I have this friend named Misty, who is an incredibly talented photographer. So when two weeks before my wedding, I still had no idea what to get Kyle as a day-of groom's gift, I leaned on Misty to rescue me.
I texted her and asked if she thought there was any way we could throw together a boudoir book, and she put on her superwoman gear and met me at a swanky little hotel downtown that Friday, and oh my gosh, if you've ever flirted with the idea of doing a boudoir shoot, BITE THE BULLET!
I thought it was going to be super awkward—even though the photographer was a friend of mine—but it was so much fun! I felt like a celebrity:), and it made for a pretty fun little keepsake for Kyle. In fact, I couldn't help but peek around the corner when the gift was delivered on the morning of the wedding.
IMPORTANT SIDENOTE! Make sure your currier knows what it is they're delivering so they don't accidentally tell your groom that he can open it in a room full of groomsmen, your parents, and your in-laws! Thankfully, my loyal little bridesmaids intervened and made everyone evacuate before any permanent damage was done:) That might've scarred them for life.
So on today's post, I'm going to be giving just a few tips on boudoir makeup—or really, makeup for any professional photos. (I'm glad this is all typed out because I kind of feel like a huge American dork when I say "boudoir" out loud.)
Below are a few (face) shots from the book I gave to Kyle. I apologize if they look a little grainy—I had to do quite a bit of cropping as the full photos were not intended to be made public. :)
First thing's first: OVER-DO IT. That wasn't a typo. I know that sounds kind of crazy, and with makeup, I generally think you should go with as little as you "need"—and I use the term "need" loosely because no one really ever NEEDS makeup—but when it comes to photography makeup, certain aspects can get a little lost in the photos so you'll want them to be really intense in real life so that it still translates through the photos.
For instance, make sure your eyeliner is ON POINT! Instead of the kohl pen I usually use, I used a jet black liquid liner to ensure precision and intensity.
You can also amp it up a bit with the lipstick and blush. In real life, you might look like a clown, but rest assured, the colors will be interpreted much more naturally in photos. Even if you're planning on just going for a nude-lip look, I'd still recommend using a nude liner and nude lipstick because, particularly with nudes, lips can get lost in the pictures if they aren't played up at least a little bit.
Go for fake lashes! They photograph GORGEOUSLY, and they look so romantic! I've used them for all my brides so far as well as at my own wedding and boudoir shoot.
I love House of Lash lashes, but if you're looking for a more a dupe, Ardell Demi Wispies are worth their weight in gold. They're my favorite. They might look intense in the package, but I've never gone wrong with them, and I've used them on probably 50 - 60 girls. They look like natural lashes with a bit more drama.
If you're just looking for a good understated pair, I love the Eylure Naturalites in 002! They're extremely natural-looking so you can use them without mascara, or if you want to build more intensity, that little mascara wand is called a "wand" for a reason. Make some magic.
My third tip is contouring. Make sure you get under those cheekbones and in those creases of your eye socket (the darkness in the crease will also make your lashes look even fuller). This helps accentuate the dimension in your face because pictures tend to flatten everything out.
And of course, contouring's counterpart:
Again, no need to opt for super shimmery products (because shimmer gets lost in photos and pretty much looks matte), but I wouldn't throw away the illuminator altogether. The lightness will really highlight those upper cheekbones.
Bonus tip: Don't forget to highlight your brow bone (right up underneath the arch of the brow). For one thing, this acts as kind of a brow lift/face lift, and for another thing, it shows off the gorgeous curvature of your brow, which I think is a very beautiful, feminine quality—and isn't that what these photos are for anyway? Celebrating your feminine beauty? (Hint: Abso-freakin-lutely!)
Whatever you choose to go with on your lips is completely YOUR decision. Might I just make a few humble suggestions?
- I chose to go with two different lip colors because I know Kyle likes me in a little more natural pink hue, but as proclaimed numerous times before on this little blackhole of a blog, I'm a sucker for a red pucker.
- This probably goes without saying, but if you opt for two shades, get the light one out of the way first so you don't have the residue of a super bold color showing through your light hue.
- Also, if you are loyal to the nudes (lips, that is, not pictures), you'll still want to line the lips and use a lipstick or gloss because nude lips tend to just look like skin in pictures.
- Opt for a liner with a brownish tint and blend it in with a brush or your finger so there are no harsh lines. Don't forget the cupid's bow! Then just add some clear gloss to the center of your lips and start blowing kisses!
For some reason, while the eyeliner, eyelashes, and certain pigments can get lost in photos, badly blended foundation almost seems to stand out even MORE in photos. Cruel irony.
While you will want to pay attention to your HAC-ing, it's going to be doubly important to make sure it's smoothly and uniformly blended!
In fact, use the remnants in your foundation brush to blend your face into your neck (or at least in the corners of your jawline and down into your neck from there). I usually use a little bit in the two vertical lines around your trachea and blend it into the collar bone area. Your foundation should be the right shade for your face, obviously, but if you're like me, and your face skin doesn't always match your neck and body skin, then you may want to make it a point to put more focus on blending and color-matching.
Keep it matte. I wouldn't recommend going too heavy on shimmer (because, like I mentioned, shimmer gets lost in pictures anyway). Instead, pick some matte neutrals and play up your features without the Kesha-style confetti-face. Odds are you look best when you don't stray too far from your natural look anyway. :)
This might seem a bit unorthodox, but I do this EVERY TIME I do my makeup: Use redness-reducing eye drops. I feel like not getting rid of those tiny red lines does your eyes a disservice. They muddy up them up and don't allow them to be as sharp and piercing as they truly are. Getting rid of redness allows your iris color to really pop!
Care to venture a guess which line on my hand was done over primer and which was just over bare skin? (Ignore the scar on my hand—Easy Bake Oven mishap circa 1996).
The primer I used above was Lime Crime's Waterproof Eyeshadow Helper but honestly, ANY eyeshadow primer will do the trick. The benefits of using a primer?
- They keep your product in place (especially handy for avoiding eyeshadow creasing on hot days)
- They bring out all the dazzling potential of your product (as you can see above)
- They color correct! A primer can act as a bit of a concealer for those tiny veins and discoloration on your eyelids, helping to create a uniform canvas upon which you can work your makeup magic.
Below is a list of some eyeshadow primers I've tried and had luck with. And actually, I might be being generous with these recommendations because I just think absolutely ANY primer is better than NO primer so I don't know that I have a personal favorite, except I REALLY love the NYX eyeshadow base for every-day use because it's cheap and I love the color-correcting quality. It doesn't keep the creases away QUITE as long as the others, but it's the one I use most often for those two reasons.
My tip on using a primer also extends to foundation primer. Lip primer can certainly help, but when I don't have any on hand, I just use a little bit of concealer so that the lip product adheres to it and really pops.
By the way, compare this photo below to the one I showed above to see how much street cred this Lime Crime primer has. It was taken at 7:30 tonight; AKA: several hand washes and about 5 hours later and still going strong—and no sign of the eyeshadow from the no-primer streak. Funny how that works. #PRIMERPOWER
This next tip is going to seem less cosmetic, but trust me, your skin is gonna thank you. Stay hydrated!
Everybody should make good hydration a priority always, but for the entire week of your event, I'd encourage you to really make it a priority. You might think that, for water weight reasons, this is counterproductive, since you'll be prancing about in not so many garments, but actually, quite the opposite is true.
My friend Misty, who I mentioned above, is also something of a health guru. I did her 30-day challenge a few months ago, and she had us start every morning with a tall glass of warm lemon-water to help flush the body of toxins and jumpstart your metabolism for the day, and I could definitely tell a difference in energy, anti-bloating, and....
My skin! Good skin comes from the inside out. Mine just looks so much more glow-y when I make it a point to stay hydrated, and my skin looks really tired and prematurely aged when I'm not well-hydrated.
Misty's Tip: Try to consume half your body weight in ounces of water every day.
So if you're 150 lbs, drink 75 ounces, etc.
Bonus tip: Stay away from pop. The sodium will bloat you, and pop just really does nothing good for you OR your skin anyway.
I mentioned hydrating from the inside; now I want to bring up something about skin from a topical standpoint. Exfoliation.
Make sure to gently exfoliate your skin a few times the week of your event. I had a few dry patches of skin for my boudoir shoot, and I felt like the camera just magnified them.
When you're done exfoliating, keep your skin nice and moisturized. If you're already using a moisturizer that works for you, there's no need to change, but I've been using organic coconut oil on my skin overnight for some time now, and I always feel like it looks more alive and youthful when I wake up.
Get your beauty sleep, duchess! A few extra power naps never hurt anyone. Rallying to resurrect community nap-time a la the daycare/pre-K years.
I hope this helps get you even more excited about your big event!
Knock 'em dead, tiger!