aren’t wearing makeup!?!?! And the “You look younger today!” What does that mean? That I look old with makeup on? I’m so confused how to feel here!

Am I overthinking these weird comments?

What’s the stranger comment you’ve received when not wearing makeup?

Do they feel passive aggressive to you?


About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Christina

    I hardly wear makeup. And when I do, it’s usually blush and some light eyeshadow. Every once in a while, I’ll have more time to apply a fully on eye shadow look, but most people see me without makeup almost daily.

    Being fair and olive complexioned, though, I lack any rosiness or colour to my face, so I often look “pale” (which I am…) or “ill”. I like the fact that I’m recognizable with or without my makeup, and I feel pretty confident not wearing makeup–it helps that my ego is stoked by my gay friends who don’t mince words constantly tell me I’m pretty without makeup. I think those who ask me if I’m feeling well are doing it out of concern, but it can get annoying.

    I actually think you look good with or without makeup. Bolder lips tends to make one look more mature, so that’s probably why they think you look younger without makeup. Or they can be mistaking “fresh faced” with younger, who knows. I’m rambling because I didn’t sleep well last night. haha

    • Isabella Muse

      LOL ramble away girl….! I always feel a little less confident when people tell me “You look younger today!” Like dude, did I look older yesterday because I had on brown eyeshadow!?!? What does it mean!? haha! It sort of feels backhanded even though it probably isn’t! I totally have the gay friends that just tell me like it is too! It keeps me grounded that’s for sure LOL!

    • Jess

      “Being fair and olive complexioned, though, I lack any rosiness or colour to my face,”

      WOW I wish I had this problem! I am also olive and fair, but my face has a TON of ruddiness around the jaw. It’s so annoying! Haha.

      • Christina

        Oh, oh, I can completely sympathize! I’m mostly clear, but when I have any sensitivity, I might as well be a cherry! I try to use as many soothing products as I can or I will use a very light yellow or green concealer to neutralize everything. I’ll also pile on the mineral spf to hide the redness. When you’re fair complexioned, EVERYTHING shows up and is that much more obvious.

        • Jess

          Oh my gosh it is SO true. I’m STILL trying to find something that actually diminishes my redness! May the cosmos save us, haha.

  • Catherine

    Hi Muse! When I started out as an attorney (over 25 years ago) in the Public Defender’s office, I had to be in court at 7:30 am. One day I got up late and didn’t have time to do my make up and rushed to get to to work on time. I was assigned to the same judge everyday so he knew me very well. When I went up to the podium with my first client, he actually stopped me and asked me if I was sick. When I said no, he proceeded to ask again and then told me that I could leave if I needed and to try to avoid getting anyone else sick.

    He probably thought he was being kind, but in my opinion, it had a very negative consequence. It crushed my self esteem as a young professional and up until recently, I wouldn’t leave the house without a full face of make up.

    • Isabella Muse

      that made me so so so so sad Catherine. You have no idea how that story made me feel. ๐Ÿ™ I mean just a simple question and it makes you feel crushingly bad. I get it. I dislike when people say (even friends/fam) “You look so young today” Does that mean I look like an old hag when I do have on makeup!?!!? Jeez…:( I’m sorry you felt that way Catherine and I am 100% positive you look amazing with or without makeup! I know he likely didn’t mean anything by it sometimes words hurt so very much!

    • Christina

      Oh that’s so sad to hear. He said it publicly? That is crushing to one’s self esteem if someone doesn’t believe you and makes you repeat yourself. I’m glad you’re feeling more confident about yourself now. I used to have acne all through my teenage, twenties, and up until my first year or so of my thirties. I always wore concealer when out and was so, so self-conscious about it. My skin is clear now, but it took me a while to go out without anything on.

      • Catherine

        Thanks Christina and Muse for your words of sympathy and encouragement. It did teach me to always be careful in complimenting or commenting on a person’s appearance. I usually start with “You always look great…”ย and then compliment them on something I noticed.

        And yes, he said said it in front of a courtroom full of people, twice. And at that time, I was the only woman attorney assigned to that division. Luckily, I have an amazing hubby who has helped my self esteem and just getting older helps with becoming more comfortable in our skin.

        Muse, I am sorry that people’s comments also bring you down sometimes. I think you are lovely, from what I can tell from reading your blog, both inside and out. I hope you have a confident and amazing rest of your day.

        • Isabella Muse

          Catherine, I’m very sorry. especially since it happened in a room full of people ๐Ÿ™ That’s awful. I’ll be honest, it would probably make me cry. It goes a long way having a partner to help with self esteem issues. My boyfriend is the same. He gets very mad at me when I start belittling myself or saying I feel ugly. Keep your husband! He’s one of the good guys ๐Ÿ™‚ I think over the years I learned not to let them bother me as much but words hurt! I can’t lie about that. Words can really knock you on your butt sometimes! Thank you! You are so kind to say so! Believe me the positivity here far outweighs the negative! I hope the same for you my dear ๐Ÿ™‚ And remember you’re gorgeous with makeup, without it, you’re stunning! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Deb

    First of all, you look gorgeous without makeup. I’ve seen pics on here of you not wearing makeup. You have nothing to be concerned about. Beautiful skin and big Bambi eyes! Adorable. I go out without makeup all of time these days. Sure, I’ll wear it for date night or getting together with people and so on. And I was like you for so much of my life, it was my “comfort zone mask”ย and I felt weird without it. And then one day I realized that no one was paying that much attention to me. It set me free!!

    I think when people say you look so young today that they have good intentions. It’s not that you look old with makeup, it’s that you have that baby doll face and those features that make you look far younger than you are when you are bare faced. I hope that makes sense. Take it from someone way older than you….cherish that!!

    • Isabella Muse

      YOU are way kind Deb thank you so much! I wish I felt more like that but I’ve slowly become a lot more comfortable with the basics over the years. A bit of concealer, a bit of cheek stain, curl my lashes and go. But I can’t quite do away with it all! I always feel sort of bad when people say it…because like Do I look horribly old with makeup or do they mean I look better with makeup…I’m always so sensitive about it! Ha! <3! thanks Deb your comment made my day ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sarah

    I have a light neutral complexion that has all the undertones (dad is a medium warm olive and mom is a pale cool pink) I also have rosacea and Seborrheic dermatitis so my cheeks can get a “lay off the blush” look at times.

    I don’t get much darker ,but I do get warmer so If I’ve been the sun, I’ll get “you look so healthy” and when I’ve been a hermit I get “You need some sun’ and “have you been sick”.

    I do have a young face,it runs in my family my grandmothers look 20 years younger than they are,but even make up doesn’t help much.

    • Isabella Muse

      I tan easily as well! You aren’t alone!!!!!! And I do get the “you need some sun” comments because I tend to avoid the sun and really make sure I’m well protected from it so people will always say “you look pale”

      • Sarah

        Cancer gallops in my family and I have high risk conditions myself so protecting my skin is important.I live in a sub tropical climate so it’s a year round task.

        People seem to get offended for some reason.

        I was told that a tan is your skin protecting itself and the beginning of damage so I don’t like tanning. Mine doesn’t last or it turns into a burn so it’s not worth it.

        • Isabella Muse

          That’s crazy! I mean even if cancer wasn’t an issue you should still protect your skin regardless! It’s sad they are judging you for that! I’m so sorry!

  • L

    I am too lazy to find the article, but there was an actual research study put out a while ago, about the ol’ myth that men prefer the “no makeup look” on women, and the research indicated that men most prefer a heavy makeup in neutral colors on a woman, and the “no makeup” ACTUAL no makeup look was rated even lower than a full face in flashy colors. So… that is where we are at. I know we say we aren’t putting this makeup on for men, but it’s all related. Preferences become norm become expectations and then no makeup becomes the outlier. Just give it another 10 years or so and I think people will have the same expectations for men to wear makeup. I already see a lot more of it in my everyday and even professional circles.

    • Isabella Muse

      I READ THAT SOMEWHERE! I don’t know where but all these men are like oh I love natural makeup but it was all about how the preferred girls with more makeup on! I don’t doubt that at all!

    • Sarah

      Makes sense.It’s basically studio or HD tv make up. Part of it is that pesky lizard brain seeing acne or other marks as poor health.

      Luckily in food service people are more likely to side eye you if you wear obvious make up.We still have to wear masks so you can only see people’s eyes anyway.

  • L

    OMG and I am making a second comment. One day I guess I forgot to put on mascara and brow makeup, and at work I MYSELF looked in the mirror at work restroom and thought “AM I GETTING SICK?!” and then I looked harder and realized I must have forgot those makeup steps. Dang that office and fluorescent lighting.

    • Isabella Muse

      LOL AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kjh

    Yes to all of you. Men using more m/u, hurrah! People seldom say anything about my appearance. I’m so old, it’s a no-no. Though, if age comes up, people think I look younger, when I’ve actually aged 20 years in the past 4. Everyone is used to me with grossly no m/u, or they don’t know me except publicly. I will say, as others may say to me, that a person looks tired, while attributing it to the horrors of the job, to get into a grouse fest. You have to know those persons really well, and use the comment as commiseration. I would never say anything other than a compliment to anyone I knew only slightly or did not know.

    • Isabella Muse

      applaudddddddddd exactly! I’d never say anything so personal to someone I didn’t know (I wouldn’t say it to a friend either in all honesty) but saying something like you look younger or you look older or you look sick is just a big no! It seemed like a backhanded comment!

  • Ashley m

    A much older male coworker told me I looked tired when I didn’t wear any makeup, just a tinted moisturizer. I said to him, ” thank you!” Sarcastically thinking he would get the point. Later on my break I put my usual routine on at my desk, he just laughed later when he saw me, ” did u put makeup on?” Men are so clueless, we do it to feel good about ourselves, not to look good for them. They can be so insensitive with their stupid comments.

  • Stephanie

    Hi Muse! I actually had a coworker that commented on my eyeshadow look one day and said that she didnโ€™t like the color I was wearing and that I looked tired. She would always make those kinds of comments to me when she had the chance and I would feel so insecure afterwards. I think that deep down, she enjoyed putting me down. Needless to say, I avoided her as much as I could and limited our conversations strictly to work related purposes.

    • Isabella Muse

      wow just wow. Why are women ripping each other up like that?! I’ll bite her ankles for you Steph! Don’t let anyone make you feel less than you are ๐Ÿ™