IRL makeup rarely, if ever, translates to pictures.
When your makeup looks bomb af but you can't get any good selfies pic.twitter.com/egFUNgKxxZ
— Relatable Quotes (@RelatableQuote) July 5, 2015
It’s because the flash and lens you’re using totally change how your face is seen.
In real life, there’s nothing targeting and bouncing light off of your face, washing out your features. Plus, the human eye sees differently than the lens of a camera (obvs), which is why you look very different in the mirror versus in a picture.
BuzzFeed Life asked Regan Rabanal, senior artist atMAC Cosmetics, to show us his best ~secrets~ for making makeup look amazing in photos. Because hey, we take a lot of them.
The basic fixes will help to deal with shiny or uneven skin tone, tired eyes, and unpronounced features in general.
First up: foundation, concealer, and translucent powder.
Mattifying, full-coverage base makeup will help your skin to look smooth and even, plus it will combat shininess. Using a makeup brush will help to blend the product into a natural-looking finish.
Foundation: With a foundation brush, blend foundation evenly all over clean, moisturized skin.
Concealer: “Apply your foundation first and then conceal the problem areas that still stand out. Usually, the best areas to conceal are around your nostrils, the shallow area underneath your eye and into any laugh lines. Use a minimal amount of concealer and blend well,” Rabanal says.
Translucent Powder: “Lightly sweep powder over the center of the forehead, the center of the nose, and your chin. Apply it as a final step, so you can tell where you really need it. It will remove shine,” he says.
“The flash of a camera will bounce off of makeup, so it’s important that your blending of concealer is harmonious with your foundation,” Rabanal says.
For the most seamless blending, use a concealer brush or a makeup blender.
“Eyebrows add structure to the eye. A fuller brow also makes your face look younger and fresher, but be careful not to overdo it,” he says.
“Fill the brow in a natural way! The brow should have dimension and not look too sharp or too opaque for everyday wear,” Rabanal says.
Use an eyebrow pencil to create hair-like strokes within the brow as you fill.
“Start from the bottom of the brow and fill it upwards so there is a gradation or ombré effect within the brow. This will look natural in both photos and real life,” he says.
Using three colors (a neutral, a darker shade, and a highlighter) will make your eyes appear brighter and larger in pictures.
Start with a classic defining shape. Neutral shadow over the lid will even things out, darker shadow in the crease will make your eyes pop, and highlighter at the inner corner and on the brow bone will brighten up the darker areas of the eye.
If your eyelid is smoother without a strong crease, blend the deeper shade on the outer corner of the eye for nice dimension. Let your bone structure be the guide.
Choose an eyeshadow color that’s close to your skin tone and apply it to your lid.
For the best application, use a fluffy eyeshadow brush.
Use a color that’s a little deeper than your skin tone and blend it through your crease for definition.
You can begin by applying it at the outer corner of your eye, sweeping inward along the crease. Then, apply highlighter to the inner corner and brow bone.
The biggest tip: Use your brush to blend so that you can’t see where one shadow begins and the other ends.
Let’s dance, eyeliner.
Eyeliner frames the eyes in photos (and, you know, real life).
“Use a skinny brush so you can apply a thin liner very close to the lashes. If you have a smoother eyelid, try applying the liner while the eye is open and sculpt your perfect shape.
The closer to the lash and tighter the line, the better! Start with the classic shape and experiment with adding to it to incorporate a bit of your personality,” he says.
Want to get ~fancy~? Get false eyelashes.
They’re meant to enhance your eyes and natural lashes, which is why basically every celebrity ever wears them on the red carpet.
Apply mascara to top and bottom lashes by saturating the roots first and brushing out to the ends of the lashes. Apply a second coat if desired, and then, it’s time for false lashes! Put false lashes on after mascara so the natural lashes can be properly styled with mascara.
Apply a thin coat of tacky adhesive to the lash band and apply to the outer corner of the eye first, working your way inward to the tear duct. Gently pinch the false lashes into your natural lashes with your fingers.
“The trick to applying false lashes is to allow your adhesive to dry a little first before putting them directly onto your eye,” he says. And don’t worry, the glue dries clear.
Now it’s time for some contouring magic, y’all.
Highlighter is like an IRL filter, bronzer defines bone structure, and blush gives the cheeks dimension in pictures.
Highlighter: “Add this to the top of the cheeks, center of the nose and inner corner of the eyelids,” Rabanal says.
Bronzer: Sweep bronzer over the jawline, temples, sides of the nose, and just under the cheekbones.
Blush: Use a natural-looking blush after your highlighter to add tone and dimension to the cheek. For photos, this blends the products together so they don’t sit on top of the skin.
“I love using a fan brush to apply bronzer and blush because it’s a gradual application,” Rabanal says.
Much like with eyeshadow, the most important part of using bronzer, blush, and highlighter is to blend.
Last but not least, lipstick!
“In photos it’s important to have a well-executed lip that’s balanced, saturated, and symmetrical,” he says.
Use a lip brush and press the color into the mouth. It gives you ultimate control and maximum coverage.
“Nude is one of the most sought-after colors in lipstick because there are so many to choose from, and it is a staple shade in modern beauty. The truth is anyone can wear many shades of nude — but it’s all about the application,” Rabanal says.
Now go enjoy a photo sesh, will you?
Here are all of the MAC Cosmetics products we used:
Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation
Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting Compact Powder
Blot Powder/Pressed Bronzer
Eye Brows Pencil
Times Nine Eyeshadow Palette
Haute & Naughty Lash Mascara
7 Lash False Lashes
Creme Lipstick in Creme Cup