When Your Partner Doesn’t Love Your Makeup

I have a confession to make. My husband does not like my red lipstick. If you’re my best friend, mother or really anyone who has been reading my blog long enough, then you already know my response: I don’t care, I’m wearing it anyway.

I should back track a bit here. It’s not like my husband abhors red lips to the point where he can’t even look at me, rather he simply just does not prefer it over other colors I wear. He’s more of a neutrals guy who dislikes dark smokey eyes and dramatic lips. And since we’re opposites in every way, it’s no surprise that I love the very things he hates.

There’s lots of responses people have in this situation. Some simply stop wearing the item their partner doesn’t like. Others wear it less frequently. Many might be like me and just do it anyway. For me, it’s a pretty clear cut situation. I am who I am, I like what I like and I will wear what I want. I’ve pretty much been that way my entire life when it comes to just about everything.

My husband’s dislike of my red lipstick got me thinking about where the line is drawn when it comes to deciding what to drop and what to keep. To me, in a relationship it makes sense to compromise on larger issues like how to communicate and learning how to respect one another.

Compromises over makeup, whether it be a bright orange eyeshadow or a nude lip, aren’t up for discussion because they aren’t things that cause problems. Sure, from time to time, I may ask my husband which look he might prefer for an evening out, and I may even ask for his opinion on my eye makeup. But at no point would his like or dislike of a certain item deter me from wearing it.

Am I alone here? What do you do when your partner dislikes your makeup? Have you ever changed what you put on because he or she didn’t like it?

About Courtney Mirenzi

Courtney Mirenzi is the voice behind Those Graces. She has been named one of the 50 Most Fashionable People in Boston, one of The Boston Globe's Top Bloggers and favorite human of one of her cats. She loves red lipstick, hiking and traveling. (Find out more.)


  1. Your Partner says:

    Well, makeup is now known to be one of the most toxic stuff you could put on (and therefore, into) your body, so it’s not so hard to figure why most males have at least a reluctance to literally eat that stuff when they kiss you. Believe me when I say that most males (I’m one), even though they sometimes kinda like the aspect of a girl with a nice makeup, deep down really are disgusted by that plastic junk females love to paint themselves with. By the time they’re 25 or so, most makeup-lovin’ girls look more like plastic toys than warm, beautiful, living female human beings. As if all that makeup had melted with them, for the worse really.

    Really, girl, if you’re as strong as you’re trying to look in that article of yours, try to pass on the makeup totally for a period of time. Learn to irradiate beauty with your own ways, with what you really are. Learn how you can be healthier (diet, etc.)- after all, makeup is only a way of concealing one’s lack of good health (painting of dull-colored lips, for instance- yeah you can have bright lips, a colorful face, very feminine features, etc. without the “help” of makeup, just with your own hormones, and more healthfully so). But it doesn’t fool anyone besides the girl herself, and certainly not the guys, who are more amused than charmed.

    You have everything within you, girl. Now go and find it, and I know that ain’t an easy thing to do, but please do try. Throw away all the toxic things that ultimately make you blind to your own beauty, and unable to tap into it. Because believe me, it’s all there, for you to find, to love, and to enjoy.

    Good luck girl. And girls.

  2. I actually landed on this page, because I searched the words “husband does not like makeup!” He doesn’t want me to wear ANYTHING on my lips nor fill my eyebrows, and he gets pretty upset when I do, because he thinks I don’t care about him. I really don’t get this… I miss wearing bright red lipsticks. I did it all throughout my single life, and yes even while I was dating him. He didn’t say anything then :-/ Why would I change now? It’s not wrong to wear colors! Now, I’m feeling pretty icky because when I do sneak in light lip colors here and there, I find myself lying to him. Oh my goodness…

    • Oh Rachel, that’s really tricky. I don’t know what advice I could give you because I don’t know you or your relationship, but it sounds like you’re compromising on something that matters to you. Sounds like it might a good idea to try to talk to him about it and why he feels that way. For my husband in particular, he prefers more natural makeup, and I know that’s true for a lot of men. It’s definitely worth trying to figure out, though!

      • Thanks for the reply Courtney! Trust me, I’ve had several long discussions with him about this. Even his parents sided with me on it, because it really is harmless to put even subtle makeup on. He definitely likes natural looking makeup when I put it on, but he wants nothing at all on lips and brows.

        My husband’s not the jealous type, but he is very controlling… I do love him though. He’s just extremely nit picky, and I think I’m the first woman that ever lasted this long in our dating, because I’m a patient person. :)

        Sigh. I’m finding ways to thicken my brows with permanent or semi permanent solutions, or makeup that doesn’t smudge on the brows or lips… because I think that’s what he doesn’t like—smudging when he touches my face. I guess if I were in his shoes, I could understand. I haven’t found anything that works like a charm though. I’m dabbling on waterproof mascara on the brows right now, so it stays put. Any ideas? I work out a lot, so it needs to be sweat and smudge proof!

        Thanks for your input though! I really appreciate it.

        • Rachel, that’s so tough! I can understand him not wanting to smudge your makeup–my husband feels the same way about lipstick. He won’t kiss me when I have it on because, well, he doesn’t want it on his face. Totally fair!

          That being said, I don’t know if the best solution is to permanently alter your appearance just because your partner doesn’t like it. I don’t know what the right solution is, but maybe there’s something else underlying what’s going on with why he feels that way.

  3. My husband doesn’t like when I have makeup on. I don’t know if he says that so no other guy looks at me or if he says it because he sees beauty on me. Anyways, in order to keep the harmony of the relationship I don’t use makeup anymore. I guess it’s a matter of priorities.

    • It’s a hard choice to make, and I’m sure what I do is not right for every couple! For me, I have the perspective that when it comes to my appearance, it is my choice what I choose to do. That doesn’t mean that my husband doesn’t give me his opinion OR that I do not value his opinion, but at the end of the day, I choose what’s best for me. However, like I said, what’s best for me may not be best for everyone!

  4. I luv your red lipstick! Personally i think there is nothing more classic and feminine then some cherry red lipstick. Yes I have heard that a lot guys prefer a more natural look, but I still sometimes like to wear my makeup–just for fun. ( In moderation of course! Don’t want to look like a clown, which in that case I hope my partner would tell me =P)

    • I’m sure you look great! My husband definitely prefers a more natural look, which I do sometimes (usually to work), but I don’t prefer it most of the time. I think everyone should just do what they want, and if you partner really cares about you, he/she should love you in any case :)

  5. My husband actually prefers me in no makeup at all (something I only reserve for sick days and when I’m heading to the gym). I don’t wear a lot of makeup anyway but for some reason he likes my blotchy skin and thin eyelashes.

    He’s constantly trying to get me to go sans makeup but I follow your suit and tell him, “Too bad!” :)

  6. I can’t imagine my husband ever telling me he didn’t like my makeup! Whether I’m wearing red lipstick or pink eyeshadow, he knows his job is to say, “You look beautiful.” LOL. He’s well-trained.

  7. QuiteLight says:

    This is an on-going source of entertainment in our house. My guy is almost completely uninterested in what the rest of the world thinks about what he wears. He delights in ugly prints & the like, but is really tall & good-looking, so he a) gets away with a lot & b) is going to stand out anyways. I claim he’s wearing this ugly shirts AT me, but in reality, I don’t care, he’s happy. My delicate aesthetic sensibilities will survive. But he likes it when I give him the occassional new idea, & will wear those items into the ground.

    In the reverse, while I know he prefers long hair & little or no makeup, he always says to it’s my bod & to do what I want. I keep his tastes in mind, but again, do what I want. I recently chopped my long hair off after realizing it substantially changed in texture over the past 5 years & was spending far too much time fighting with it for far too little results. Even though I know he prefers long hair. I love my new do, & I get lots of kisses on the exposed back of my neck.

    But I always wipe off my lipstick before I kiss him. Men also hate the taste, from what I’ve heard.

  8. Well any man who dates me will know I like to play with makeup & fashion trends. So he’ll know right off the bat that I wear red lipstick haha but I think since it’s a new discovery for you then that’s why your husband is confused (not prepared). Perhaps you could compromise and wear it when you know you won’t be kissing him (it is annoying to kiss, I understand that) or for special occasions if you want to dress up. I’m also always under the belief “if they don’t like it, screw them” but he’s your husband so perhaps just tell him that it’s a fun trend for you to wear right now and you’re still you. Marriage/relationships are definitely about compromising but I don’t think he’s trying to change your entire look.

  9. I’ve actually had a different experience, in that my husband (and other guys) have requested that I wear red lipstick. I actually don’t wear it very often because I feel so obvious when it is on. My lips are unusually full and I have fair skin and dark hair, so the red lips look is dramatic. Anyway, guys seem to like red lipstick for filthy reasons. They really like the idea of it, um, rubbing off and marking a certain part of their body.

    Otherwise, I don’t get remarks on my makeup. I will get told that I have beautiful eyes or something like that, and I think it’s because that sounds better than “nice job on your eye makeup.”

  10. Interesting… I don’t really comment on my girlfriend’s makeup she’ll ask my opinion on clothes but then ignores it if I don’t like something.

    It doesn’t bother me if she wears things I don’t like, after all I prefer her to wear what SHE wants as opposed to what I like. It works both ways I wear things she doesn’t like all the time, I’d hate to feel like I couldn’t wear something because I’d be afraid of what my partner may say.

  11. When I met my husband, I wore no makeup at all so I kinda had to ease him into it. He doesn’t like my face to be overdone, looking like I’m wearing a ton of makeup. He’s also not a fan of bright colored lipstick. As for me, I love all kinds of makeup and never afraid to try something new. So when I go out with him, I keep things toned down, if anything I’ll get a little creative with my eyeshadow. When I go out by myself or with my girls, then I have fun. It’s all about compromise!

  12. This is a great post! Thankfully my boyfriend and I are on the same page about clothes and make up. As far as hair goes he prefers it long and hates short hair. I like short hair, but I keep it on the longer side because he likes it better that way. I happen to like my hair all different lengths, so if he likes it long I don’t mind keeping it long because I like it too. I actually dyed my hair black again because I asked him to pick the color. It’s not that I feel like I have to look the way he wants me too, but more that I like so many different colors/styles equally that I don’t mind doing what both of us like. If he wanted me to dye it a color I didn’t like I would say no way, but if he suggests something and I like it too why not?

  13. I don’t have this problem at all with the bf now. He likes me with lipstick and neon pants and harem pants and billowy tops…HOWEVER my ex! Omg, my ex didn’t like a lot of the styles I naturally kind of gravitate towards and I was with him for 2 years! We really just agreed to disagree and that was just fine for us. I certainly wouldn’t dress different for a dude and he certainly didn’t have that expectation. But I’m really happy that my bf now really likes my style and even if something i want sounds crazy like flower pants or a maxi tie dye skirt he raises an eyebrow but trusts my judgement. It’s so cute.

  14. I don’t have this issue with makeup necessarily, but absolutely with hair. My husband abhors short hair, and was incredibly rude when I recently re-chopped all my hair off. I love it, and I blew him off. A week later, while we were on a run, he actually said he loved it that I didn’t take his opinion about my hair to heart, and that I was not changing what I did to please him. (Of course, the fact that it took him a week to arrive at that conclusion is another issue.)

    I love my shorter hair, and I was inclined, at first, to give in and just let it grow. I wasn’t sure if that was a “compromise” or not. It’s “just hair” right? So it shouldn’t matter. And I enjoyed it long, too.

    But, in the end, I decided not to go any shorter, even though I wanted to. And I feel weird about that decision. I don’t want to let my husband police my looks, but at the same time, I feel good either way, and I want his opinion (and his approval, to a degree.) I’m still on the fence, but reading the comments here made me feel much more comfortable with being on the fence, and with my decision to keep it shorter for now. So thanks for that!

  15. My boyfriend likes how my lipstick looks but he doesn’t like how it feels and is always worried about it getting smeared or stuck on his clothes or cheeks or lips….

    My solution has been to do my makeup as usual and just put on lip balm instead of lipstick or gloss if I’m going to be with him. Its actually not a big deal to me since I always end up with my bright lipstick on my teeth anyway!


  16. I hear you on this one. Recently I was part of a co-ed group discussion on red lipstick and the guys unanimously said they dislike it, while the girls all loved it. The men seemed to be much more into the strong eye and nude lip, or just a natural look. But honestly, we present ourselves in ways that make us feel good, so who cares whether they like it or not? My husband is not a fan of red lipstick, but I still wear it whenever the mood strikes. He makes his own style choices and I make mine. We are individuals! The only way I would ever see this being a problem is if you were wearing makeup that wasn’t appropriate for work – only because it could hurt your professional image. Other than that, whatever floats your boat!

    • That’s so interesting! Frankly, I think if it makes someone feel more confident, then they are usually more attractive. I also find that on a daily basis it makes people look at me more and, I would even say, talk to me more. It seems like it would be off putting, but I actually have come to find it’s more inviting!

      I think most men, when asked, usually say they prefer “natural” anything, but really what I think they prefer is a partner who is herself(/himself).

      I initially thought my red lip wasn’t work appropriate, but I find if I do a natural eye, it’s just fine. I usually spice it up for the weekend, though!

    • I have a theory about why men don’t like red lipstick on actual women they want to pash – it’s because they KNOW it’s going to get everywhere.

  17. Story of my life! Avi doesn’t like anything at all fashionable – clothes, makeup, jewelry, whatever. I pay absolutely no attention to him, and he still loves me anyway. :)

  18. For the most part, I know Garren loves my over the top, “tacky” style (as he’s called it in the way past). Which is to say, he probably finds it refreshing that I love what I love. He doesn’t always love it (like leopard print), but also knows I don’t care. That being said, he does know I value his opinion on fit and style– I trust him to know what I WANT to look like, and to tell me whether or not the item achieves that goal. Sometimes I don’t care, but most of the time, he knows my insecurities and will help me … stay out of things to play into them?

    • I love that! What a good fiance! I definitely don’t want to seem like I don’t value my partner’s opinion when it comes to what I’m wearing be it makeup or clothes, but at the end of the day, I’ll just wear what I want in any case. I think it’s a pretty lucky thing to have a partner who is honest about his opinions and yet *respectful* that you’re going to do what you want in the end anyway.

  19. I think this is something he will have to grow to love or simply ignore. I wouldn’t change a thing. My husband doesn’t like reds on me either. I just laugh or off and reapply!

    • You’re like me then!

      My husband claims it’s growing on him, but I think what that means is he doesn’t mind it as much. Again, like you, just laugh (maybe maniacally) and reapply frequently!

  20. Interesting question! For me, the answer is a little more complex. Three factors come into it – 1) I’m a stubborn wench who is deeply in love with a lot of glittery things my boyfriend hates 2) I’m not as confident as I would like to be 3) My boyfriend and I have a D/s relationship, so sometimes I will dress “for” him. Assuming I’m not doing my makeup by request, I will absolutely go ahead and wear things I like that he doesn’t – but probably not as often as I should.


  1. [...] tubes of red lipstick. We started talking about what role makeup played in our lives and how it impacted our relationships. (By the way, David has come around somewhat to red lipstick.) The conversations I was able to have [...]

  2. [...] As a makeup artist, my job is to encourage people to take risks with their “face paint”, but there’s more to trying a new look than liking it yourself. Courtney at Those Graces has been running a Red Lipstick challenge for the past month, and now lets us know that her partner dislikes red lipstick. Well, that complicates things a little. Since I’m a professional creative, a substantial amount of aesthetic overlap was necessary for me to even consider dating my now-husband, but that’s not necessarily the case for all women. Visit the comments section for a mini-survey on how her readers work this little issue out. Those Graces. [...]

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