We've all been there—that moment when you're tagged in a photo on social media, immediately untag it, kindly ask the person who posted it to delete it, and—if they don't—pack your bags and skip town. Okay, maybe not the latter, but you catch our drift.
So why does it seem like celebrities take such incredible photos? For starters, they're obviously genetically blessed and are seasoned pros at standing in front of the lens. But they've also got a great glam team behind them that knows how to make them look picture-perfect.
The right makeup, hair, and skin prep can mean the difference between a profile pic–worthy shot and one you immediately delete from your camera roll. To find out just what beauty tips make for a better photo, we tapped the brains of some of the best in the biz. Keep reading to find out what they are!
"I love to use a mattifying primer on the 'headlight spots,' such as the side of the nose, the chin, the upper lip, and the center of the forehead. This can be especially helpful for those with oily skin, just to give that extra barrier of protection against the super-shiny look. Apply this after your moisturizer but before your foundation. A fantastic product for this is Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector," says celebrity makeup artist Katie Mellinger, who works with Leona Lewis.
"We all love a dewy look, but a little bit of setting powder is your friend, especially if you have oily skin. I find MAC Pro Set Powder in Invisible ($32) works well for almost anyone. I swirl my powder brush in the powder and apply to the T-zone area first, keeping the concentration of the powder higher in those areas, and then I apply powder more loosely on the cheeks and under the eyes. It's important to find a balance; too much powder can cause your foundation and concealer to look cakey, but too little powder can cause a shine catastrophe," she explains.
"When applying eye makeup, you want to make sure that the eyes are well defined. That being said, if you're using an eyeliner pencil, really work the pencil into the base of the lash, drawing directly into the lash line. You can smudge the liner later with a brush according to your desired shape. If you're going for a really clean makeup application on the lid, you can still emphasize the lash line by drawing little dots on the base of the lash line right along the edge of your eyelid. You can do this with a pencil or with a cream liner. Diffuse the dots softly with a smudging brush. This will help to make your eyelashes look fuller," says Mellinger.
"With mascara, I really like to get right to the base of the lash. This can be difficult with a mascara spoolie brush, so I like to use a small flat synthetic bristle brush. My favorite is the MAC 205 Mascara Fan Brush ($20). Apply your mascara directly onto the fan brush, and use the fan brush to get down to the nitty-gritty base of the lash on both the top and bottom of the lash. It takes a bit of practice, but it's worth it."
"One thing about photos is you have to deal with the flash absorbing, which can cause the makeup to look weird. Bronzer should be our best friend when you know you will be photographed. I call bronzer the 'magic eraser of film.' I love the new L'Oréal Paris Glam Bronze Bronzer because it helps to warm and soften the skin. The biggest thing here though is making sure you have continuity. The décolletage and neck should match the facial tone—if you bronze the face too much and don't match the rest of the skin, that can be bad! Blending is key here," says celebrity makeup artist and L'Oréal brand ambassador Sir John, who counts Beyoncé and Joan Smalls as clients.
"It's important to make sure your neckline is clean and that there aren't any stray hairs stuck on your neck. I always give my celebrity clients a mini brush on set because it's small enough to fit in a clutch. I always remind them to touch up their neckline on the go," says celebrity hairstylist Sarah Potempa, who styles celebs like Emily Blunt and Lea Michele.
"If my client is wearing their hair down and waved, I show them how to slightly twist the front pieces of hair away from their face and then lift the hair at the root for a boost of volume before they are photographed," says Potempa.
"When I travel with my clients to press events, I often take a flexible hair spray and spritz it on their flyaways, then run the can over the flyaways in order to lock them down and make them photo-ready," says Potempa.
"No matter what the hairstyle—whether it's a braid or all the hair is down—I don't like any negative space between the neck and the hairstyle. For example, the braid needs to lie nice and smooth along their neck, and if their hair is down, it should be evenly distributed on both sides of the head so that it looks thick and full without any light shining through. I remind my clients that hair always photographs best when the light source is in front of them—whether it's the sun, natural light, or a flash—because when there is light coming from the back, it emphasizes flyaways," explains Potempa.
If you have an upcoming event that you'll be photographed for, kick your coffee habit for a few days. Says celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, who works with celebrities like Karlie Kloss and Jenna Dewan Tatum. "Dark circles can be addressed better by giving up coffee than by applying any topical eye cream." But if you're a caffeine lover (aren't we all?), Vargas has some solutions: "Eye creams containing cucumber or sweet potato are great to combat puffiness. I also suggest at night putting chamomile tea bags in the fridge, and then in the morning, you can apply them to your eyes for five minutes while you snooze your alarm clock to depuff, cool, and refresh the under-eye area quickly."
"I encourage my clients to sleep in a mask the night before a big day. If your skin is in need of resurfacing, I have them sleep in my exfoliating mask. It resurfaces you by morning and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients so you won't be red. For hydrating and minimizing pores, I love a strawberry-and-yogurt mask. Strawberry contains salicylic acid to shrink those pores while yogurt is soothing, and the combo is super hydrating. Eminence Organics makes a great probiotic mask ($34)," says Vargas.
"A quick fix is a shot of chlorophyll in the morning before a long day. It actually gives you energy and will act as your skin's savior for the day," says Vargas. "I also love an all-greens juice with romaine, celery, cucumber, spinach, parsley, kale, and apple with a dash of lemon and ginger. A green juice instantly hydrates the skin from the inside out and gets your digestive system back on track while encouraging lymphatic drainage, so you are de-puffed and glowing. It will decrease puffiness in the eyes and will even improve dark circles. Green juice will also help to oxygenate the skin, which means the skin will be better able to rid itself of impurities and bring in nutrients."
Want more photo tips? Check out our guide to being more photogenic, courtesy of selfie queens.