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Should you wear eye makeup to a funeral?

Deciding what is appropriate to wear to a funeral can be a delicate matter. For some, wearing makeup may seem inappropriate or disrespectful. For others, makeup can help them feel more put together during a difficult time. When it comes to eye makeup specifically, there are a few factors to consider.

What is the appropriate makeup for a funeral?

The most appropriate makeup look for a funeral is minimal and natural. The focus should be on looking tidy and polished, not made-up. Some general guidelines:

  • Avoid bold lips or heavy eye makeup. Dark or colorful lipsticks and dramatic smoky eyes are too distracting for a solemn occasion.
  • Stick to neutral and earthy tones. Soft browns, taupes, and muted pinks are safe options.
  • Use makeup subtly to conceal flaws and even out skin tone. Spot conceal dark circles and blemishes for a smooth, natural look.
  • Curl lashes and apply a light coat of brown or black mascara. This helps define eyes without being overdone.
  • Fill in and groom brows lightly for a polished frame to the eyes.
  • Apply some tinted moisturizer or light foundation to look fresh and put together.
  • Brush a light dusting of powder over oily zones to reduce shine.
  • Finish with a neutral, matte lip balm or lipstick in a natural rosy hue.

The goal is to use makeup in a way that minimizes its noticeability. Stick to minimal, neutral tones applied with a light hand. Avoid anything sparkly, shimmery, heavy, or bright.

Is it disrespectful to wear eye makeup to a funeral?

Wearing tasteful, minimal eye makeup is generally not considered disrespectful for a funeral. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Relationship to the deceased – Close family members may wish to forgo makeup entirely. Distant acquaintances have more leeway to wear subtle makeup that makes them feel polished and put together.
  • Venue and tone – More makeup may be acceptable at a memorial with a celebratory tone vs. a solemn funeral service. Gauge what tone is appropriate.
  • Personal preference – For some, makeup helps them gain composure and confidence during difficult times. For others, it may feel inappropriate.
  • Cultural and religious norms – Some cultures and faiths discourage wearing makeup to funerals or have guidelines on what is appropriate.

As a general rule, light, natural-looking eye makeup is unlikely to offend at a funeral. Out of respect, be conservative rather than flashy. If in doubt, it’s safest to err on the minimal side or skip eye makeup entirely.

What is light, natural eye makeup for a funeral?

Here are some examples of light, natural eye makeup looks that are funeral-appropriate:

Soft neutral tones

  • Light brown shadow swept over the lid
  • Warm peachy or taupe shadow blended in the crease
  • Champagne or beige shimmer lightly patted on the lid
  • Dark brown eyeliner and mascara to subtly define

Toned down smoky eye

  • Sheer wash of gray shadow blended from lashline to browbone
  • Touch of brown liner smudged softly on upper lashline
  • 2-3 coats of brown-black mascara

Polished and natural

  • Concealer to brighten under eyes
  • Tinted brow gel to groom brows
  • Curling mascara and light touch of brown pencil liner on the upper rim

The key is keeping shadow soft and subtle, brows natural but groomed, and liner/mascara minimal. Avoid colorful or harsh eye looks. Prioritize a polished yet understated elegance.

What kind of eye makeup should you avoid for a funeral?

To maintain the somber, respectful tone of a funeral, avoid the following types of eye makeup:

Type of Eye Makeup Reason to Avoid for a Funeral
Bright, vivid eyeshadow colors Too festive and distracting
Glittery, shimmery finishes Risks looking costumey
Colorful winged liner Too dramatic and showy
Fake lashes Excessively voluminous and bold
Colored mascara Unnatural and flashy
Intense smokey eyes Overly heavy for a solemn event

Stick to neutral mattes, minimal liner, and an overall natural enhancement of your features. Save party looks and bold statement eyes for more festive occasions.

Should you skip eye makeup altogether for a funeral?

Skipping eye makeup completely is a matter of personal choice and circumstance:

  • Close family members may opt for a fully makeup-free look to convey the heaviness of their grief.
  • Those not as closely affected can wear conservative, respectful makeup without offense.
  • Some find wearing basic makeup helps them maintain composure and grace under emotional duress.
  • Individuals who seldom wear makeup may feel most comfortable going makeup-free.
  • Cultural/religious customs may discourage makeup or have guidelines.
  • Venues, tones and relationships should inform decisions. More leeway is given to distant acquaintances and celebratory memorials.

In general, minimal eye makeup or none at all are both appropriate choices for a funeral. Let your personal preferences, customs and relationship to the deceased guide you.

Tips for applying subtle eye makeup for a funeral

Here are some application tips for achieving a subtle, natural eye look that is funeral-appropriate:

  • Preparation – Start with clean, moisturized skin. Use an eye cream to hydrate lids.
  • Neutral tones – Stick to soft browns, taupes, greys and champagne shades.
  • Light hand – Use a delicate touch and build gradually. Sheer washes of color are best.
  • Blending – Blend eyeshadow thoroughly so there are no harsh lines.
  • Mascara – Apply black or brown mascara subtly, focusing on the root and middle of lashes.
  • Eyeliner – Line eyes lightly near the upper lashline and smudge gently.
  • Brows – Fill sparsely with powder to lightly define the brow shape.
  • Setting spray – Finish with a misting of spray to meld makeup together.

Take your time and build color gradually. Go for an enhanced version of your natural beauty rather than an overly made-up look.

How to cover up red or swollen eyes for a funeral

Here are some tips for concealing red, puffy or swollen eyes before a funeral:

  • Use a cold compress. Place a chilled spoon or damp washcloth over closed eyes to soothe and reduce swelling.
  • Try soothing eye drops. Redness-reducing or lubricating drops can make eyes look clearer.
  • Apply cream eye treatment. Look for ingredients like caffeine, arnica or vitamin K to treat puffiness and discoloration.
  • Use a yellow-toned color corrector. Counteract red and purple tones before applying concealer.
  • Dab on concealer. Look for a hydrating formula with buildable coverage. Focus on the inner and outer corners.
  • Set with powder. Lightly set concealer with a translucent powder to increase longevity.
  • Curl lashes. This helps open up eyes. Follow with a coat or two of brown or black mascara.
  • Finish with eye brightener. Pat a subtly luminous eye cream or balm along the lower lashline.

In addition to makeup tricks, getting enough rest, staying hydrated, and reducing eye rubbing/irritation can also help reduce eye redness and swelling.

How to apply eye makeup for a funeral if you don’t wear makeup regularly

If you are not accustomed to wearing much makeup, keep the following tips in mind when applying makeup for a funeral:

  • Stick to one or two products only, like a tinted moisturizer and mascara.
  • Use fingers or a sponge instead of brushes for easier blending.
  • Look for cream shadow sticks, which are fuss-free and easy to apply.
  • Focus makeup near the center of the face – eyes, cheeks and lips.
  • Curl lashes and add just 1-2 coats of mascara.
  • Add some tinted lip balm for subtle color if desired.
  • Concealer can be dotted just on areas that need it.
  • Powder only the T-zone if needed, avoid adding all over powder.
  • Read instructions and do trial runs of products before the funeral day.

The key is keeping things simple, natural and minimal. Stay within your comfort zone rather than trying elaborate techniques.


Applying tasteful, minimal eye makeup for a funeral is generally acceptable. Neutral earth tones, basic lining and mascara, and a overall natural enhancement is most appropriate. Bold, colorful and heavily made-up looks should be avoided out of respect for the solemn occasion. Those closest to the deceased may opt to skip makeup entirely. Consider your relationship, the tone of the event, personal preferences and cultural customs when deciding on your look. With the right subtle products and application techniques, light eye makeup can help provide outer composure during difficult times of grief.