Here's What Michelle Obama Looks Like Without Makeup

It's rare to see members of the First Ladies' Club without makeup, but Michelle Obama let her natural beauty shine while celebrating the same special occasion two years in a row. Both celebrations occurred after President Barack Obama left the White House to start a new life chapter, which included the publication of two books.

Speaking of the fab former First Lady's new career as an author, Michelle Obama's makeup artist, Carl Ray, was the mastermind behind the gorgeous beauty looks she rocked during the promotional tour for her second book, "The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times." Ray told Allure he liked to give Obama "a soft glam," like the silver eyeshadow, winged eyeliner, and high-sheen lip she rocked in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Ray has worked with Obama since her days as a White House resident, telling Glamour that one of his favorite makeup masterpieces from that era was the shimmery makeover he gave her with a classic smoky eye for a 2016 state dinner. He wants to make Obama shine, obviously, but his aim is for the focus to be on her, not her impeccable eyeshadow or bold lip color. "For Mrs. Obama, it's about being polished in an authentic way. She always looks like herself," he said. "To exude the confidence she shows the world, she has to feel great in her own skin." 

And what better way to do that than by going bare-faced to celebrate another trip around the sun?

Michelle Obama celebrated her birthday with a fresh face

In January 2021, Michelle Obama thanked her Instagram followers for their birthday wishes with a selfie. She was sporting a beauty look that many makeup fans adopted when they didn't have to head to the office during quarantine: Minimal or no makeup and a natural hairstyle. "I know this past year has been difficult for us all on so many levels, so I just hope you all are taking care of yourselves and finding joy in the smallest moments," she wrote. 

Obama didn't spend the first months of the pandemic completely makeup-free — Carl Ray spoke to Into the Gloss about how he made her skin look "glowy and dewy," but not overly shiny, for a Zoom event. One of his tricks was applying a highlighter before using a translucent setting powder. After brushing the powder on, he tackled oilier areas with a Beautyblender.

When Obama turned 58 in 2022, she seemingly decided not to use Ray's services before filming a fun Instagram video. She found celebrating her birthday without makeup so nice that she did it twice, but the mood was far more festive in her 2022 post. The fresh-faced former First Lady was seated at a table with a birthday cake in front of her. As the Stevie Wonder song "Happy Birthday" played, she smiled and danced without leaving her chair. "Wow, 58, Are you serious!! Late to this party but you look Amazing!" read one response to her post.

Kate Middleton reportedly shared a skincare secret with Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama's congratulatory call to Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, after the 2015 birth of Princess Charlotte reportedly turned into some girl talk about skincare. According to Carl Ray, Middleton told Obama that a product called Biotulin deserved credit for her flawless post-birth complexion. "Michelle Obama has been using this organic Botox gel regularly on the recommendation of Kate Middleton," the makeup artist dished to Celebrities: The Style Magazine. "The effect is unbelievable. This gel contains spilanthol, a biological local anesthetic that is derived from the extract of the plant Acmella oleracea (paracress)."

As far as actual Botox is concerned, Obama isn't completely opposed to experimenting with it. "Women should have the freedom to do whatever they need to do to feel good about themselves," she told People (via Today) in a 2015 interview. "Right now, I don't imagine that I would go that route, but I've also learned to never say never."

However, Obama's facialist has revealed that her go-to beauty treatments don't involve using a needle — and they're fitting for a former First Lady who championed the cause of getting kids to eat healthier. Skincare specialist Jennifer Brodeur told Refinery29 that she whips up formulations containing Vitamins A and C that are specially designed to address Obama's skincare concerns. "I love to give her a collagen-based vitamin C facial," Brodeur added. She also shared Obama's two big beauty goals: "Being as natural as possible and aging gracefully."