Vogue UK deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor this week for the unequivocal act of valor involved in putting Nigella Lawson on the cover without makeup.

We’re kidding, of course. Going without makeup for a day, or even a Vogue cover, is not akin to heroism. But Nigella Lawson looks amazing on the cover of Vogue UK in a green lace Burberry Prorsum dress.

Much was made of Lawson’s “bare-faced” cover, but we’re pretty sure there’s some makeup going on up there. While there’s definitely far less slap than on a normal cover girl, Lawson appears to be wearing blush and lipstick at least. (No one’s cheeks are naturally that rosy, right?)

Vogue UK‘s Lauren Milligan is careful to specify that Lawson wears “only the most minimal” makeup, so there’s definitely a little bit going on. (The Daily Mail says a Vogue insider admitted there’s a bit of mascara and blush and “a little retouching.”) And Lawson does look noticeably different without her usual shiny blow-out and carefully applied TV cosmetics, but she looks amazing. The 54-year-old food writer and television personality is arguably the world’s best advertisement for avoiding extreme diets and sun exposure. Also for covering oneself in caramel.

While she was totally cool with being smeared in dessert topping for a magazine cover, Lawson said she was actually far less confident about appearing on Vogue with just some blush and mascara.

“I was terrified of being photographed without make-up,” Lawson told Vogue UK, “and I hate having my looks talked up. It always makes me feel I’m going to be a disappointment in the flesh.”

We can’t imagine anybody seeing Nigella Lawson in person and being disappointed. Especially if she brought caramels.

(Photo: Vogue UK)