For years, women have been given endless and conflicting messages regarding the standard of beauty. However, in recent years, women and society, as a whole, have shifted priorities, creating new standards. For example, a 26-year-old dental nurse recently won the first-ever makeup-free beauty pageant.
Beauty pageants have been around for almost 100 years. They’re known to pit women against one another in a seemingly friendly competition. However, the competition has been known to get fierce, leaving many women obsessively trying harder year after year. Alternatively, some good has come from the competition. For example, more open doors for women, granting them access to grants and funding for education and, in some cases, even giving women the opportunity to travel and see the world. Although it’s less talked about, most women who’ve competed in previous years have also been highly successful or intelligent, if not both.
Participating in a Makeup-Free Beauty Pageant
Beauty pageants have made a transition into something else entirely over the years. What began as a photo submission without makeup has now become a full-out makeup-free beauty pageant. Interestingly, the women are still successful, bright, and determined to create a great future. Actually, the only notable differences between this competition and those of previous years are the policy changes regarding makeup and attire. The women who competed in the 2023 Miss London makeup-free beauty pageant were permitted to wear their desired clothing. However, it had to meet certain requirements, described as “boho-themed ethically sourced clothing”.
Makeup-Free Beauty Pageant to Inspire
Nineteen women competed in the 2023 Miss England contest, the makeup-free beauty pageant. Sponsored by Cetuem London natural skincare brand and held at the Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences, this year’s pageant had a surprise twist. One that differed significantly from years past.
Contestants were banned from even wearing lip gloss. In fact, they were actually asked to compete with no foundation, mascara, or any other cosmetics that might otherwise enhance their beauty.
26-year-old Natasha Beresford was this year’s winner in the first-ever makeup-free beauty pageant. Named Miss London, she and her fellow competitors proved that beauty goes beyond appearance. It includes things like performing acts of kindness, having strong values, and being driven toward accomplishments.
Natasha wore a stunning white lace dress by Shikoba Bride, a company known for producing ethically and sustainably produced wedding dresses in the UK. However, her looks aren’t the only thing about her worth mentioning. Natasha is a dental nurse at the Royal London Dental Hospital, where she’s been employed since 2021. She provides treatment to children, giving her the nickname “real-life tooth fairy.”
Although she is originally from Sheffield, Natasha has found her passion, living in London and working at the private dental practice located in Chiswick, a relatively upscale neighborhood. She said that she has worked in multiple dentistry settings, including NHS and private or urgent care dental practices.
Read: Miss England Contestant Becomes First Woman in Pageant’s 94-Year History to Compete Without Makeup
A Winner’s Perspective
“I find my job really rewarding. For the future, I would like to do further training in dental radiography and oral health education.” Natasha explained, adding, “I also plan on volunteering with Dentaid for their UK outreach dental clinics, where they provide dental care and oral health advice for people experiencing homelessness, survivors of abuse, families in poverty, refugees, cancer patients and people recovering from addiction.”
“I hope to use my title to inspire young women and girls to feel confident and beautiful in their own skin without makeup.” She added, in regard to her winning title at the makeup-free beauty pageant.
Inspirational and Powerful Women
Natasha has a story sure to inspire young women everywhere. Alternatively, she isn’t the only woman setting a powerful example to inspire others. Four other amazing women competed and made top 5 in the makeup-free beauty pageant. Afrose Ameen, 23, from Lewisham, also took part in the competition. Amazingly, she’s in school for engineering and worked on the Elizabeth Line of the London Underground.
Temi Adeyemi is a 26-year-old accounts assistant from Enfield, Middlesex. Meanwhile, 17-year-old beauty therapy student Alanta Richards, from Surrey, also made a huge impact. Alternatively, also part of the top 5, is Lauren Malone. The 26-year-old founder and CEO of her company was awarded the public vote winner and will be competing with the other finalists in the Miss England final.
When asked what prompted the change to make this year a makeup-free beauty contest, the organizers had a strong message for women and people, everywhere. The organizers have disclosed the idea is to “empower women, boost confidence and promote a more realistic body image.”
Interestingly, England had a 2022 pageant winner who was also recognized for her lack of makeup, inspiring a trend of women loving themselves exactly as they are. Despite her unconventional approach, Melisa Raouf was 20 years old when she entered and won last year’s beauty pageant.
Choosing to compete with no makeup, she set the tone for creating the makeup-free beauty pageant. “Women are pressured to look a certain way because of society’s narrow perception of beauty and perfection, and they’re often scrutinized for not conforming to them,” she divulged. “I wanted to challenge these unrealistic beauty standards by taking that bare-face round to the next level.”
For years, beauty pageants and other mainstream ideas regarding cosmetics have been the leading force for women and how they present themselves in public. In contrast, many people have reevaluated what’s important in life, particularly after the pandemic. As such, a shift in priorities has brought about new trends encouraging people to treat themselves and others with a profound sense of compassion. As a result, makeup-free beauty pageants and other empowering events will likely become increasingly popular.
Keep Reading: The sad reality of children’s beauty pageants
- “Makeup-free Miss England finalist defies ‘unrealistic beauty standards’” Washington Post. Samantha Chery October 18, 2022.
- “Woman wins world’s first make-up-free beauty pageant.” NY Post Brooke Kato October 4, 2023.
- “Woman wins world’s first make-up free beauty pageant.” VT Co. James Kay. October 3, 2023.
- “Dental nurse, 26, wins world’s first make-up free beauty pageant – where contestants can’t even wear lip gloss!” Daily Mail. Monique Rubins. October 3, 2023.