Makeup can be a transformative tool for self-expression and give you a major confidence boost, but it isn’t for everyone. Whether you have sensitive skin that’s prone to breakouts or you just hate the feeling of makeup sitting on the surface of your skin, some people avoid wearing it altogether—even for special occasions like their wedding day.
Currently, the “no-makeup makeup” look that's trending is encouraging many brides to go foundation-free on their wedding day, in an effort to look like the most naturally beautiful version of themselves. Below, we talked to 10 real brides about why they decided to skip foundation on their wedding day, what other makeup products they decided to wear, and how they feel about the decision now.
Read on for the best tips, from real brides, on how to embrace and enhance your natural beauty—without wearing a full-coverage foundation.
Madison T., 24
"On a daily basis, I usually just put some mascara on to liven up my eyes and moisturizer, and that's it. I went foundation free on my wedding day because I knew I was going to be uncomfortable with foundation on. In general, I hate the feeling of foundation on my face, and sometimes I feel like it can make me look worse and accentuate my dry spots. My family and bridesmaids weren't surprised at all by my decision not to wear foundation and I am glad they didn't try to convince me to wear it. I felt great on my wedding day. I was confident and comfortable with my bare face. I was so happy that I decided to go foundation free because I knew if I did decide to use foundation, all I would be thinking about is the foundation on my face and whether it is getting caked on, if my face looks dry, or if it is coming off. Overall, I was really happy with my decision of going foundation free on my wedding day and it was a great day overall." - Madison T., 24 years old, Illinois
Lishai B., 28
"I really didn't want to look back on my wedding photos and feel like I didn't look like myself. Since I never wear foundation, it just didn't make sense for me to start all of a sudden, when I'm perfectly comfortable without it. My friends and family were totally fine with my decision; it was really the makeup artist that was trying to convince me otherwise! She was very adamant that foundation is a necessity for wedding photos but I stayed strong. She used my Tarte Shape Tape concealer, mascara, eyeliner, a sheer/shimmery eye shadow, lipstick, and highlighter! I was really happy with the final look for my wedding day! I really felt like I looked like myself and loved that my makeup look was basically my everyday routine just with a few added products. The pictures came out great!" - Lishai B., 28 years old, New York City
Alessandra C., 35
"My wedding took place in Hawai’i, and August in Hawai’i is HOT. I thought the best solution instead of sweating off my foundation was not to wear any! So, instead, I wore a little blush, pretty stay-all-day lip, lashes, and eyeshadow. I believe in great skincare. My skin was glowing from my skincare routine and I just needed a little BB cream to even everything out and add protection from the sun. On my wedding day, I did my makeup myself. I wore Maybelline BB cream, Nars blush in Orgasm, and MAC lip pencil in Almost Red with Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick in Seductress. I felt gorgeous, but even with so little on, I still couldn’t wait to wash my face. I was grateful I didn’t feel like I had a whole mask of makeup on." - Alessandra C., 35 years old, Princeton, NJ.
Jessica Moore., 35
"I went no foundation on my wedding day because that's how I look daily. I have very dark freckles I chose never to cover and even tinted moisturizers make me look "off." I take super, super great care of my skin in order to do this, so why not flaunt it? Skincare is key. I always encourage those who want to do this on their wedding day to take the extra mile to nourish their skin. I was most definitely happy with my decision. It was me and it was still bold enough to feel bridal. I am a hair and makeup artist and so I knew what I was going for, ultimately." - Jessica Moore., 35 years old, Fort Worth, TX.
Melissa M., 42
"I generally don’t wear makeup. When I do it’s an Iman-pressed powder or Fenty foundation. It was still early in the pandemic when we got married in a small ceremony. We were all still masked and I didn't want my makeup to be smearing and smudging. My friends and family were surprised that I wasn’t wearing foundation—they said they couldn’t tell. It was over 90 degrees in New York, so it was extremely humid. I guess we were all glowing! I felt beautiful and very happy with my decision. Not wearing foundation and not worrying about any discoloration during the ceremony or pictures was a big relief." - Melissa M., 42 years old, Far Rockaway, NY
Nicole Z., 41
"I don't typically wear foundation so wearing it [on my wedding day] wouldn't feel like myself. I didn't want to be uncomfortable on such an important day. When I was in junior high I remember desperately wanting to wear makeup and not being allowed. When I moved on to high school, lots of girls wore tons of makeup. I remember one of those days a girl who wore makeup showed up without and she looked like a whole different person. That shaped my thoughts about makeup and how I would use it. I never wanted to be the woman who couldn't leave the house without lipstick. No one made any remarks about it, though I did add lipstick, which I don't normally wear. I was happy with my decision and wouldn't have had it any other way!" - Nicole Z., 41 years old, Jacksonville, FL
Gina L., 35
"Since I don't typically wear makeup, I chose to just go with the bare essentials, which didn't include foundation for me. [My friends and family] weren't surprised. As someone who typically doesn't wear make-up, they weren't trying to push me into something I didn't want. On my wedding day, I wore mascara, a little eyeliner, and some powder. I felt beautiful! Just a slightly enhanced version of my everyday self." - Gina L., 35 years old, Coopersburg, PA.
Lin P., 27
"I was pretty sure from the start that I didn’t want to wear foundation because I’m pretty happy with the way my skin looks day to day, and I didn’t want that heavy feeling on my face. My sister very kindly did most of my makeup. I wore Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF (I love it so much), brow gel, Milk Makeup bronzer on my eyelids, eyeliner, mascara, and the cheek tint as my blush and lip color. I also had on a holographic highlighter from Milk Makeup. I’m very happy with my decision! I’d recommend it to any bride who doesn’t like foundation in the first place. [After] seeing my sneak peek photos from the photographer, I look like myself, which is really all I wanted!" - Lin P., 27 years old, Cleveland, OH
Julie P., 37
"I don't usually wear any makeup on a daily basis. I tend to break out easily, so I wear a moisturizer with sunscreen every day and ChapStick. [On my wedding day] I didn't want to worry about things. I knew I was going to be sweating and I didn't want the foundation to sweat off or be caked onto my face. I wanted to look like myself. No one commented that I didn't wear foundation because I don't think they noticed. I used E.L.F waterproof mascara, L.A. Colors eyeshadow, and Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm in Cherry Me. I felt great on my wedding day! Pretty and relaxed and myself. I was happy with my decision because I recognized myself in the pictures and I didn't feel like I was painted on." - Julie P., 37 years old, Orange County, New York
Cassie E., 31
"I like the natural skin/dewy look so I don’t love foundation—it can look too heavy and noticeable on my skin. I had my own makeup artist, Chanel Cross, and one of the reasons why I chose her is that she does a great 'natural glam' look on brides that feels authentic to my personality. I didn't want my look to be too different than what makeup I normally wear.
She says this about my bridal look: "I used a lot of skin prep to make Cassie’s skin glow on its own. I prepped her skin using a gentle face massage to stimulate a glow and primed her skin using Saie Super Glowy gel to make it radiant without any foundation. I concealed only lightly using the softest brush to gently blur where needed, like under the eyes. I used the Merit Minimalist Complexion stick for this purpose. I did apply a soft-gel blush by Chantecaille which is very translucent to make her skin visible, but it added a healthy hue of rose. I also used Ilia’s balmy lip tint which Cassie already owned and was able to reapply as needed throughout her wedding day. ” - Chanel Cross, makeup artist
I felt amazing! I loved the way I looked and felt glamorous, yet still, like myself. The way I look in photos is great and I’m glad I made the decision not to apply foundation." - Cassie E., 31 years old, Los Angeles, CA