Real Housewives stars who are unrecognizable without makeup

Bravo's Real Housewives stars are rarely seen in the wild without first having spent hours with a glam squad, getting their hair and makeup done by professionals. As such, their bare faces are almost exclusively captured in grainy photos not totally unlike the Bigfoots and Loch Ness Monsters that came before them (though Bigfoot would probably have some issues fitting into their designer stilettos). On the rare occasions when a Real Housewife actually does take off her makeup and shows off a fresh-faced look, she's absolutely unrecognizable — from Lisa Rinna, whose lips are a national treasure, to Camille Grammer, who looks stunning days after battling cancer. Maybe this camouflage is a survival mechanism evolved from seasons spent dodging the paparazzi. Hey, celebrity photogs can be vicious.

Here are the stars of the Real Housewives series that look totally different without makeup. Warning: You might not be able to look at your favorite housewives the same way again.

Lisa Rinna

Lisa Rinna is so ubiquitous with the Real Housewives brand that her name was used as a clue on Jeopardy — that's fame right there. Like you'd expect from one of the major Beverly Hills cast members, Rinna is almost exclusively seen with heavy, professionally done makeup and juicy, plumped-up lips (she admits she's gone a little overboard with the Juvéderm injections). Her lips are her trademark and happen to be even more striking when she wipes off her lipstick and goes au naturel.

In a rare, makeup-free Instagram photo, Rinna looked almost nothing like herself. In fact, she looked even better bare-faced than she did all glammed out. Maybe it's natural beauty (she's a soap star, after all) or maybe it's plastic surgery (she's been fighting off rumors for years). Either way, she looks absolutely stunning with a fresh face. Unfortunately for her, she has encountered a few haters. When one Instagram user told the star to "put the makeup on please," Rinna hit them with some major sass. "Let's see you without makeup Hon," she wrote. Burn!

NeNe Leakes

NeNe Leakes isn't just one of the fiery forces behind The Real Housewives of Atlanta. The star's sass and style landed her a gig on E!'s Fashion Police. Needless to say, Leakes is pretty well-acquainted with a professional makeup crew, especially since she was been tasked to uphold red carpet law and call out those who commit crimes of fashion. We'd hate to see that citizen's arrest (Leakes is known for starting more than a few volatile arguments on RHOA).

Despite her TV fame, Leakes isn't always dressed to the nines like the fashion felons she brought to justice before Fashion Police was canceled. She likes to keep it real and occasionally flaunt her natural beauty on Instagram. In a 2016 Instagram post, the starlet uploaded a makeup-free video thanking her fans for selling out two of her comedy shows in Charlotte, N.C. From the low-key look alone, you'd never guess this was a television star. She looked like any other fresh-faced mama.

Kim Zolciak-Biermann

Kim Zolciak-Biermann is never tardy for the party, even if she has to undergo hours of hair and makeup before an event. The star is almost never seen without two things: a full face of makeup and a killer weave. Zolciak-Biermann has a penchant for fake hair and a wig collection so large that it could be its own museum, so you'd never guess that her natural locks are actually stunning.

In an episode of Watch What Happens Live, host Andy Cohen mused, "The fascinating thing is that Kim has a full head of thick, blonde hair that looks like hers, but she wears a big, heavy wig over it." Why? Apparently, it's a whole lot easier. She gets to spend more time with her kids while her hairdresser styles the wig on a mannequin. Hey, to each their own.

In a rare Instagram post, Zolciak-Biermann showed off a fresh-faced, wig-free look. She's absolutely stunning, but we'd never recognize the RHOA star like this on the street.

Ramona Singer

It was pretty clear that Ramona Singer was going through something during the filming of season 10 of The Real Housewives of New York. She'd seemingly been in the center of all the juiciest mean girl drama and put her $4.9 million apartment on the market two years after her heartbreaking divorce was finalized. She'd lived there for 20 years, so it was a hard change. But sometimes change is good.

Luckily for Singer, she's got a thick skin — and a thick layer of makeup. Like her RHONY sisters, she's almost never seen without her face fully done up. The truth is, however, that Singer goes to the gym bare-faced just like the rest of us, and her pre-gym selfie proves it. She looks nothing like the pinot-guzzling party girl who regularly slurs her way through "Turtle Time" with smoked-out eyes and smeared mascara. It's actually pretty refreshing to see Singer healthy and happy.

Luann de Lesseps

Money can't buy you class, but it can buy you excellent skin. Luann de Lesseps, best known as the Countess on The Real Housewives of New York City, is one of the most glamorous of her group of friends. Would you expect anything less from the Wilhelmina model-turned-budding cabaret star? With a $25 million net worth, de Lesseps can certainly splurge on her makeup team. In fact, they're so talented that it led Gawker to question how the star could possibly achieve such smooth, glowy skin without a "virgin sacrifice to dark lord Satan."

As it turns out, the Countess is naturally gifted with pristine skin. In a fresh-faced Boomerang posted to Instagram, a glasses-clad de Lesseps raises her coffee cup in what we can only assume is a toast to her age-defying beauty. Yes, she woke up like that. Sure, she looks nothing like herself without makeup, but she's got a whole Benjamin Button thing going on that's making us pretty jealous. When even your mugshot is oozing with beauty and sass, why even bother with makeup at all?

Alexis Bellino

The Real Housewives of Orange County's Alexis Bellino boastnotoriously voluminous, long, shiny blonde hair, which goes perfectly with her usual full face of makeup. The star is rarely caught on camera without a heavy-handed layer of foundation, some contouring, and a set of dramatic falsies. She even admitted that her go-to look can be a little too much at times (like, for instance, when she tried to cover up some bruising she may or may not have gotten from a nose job). 

"I was seriously falling out of my chair laughing at my makeup," she said after watching herself in a 2012 Las Vegas-themed episode. "Honestly, if I had gone out for the evening with no makeup on and full bruises exposed, I would have gotten a lesser reaction than with the three-layer fudge look."

But Bellino doesn't always have her makeup caked on and her hair perfectly done. When the cameras are off, she wears her mousy, highlighted hair cropped at the shoulders like an average mother-of-three. And Bellino also has gorgeous freckles hiding underneath all that makeup. Who would have thought? She's nearly unrecognizable in this makeup-free snap, but in a really good way.

Sonja Morgan

It's not every day that Sonja Morgan is seen without a full face of makeup. While a beautifully applied layer of foundation may cover up the RHONY star's trouble areas, it's certainly not covering up a lack of confidence. Morgan is notoriously flirty and bold. She even told People her go-to beauty product would be toothpaste because it was "better to kiss you with" (and here most of us would have chosen some concealer because adult acne is a very real thing).

Morgan's confidence is infectious, and she's got no qualms about sharing a makeup-free snap — even if she looks nothing like herself. She admitted to the magazine, who included the Housewives cast in their 2018 Beautiful issue, that she doesn't have any features she's self-conscious about. After having veneers, a non-surgical nose job, Botox, and vampire facials, what's the point in being shy? Money can buy you beauty, though Morgan had it before and after.

Bethenny Frankel

Bethenny Frankel is one of the few Housewives to get her own spinoff, but it's hardly surprising. The New York mama is a self-made millionaire and ranked in at No. 6 on Forbes' 2016 list of highest-paid reality stars. With her real estate business, her Skinnygirl empire, and her extensive charity work, her life is never boring. At least she's not short on low-calorie vodka to help her relax in the few moments she has to herself.

Though Frankel is regularly made up like her fellow RHONY castmates, her extensive work in Puerto Rico made it seem pretty trivial. Girl isn't traveling with a glam squad en route to a disaster zone like some housewives might. The star chartered her own planes to deliver 20,000 lbs. of supplies like canned goods, water, and insulin to hurricane victims and personally doled out $60,000 in gift cards. If that means she doesn't have time to hit the salon and occasionally has to touch up her roots with a box dye in her hotel room at night, then so be it. 

Dolores Catania

It's hard to tell which Real Housewives franchise has the heaviest hand when it comes to glam, but the ladies of RHONJ certainly give the other girls a run for their money — and, if you don't agree, they'll probably flip a table over it. Better hold onto your latte.

Between Teresa Giudice, who somehow emerged from jail looking like a pint-sized glamazon, and Melissa Gorga, who may not actually exist without makeup, only one other New Jersey housewife takes the cake(d on foundation): Dolores Catania.

As it turns out, Catania dared to be seen au naturel on at least one occasion — during a very dramatic 2016 episode where Jacqueline Laurita burst into tears over her dysfunctional family. The moment was so brief that we wouldn't have been sure it actually happened without video evidence. Also, apparently Gorga goes to breakfast in straightened hair, a full face of makeup, and pajamas — just saying.

Kim Fields

Kim Fields may look like a whole different woman when she's all glammed out, but the Real Housewives of Atlanta alum thinks it's important to celebrate natural beauty. Fields caused some controversy among her castmates in 2016 when she asked the ladies to attend a makeup-free brunch and pen a poem on the subject. Kenya Moore — because she's Kenya Moore — had to throw some shade at Fields, who, at this point, was probably pretty happy that no one outside of her immediate circle would ever recognize her without makeup.

"You've had two boob jobs, and you're wearing a wig. Is that a part of your poem?" Moore balked in the confessional.

The brunch wasn't something you could call a success. Kandi Burruss was the only other housewife that participated, and Porsha Williams noted that some of the girls might be uncomfortable walking around in public without makeup (paparazzi aren't known for their kindness). Fields still stuck to her guns (and makeup wipes) proving that she's was one confident woman. Maybe next time, RHOA.

Brandi Redmond

When Brandi Redmond is all made up, she looks like a genuine TV star. But when she's not on the red carpet, the Real Housewives of Dallas cast member is a regular Texas mom (just one that happens to be pretty famous). Her smiley, makeup-free family portrait appears almost indistinguishable from the leagues of family photos posted on Facebook by our former high school friends.

While the mother-of-three doesn't often share makeup-free snaps, she occasionally dons a fresh-faced look as an important lesson to her two daughters. "It's really important to me to be makeup-free because I love to see myself look like my daughters," she told The Lookbook. "I think they're absolutely beautiful just the way they are!"

Redmond will have to set an example for more than just her two girls, however. In May 2018, she adopted a baby boy, who will hopefully grow up with the same important lessons on self-worth. 

Lisa Hochstein

It shouldn't be surprising that Lisa Hochstein owes at least some of her good looks to the magic of cosmetic procedures. When you're married to a plastic surgeon known as the "Boob God" of Miami, it's just expected for you to go under the knife at some point. Hochstein, who's referred to her body as her husband's "greatest creation" like she's some sort of busty Frankenstein, has undergone two boob jobs and a nose job. Still, she usually relies on a heavy coat of fresh paint to keep her face looking its best.

But Hochstein looks amazing without all the makeup, though she barely looks like herself. The Real Housewives of Miami star posted a rare make-up free snap while getting a vampire facial in March 2014, proving that she's aged beautifully. Even with blood spots all over her face, the reality TV star looks fantastic — and that's not an easy look to pull off.

Camille Grammer

In 2017, Camille Grammer had a lot more to worry about than daring to step foot outside without makeup. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star was diagnosed with cancer for the second time and underwent surgery to get rid of malignant cells. The former model was originally diagnosed with stage 2 endometrial cancer in 2013 and found herself in remission after undergoing a hysterectomy. Unfortunately for Grammer, cancer runs in her family and will always be a looming threat, but she's trying her best to live her life to the fullest (whether or not that includes a glam squad).

After two skin cancer surgeries, Grammer was in remission again, and, in January 2018, she posted a gorgeous makeup-free bikini shot to celebrate. "I still want to enjoy the surf and sun. Seems crazy rt (sic) but my skin cancer was located where the sun doesn't shine, go figure. I'm still here," she wrote. "Living life before it's too late. Don't give up your fight!"

Yolanda Foster

There are two Yolanda Fosters of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: There's the glamorous mother to two of the world's most famous models (yes, Gigi and Bella Hadid were spawned from our favorite housewife) and there's the down-to-earth Yolanda who bares it all. But Foster has never exactly been afraid to ditch the makeup, even if she's been criticized for it by her Real Housewives castmates.

It's no secret that Foster suffers from Lyme disease. In a 2015 episode, the former supermodel was suffering from a particularly bad bought of symptoms. She mustered up enough strength to attend Lisa Rinna's birthday party but had the audacity to go au naturel (an apparent crime in Housewives world even for the chronically ill). Both Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards slammed the star for daring to bare her natural beauty.

"She does not look good at all, not even a bit of under eye … maybe she could just take ten seconds to do that," Vanderpump said (via the Daily Mail).

We might have expected that from Richards, but Vanderpump? We were rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!

Taylor Armstrong

Makeup is really, really serious to OG The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Taylor Armstrong. The woman once had a nervous breakdown over a misplaced makeup bag, and where was it? In the bathroom where she left it. So it shouldn't be a shock that we rarely see the star without a fully done face. Who knows how she would have handled the makeup-free feature her former castmates were in for People's 2018 Beautiful issue? (She'd left the show a couple of years earlier.)

Bare-faced images of Taylor Armstrong are about as rare as a Housewives episode that doesn't have a backhanded compliment. The RHOBH star's go-to move is covering her fresh face with some large sunglasses (a beauty secret passed down by generations of exhausted Hollywood starlets). In one exceedingly rare 2016 shot, a bare-faced Armstrong ditched her sunglasses and smiled with her daughter. And, considering her usual makeup look, she's completely unrecognizable.