Better bare-faced: Why I’m not wearing makeup at the wedding

Guest post by Laura M
Is this as far as your wedding day makeup plans go?
Is this as far as your wedding day makeup plans go?

I've always been freckly, from the time when I was a little kid. Lots of people have struggled with freckles, but I LOVE mine. They are so much a part of my face that I hate to cover them up. They come out more during the summer when I get more sun (duh) but they're always present. I also have sensitive, fair skin. A lot of products (scented, too many chemicals, whatever) just make me uncomfortable and itchy.

As I grew up, I experimented with makeup. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a sucker for those cute little tubes and bottles. I probably own more makeup than I will ever need. I loooooove makeup. I just don't necessarily love it on my face.

There were two major factors that led me to the decision that tinted lip balm and maybe a coat of mascara would be the only makeup-related prep points on my to-do list…

With makeup versus without makeup.
Me with makeup, and without.
Number one: When I wear makeup, I just don't feel comfortable. A lot of foundations make my skin itch or feel oily, and I always worry about touching my face and mussing it. Add to that the fact that the wedding is going to be outdoors in June and I'm a crier, and you have a recipe for a stiff and preoccupied wedding face.

Number two: I really like my face as it is. In fact, I think I'm prettier bare-faced than with makeup. Is it possible that this is due to my inexperience with cosmetic application? Sure. Am I super motivated to learn to contour? Nope.

My natural state is makeup-free. It's worked for me for 26 years. While I like to experiment sometimes, I realized that if I “did my face” for my wedding I'd be doing it because I felt like I should, not because it would be fun or make me feel more beautiful.

Anyone else going bare-faced for their wedding day?

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Comments on Better bare-faced: Why I’m not wearing makeup at the wedding

  1. Thank you thank you thank you. I’ve struggled with my feelings about make-up for years now. I don’t wear it. I don’t feel like me if I do. I want to be able to wake up in the morning, and know who is in the mirror.

    I like the way my face and skin look (most days πŸ˜› ), and I don’t want to sacrifice that to be majorly painted up for a special occasion. A bit of mascara and lightly colored lip balm, and that will be perfect. That’s me, this is my face, this is my happiness.
    (Disclaimer, that is not to say that people who do wear makeup are inherently doing it wrong, just that I feel like I’m lying about who I am if I wear it)

    • I do add eyeliner via the cat eye look- because the 1960’s rocked it hard core- but totally with everyone on here against foundation.

  2. I never wore make-up growing up for similar reasons. Even if it was “light” I knew it was there and that alone caused me to itch and fuss with my face. Now, I’m so used to not having makeup that I don’t feel a real desire to start. I like my face, I recognize myself, and makeup will feel like a time AND a money suck. My wedding was make-up free and I’m happy with that.

    I grew up with terrible acne and rather then feel like I needed to hide it, makeup just irritated my skin more. So not only did my face hurt, now it itched. I’ve learned to appreciate my natural beauty now.

  3. Definitely the amount of makeup (or none at all!) that makes you feel comfortable is best. You mentioned being concerned about messing up your foundation with hands or crying your makeup off, so I just wanted to put this out there for people like myself who are wearing makeup despite those concerns: there are a lot of products designed to “set” your makeup and hold it in place. I have one by Skindinavia that is freakishly effective: after being drenched in sweat from a long weightlifting session and 2 mile run, my makeup was still in place.

  4. I feel the exact same way about my freckles!! The only thing I wear on my skin is Aveeno BB cream because it’s SPF 30 and the slight tint to it evens out my skin tone.

    • I’ve heard that brides should avoid SPF moisturizers on their wedding day, because of the pigmented reflection that it causes in the photography. or “ghost face” as the professionals describe it.

      • I’ve heard that this only applies to certain SPF ingredients – best thing is always to try out any makeup and take sample pictures. If it looks fine in the practice photography, I’d say a light BB cream would be a gorgeous look, so go for it! I love the look of freckles anyway.

  5. Sorta feel the same way. Usually a swipe of powder (my face is super oily) does it for me. But I have some pretty severe acne scarring on my cheek that I just feel super conscious of, and didn’t want it to be a concern during my day. My solution? Hired an airbrush makeup artist and invested in some Urban Decay setting spray (my best friend wears it and no matter what, her face is flawless. I’m talking miles of hiking and she looks like the cover of a magazine).

    The trial run seems to be good. At the end of the day, feeling comfortable is what’s important. You’ll have more fun and when you see photos of the day later, you won’t think “wow, I look so unahppy”.

    • How did the Urban Decay setting spray feel? I heard it feels sticky, and I don’t have the clearest skin so I’ve always been hesitant to try it.

  6. you go girl! I’m not wearing makeup either and I’m doing my own hair! I’m also wearing a sundress instead of a bridal gown it’s barely white and cost $40!!! yay offbeat women!

  7. I actually do think I look better with makeup, but I still don’t wear it often (I did, however, wear it for our wedding, because I wanted to. I felt better about pictures that way and that’s OK).

    And that’s for the same reasons – it makes my face feel oily and gross. And what’s wrong with how I look naturally? Even if it isn’t as socially-determined-as-beautiful as I do with makeup? Men go about with bare faces all the time and nobody thinks “he’d look better with a little foundation and eyeliner”!

    What I hate is not only the assumption that you must wear makeup on your wedding day, but that women should at least wear a minimum of makeup every day…why? Is our actual skin not good enough?

    That’s not to say there is anything wrong with makeup, just that I don’t see how people think it’s a necessity just to be seen by the world.

    • I only recently started experimenting with wearing makeup after going 15+ years without. I see it as a form of self-expression, much like getting dressed. But when it’s not appropriate … I don’t wear it. I don’t wear big sparkly earrings to the gym or the grocery store, why would I bother with makeup?

      (I do get for some women that makeup is part of how they choose to express themselves. If that’s you, comment-reader, rock on!)

      • Exactly – an optional mode of self-expression available to you if you want it.

        It gets problematic when it’s seen by society at large as the baseline requirement.

  8. I’m not a person who wears makeup in my day-to-day life as a scientist at all. I really can’t stand foundation or lipstick, the feeling of them on my face just bugs me. Sometimes for “fancy” occasions I’ll throw on some under-eye concealer and mascara. So that’s what I did for my wedding – eyeliner, mascara, concealer! And since it was an outdoor summer wedding, also powder. Honestly, I probably could’ve stood to powder my whole body, the sweat in a corset-style bra + wedding dress was unbelievable.

    Do what makes you feel comfortable and pretty, whether that’s professional makeup, a touch of makeup for fanciness, or no makeup! I do recommend taking a few photos in whatever lighting/makeup choice you’re going with to make sure it looks how you want. I wasn’t gonna wear any mascara, but photos did sway me on that one, once I saw how I looked with vs. without.

  9. I am also not wearing make up. I hate make up. Wearing make-up to me is a reminder of dozens of battles as a child and a teenager to look girly – or whatever my mother’s interpretation of girly was. She loves make-up and hair; I have been known to skip brushing my hair if I am not leaving the house. My mother puts on make-up to mow the lawn (no, I am not kidding about that). It was a constant battle in our house from about 12 years old on.
    And so to this day, I loathe make-up. Nothing goes on my face except sunscreen (30-70 spf) depending on activity and tea tree oil wipes to get the sunscreen off before bed.
    It will be a make-up free day! I am however going to have my hair done – mostly because I fell in love with this sparkly crystal pin and my own “brushed down or ponytail up” skill set will in no way shape or form support the sparly clip I want in it. Last night I broke down over “trial runs” with hair people, and the FH calmly looked at me, “MOH’s hair looked great at her wedding 2 years ago. Just hire whoever she did and tell him you want the same thing. You won’t even have to go have a trial run.”
    So logical. I wish I had thought of that. I may decide we need the trial run, I may not – but I am happy with this decision.

  10. I have hyperhydrosis (I sweat a lot, really easily. stupid easily), cry easily (and the day of, I will cry A LOT) and I have super rosy cheeks that don’t even hide under foundation, so the idea of wedding makeup to me is a bit of a joke. I could never pull off that magazine-quality, professional makeup.
    I plan on wearing eyeliner, mascara and false lashes, and my normal CoverGirl Clean makeup “foundation” and powder. and my go-to Cotton Candy flavoured/tinted Lip Smacker πŸ™‚

    I’ve recently heard about primer and setting spray, and all that jazz. I don’t know enough about it to know how to use it, but I’m going to try to read up on it and see if it’s worth the expense and effort!

    • Primer is good for eyeshadow (depending on the primer) so it doesnt crease after a few hours but if you have sensitive skin, I would not recommend for your entire face. As far as setting spray, Ive never felt that it was worth it considering if I just wait a few minutes, my make up sets on its own lol but if you would like to try it, go for it!

  11. Yay for your confidence!
    One thing though, there are plenty of foundations/tinted moisturizers out there that can hide imperfections and even out your skin tone without covering your freckles.

  12. I never wear makeup. Since moving out of my parents’ house (and away from my mother’s opinion), I haven’t worn a drop of makeup. But I *knew* she was going to ask me to for my wedding, and I pre-freaked out about it before she said anything! Would it be “selling out” to wear makeup on my wedding day? Did I really want to? Then suddenly I had an unprovoked “aha” moment where I realised that as long as it was subtle, I did actually want to wear it. So I did! I looked gorgeous, as usual, and all was well. Not that I needed to “fake” myself for the wedding, but for me, makeup is up there with “big fancy dress” and “curled hair” in my list of things that I would never do normally, but are fun to dress up in. πŸ™‚

  13. I love my freckles too, and wouldn’t dream of covering them up for my wedding!

    I wear little to no make-up on an everyday basis – just a bit of concealer, some light eyeliner, and a mostly nude eyeshadow. I find wearing anything much heavier just makes me feel goopy and a bit itchy, and it’s not worth it for me when I’m just sitting at work. For the wedding I’ll likely step it up a bit, but considering I’ll be outside in August all day, I don’t want too much on my face. I’m planning to invest in a light foundation just to help even up some of the redness in my complexion, and I’ll probably wear eye make-up that’s a bit more noticeable. Since I don’t wear much day-to-day, I want to make sure I still look like myself and feel as comfortable as I possibly can.

  14. Its so refreshing to hear a woman like herself just as she is without any hesitation. Its also nice to hear it said in a non-judgmental way without a hint of superiority. Its a personal choice about what works for you and feels right and I applaud you. I hate the conversation around not wearing makeup right now. It seems very fabricated as if to say “you are so brave to not wear makeup in PUBLIC” el scandalo! I’m so happy that you are going to feel beautiful at your wedding and that you made a choice for your body that is right for you.

  15. I didn’t wear makeup to my wedding and I’ve never regretted it. I also wore my glasses despite several people trying to get me to wear contact lenses–which I’ve never worn. My philosophy was that when I exchanged vows with my groom, I wanted him to see the face he fell in love with and he’d always seen me barefaced with glasses.

  16. Love this! While I did wear some minimal makeup at my wedding, I rarely do on a day to day basis. I have nice skin, pale with some good color and a splash of freckles across my nose. I have some (mostly older) coworkers who have commented on the lack, but mostly in the vein of “I’m so jealous of your young skin”.

    The most important thing at your wedding is that you feel that you look like your best self.

  17. I should also add that we’re not doing professional photography and my fashion philosophy is “comfort over everything” (seriously, that would probably be my graffiti tag if I had to pick one) so this decision was kind of a no-brainer for me πŸ™‚

    I am so glad that nobody felt like there was a judgmental tone in the post, though. There’s been so much negativity floating around on the internet at large over the to wear makeup vs. not to wear makeup thing, but I shouldn’t have worried because OBB is awesome! That said, I admire the heck out of all you ladies (and gents) who do AMAZING things with makeup and rhinestones and eyelashes. You look bang-up gorgeous.

    • Hi Laura! I’d like to make a teeny suggestion. I, too am a not-so-makeup-y person (BUT THE COLORS! SO MANY COLORS!!) and I know that I’m usually a shiny mess after, like, and hour. My suggestion to you would be some blotting paper. It’ll help keep shine at bay without actually adding anything onto your face. It sops up oil like powder would, but without the itchy/cakey mess that can sometimes happen when sweat hits powder. You can get blotting papers almost anywhere you can find cheapie makeup (local drug store, target, etc.) Either way, I hope you have the besets wedding day ever!

    • That’s what I liked about it. I love make up, but I don’t like when people talk about not wearing make up in a way that’s really negative to people who do wear it.

  18. Tipp for (almost)-no-bother eye-enhancing, dye eyelashes:
    I also don’t wear any makeup and I feel like mascara irritates my eyes and what’s the bigger problem: I never wear it, so I never remembered not to wipe at my eyes when I did. But I also have really light lashes. So my solution is to get my eyelashes dyed. I do it when I remember it, and I’m not super good at keeping up with it, but when it’s done I don’t have to worry about it for a while.
    It doesn’t have the thickening effect of mascara, but for me and my relatively long but light eyelashes the before-after effect is definitely very noticable.
    It takes about 15 minutes (10 minutes for the color to set) and it can burn a little bit, but it doesn’t always.
    I’ve never had by brows done, but they also offter to pluck and/or dye those too.

  19. I’ll be wearing makeup for my wedding, but I recently realized I don’t want someone else putting it on me or choosing my colors. It feels … kind of creepy. And, like you, not “me.” So I’ll be using my own daily makeup with a few more dramatic additions, and having fun putting it on my own dang self.

    Of course, I’m a pale skinned redhead. I adore my freckles and never cover them up, but I don’t *have* eyebrows and eyelashes unless I draw them there.

  20. I always wear a good moisturiser/sunscreen. When going out I might put on lippie or a bit of eyeshadow I even own clear mascara so it can’t run, as that’s the only places I don’t sweat! If I get married I won’t be wearing make up. It’s just not worth it.

  21. might I suggest a lip stain? you can get them in lighter colors and they don’t come off as easily as tinted lip balm, victorias secret makes one that goes on like a gloss and dosen’t dry your lips out. also, have you considered getting eyelash extensions? they last about a week so you could get them done a few days before and then you wouldn’t have to fuss with mascara. πŸ™‚

  22. Like Colleen and Laura M I’m a freckled redhead who also wears glasses – but with the added pain of being in my mid 50’s and I’ve just had the same conversation with my hairdresser today (grey touch up and practice for the put-up hairdo which I need cos if I get a hot flush my hair will look like I’ve been in a shower in less than 2 minutes flat!) She has mentioned that their beauty salon does a eyelash dye & “perm” which helps give a “wide eyed” look without the mascara or falsies so I’m going in tomorrow lunch for a chat with the beautician – apparently it last for 4-5 weeks (wedding is 21 eeeek days away!)… if I decided to go for it then I’ll take a before and after and let people know what I think.

    Normally I never wear foundation, at max a bit of blusher, some eyeliner and touch of mascara and I always eat my lipstick within 10 mins of it being on so I guess I’m not going to be going for much else in the makeup-line either … My excuse will be that the Victorians didn’t slap it on (to my knowledge, and this is my theme) and so I’m not going to either LOL

    • I’m in a similar boat – older than average bride but with freckles and glasses. I may look into the lash tinting, too, because it sounds so much better than having someone come at my eyes with a gooky bottle brush when I’m already sleep-deprived the day of the wedding.

      Despite my rocky relationship with my freckles when I was younger, I’ve accepted them and don’t bother to use tattoo cover-up on them anymore. I rarely wear make up (mainly because eyeshadow gets in my eyes and causes rashes at the corner of them – no matter how new the pack) – the most I’ll wear is some lipstick. Fortunately, I look pretty made up with just that.

      And you are right, DennyWench – only whores/actresses wore face paint in the Victorian era. A proper lady pinched her cheeks and bit her lips to give color to her arsenic-caused paleness. πŸ˜‰

  23. Yay! I really like my face as it is too! I didn’t and don’t wear anything on my face at large, I wore lip stain and eye shadows because I’m a painter and I like colors and I like to paint my face with colors… and it was fun, just like the rest of the day πŸ™‚

  24. Admittedly i wore makeup for my wedding as my skin is usually itchy with excezma, but i found a makeup artist who did really well with a very light base to even the skin tone and bring my eyes out <3 i normally hate wearing makeup but i love putting stuff on for my eyes so the most details went to my eyes ^^
    Kudos to you gals who wear your natural beauty, i just know you'll look knock-out gorgeous on the day!~ xo

  25. I’m still undecided about this… my mother thinks that “of course” I will have my hair and makeup professionally done. But my normal regimen is tinted moisturizer, chapstick, and a ponytail or braid, so I think I would feel artificial in heavy makeup and fully done hair. More importantly, I don’t want to spend the hours before my wedding with someone I’ve never met who is engaged solely with a part of me that’s peripheral to the purpose of the day.

    However, if I go the tinted moisturizer / chapstick / ponytail route on my wedding day, I’m likely to regret it. My hair will frizz, or I’ll be breaking out, or I just won’t feel, I dunno, bridal enough. Which leaves me with the options of (a) learning to do a bit more primping on myself, (b) finding a friend or family member with whom I have a very solid relationship who can do it, or (c) finding a professional I feel reasonably certain is not going to make me look overdone. I’m still very undecided about what I’ll actually do.

  26. I went the (almost) no make up route at my wedding. I wore mascara, a really light eyeshadow and lip gloss. I don’t wear make-up in my day to day life, and I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable during my wedding. My partner was totally on board with this and told me to make sure to tell my sister (who was doing my hair and “make-up”) to go easy. I am so happy I made this choice and felt comfortable all evening, not having to worry about messing anything up.

    • This is kind of what I want to do, but I’m worried about how I’ll photograph. Do you have pics? Were you happy with how you looked in photos afterward?

      • Photoshop is a wonderful thing. Makes any shine go right away! I hate foundation, so if my forehead is shiny, well, there’s an app for that! ?

  27. I’m going to jump in here even though makeup is a completely foreign concept to me.

    I wore makeup once in high school (I think it was just mascara and eye shadow but I really have no idea), because my friends really wanted to put makeup on me, and I hated it. I can’t stand the feeling of it on my face and I’m a compulsive eye-toucher, so I kept getting it all over my fingers.

    I never wore makeup growing up, and neither did my mom, so we never even had makeup in the house. I never learned to use it at all, and I’m totally okay with that (no judgement towards people who do use makeup, it’s just not me).

    I think on my wedding I might have worn lip gloss? I honestly don’t remember. I think it may have just been lip chap because the ceremony was outside in the winter and I didn’t want my lips to dry out and start hurting.

    My sister-in-law wore makeup to her wedding, but she also never wears makeup normally, and her pictures honestly look like someone else. It’s so weird to me. I mean, I think she was happy with that, and that’s fine for her, but I didn’t want to end up feeling like all my wedding pictures were of someone else with my husband!

    (I’m also really really opposed to the idea that women in professional settings have to wear makeup because ugh guys don’t hello sexism, but that’s another topic.)

    • Kristine, I have *so* much trouble with the “makeup in professional settings!” I’m working on getting a better job at the company I work for, which is part of what caused me to start playing with makeup, as well as having to upgrade my wardrobe. And you’re right – I realized it’s part of the game for women. I resent it, but I do it, because I present as femme enough to play the game.

      It Should Not be necessary, though.

      • Yeah, I’m trying to work my way into the professional world now. I’m hoping more business-like clothing and good hair will save me from having to wear makeup.

        I also acknowledge that I have an advantage over some people in that I look pretty presentable by society’s standards without makeup (I have pretty good skin, dark eyelashes, etc.). It would be way harder for me to go makeup free if I didn’t already partially match society’s dumb beauty standards.

    • I get chapped lips no matter what weather or the amount of water I consume, or anything unless I have chapstick.
      Unfortunately with kids- they always seem to want to eat the stuff. :\

      • If you haven’t already, you may want to experiment with different kinds of chapstick. Petroleum-based products are designed to seal in moisture, not provide it, so you may have better results with more “natural” lip products. I’ve found that I get best results for me with B Complex (because a B deficiency can also cause problems with your lips) and a little hand lotion (I use Cerave).

      • I agree with Cassie! I used to have chapped lips, but now swear by coconut oil. And Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve lip butters.

  28. Another thank you from me! I have been stressing out about this so much. I’ve only worn make up maybe four times in my life and it felt like a disaster each time- even when it was done by people who are very skilled with makeup. I keep thinking makeup is required, but, seeing all these comments…I may just forego it. πŸ™‚

  29. Not to insult anyone, but for me you wear makeup or you don’t.
    When some of you said “I will not wear makeup on my wedding day”, I thought “yeah, you go girl”, but then you follow up with “only mascara and eyeliner” or something like that. That’s makeup, isnt it, so you won’t ve makeup free, but wear little makeup.

    For me, I “only” wore mascara and eyeshadow, but I wasn’t makeup free.

    Do what make you comfortable, wether it is little or no makeup ( but as always, no means no:p. )

    • I think it’s all subjective. The “traditional” bride idea is to have a professional apply a full face of makeup. Primer, contour, concealer, foundation, balm, liner, lipstick, liner eyeshadow, mascara, powder, setting spray. To the women who wear their makeup like that regularly, or to a makeup artist, a simple gloss and mascara IS the equivalent of not wearing any makeup at all.
      When I read someone saying that they will only apply mascara and gloss, it doesn’t conflict with them saying that they will me makeup-free. Compared to a full face application, they are right. :p

  30. I LOVE this FB/blog/web site. I’ve re-linked it a couple of times on my own blog. In particular, I love your attitude…your style.
    If you don’t want to wear make-up, then don’t. Your own true self is what he is marrying you for…and I personally find that particularly beautiful πŸ™‚ Best wishes and congratulations πŸ™‚

  31. The biggest difference aside from teh freckles in those two photos posted is the sheer seduction you’re giving the camera without makeup. It screams self confidence, and “come hither”.
    Yay for self confident freckles!!

  32. I really wanted some makeup for my wedding because I knew that even a little would make me look better in pictures. I’ve spent enough time in theatre to know that lights wash out your face. But I never wear makeup, and I didn’t want to look like someone else for my wedding. My maid of honor was planning to help me, but I was still pretty unsure about the whole process. My parents stepped up and paid for a makeup artist to come to the B&B for us girls. That was one of the best decisions I could have possibly made for the wedding. I see a difference between normal me and the me in the pictures, but the makeup is so subtle, I can’t tell what she did exactly. I would highly recommend a makeup artist for the people who aren’t sure about doing their own makeup.

  33. I do wear make up and I will say that it really does work in the favor of alot of people. I would not consider going without it on my big day, but I won’t be hiring anyone to do it for me. But there are ladies with GORGEOUS skin, especially with freckles. I think your decision to go without is perfect for you. You’ll look great πŸ™‚

    Its all about preference really. Congrats on your big day.

  34. I don’t like how my skin looks in photos without makeup, but I’m an actor, and part of the job is makeup. I’m going to have to find a balance between feeling super made up like for the stage, and absolutely no makeup.

  35. Wonderful post! I also am a typically makeup-free person. I don’t have freckles and I admit I’m a little jealous, because I’ve always loved freckles. But I love my face even without freckles. And hate the feeling of makeup in general.

    I thought about going no-makeup for my wedding but I decided to just go with light makeup (provided and applied by my wonderful mother, who herself is makeup-free most days but likes to wear some for dates and weekend parties and the like -far from a professional makeup artist). Very light foundation, a touch of blush and a little eyeshadow. Not a lot by usual bridal standards, but more than I wear 364+ days per year. I wanted to still look like me, and happily, I did. The important thing is I wore it because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to.

    I’m glad to hear of people going makeup-free for their weddings, not because there’s anything wrong with wearing makeup (not at all!), but just show how many different wonderful ways there are to be on one’s wedding day. I hate the thought of any bride thinking that she has to wear makeup (or a certain type of makeup, or a certain quantity, or applied by a professional, etc.) if it doesn’t appeal to her.

    Faces with makeup are beautiful!

    Faces without makeup are beautiful!

  36. You have such lovely freckles! I don’t blame you for not wanting to cover them up!

  37. Great for you! I’m glad you went with something you were comfortable with.

    Note on the itching: you may want to check out to find makeup that doesn’t itch. I was miffed about seeing so many products with fragrance in it. That makes me break out.

  38. I am wearing makeup on my wedding this weekend, but I’m doing it myself. I never liked the idea of being “done up” for my wedding. Everyone would tell me I’m crazy and that I should still have it professionally done because they can make it look like I have nothing on. But… why in the world should I pay someone to make me look natural? Why not look natural… NATURALLY? I’m going to have eyeliner, foundation, mascara, and lipstick. That’s it. I am standing my ground… and so should you and anyone else who wants minimal or no makeup on their wedding!

  39. I made the same decision for similar reasons and I have NO regrets. I spoke to my photographer (JF Photography out of Vermont… cannot say enough good things about her!) about the concern of looking like a ghost (completely overlooking the fact that my husband’s complexion is every bit as pale as mine and that no one would expect HIM to wear makeup), and she told me to do what was comfortable for ME. As a result, the amazing pictures Jody captured that day actually show ME. Not some culturally hyper-idealized version of what I “should” look like, but what I *actually* look like. I don’t have perfect skin, and never have, but the upside of not trying to hide it is that I don’t look at my wedding pictures and feel ugly in the now. Those pictures are me, every bit as untouched as I generally am.

    While I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with wearing makeup for the big day, whether that’s routine or not, I think that your post is super important for saying that it’s okay NOT to wear makeup, too. There’s so much emphasis on how to DO makeup, how MUCH to wear… but very little acknowledgement that NONE is a perfectly valid choice, too!

  40. Well I think you look lovely in both photos. The most important thing is to feel comfortable. I think of make up as a sort of battle armour, I only wear it on occasions when I want to feel more confident or when I feel that people will be scrutinising me.

    If foundation makes your skin itch then might a BB cream be less harsh? I have a ‘sensitive’ one from Avon which seems to have few enough nasties to mean my super volatile skin doesn’t freak out on the days when I wear make up.

  41. Personally, I don’t like makeup and rarely wear it due to how easily is smears and rubs off, which is why when I first tried out wearing makeup I felt betrayed and deceived by the media. When I apply color to my face I want it to stay there until *I* choose to take it off. So I have put a lot of effort into finding makeup that lives up to my very high expectations. Urban Decay Setting Spray works wonderfully in that regard to powder makeup – it can turn grocery store wet n’ wild eyeshadow indistinguishable from expensive waterproof brands. Apply it after your powder makeup such as foundation and eyeshadow, but before mascara and lipstick or it’ll get sticky and messy. If you use a cream or liquid eyeshadow instead, apply that after using the setting spray as well. For the longest lasting stuff, always go for waterproof.

    Other good, *actually* long lasting types of makeup for fiddly brides are (surprisingly) grocery store waterproof mascaras, and Maybelline’s Superstay 24 hr lip color – use only occasionally and apply very carefully (do NOT smack your lips like you would with regular lipstick, hold them open and wait for it to dry), I’m pretty sure it actually bonds to the top layer of skin on your lips but once it’s on it will not smear, smudge, or rub off without actively and aggressively rubbing at it with soap or makeup remover.

  42. I never wear makeup but was contemplating doing so for my wedding. Fortunately, totally unprovoked, my fiance said to me, “I hope you don’t wear makeup at our wedding. Your natural face is the one I fell in love with and that’s the face I want to see.” Decision made. No makeup for me.

  43. I don’t normally wear makeup on a day to day basis because I am a red-head with pale freckly skin and most things seem to look too harsh on me. If I am getting dressed up I wear mascara, a little powder blush and lip gloss. I used to have to wear stage makeup and it did all KINDS of horrible shit to my skin so I avoid it like the plague.

  44. Thank you so much for posting this. As a non-makeup wearer, I was struggling with deciding what to do for my upcoming wedding in June. Everyone thinks I’m crazy for even considering going ‘bare’ but it’s what feels right to me so why not? I love the fact that there are others out there that are so much more comfortable in their own ‘face’ than a made-up face. I think you may have motivated me to NOT wear make-up (or at least keep it very little & low key if I do). I really want to be myself on the most important day of my life and make-up just makes me feel so fake, like I’m trying to be someone I am not. I sometimes wish I could pull off the beautiful made-up faces but I just don’t have the motivation to learn and honestly I am comfortable with how I look so why would I try to change? So thank you again for this, you have lessened my struggle a bit!

  45. The ladies who did my hair and make-up didn’t take me seriously when I told them I had allergies. I had steel pins in my hair, and in spite of saying I could only use lipstick, they just went wild. Yes, I got the “natural” look. No-one could tell I had any make-up on, really. At first. Before the swelling. But that wasn’t the point. I didn’t want *any*. But they just bulldozed over me on a day which was confusing and hectic enough as it was. The pins made my scalp burn, and the eyemake-up made my eyelids swell halfway shut. I’ve got problem skin as it is, so a camouflage stick was used on my upper chest and back to hide zits, and wherever it was used I got red blotches (on an otherwise insanely pale skin). There was so much going on on my wedding day I didn’t have the spine that morning to say no to the make-up, and wonder where the antiallergenic pins were… And the ladies really did think they knew what was best for this unfasionable bride. I know they’re professionals and they often work for Dutch national TV stations near here, so it could’ve been pancake instead… Anyway…. If you’re NOT comfortable with make-up, get ready to stick to your guns! We had a wonderful weddingday, and the pics will make me smile, but I just wish I would’ve manned up for the one occasion where they wanted me to be “extra-feminine”. Don’t let anyone talk you into anything that doesn’t feel like “you”. After all, it’s the “you” a certain someone chose to marry, not what other people feel you should be.

  46. It is such a relief to find this article, thankyou! I have freckles and never wear makeup normally. On a special occasion I might wear tinted moisturiser, eye shadow and mascara. I don’t own a lipstick. But I thought it would be nice to get makeup done professionally on my wedding day.
    I had a makeup trial yesterday and it was just awful. As soon as the foundation was on I felt like my face had lost all is character, but the makeup artist told me that was just how makeup looks. I had said I wanted to look natural, and she reminded me of that, saying she was keeping it really minimal. But ‘ natural ‘ had the effect of making me look like I had tiny eyes and a small mouth in a sea of pale face.
    I had thought getting my makeup done would make me feel pretty and I had timed it to have the trial the day of our engagement photos. But I felt so stupid by the end of it that I was embarrassed to be seen in public with it on and I just drove straight home and washed it off.
    My fiance thinks getting your makeup done is an essential part of the whole wedding experience and is encouraging me to try to find another makeup person. But now I just feel anxious about getting any kind of makeup. I like my face. I like my freckles. It’s really nice to hear other people saying that you don’t have to have makeup to look ok in photos πŸ™‚

  47. I’d love to see photos of real weddings on the site where the brides did not wear makeup–or, at least, no foundation/concealer, etc. Anyone know of any links? I love wearing a little bit of makeup (eyeliner, mascara, lipstick), and am hoping to rock some false eyelashes successfully for the first time ever at my wedding, but I absolutely hate the feeling of foundation and powder and all that. But I’m 45 and have dark circles under my eyes–genetically, all the time–and I don’t want to hate how I look in the beautiful photos I’m planning to pay a lot to have. Am I being naive or dumb to forego foundation?

  48. I don’t wear makeup regularly. However I do love to wear light makeup (no contouring, cat eye, etc) for special occasions, and my wedding definitely was a special occasion. I had my makeup done professionally & I’m so glad I did! The makeup artist understood when I told her I still wanted to look like myself. It was perfect!

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