Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Makeup Tricks For ID Photos (Without Breaking The Rules)

Unlike our Facebook profile photos, our government IDs (passport, voter's ID, driver's license) can be the most unflattering photos - the type where we look like an ex-con or just got out of the hospital. Does it matter though that we have a nice photo? It's not really important in a sense but it matters, That will be our photo for a number of years and we do have to constantly whip it out for bouncers, credit card transactions, entering villages or subdivisions, etc.

While we may not be bongga as Anna Wintour to get Mario Testino for our passport photos, here are several tips to improve how we look like in poorly-lit overhead fluorescent lighting, blue walls, and have our taken via webcam or point-and-shoots.

Know The Rules

We may be tempted to get our gear and do a very sexy VS look - smoky eyes, big hair, glossy lips, etc. but we know that there are rules to follow. Driver's license photos are less strict as visa applications or passports which require a certain look. Knowing these rules can help you come up with a good palette.


After years of having a shiny forehead in several ID photos (even if I'm not oily), I learned to use matte foundation and mattifying primers. At this moment, strobing  will not work, especially if your highlighters are shimmery. Even the girls with the best skin can look shiny and oily in this case. If you know it's going to be hot, sweat-proof your makeup and do a quick touch-up before your photo.

Get as much warmth and light as possible.

Cool and drab is what we could describe the lighting in these offices. They can make our skin look washed out. To get the warmth, I (very lightly) contour my face, not to Kim K level of chiseledness but just to get some warmth to counteract the cool lights. I stick to corals and bronzies as my color scheme but rosy pinks can look good too. Also, wear light-colored clothing ( a white polo shirt is generally safe) to act as some sort of a reflector.

Define those brows and eyes.

Brows make so much difference. For government ID,s I prefer my brows strong but still natural since the too-light brows can look nonexistent with the lighting.  Eyeliner and mascara can also instantly open up the eyes but if you would want to do eye makeup, I'm usually safe with soft, subtley smokey morning bridal eyes. I don't recommend falsies but if you do, just choose individual lashes on the outer corners for a more natural look. For my lashes, I would go for a really good mascara like Browhaus HD mascara.

Avoid lipgloss and stick to liquid lipsticks or lipsticks instead

Lipgloss can just bounce light away defeating the purpose. Depending on the office, you may need to stick to conservative MLBB lipsticks, but that doesn't mean they are boring. Lovely choices are MAC Please Me, Revlon Mauvelous, Ofra Laguna Beach, and Happy Skin Honeymoon glow, which are not really stark bright but give your lips a nice, healthy shade without breaking the rules. If you can, however wear brights go ahead! For reds, MAC Russian Red gives a nice, warm color. MAC Pink Nouveau and Pink Sugar Catfight are my ultimate favorite pinks. Just avoid vampy colors because they can make the skin look paler.

Master the art of the smize.

Visa applications and passports do not allow you to show teeth. To avoid looking like you just woke up or killed someone, take a tip from Tyra Banks and practice "smizing". One thing that helped me so I don't look constipated or about to sneeze is to think of something funny or happy while having my photo taken.

Fix your hair

highlights can give you warmth and bring in as much light as possible. I styled my hair in waves to frame and add shape.

Soft waves or straight hair can work in this case. If your hair has highlights, style your hair in soft waves that can showcase your highlights since that also brings in some light. Smooth, straight hair is also acceptable. have a brush also with you and do a few fixes before posing for the camera.

Before you snap, Take a good look at the mirror, touch up a bit, smooth your hair, practice your smize, and pose. Hopefully, that will get you good for the next few years, because yeah! ID photos matter. :)

Girl facing front:
mascara photo: Browhaus Manila Facebook page.