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The Best Makeup Tricks to Help You Look Good in Photos

Do it for the ‘gram.
The Best Makeup Tricks to Help You Look Good in Photos
IMAGE iStock
Do it for the ‘gram.

Ever flip your camera to take a selfie and realize that your makeup doesn’t really look as cute as you thought? Yeah, we’ve all been there. Follow these Dos and Don’ts to make sure that you’re always selfie-ready no matter what the light conditions are. 

Do…Take time to prep your skin.

A little extra skincare never hurt anyone. Before applying your makeup, make sure that your face is clean, moisturized, and flake-free to avoid any streaking, caking, or clumping. If you want to go the extra mile, apply a little primer also—especially if you need to boost your makeup’s lasting power or curb your skin’s acidity. Still need more incentive? Depending on what your skin needs, a primer can also help soften those imperfections that cameras tend to intensify like excess shine, pores, fine lines, and tired-looking skin.

PHOTO BY Rustans

KANEBO Refining Primer, P3000, Rustan’s The Beauty Source

Don’t….Apply sunscreen without checking its ingredients.

SPF is an absolute must before leaving the house, but there are a few things you should consider if you want your makeup to be perfect for photographs. When applying sun protection, read the label to make sure that it doesn’t include physical sunscreen ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide since these tend to leave your skin with a white cast which can show up in photos. Tip: To avoid piling on too many products, try looking for a moisturizer or foundation that already has SPF.

PHOTO BY Make Up For Ever
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MAKE UP FOR EVER Light Velvet Cushion SPF50 Liquid Foundation, P2830, SM Megamall

Do…Make sure your foundation is the right shade.

If it’s too dark or light, it will definitely look off in photos and you won’t get the flawless glow you’re looking for. To test whether your foundation is the perfect match, always apply it over your jawline (never on the back of your hand—it won’t be the same color as your face!). Also make sure to wear it in natural daylight and observe whether the color changes after a few hours (if it darkens, then go for a lighter shade and vice-versa). 

PHOTO BY Rustans

LAURA MERCIER Radiance Perfecting Foundation, price upon request, Rustan’s The Beauty Source

Don’t…Be careless with your foundation application.

Sorry, ladies. If you want a photo-ready look, then you have to exert a little more effort. Daniel Martin (he’s Meghan Markle's go-to makeup artist) revealed that he actually uses two tools to apply foundation: a buffing brush and a damp Beautyblender. The first is used to help blur imperfections, so you appear more radiant on camera. After that, the sponge is used to blend the foundation even more and make the coverage appear more sheer and natural. Bonus tip: Don’t forget to extend your foundation all the way to your neck!

PHOTO BY Beauty Bar

SMASHBOX Blurring Foundation Brush, P1800, Beauty Bar

Do…Use concealer sparingly. 

Most makeup artists actually apply concealer after foundation. This way, you only add an extra layer of product over the areas that need it. When it comes to application, you can use a concealer brush or your fingers to gently pat (don’t rub!) it on. 


REVLON Youth FX Fill + Blur Concealer, P795, Beautymnl

Don’t…Go overboard with the baking.

To avoid looking too flat in photos, you need to be strategic about your powder application by only applying it over the areas where your face gets extra greasy or sweaty—like your nose, under your eyes, the center of your forehead, and your chin. If your makeup tends to cake at the end of the day, try using a translucent powder for a more flawless finish and try to ditch the HD powders to avoid flashback mishaps like this.

PHOTO BY Sephora

HOURGLASS Veil Translucent Baking Powder, P1240,

Do…Go for soft contours.

This will add more dimension to your face, so you can look good from all angles. When choosing a formula, go for creams since they’re easier to blend and apply if you’re a newbie. If you’ve got a steady hand and a little more makeup experience, then powder formulas should be just fine. As for choosing the shade? Just go a shade or two darker than your foundation to create natural-looking shadows.


PALLADIO The Define Contour & Highlight Crayon, P650, Zalora

Don’t…Be afraid of blush.

A pretty pop of color on the apples of your cheeks will make you look fresh and radiant instantly. Just keep in mind that flash photography and bright lights can also make you look a little washed out, so don’t be afraid to add an extra layer of blush over your cheeks (if you accidentally go overboard, you can always use a cotton ball to remove the excess pigment). Need help picking out the perfect color? Go for a peach-pink shade since this is super flattering on Pinay complexions and it’ll also add a bit more warmth to your skin.

PHOTO BY Beauty Bar

KOH GEN DO Cheek Palette, P2400, Beauty Bar

Do…Define your brows.

Yup, you have to. This will frame your face and help you look more put-together. If you’re too lazy to do this every time, consider investing in micro-blading or trying eyebrow tints that can last for days to avoid stressing over getting your arches on fleek. Otherwise, a sharp brow powder and a little brow gel will do the trick.

PHOTO BY Benefit

BENEFIT Precisely, My Brow Eyebrow Pencil, P1660, Greenbelt 5

Don’t…Neglect your lips.

Prep them with a little balm and make sure they’re also flake-free before applying your lip color. When it comes to applying your lipstick, make sure you press it into the skin with a brush for a more even and symmetrical finish. No time? Applying a few coats straight from the tube will work, but just make sure you check that you didn’t go past your natural lip line from all angles.

PHOTO BY Sephora

SEPHORA Retractable Lip Brush, P573,

Do…Brighten your eyes.

Whether you’re going for a full-on smokey look or just applying a light wash of shadow, what’s important is that you open up your peepers by curling your lashes and wiggling on some mascara. Feeling fancy? Try applying false lashes (or even getting lash extensions) while you’re at it for more oomph.

PHOTO BY Maybelline

MAYBELLINE Volum’ Express The Hypercurl Mascara, P199, department stores

Don’t…Be your worst critic.

Take a moment to appreciate your best features and look for the things you love about your face instead of focusing on your perceived flaws. It’s time to own your beauty and celebrate what makes your look distinct and unique—even if it takes you over 20 to 30 selfies to get the shot. We won’t judge!

For more beauty tips, visit Nicole's blog and follow her on Instagram.

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