Do You Wear Make-Up to a Funeral? Is It Appropriate?


When attending a funeral, you want to make sure you are following etiquette, showing respect, and not calling too much attention to yourself. Wearing formal, black clothing is a common practice for both men and women. Keeping your makeup neutral and respectful is also a must for those attending a funeral.

You can wear makeup to a funeral if you can keep it neutral and respectful. By using natural tones and avoiding any flashy colors or statements, you can appropriately wear a bit of makeup to a funeral. Avoid bright-colored eyeshadow, dramatic eyeliner, or bold lip color. 

In the rest of this article, we will take a closer look at funeral etiquette and the dos and don’ts when attending. We will explore makeup guidelines to understand best practices for if you choose to wear makeup to a funeral. By the end of this article, you will understand how to look put together and sophisticated without being flashy or disrespectful. 

Applying Make-Up for a Funeral

When wearing makeup to a funeral, you want to make sure you choose neutral colors and give a natural look. By keeping your look neutral, you can feel your best while still showing respect and following funeral etiquette. 

This is not the time for experimental looks, costume makeup, or how you would do your face when going out on a Friday night. When applying your makeup, stay away from bright, sparkly, or flashy colors. This includes bright eyeshadows, excessively blush or contour as well as bold lip colors.

The goal of your funeral makeup should be to subtly enhance the natural features of your face. 

It shouldn’t be obvious from a distance that you’re wearing makeup at all. By going light with your application and choosing the right tones, you can easily create a funeral-appropriate look.

woman at urn funeral mourning the death of a loved person

Remember, the way you apply makeup for a funeral might be different from your usual day look. If you need to attend a funeral straight from work, make sure you pack your makeup bag to make any adjustments and tone down any bright colors.

Foundation 

When wearing foundation for a funeral, make sure you stick to your usual color that perfectly matches your skin tone. If you are accustomed to wearing foundation, you will likely know exactly how much to apply to give you full coverage while still giving a natural look.

Regardless of how much practice you have of applying foundation, you want to start off light, and avoid a caked-on look. Start with a small amount of your brush and lightly apply it evenly across your face. Take your time to blend it well, and make sure you blend it into your neckline.

It’s actually a good idea to have different foundations to choose from so that you can opt for one that is long-lasting. Funerals can be emotional, and you can be more comfortable if you are confident that your makeup will last through a long day that might involve tears. 

If you commonly apply concealer, highlighter, bronzer, or blush, make sure you go easy today. 

This is not the moment for your face to be shining with highlights or giving a dramatic, contoured look. If you do apply any of these elements, take time to really blend them out to give them as neutral and natural a look as possible. 

Eyes

If you are accustomed to wearing eye makeup, you might feel naked leaving the house without it. With a few little tweaks to your usual style, you can easily create a look that will be funeral-appropriate while leaving you feeling comfortable.

When choosing your eyeshadow, choose something neutral and close to your skin tone. This is not the time for bright blocks of color. Most eye shadow palettes have a few beiges and browns to choose from, which are excellent choices for a neutral look.

As you are applying your eyeshadow, apply just a little at a time and blend it smoothly with your skin tone. 

Now is not the moment for a thickly applied, solid block of color, even if it isn’t bright. Instead, work your way from each corner of the lid towards the center. This will create a subtle, beautiful look that won’t be too bold for a funeral. 

If you usually wear heavy eyeliner or paint a winged style, you might consider skipping the eyeliner altogether or thinly applying a bit just along the natural curve of your eye. Skip the wings or other decorative options. 

With both eyeliner and mascara, choosing a waterproof option is always a good idea for a funeral. Tears can happen, and you don’t want to be worrying if your makeup is running and making a mess.

When it comes to your lashes, apply a minimal amount of mascara. 

You can create a natural look, giving your lashes the darkness and curve that makes you feel confident without going overboard. Apply a single coat or stick to the tips of your lashes. Funerals are not the time for fake lashes or any bold choices with colored mascaras. 

Remember, you will probably already be wearing all-black clothing to attend the funeral. Too much eyeliner or mascara can darken up your overall look significantly. This could lead to you looking more gothic or dramatic than you intended. 

For a full guided tutorial on how to apply eye makeup appropriately for a funeral, you can check out this Youtube video by eHow Beauty:

Lips

If you don’t usually wear lip color, there is no need to start now. Going with a bare lip is perfectly acceptable. You could also choose a light, clear gloss if you are looking for something subtle to help you feel more put together.

But should you want to wear lip color, make sure you choose something that is close to the natural color of your lips. Bright reds and pinks are not funeral-appropriate, so choose something that is more muted, subtle, and harmonious with your complexion when it is applied.

Going for a tinted lip balm or other more translucent option is another wonderful choice. This will allow you to slightly enhance the color of your lips without the opacity that lipstick can bring. 

When choosing a tinted lip balm, keep to neutral tones that match your complexion. 

For more tips on choosing and applying lip color for a funeral, you can check out this makeup tutorial on Youtube:

No Makeup Options

If you usually don’t wear much makeup, there is no reason to start applying it for a funeral. The goal is simply to look put together and if you achieve this with minimal makeup, simply use your go-to formal look. 

For some, this might be lightly applying a bit of powder to even out skin tone. For people with naturally glowing skin, they may apply a touch of mascara and be done. Whatever your usual makeup routine is to look natural yet formal, simply follow that to attend a funeral. 

Remember, this day isn’t about you, your style, or your self-expression. It is about remembering the person who has passed and supporting others who are grieving their loss. Being authentic and respectful is the main goal at a funeral, and if you prefer to place your energy elsewhere than on your makeup, that’s okay too. 

Other Appearance Dos and Don’ts

Your makeup isn’t the only way that you could commit a funeral faux pas. Clothing, accessories, and behavior all have their place in traditional funeral etiquette. 

Let’s take a look at how to present yourself in order to communicate respect.

Clothing

When it comes to your clothes, you will want to follow the same guidelines as your makeup, as you want to look put together and respectful without being flashy. This is traditionally accomplished through all-black formal wear.

Remember that your appearance today is not about you. 

Your focus should be on the person who has passed, the bereaved family members, and honoring that person’s life. This is not the moment to reveal a fashionable new look that you’re excited about, even if it’s in black. 

First, you want to cover up. 

High necklines and other full-coverage pieces are ideal for funerals. If you have a modest, long sleeve dress you want to wear but it does show some leg, consider a pair of opaque black tights to wear along with it. 

Next, avoid any pieces that feature sequins, sparkles, or anything else that would be considered too flashy. If you don’t have a conservative black outfit ready to go, choose the next best option if you don’t have the ability to shop for one. This could be anything that is dark and muted. 

Avoiding bright colors is a must.

Shoes and Accessories 

Black, closed-toe shoes are also ideal to go along with your outfit. You will find women wearing modest heels at funerals. You can’t go wrong picking a conservative, black dress shoe to go with your outfit. 

Avoid bright accent colors or excessively high heels, or other flashy styles. 

When accessorizing, keep it conservative and classy. This is not the moment for wild jewelry and over-accessorizing. If you have a pearl necklace or something simple in gold or silver, choosing one of these pieces is a great choice. 

Alternative Celebrations

However, all of these guidelines are for traditional funerals. More people are opting for alternative celebrations of life where the guidelines might be entirely different. The family might explicitly encourage the wearing of bright, bold colors to set a different mood. 

Make sure your outfit matches the event. You will feel out of place if you show up to a festive, colorful celebration of life wearing an all-black outfit. 

What To Say

People can feel particularly stressed when it comes to what to say and how to act at a funeral. 

The truth is there is no perfect thing to say when trying to comfort others experiencing loss. All you can do is be authentically yourself and express what you feel. 

The bereaved will most value any expression of you caring about the person who has been lost. It’s important that you show up and show your support for the bereaved, even if you’re not 100% sure if you’re doing it right. 

People will often say that the bereaved “probably want to be alone right now,” but this is likely not true. When going through hard situations, it can be incredibly helpful to feel the support and love from the community. 

Simply by showing up and showing your love and support, you are contributing a great deal.

When it comes time to express condolences, you can’t go wrong with an “I’m sorry.” You can safely express how sorry you were to hear of the passing or how sorry you are for the loss. You might want to share a fun memory you have of the person who had passed. 

You can also offer your support to help in any way you feel comfortable, or even ask the bereaved what they need from you.

You want to stay away from cliches that can be dismissive to the bereaved experience. By saying things like “I know how you feel” or “Don’t worry, it will get better,” you might inadvertently be dismissing what the other person is currently going through. We can’t know the experience of another person, and avoiding phrases that assume that we do is always a great idea. 

Additionally, you can show up with gestures of support. If you tell the bereaved to call if they need anything, they will likely never call. 

However, if you bring them a meal or support them in another way without their prompting, this can be a highly valued action. You will know what’s right based on your relationship with the bereaved and what would feel natural and supportive. 

For more etiquette-based tips, you can check out this video on Youtube:

Final Thoughts

If you’re wondering how to apply makeup for a funeral, remember to keep it neutral and respectful. Makeup can help you look more sophisticated and put together, but too much of it or the wrong colors can come off as flashy and disrespectful. 

Choose natural colors that compliment your skin tone. Remember to blend well and apply lightly to achieve the most neutral look.

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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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