Your “No Make-Up Selfie” is Not Raising Cancer Awareness – But Here Are 4 Ways You Can

The Facebook nomination fad has done its rounds on the internet in the last few months, from downing alcoholic concoctions in “neck-nominations,” to talking about your favourite pony in “neigh-nominations.”  The latest practice of online public selections however, comes in the form of the “no make-up selfie to raise awareness of cancer.” Confused? You’re not the only one.

Over the last week my Facebook page has been inundated with selfies of girls with “no makeup on” stating the intention of the picture is to raise cancer awareness. Only one picture I have seen had links to a cancer charity website or to where you could donate. So it’s left me slightly baffled as to how these selfies, of girls with their tussled hair and undone faces, are actually raising awareness?

It strikes me as having familiarity with those irritating, pointless and now relatively mundane memes and pictures which pop on your timeline now and again, with a picture of a starving child saying “if you don’t click like – you advocate child poverty.” Sorry, what? How does that work exactly? Just as clicking like won’t provide that starving child with a meal, your no makeup selfie won’t raise awareness of cancer. One thing these “nominations” are showing however is just how shallow our society still is. Why is it so shocking for a girl to post a picture online with no makeup on? The back lash from some male counterparts is also very disheartening, mimicking and jeering at girls baring their all hardly inhabits the charitable spirit that was intended.

That’s enough of the negativity. It should be acknowledged, what these selfies do show is that people want to raise awareness of such an important subject. But there are many more influential, substantial and worthwhile ways you can raise awareness and especially money, for research into cancer and its cure, than just posting a makeup-less selfie.


Don’t just sit behind your computer screen clicking like on a picture saying you support cancer research. Go out and prove it. Walk, run, cycle or bungee jump, it’s up to you what you do but go out and show your support in a physical action, not a click of your finger. is a great and relatively easy way to raise money for cancer charities which, as it goes without saying, are always in need of funding.


Similar to the above, but less physical for those of you who are unable to partake in an epic hike up Kilimanjaro. You can fundraise or help others to fundraise by volunteering, whether working in a charity shop, handing out water at a sponsored run or even interning at the head offices of a cancer charity. Volunteering is not just great for those you are helping but it is clearly beneficial for you too, to boost your CV and your character. We can’t deny we all love the feeling of being a do-gooder and volunteering is a great way to do this.


Whether you’re at University, still in school or at work you can organise a group of people to fundraise and increase real understanding of the topic. For example, set up a cancer awareness group, go out and shake a bucket, hold a bake sale, or just as importantly, hand out information and speak to people on the street. Raising awareness means you need to provide information about the situation. It’s all well and good posting on Facebook, “yeah cancer is bad – let’s stop it,” but who is that going to influence? You need to hit people with the hard facts, for example, did you know in the UK there were a higher number of men diagnosed with cancer in 2011 than women?


May sound like a pretty obvious one, which it is but learning about different types of cancer, who they affect and what you can do to help is extremely important. For example, Breast Cancer awareness is huge in the UK; the pink ribbon is an internationally known emblem for a very important cause. But, and this may sound controversial, I feel that sometimes the other forms of cancer are forgotten and the fundraising is not as equally distributed. Take for example testicular cancer, this has had nowhere near the same amount of recognition and fundraising in the UK as breast cancer receives. But this is changing, the recent Men United V Prostate Cancer campaign aims to appeal directly to men, raise awareness, answer any questions anyone may have and of course fundraise. So the point here is, cancer is male and female, young and old, black and white and we should be raising awareness of this and making sure fundraising is equally distributed.

Cancer in one way or another, in the past or present will affect us all and in 2014 it continues to be an extremely sensitive issue on the public agenda. Though the internet can prove to be a strong uniting force in rallying people behind a cause, it more often provides a curtain for people to hide behind, rather than pushing them into getting their hands dirty. So please don’t be an internet activist; if you really want to raise awareness of cancer – do something, volunteer, organise and learn about it.

If you would like to donate to cancer research it can be done here  or by simply texting BEAT to 70007.


  1. I totally disagree with you! I think it’s a wonderful fun way of making people aware that they can help to fight a not so wonderful or fun disease. Perhaps you are unaware that every person who posts a no make up selfie has donated (or claims to have donated – but the reported £2-£3 million received by donations by the Cancer Association speaks leads me to believe that they have) to the Cancer Association.

    I for one would never have thought of donating until I was nominated – I am sure the majority of others wouldn’t have either. And seeing the continuing no make up postings on my Facebook feed keeps cancer victims in the forefront of my mind.

    I hope the trend continues.

  2. Still, no make up is a great thing. Makeup is an illusion of beauty, ie a lie, a lot of wasted money and resources and should be done away with.

  3. Maybe you should all take a step back for a second because the FACT Is that it’s NOT ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!!!! Cancer patients are just as greatful for support through their long and hard journey… that’s what the selfies are all about showing them that no matter how hard it gets there are so many people there supporting them… because to them support is just as important as money… so to the self minded people who are saying that we aren’t doing anything for the cause by taking selfies, take a step back and think that if it was you in their position would you like to know you have the support by the people you know and complete strangers… grow up and get a heart and think outside the tiny little box you all live in!!!!


    Still doesn’t make it any less of an annoying sign-of-the-times method of fundraising however. I guess it is something a lot of people would be comfortable doing, rather than say, getting people to shave of their hair. Although I would be more hesitant to take a ‘selfie’ of any description, than shave off my hair, but each to their own I guess.

  5. I keep reading negative comments about the no make up selfie campaign, that it isn’t doing anything and reading comments varying from disapproving to down right spiteful …. Things is now that over £1,000,000 has been raised for cancer research UK and over £70,000 for breast cancer research in just 24 hours attributed to this activity, seems there’s no arguing the good it’s done now is there .

  6. I completely agree with this article. Yes it’s fantastic that a lot of money has been raised for breast cancer, but I feel this is another social media fad like Kony… a lot of people are jumping on the heroic bandwagon, posting selfies without actually donating a cent, only posting a hashtag of #breastcancerawareness. If you think about only yourself for a moment, have YOU actually been made AWARE about breast cancer? Do you know the signs you should be looking, what to check, what’s normal / abnormal?

    • great comment, i was thinking how similar it is to the kony thing as well, look where tweeting #kony2012 got us in ending child soldiers – no where. theres also the point that everyone is aware of cancer, but has the “campaign” actually even encouraged people to donate or just upload a picture for self gratification?

  7. £15,000 is rather impressive when you consider the U.K. Has 63,000,000 residents… Considering text donations are what £3 each, thats 5,000 people donating…
    Don’t get me wrong its nice this money is going to charity and awareness is being raised, just feels everyone is patting themselves on the back prematurly

    • The facts all seem to be a bit mixed too, one min its £15,000 then i see over £1m ? and 800,000 texts donating, but each text donates £3 so how does that work? haha

  8. “We have received over £15,000 in donations so far, which has only been made possible from the public getting behind this campaign. We’re really grateful for everyone’s support.”

    • That’s great to hear. At the time I wrote this though no one was posting donation links on their pictures and I just didn’t see any correlation. I still don’t think they raise awareness of cancer research but they’re so unrelated but what this viral campaign has done is cause a backlash and this is why people are now donating which is great

  9. You’re incorrect, CRUK stated that over 15’000 had been raised from the #nomakeupselfie campaigne, and the point is, you post the selfie and then you donate. My feed has been full of both selfies and donation receipts. I’ve even seen a few receipts from men who have donated purely on the basis of seeing #nomakeupselfies. It raises awareness…. it DOES get people donating and as far as I can see you should take the positives from that!

    • I just think the basis behind the selfie is pretty insensitive too. But I’m glad it has now raised a lot of money but at the time I wrote this no one was posting donation links and there was just no correlation between a girl being “brave” posting a no makeup selfie and raising cancer awareness.

    • And they know it came from this campaign how exactly? I happen to agree with the article. This raises no more awareness than those cryptic status updates of yesterday that were suppose to raise awareness of something. Besides which at this point is there anyone in the UK not aware of cancer? It’s not awareness we need but action. This is just yet another pay for people to feel like they did something without having to actually do anything.

      • Couldn’t agree more. As an Indy voices article pointed out its narcissim masked in charity and people are just doing it to feel good about themselves rather than actually going
        Out and doing something active


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