Photos by Lindsey Reid Photography
I would argue that prepping is the most important thing you can do to achieve flawless application. I will say it until I am blue in the face (and I’m saying it loudly for those in the back!): YOUR MAKEUP WILL ONLY LOOK AS GOOD AS YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE. I am NOT saying you need to follow 17 steps morning and night and spend thousands on high end night creams to have great results. I am saying that cleansing, toning, moisturizing, SPF and regular exfoliation and masking are a huge part of having a nice, smooth finish with your foundation.
When I want my makeup to look it’s absolute best, I do either a hydrating or exfoliating mask the day before (this one is great for hydration and this one provides enzyme exfoliation) and dermaplane my face and neck. Dermaplaning is just a fancy word for shaving your face. Yep, you read that right. I shave my face! The night before I have photos taken, I cleanse my face to remove all makeup and debris, suds it up with cleanser again and use a men’s razor to remove all of the peach fuzz from my face and neck. The exfoliation you get from removing the peach fuzz and top layer of skin is incredible. It also allows for maximum absorption for all of your skincare products.
I also like to tint my brows 1-2 days before a photo session. They have better shape and fullness with tint and I don’t have to use as much product on them when it’s time to get ready.
The day of the photo session, I cleanse, tone and moisturize my face and neck and allow it to soak in for at least 10-15 minutes, then apply primer and allow it to soak in for several minutes as well. It’s important to allow those products to absorb before you start applying foundation or it will just smear around on top. Skip SPF products, especially if you are doing a studio session with lights. It can cause flashback making you look ghostly.
Color Selection is key.
I am saying this because I have made mistakes in this area before. I remember spending so much time perfecting a warm summery look, just to get my photos back and be disappointed that I looked a little too orange. Mindful color selection goes for all of your products from foundation to eye shadow to brow products. Here’s the cliff notes about color selection:
If you struggle with getting a good foundation match, go to Sephora or Ulta and have a professional help you – that’s what they are there for and you don’t want to appear like you are wearing a mask. Under eye concealer should be ONE shade lighter than your foundation – don’t go too light because it looks unnatural and ghostly. For bronzer, select something neutral and matte (Tarte Park Ave Princess is a great one for fair to medium babes). Generally speaking, choose a blush tone that is on the neutral spectrum as well, nothing too orange or peach and nothing too purple.
Watch Your Sparkle.
Matte bronzer, blush, and eye shadows will be picked up best by the camera. If you go crazy with shimmery products, the result may leave you looking greasy or sweaty. Strategically placed highlighter on the cheeks, inner corner of the eyes and brow bone will create a beautiful glow, but you don’t want your entire face to shine.
Make It POP!
The makeup you apply when you’re going to have your picture taken should be a little more intense than your day to day look. It doesn’t matter whether you’re taking pictures outside or in a studio, the camera tends to wash you out. Darken the outer corner of your eyes with a deep chocolate eye shadow. Smudge a dark brown or black liner across your top lashes. Go a little heavier with your bronzer or contour shade. And don’t be shy with your blush! I promise you won’t look like a clown in the pictures. When you look at yourself in the mirror, your cheeks should really pop!
Don’t skip on lashes.
If at all possible, wear falsies. They have so many styles of lashes these days and even the ones marketed as “natural” will make a huge difference. If wearing false lashes is way out of your comfort zone, then don’t skip a tight line of eyeliner hugging your top lashes, curl them well and put a hefty coat or two of mascara on. This will create a wide open effect on the eyes, which is stunning on everyone.