In an attempt to quash pal Rosie O'Donnell's speculation that she has had cosmetic surgery, Gifford hosted the entire hour makeup free (and scar free), and Kotb did the same to support her TV sister.
"From NBC News, this is a special No Makeup Zone edition of Today, with a bare-faced Kathe Lee Gifford and a makeup-less Hoda Kotb -- Yikes!" an announcer declared at the top of the show, the women with their backs to the camera.
Both Gifford and Kotb were wearing sunglasses when they turned around, to help build up to the big reveal. But first, they gave viewers a glimpse of what it takes to get them ready on a typical morning.
"Here I am, bare and unafraid. The way I go through life. It's the way I roll," a curler-wearing Gifford said in previously shot footage from the makeup room.
While Gifford, 56, tended to make light of being seen without lipstick, an uncomfortable Kotb was more revealing. "I feel naked," she said in the footage. "I'm 45, I feel self-conscious... I just need lips. A little lips and a little mascara, and I'll feel OK."
Once the cameras cut back to the live broadcast, the co-hosts suddenly seemed to have second thoughts about their bold decision. Removing her sunglasses, Gifford said, "I didn't think it was going to bother me, and then I started realizing, you know what, I feel vulnerable." Added Kotb, "It is weird. We're used to having things covered up."
Both Gifford and Kotb seemed to relax as they chatted with guests, including O'Donnell, who joined them -- also without makeup -- via Skype from her radio show to discuss her comments about Gifford's alleged altered appearance.
Though Gifford didn't exactly deny that she'd had work done, she did say, "I think every woman feels -- when we're in this business -- that we have to remain competitive. But at a certain point, you can never compete with the girls that are in the Miss USA pageant and that sort of thing. You just want to look your healthiest and your best."
Fellow "Today" show stars Sara Haines, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry, and Natalie Morales also showed their solidarity by making foundation-free appearances, as did style editor Bobbie Thomas, who shared tips for enhancing your natural glow, including exfoliating, battling breakouts with Dial antibacterial gold bar soap, and curling your unmascaraed eyelashes (she recommends Japonesque's Eyelash Curler/Go Curl Pocket Curler, $11-$16.50; japonesque.com ).
Unlike the other guests, Sofia Vergara, who was recently named one of the People En Espanol's 50 Most Beautiful, arrived in full face. "You guys are very brave," the "Modern Family" star told Gifford and Kotb, confessing that she won't even go out of the house unless she's made up.
"I'm Colombian," she explained. "We give birth in full makeup, are you crazy?!"
In related news, Kim Kardashian recently posed without makeup for Life & Style magazine.