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4 Beauty Mistakes To Avoid For Senior Portrait That Rocks

By September 14, 2012May 4th, 2018No Comments

Having done makeup for hundreds of senior portrait sessions, I see girls making the same beauty blunders time and time again.  To ensure that you’ll look your best for a great photo that you’ll love all year, here are four common and easily avoidable mistakes teens make before their senior portrait shoot.

Senior Portrait Beauty Blunders

Mistake #1: Over plucking eyebrows

I have some great news for those of you who have been on the fence about getting your brows shaped before your portrait session: full brows are in!

There is no need to stress about achieving that perfectly plucked and sculpted look for your photo shoot. Natural brows are beautiful.

Properly shaped brows draw attention to one’s eyes and balance other facial features. If you are unsure what look is best suited to your particular face, an eyebrow expert/artist will be able to determine the ideal shape and strength of brow for your particular face.

If your eyebrows really need to be tamed have them professionally shaped about one week before your scheduled photo session. Be sure to find someone who will help you even to maintain a natural and full look.

You may need to pluck out a few stray hairs the day before your photo shoot, but getting your brows professionally shaped ahead of time will ensure that any post-waxing or plucking irritation that could occur is healed before your close-up.

As women age, their eyebrows thin and lighten. So live it up while you are young by rocking a fuller brow for your senior portraits, and capture your 17 year-old natural beauty.

Mistake #2: Over scrubbing, washing and drying out zits

Acne can be frustrating and painful, but over-drying your skin will only make the breakouts worse, and will make applying makeup more difficult. During the days and weeks leading up to your portrait session, don’t over-wash or over-medicate your skin by applying topical acne medications more often than prescribed or recommended.

I always recommend that my seniors avoid applying any drying topical cream to their face altogether within 24 hours of their shoot.

What can you do keep your skin hydrated and healthy?

1. Drink plenty of water. This will hydrate your whole body, including your skin, and will help flush out toxins.

2. Apply an all-natural facial moisturizer after washing your face, morning and night.  It may seem counterintuitive, but applying an all-natural moisturizer to your face will protect and sooth your skin. It will also discourage your own skin from producing excess oil which, in turn, may cause bacteria build up and clog pores.

Don’t worry, you do not have to purchase expensive face creams or lotions in order to keep the skin on your face and body hydrated and protected. You can purchase some wonderful all-natural moisturizers at your local grocery store.  I love using organic coconut oil. It is a beautiful facial moisturizer for anyone, but particularly young people who are struggling with acne.

Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and has anti-inflammatory properties. Dab a bit on any breakouts in the evening and let the oil hydrate and heal those bumps while you sleep.

One of my secret weapons (and favorite products of all time) for concealing acne on set is RMS Beauty’s “Un” Cover Up. This coconut oil-based concealer hydrates your skin as it soothes irritation and hides imperfections.

Mistake #3: Changing your skincare routine

Don’t change your skincare routine within two weeks of your photo session.  Maybe you have been dying to try that new facial mask (cream, lotion, toner, etc.) that worked so well for your friend, but now is not the time!

If you aren’t actively experiencing a negative reaction from your current regimen, stick with what is working and change it up after your photo shoot.  Especially if you tend to have sensitive, reactive, or acne-prone skin, and it is within two weeks of your photo shoot, it is best to wait.

It would not be fun to show up to your senior portrait session covered in hives, angry acne bumps, or with a dry and peeling face because you just had to try that new product and your skin wasn’t happy about it.

If you are still a month of two away from your session, and you feel like your skin may look and feel healthier with a different skincare regimen or cosmetic product, try it for one week and see how it goes. If you do not see an improvement or your skin acts up, you will still have time to return to your previous routine.

My favorite skincare routine is from Aubrey Organics because it’s gentle, yet effective and it doesn’t cost a ton of money.

Mistake #4: Trying out a brand new makeup or hair style for the photo shoot

Fashion magazines, blogs, Instagram, and Pinterest are great resources for gaining some hair and makeup inspiration. And it is a great idea to put together a style/inspiration board on Pinterest for a photo shoot.

We all love a super bright lip or smoky eye on occasion, but your senior portraits are not the best place to try those things out for the first time.

If you are considering styling your hair in a new way, or wearing a different shade of lip gloss for your photo session, try it out in the weeks leading up to your shoot.

A hairstyle or makeup look may be an absolute work of art, but your photos should show the best version of  and a good reflection of YOU.  

Remember: your grandma wants to recognize the girl in your senior photos!

Working with a pro makeup and hair artist for your senior portrait

If you are hiring a professional makeup artist to do your hair and makeup for your photos, be sure to communicate with them.

All makeup artists will want to know three things:

1. Do you have any allergies of which he/she should be aware?

2. Do you wear makeup on a daily basis? If yes, what style and colors?

3. Do you have any particular looks in mind for the shoot?


Finally, when in doubt, stick with a clean, fresh, natural makeup look and you will love your senior portrait images all year and beyond.


About Our Guest Contributor:

Jessica Belknap is a makeup artist and green beauty educator based in Portland, Oregon. As a seventh-generation Oregonian and vegetarian since age eleven, Jessica has always held a deep respect for the earth, animals, and her own body, realizing from a young age that the decisions she made in her daily life affected the whole picture.  Having spent a good portion of her life as a dancer in theater, Jessica has been doing makeup for herself and other performers since a young age.

After college makeup artistry became her full-time career.  Though Jessica’s kit initially consisted of traditional makeup, it was her own battle with cystic acne in her early twenties that forced her to rethink and rebuild her makeup kit with products that reflected her personal values.  

Jessica began her green makeup transformation under the guidance and training of Kristen Arnett, and has been specializing in green beauty makeup since 2011.  Visit her site

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Author Kristen Arnett

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