Makeupless: Portraits for Empowerment

There is no beauty more perfect than what nature has molded, no beauty more pure than truth.

So unique are we without alteration, unlike all others in all things which define our personality-molding characteristics: a collection of freckles, a discreet scar, non-discreet coloration, textures, lines. “Imperfections” as we’re inclined to call them, but which in some way or another make us both imperfect and perfectly one-of-a-kind. We are each unlike any other because of our irregularities, yet our humanity makes us beautifully alike. Personal exposure and experience through nature have shaped us into those particular unique differences, as wind weathers rock, as water formulates sand.

I am less a person opposed to makeup than I am a seeker for truth and whole, happy humanity. Being and accepting ourselves at our most raw is how we find and understand the bigger part of this picture. I am so excited for these women who volunteered for Makeupless. After viewing their portraits, please read on to learn what they learned from their individual experiences with this project.

Statements some of my volunteer models have made after this experience:

“It’s so empowering to take photos with a bare face, especially given the experiences I’ve had where I’ve been photoshopped or heavily made-up. It’s nice to see the beauty in people that is completely authentic and natural.”

“I really like the concept of embracing your natural beauty. It felt uncomfortable at first to pose with no makeup at all, but towards the end of the session I felt comfortable and beautiful. Also [Manda’s] positive and reaffirming words helped a lot! Doing this photo event was therapeutic and very empowering. I am very grateful I decided to participate.”

“I used to struggle with anxiety, agoraphobia, and disordered eating. This past year has been an amazing healing experience, and going to the Makeupless session felt like the latest huge step in my personal growth. Not only was I leaving my safety bubble to enter into the new experience of being on this side of a camera, but I was doing so without the “safety net” of the dramatic cat eye that is practically part of my face at this point. Although I felt vulnerable leaving the house without my signature look, I felt very confident by the end of the session. I had brought makeup to put on afterward so I could run errands on my way home, but I instead opted to remain makeupless for the rest of the day. I felt much more confident in my interactions with people that day than I usually do when I am out without makeup.”



I will continue Makeupless sessions to contribute to this blog as I see opportunities for it! If having this experience for yourself is a piece of yourself that you need, please contact me to schedule a personal session at a special rate.

Posted by admin / filed under: Human Doings

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  • Stephana says:

    I love this concept and the way you captured these beautiful women! I’m at the point in my life where I feel more like myself without the makeup that on the rare occasions that I’m wearing it, I feel uncomfortable. Thank you for doing these empowering sessions!

    • Manda says:

      Thank you Stephana! I’m so glad you’re in a healthy mindset. Makeup should be decorative, not a confidence crutch. 🙂

  • Jamie says:

    These portraits are beautiful. I love how you are capturing their natural beauty!

KC Union Station Retro Train Portrait Typewriter CameraManda Marie Kar

Photojournalist | Thematic Designer


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