What Taylor Swift Really Looks Like Without All That Makeup

From the instant singer-songwriter Taylor Swift announced the surprise debut of her eighth studio album Folklore, social media has been abuzz with admiration for the star's fresh vibe. While Swift's "cherry lips" became her signature look during the 1989 era, it seems the singer's "red lip, classic" days are in the rearview now, as she's adopted a decidedly more subdued look. The "Mad Woman" singer now has woodland fairy energy, blending whimsy and nature into a look that totally aligns with the new album's sound (which has earned Swift great praise from fans and critics alike).

And while it's rare to see Swift without makeup, her new album signals a period of renewal as she assumes the persona of her latest creation. As Folklore debuted, Swift appeared on social media and in her "Cardigan" video in barely-there makeup and a natural glow.

But, having battled body image issues for years, Swift only recently learned how to be comfortable in her own skin. "I learned to stop hating every ounce of fat on my body," Swift wrote for ELLE on the cusp of her 30th birthday. "I worked hard to retrain my brain that a little extra weight means curves, shinier hair, and more energy. I think a lot of us push the boundaries of dieting, but taking it too far can be really dangerous. There is no quick fix. I work on accepting my body every day." Here's Swift's real stance on beauty standards, sexism, and makeup.

Taylor Swift can't stand double standards in beauty

As someone who's spent more than half her life in the limelight, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has been subjected to society's scrutiny even more than the average, non-famous woman. Yet, while Swift admits that she internalized criticism when she was younger, experience taught her that her appearance isn't the problem — society's double standard is.

For her 30th birthday, Swift shared an array of lessons she's learned from her time in the public eye with ELLE. And, as she highlighted, Swift has learned that society constantly sends "very loud messages to women that exhibiting the physical signs of aging is the worst thing that can happen to us."

"These messages tell women that we aren't allowed to age," she added. "It's an impossible standard to meet, and I've been loving how outspoken Jameela Jamil has been on this subject. Reading her words feels like hearing a voice of reason amongst all these loud messages out there telling women we're supposed to defy gravity, time, and everything natural in order to achieve this bizarre goal of everlasting youth that isn't even remotely required of men."

She's also learned how to block out critics' noise. "I think it's healthy for your self-esteem to need less internet praise to appease it," she wrote, "especially when three comments down you could unwittingly see someone telling you that you look like a weasel that got hit by a truck and stitched back together by a drunk taxidermist."

Taylor Swift opened up about her eating disorder

Upon the release of her Netflix documentary Miss Americana, Taylor Swift opened up about her struggles with an eating disorder. As the "Lover" singer revealed in the film, "it's not good for me to see pictures of myself every day." But, as Swift told Variety, the media doesn't make it easy. "I remember how, when I was 18, that was the first time I was on the cover of a magazine," Swift explained. "And the headline was like 'Pregnant at 18?' And it was because I had worn something that made my lower stomach look not flat. So I just registered that as a punishment."

"And then I'd walk into a photo shoot and be in the dressing room and somebody who worked at a magazine would say, 'Oh, wow, this is so amazing that you can fit into the sample sizes. Usually we have to make alterations to the dresses, but we can take them right off the runway and put them on you!'" Swift added. "And I looked at that as a pat on the head. You register that enough times and you just start to accommodate everything towards praise and punishment, including your own body."

While the singer hid her disorder from the public for years, she wants women to know that "it's all just f***ing impossible" and that, no matter what the haters say, "you can decide whose opinions matter more" and who deserves your attention.

Taylor Swift's beauty routine has evolved — drastically!

Ultimately, Taylor Swift doesn't need to wear makeup (nor does anyone), but she also embraces makeup as an avenue for self-expression. Yet, while she's mastered cat-eyes, Swift hasn't always treated her skin with the love and care it deserves. "After my teen years and early twenties of sleeping in my makeup and occasionally using a Sharpie as eyeliner (DO NOT DO IT), I felt like I needed to start being nicer to my skin," Swift wrote for ELLE. "I now moisturize my face every night and put on body lotion after I shower, not just in the winter, but all year round, because, why can't I be soft during all the seasons?!"

And as she told Allure, she's learned a lot from makeup artists along the way — including tricks for a killer red lip. "They put on the red lipstick, then blot it with a tissue, then they put powder over the tissue and sort of press it onto your lips," she said. "Then re-apply. It turns it into a stain that lasts much longer."

But, if fans truly want to adopt Swift's flawless complexion as their own, they need only share her joy for embracing their natural skin tone. "In high school, it seemed like everybody cared about being tan all year round, but I haven't really thought about it since then," she said. "I don't go to a tanning bed, and I get bored when I lay out." And, when out and about, always wear sunscreen!

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorder Association's Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or chat with one of their helpline volunteers on NEDA's website.