21 . 3 . 14

The no make up selfie

When I initially saw a number of scary ‘No make up’ selfies featured in my Facebook newsfeed I was extremely cynical.

Not only did I NOT want to see what people looked like before they have had a wash, I also wondered how this was connected to cancer, or how it would actually raise money – as people didn’t seem to be donating.

Over the coming days, I stopped my rantings and numerous expletives at every unmasked lady in my newsfeed and realised that I was well and truly wrong about the whole thing.

As a person working in Social Media, I realised that this was quickly reaching a huge amount of people and in turn encouraging people to donate – it also hadn’t cost a Cancer charity a single penny. This simple concept took normal women out of their comfort zone, to produce incredible results while at the same time making them feel confident without their war paint on.

To highlight the impact of this campaign I have compared this to another huge money raising effort by TV personality Davina McCall.

Davina recently did an extraordinarily selfless act and swam, ran and cycled from Edinburgh to London in 7 days for Sport Relief, pushing herself to extreme physical and emotional limits. This could well have cost Sport Relief quite a lot of money and taken some intense planning, but in turn was worth the effort for the support and money raised. Davina raised a brilliant £760,000.


Davina total

Davina did an amazing thing and also raised a huge amount of money, but this has been over shadowed by a sea of naked-faced selfies on our social platforms. A campaign that has already raised over £2million in 48 hours.

When comparing this huge Sport Relief effort by a celebrity to one unknown person starting a trend on social media, we have to stop and consider the power of these platforms and the everyday people who use them.

The #nomakeupselfie organic campaign highlighted that we can relate to real people on an accessible media, but does this mean that celebrities aren’t as important to us as they used to be?

Davina vs Selfies

#Nomakeupselfie achieved 1,223% more mentions online in just one week than the Sports Relief challenge garnered in two months

The difference between the two campaigns is the recruitment and inclusion of the public, to not just donate but to be part of the challenge and to be the face of the campaign. We can ask until we’re blue in the face for people to donate money to charity, but it’s these key considerations that will make the public feel like they have made a difference by doing something quick, brave and more importantly – public.

The moral of this story is that future campaigns like Sports Relief should not only consider the television coverage, celebrities and challenges, but how to give this the enormous boost that social media and everyday people can offer.

I am now ready to embrace the no make up selfie and join the revolution (with a little help from my colleagues)…..

Real Selfie

The only thing left to say is – thank god for Instagram filters (only kidding).


To donate to Cancer Research UK text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3 or visit

And why not give Davina a few quid too for her amazing effort! To donate £5 or £10. Text FIVE or TEN to 70510 or visit to donate more.

 PicMonkey Collage

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