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. 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. 🙂

  2. 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. 😉

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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! ?

  7. 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.

  8. 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. 🙂

  9. 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

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