It’s true that some women never wear makeup for various reasons. Some look better without it than others do. Some object on principle, or prefer to maintain a vaguely earthy-crunchy vibe. Others simply don’t have the time, can’t afford it, or have jobs that don’t involve interacting with others.

But for many of us, showing up at the office or a bar without at least a swipe of blush and some mascara results in a day spent being asked if we have the flu. Amy Schumer nailed this phenomenon in her perfectly titled sketch, “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup.” Its takeaway: The “just free yourself from makeup!” crowd, particularly its male contingent, has no idea how makeup-wearers look after they wipe it all off.

Most women wear at least some makeup, some of the time. The polls around cosmetic use are notoriously bad—they’re often sponsored by beauty companies—but they’ve reported that between 50 and 80 percent of women use it at least occasionally. (According to another survey, though, two-thirds of women wear fewer than three products daily.)

When University of New Hampshire student Ann Marie Britton surveyed 137 of her classmates for a thesis in 2012, at least half of respondents said they were “likely” or “very likely” to wear makeup to class, work, a job interview, to socialize, or on a date. “Mascara was used in almost all situations,” she found.

But more importantly, women on TV wear it. Many of our moms wore it, as did our elementary-school teachers. Magazines bombard girls with tips on “looking flawless.” That’s just how women look, in the collective mind’s eye: With unnaturally shiny lips and dark eyes. All about looking your best with the best women’s makeup.

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