It’s almost travel season—which means you are that much closer to having to pull out your passport and brace yourself for one long cringe. It’s no secret that people do not look their best in their identification photos. After all, it’s hard to strike a good pose when there is a harsh flash that momentarily blinds you, morphing your face into something that either resembles a very surprised and slightly anemic ex-convict, or someone with an intense case of Sickly Resting Face. Even worse? If it’s a passport and you are over the age of fifteen, be prepared to live with that mug (shot) for five years. Luckily, instead of getting laughed at by border patrol (true story), we rang up makeup artists Romy Soleimani and Gucci Westman for five simple tips on how to transform your passport photo into something that you’re happy living with—even past its expiration date.
Start with a corrective makeup primer. “I would focus on giving yourself some color. There is a harsh flash, which creates a really blown-out lighting, making you look almost green, like the background,” says Westman, who suggests Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer for the occasion. “An apricot-toned formula will counteract any discoloration under your eyes, which is often brownish or purple, and will help with the texture of your skin” for an all-over healthier effect.
Give extra attention to dark circles. “I’d say use concealer or powder—even if you aren’t the type of person to normally wear those products,” says Soleimani of diffusing especially bluish undertones beneath the lower lash lines. In normal life, she adds, “it’s all about dewy and fresh, but with flash, you don’t want shine under your eyes.” Try a pressed powder like Clé de Peau Beauté’s translucent formula, and then add a concealer, like By Terry’s Touch Expert Advanced brush, on top.
Give a little lip. “On the mouth, try marker balms like Revlon’s Colorburst Matte Balm, in a rose or berry shade,” advises Westman. “You can make it as deep as you want because the texture of the product makes your lips feel nice and gives them a bit of luster, so they aren’t cracked or dry—just healthy-looking.”
Revisit problem areas. “The trickiest areas are the ones around your nose, and your laugh lines,” says Soleimani, “Those are areas that protrude and stand out more out in the light. Although you don’t need to do it in real life, soften them with some powder” for a photograph.
Add a flush to the cheek. A matte bronzer for contouring or a dusty rosy blush on the cheeks work well “for a little pop [of warmth], but still nicely blended,” says Westman.
Avoid excess dewiness. “Don’t do too much highlighting and avoid anything shimmery, especially shine on the forehead,” says Westman. “Also, steer clear of too much gloss on the lips because with the flash, it will become something you don’t want to live with.”
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