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The Do’s and Don'ts of Makeup for Photos, According to a Celebrity Makeup Artist

Sir John shares his firsthand experience so you can master the techniques.
febrero 21, 2022


Perhaps you’re getting ready for a special occasion, such as a wedding or prom, or maybe a less high-stakes event, like a night out with friends 一 and you create a gorgeous glam makeup look that you’re proud of. But there’s one problem: the makeup look didn’t translate in photography and you’re left with sub par pictures. 

The truth is, various makeup techniques that may look awesome in natural light can often translate differently in a photo. This means that doing your makeup when you know you’ll be photographed will require a different approach. So, it only felt right that we consult with Sir John, celebrity makeup artist and L’Oréal Paris expert to share what he’s learned throughout his career about the do’s and don’ts of makeup for photos. 

Get your notepad ready and keep reading to learn how to master your makeup next time your picture will be snapped.   

What to Do When Applying Makeup for Photos 

To make sure you nail your makeup look for photos, follow Sir John’s pro tips below. If you’re getting professional photos taken (meaning someone whipped out a fancy, schmancy DSLR), be sure to consult with your photographer and makeup artist and snap some test shots. But if you’re going to be taking pictures on your phone, keep reading to learn how to stay camera ready. 

1. Enhance Your Hair 一 On Your Face 

This tip is probably not what you think it is 一 hear Sir John out. 

“When we were younger, we always had bushier, more dense eyebrows and fuller lashes,” he says. “But as we get older, the hair wanes and thins out. So if you go in and give yourself more of a voluptuous brow and [pay] more attention to mascara or a lash, it’s a really quick vehicle for a more youthful appearance.”

Editor’s tip: A great way to make your eyebrows appear fuller is by applying the L’Oréal Paris Unbelieva-Brow Longwear Waterproof Brow Gel. It’s a pigmented, waterproof brow gel that can be applied lightly for a natural look or built up for bolder brows.   

2. Have Fun With Lip Liner 

Lip liner is meant to give definition to the lips while preventing your lipstick from feathering. Sir John says that whether you have thin lips or full lips, it can be used to play up the shape of your pout. 

“One hack is to slightly overdraw the center of the top [of your lips] and the center of the bottom, but you don’t have to overdraw elsewhere.” He further explains that the best way to make the lip liner appear more natural is to focus on enhancing the cupid's bow rather than the sides of the lips. 

We love the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lip Liner because it comes in a variety of nude shades, and it has a fine tip to make defining your lips with precision easy. 

3. Hydrate Your Skin

Aside from drinking water, Sir John says that moisturizing is the key to glowing skin 一 and we second that. 

“I want people to understand that it’s not just forehead to chin,” he says. It’s important to also hydrate your neck, chest and any other areas that will appear in photos to make sure you have an even glow. Apply a moisturizer, like the L’Oréal Paris Collagen Filler Moisture Filler Facial Day Cream Fragrance Free, onto your skin. It helps to restore the skin’s cushion while not looking or feeling heavy. 

What Not to Do When Applying Makeup for Photos 

We’ve shared Sir John’s best tips for ensuring your makeup will look gorgeous in photos, now it’s time to dive into what not to do to ensure double-tap worthy pics. 

1. Don’t Use Foundation With SPF In the Formula  

Sir John is a major advocate of daily sunscreen application, but when doing makeup for an important occasion that will require photos, it’s best to make sure your foundation is free of SPF 一 including powder foundation. 

Because many powder foundations contain titanium dioxide, a physical blocker which gives you flashback, it’s best to avoid them when doing your makeup for photos. But if you’re in a pinch and your only complexion product contains SPF, Sir John suggests that you buff your bronzer into your skin to diffuse some of the physical sunblock.

2. Opt for Olive Tone Face Products Over Orange Tones 

While it’s normal to want to appear slightly more tan than usual for a special occasion, it’s important to consider what undertones your products have. 

Sir John explains that aiming to appear more olive in tone than orange will yield better results. If you opt for a foundation or bronzer that’s too warm, you’ll end up looking incredibly orange on camera. Instead, choose products with more olive green undertones. 

3. Don’t Overdo It With Highlighter  

“We think that highlighter is our friend, and it’s an ally if we treat it well,” Sir John says. “You should be strategic with your highlight.” 

He further explains that after doing makeup on his clients for stadium shows where he could see their faces under bright lights on massive screens, he learned where not to apply highlighter. 

“If you look at your eyes and the peak of your brows, which is above your pupils, always stop there with shimmer,” he continues. “You want to make sure that you’re void of shimmer directly under the eyes and in the T-zone. “If you highlight this area, you’ll look greasy 一 and not in a glowing way.” 

The L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer is great for photos because it’s incredibly natural-looking on the skin. It doesn’t contain chunky glitter particles, and it can be manipulated to look as natural or as dramatic as you want it to. 

Next: Sir John Explains The New Way To Contour

Written and photographed by: Alyssa Kaplan

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