Grad Photo Makeup for Darker Skin

I’m posting about something that isn’t a product roundup or review for once. I was quite happy with how my grad photos turned out and I wanted to share them and some tips for your own.IMG_0937.jpg

1. Brows that Frame the Face

Make sure to get your brows cleaned up in the week leading up to your photos. Get a brow pencil (I like ABH’s Brow Whiz) and practice using it. If you’re not comfortable with that then get something like Glossier’s Boy Brow to run through your brows. If you feel like your brows are too heavy then ask a friend for their opinion and remember that once you’ve defined your eyes your look will be balanced. In all my pictures I have one errant brow hair so make sure to brush them through right before you go in.

2. Lash Extensions/Falsies*

Now there’s no need to go and spend $80+ on lash extensions for grad photos. But if you were already considering getting extensions then this is a good time to try them out. I believe that my lash extensions are the reason why I liked how my pictures turned out but some Ardells falsies would work just as well. Buy some that are probably a little fuller than you’d normally go for (bigger than demi-wispies), and work on applying them very close to the lashline. I prefer the “under the lash” method, but work within your comfort level.

3. No shimmery/glittery products

I shied away from any form of shine, glow, or shimmer for grad photos. So although I used a lighter concealer under my eyes, contoured, and bronzed (Bobbi Brown), I did not use a highlighter. I’d also recommend a primer like Hourglass’ Mineral Veil over something like Laura Mercier’s Radiance Foundation foundation. While you do want to look radiant I find using ‘radiance-enhancing’ products can look shiny in photos. I also applied a matte blush and used more than I usually would, so that it would show up in photos.

4. Experiment with Lip Colours

I tried on 3-5 lip looks before finally settling on a combination I thought matched my blush well. I went matte so there would be no reflection from any flash the photographer decided to use. I’m also glad that I tried so many products because I ended up finding a combo that I now absolutely love. IMG_0296

5. Get a Blowout

I’m not great at doing my own hair so visiting a salon for special events is important for me. The hair that frames my face can sometimes look kinky and yet at other other times too flat if I do it myself. At the salon, I don’t ask for anything fancy. I just want smoothness, shine, and a bit of volume so my hair doesn’t lie completely flat against my head.

6. Don’t Panic re: Acne

Seriously don’t stress. The standard photo packages come with face smoothing and you can pay an additional $25 for further editing. My photos are just the standard and you can see how much better my skin looks than usual.

7. Book Slots Next to Your Friends

Only two of us were able to coordinate this and I know it’s going to be one of my biggest regrets. But at least the two pictures we got together were cute.


The Products

  • Tony Mony Egg Pore Silky Smooth Balm
  • Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 8.5 and 8
  • Milk Cosmetics Flex Concealer in Medium Tan
  • Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder (no flashback)
  • Huda Beauty Lip Contour Matte Pencil in Vixen
  • MAC Lipstick in Whirl all over
  • MAC Lipstick Hug Me in the centre
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Whiz in Dark Brown 
  • Clinique blush in Ginger Snap
  • MAC Fix+

Bonus Picture


Now by no means take any of my suggestions as gospel. As you can see from my photos even though I powdered I still have quite a bit of shine. I also spent so long on my foundation and blush that I wasn’t quite content with how my eyeshadow turned out. I would have preferred a deeper brown in the socket and the brown shadow on my upper lash line to have been more blended but that’s just how it goes.

I hope some of these tips were useful!