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?

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 😛 ), 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 🙂

    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!

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