On Selfies, plus My Basic Makeup Routine

The other week, I did something I hadn’t done before: I posted an unobscured selfie on Instagram. This was actually a bit of a bold step for me. I’ve always been shy about showing my face on the Internet, and I’ve been insecure about how I look in photos in general. But I finally decided that if I’m going to write at all about beauty and aging, even a little, I should share my face so people can look at the person whose sharing beauty tips.

Selfies are a bit of a fraught subject in today’s world. There’s a camp of those who consider them purely narcissistic and vain. But I am uncomfortable with sweeping judgments and absolutes. Desiring to share one’s face is an intensely human thing. People have had their images taken for as long as history records. But for as long as history has recorded, there have been those who meet the recording of images with fear and suspicion. Now, I might not think that my phone has now captured my soul, but there is something intimate about capturing a picture of your face and giving it to another person.

Today, I wanted to talk about portraits in another light, too. As an actress, I have to have an up-to-date head shot to share with directors, either at an audition or before an audition. And as someone who was not considered a beautiful child and has an uncertain relationship with photography, head shots are near bikini waxing in levels of trust involved. So I’m happy that I have a friend who’s not only willing to do my head shot photography for free in exchange for my help where my talents lie, but also happens to be pretty damn good at getting pictures of my that look good.

So when he said he had equipment that needed testing and suggested I come by to get my head shot updated this week, I jumped at it. That it was a Tuesday evening after a full day’s work worried me, but I have my beauty routine down enough that I can do it quickly. This was a bit of an expanded beauty routine, as I shared on my Instagram story, because I was blow-drying my hair. I usually either air-dry or put my hair up damp on most days. But head shots require hair down and shiny and smooth, so I blow dry.

That, of course, left less time for makeup. No worries. I timed my makeup routine and it took six minutes. So I thought, in addition to sharing a selfie from the photographer’s studio, I’d also share my quick, 6-minute makeup routine.

First of all, my makeup always starts with good skin care. This isn’t counted in the six minutes, but it’s pretty necessary and not too involved. I started by washing my face with the Glossier Milky Jelly cleanser, which is my current morning cleanser. I’m still testing it, but you’ll get a review soon. Then, I did my hair. After doing my hair, I swiped with a cotton pad and some Thayer’s Rose Petal toner to remove any sweat. Blow-drying hair is hard work, after all, especially when you have a great deal of hair. From there, I used a dropperful of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid serum to make sure my skin was hydrated and plumped up. Then, I topped with a dab of CeraVe Baby Moisturizing cream to prime my skin. I let that sink in for a couple minutes while I sipped some tea. After all, I’d woken up at 5:30 that morning and was starting to drag a bit by 7 p.m.

Alright, now it’s time for the makeup. I start with Cover Girl’s Clean Matte BB Cream in Light/Medium. I dot it on my face and then buff it in with a Real Techniques Face Brush. It gives light coverage and a matte finish for camera. With the weather cooling down, I’ll probably switch to something a bit more hydrating for every day, but the Clean Matte has been wonderful over the summer. Then, I conceal with some Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Sand, under my eyes, around my nostrils, and on any lingering spots. From there, I pat some Nyx Rouge Cream Blush in Tea Rose on my cheeks.

Eyes are simple: I line my eyes with a dark brown liner, the Sephora Waterproof Retractable liner, and then soften the line with the built-in smudger tool. Then, I add a coat of Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara on my top and bottom lashes. A swipe of a neutral pink lipstick finishes the look, in this case Revlon Butter Lipstick in Berry Smoothie.

So there you have it: six makeup products and six minutes to head shot readiness. And the effect is basically “Me, but better.” Of course, the photographer edits his shots, but I thought the unedited selfie I shared above would give a good idea of the gentle evening and enhancing that I ask of this makeup routine than the final, retouched portrait.

The Art of Looking like Yourself

This past weekend, I had an appointment to get my head shots re-taken, as it’s been about a year since my last photo shoot. My hair has grown six inches and I’ve shifted my style towards a more vintage look. I was fortunate enough to earn a favor from a local photographer, so I had a wonderful hour-long shoot at a local park for free, including a few shots of Boyfriend and me.

Head shots are always a challenge for me because I don’t think I photograph well, and I find it difficult to smile on command. Previously, I had a friend with a decent camera take shots that I used for auditions. He’s a good photographer, but his greatest talent is being able to get me to smile well for his camera. That said, we often found that the best shots were ones where I was holding up cards for white balance, goofing off, and not really posing. But the point of head shots is to look like yourself, so it’s great when we end up with those shots. I’ve seen some friends whose head shots look too refined and almost nothing like they do in real life, so I’m always worried my shots will turn out like that.

Of course, leading up to my photo shoot, I was in a flurry about what to wear. I ended up wearing one of my favorite dresses (I have four in the same style) because it’s beautiful, a nice blue color that looks good on me, and feels like I’m wearing pajamas because it’s so comfortable. But I brought a change of clothes for some variety because I hear it’s the spice of life. For makeup, I did not use my standard clean face because the powder would photograph oddly. Instead, I used a matte foundation that I use for stage because I know it won’t melt off in the heat. I mixed it with a little rose-scented day cream for a base, and then used it full-strength on my undereye circles and blemishes. I added a touch of my Vapour multi-stick on the cheeks, and lined my top lash line with a bit of brown eyeshadow. A coat of mascara on all my lashes and I was almost done.

But what about lips?

Head shots are supposed to be about showing your natural look, so I knew I needed shots without my signature red lipstick (which I rarely wear to auditions anyway). But I went back and forth about whether I wanted to include a couple shots of myself with my red lip, for other cases when I might want a head shot. Ultimately, I decided that I didn’t need it, and stuck with my natural-but-flushed lip look using 100% Pure’s lip glaze in Raspberry to add a berry-stained flush to my lips. It provides just enough contrast that I don’t look odd without my red lips, but it’s sheer enough that it doesn’t look like I’m wearing lipstick.

Now that I had my wardrobe and look down, I went out for my appointment. The photo shoot took place at one of my favorite places: a local park with a lake where I spent so much of my time, in all weather, walking or jogging, or just wandering about. The background of nature definitely felt very “me” and I think set off my peculiar coloring better than a studio might. And the lighting was perfect.

The photographer seemed very pleased with the shoot, and I was pleased with the thumbnails I saw on his camera screen. I’m looking forward to see the final shots after he edits them. My hope is that I’ll have a lovely shot that I can use for the next year that really and truly makes me look like myself.