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Glow Up for Graduation: Makeup Tips & Tricks

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Congrats, you did it! You made it to graduation. With all the stress almost behind you, you’ve earned the right to celebrate and look good doing it. Choosing a graduation makeup look is just as important as the outfit, and with pics to help you remember this moment forever, you want to make sure you’re on point.

This guide to grad makeup ensures no more cringey memories and a face you can be proud of for years to come. We cover tips and tricks, photo angles, makeup styles, and how to keep it all in place so you can serve face at graduation without giving it a second thought.

Young Girl Smiling Graduation Makeup

Things to Think About When Planning Grad Makeup

As the finishing touch to your graduation look, makeup is arguably the most crucial element. Check out these tips for grad makeup that will stand the test of time and give you the main character energy you deserve.

  • Choose classic looks.

    Now is not the time to try the latest, crazy trends (bleached eyebrows have entered the chat). Instead, stick with classic looks that will age well while making you feel fresh and modern. A neutral eye with a bit of colour on the cheeks and lips helps anyone look fresh.

  • Think about staying power

    Heat, wind, sweat, and sun are just a few things you’ll grapple with at graduation. So, think about priming and setting your face and choosing element-friendly makeup to avoid drama.

  • Don’t go OTT

    The urge to go next level with your grad makeup can be real. But try to keep things simple yet beautiful. If you want a more dramatic look, save it for the after-party and give yourself a quick makeover once the grad ceremony is over.

  • Coordinate with your outfit

    Your makeup for graduation should flow well with the outfit you’ve chosen. Lay out what you plan on wearing underneath your cap and gown, and choose lipstick, blush, and eyeshadow shades to complement it.

Graduation Makeup Ideas in Every Style

Your graduation look is the perfect chance to let your personality shine through. So, why not choose a makeup look that you feel good about and will accentuate your best features? These are a few possible choices for timeless makeup styles that work.

Nude and Natural Graduation Makeup

Pair a natural face with a nude lip colour, gentle bronzer, and a light reflective topper, and you’ve got yourself a graduation look. The best part of this style? You can amp it up a little once the formalities are over.

Young Girl Smiling Bold Red Lip Graduation Makeup

Bold Lip Graduation Makeup

A classic red lip when the rest of your makeup is neutral is one of the hottest looks for graduation (and all time.) Don’t care for red? It works just as well in bold shades like burgundy, peach, and hot pink.

Cheeky but Cute Graduation Makeup

Flushed cheeks, stained lips, and barely-there eyeshadow capture the cheeky but cute grad look. This is perfect for those who want to feel a little sultry still underneath their cap and gown while still serving innocent vibes.

How to Ensure Your Makeup Stays Snatched

Preparation is the key to success. The same goes when you’re applying makeup. The two most important steps for your graduation are priming your face and setting it.

Makeup primers goes on before your makeup and is a must for big events like graduation. They give you gorgeously smooth skin to work with and keep foundation, eyeshadow, blush, and everything else in place. Smashbox’s The Original Primer is a classic known for staying power and highly recommended for long nights.

Setting sprays and powders do exactly as their names suggest: they set it all in place. Sprays can give a dewier look, and powders are perfect for matte finishes. Either way, once you’ve finished your look, these setting products will keep everything snatched until you wash it off.

Friends Hugging at Graduation Ceremony

Strike a Pose: Graduation Pic Makeup Tips

The best way to show off your perfectly on-point prom makeup? Making sure it works for the camera. Just think, these photos will be around forever, and there’s a good chance you might show them to your grandkids one day.

  • Be careful with SPF. Flashback is real, and it’s more likely to show up in pictures when you’ve got white SPF on your skin. Nowadays, there is face SPF products that don’t have light bounce back. Check out Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40.
  • A little highlighter goes a long way. Avoid the urge to stack on the highlighter but know the key points to place it. A little on the inside of the eyes, the end of the nose, and above the cheekbones will help your face glow in photos.
  • Waterproof mascara. Tears: need we say more? Graduation is one of the most common events for crying or sweating, so if you don’t want to show up for your pictures with black smears around your eyes – waterproof is your best bet!
  • Test your angles. No matter what makeup you’re wearing, if you don’t know your angles, it won’t matter. Experiment at home with the best poses and angles that accentuate your natural beauty, so you don’t have to rely on makeup to feel beautiful.

Girl Smiling Graduation Makeup

Grad Makeup You Want to Keep Close By

A good graduation lasts into the night (and usually long past the after-party). So, a little bit of touch-up is just what the doctor ordered. Consider adding these to your purse when the big day comes.

  • Charlotte Tilbury, Beauty Light Wand: This angelic highlighter fits in your purse and dabs on like a dream. Perfect for touch-ups to ensure you’re glowing all night long.
  • Stila, Stay All Day Beauty Lipstick: This one-swipe lipstick lives up to its promise. It comes in shimmer, sheer, and matte shades, each staying on as long as you need them to.
  • Maybelline, Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Powder: A little bit of pressed powder goes a long way with this matte miracle from Maybelline. Perfect for touch-ups and fresheners (like just before photos).
  • Wander Beauty Double Date Eyeshadow Dup: Imagine eyeshadow that goes on perfectly with one swipe. This duo from Wander Beauty does just that and is perfect for reapplying a look without even needing a mirror.

Say Cheese!

There’s no better time to celebrate your hard work than at graduation, and looking your best will make the day that much more memorable. With a few tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be glowing through the day, night, and into the future, thanks to those timeless snaps.

Young Serious Woman Graduation Makeup

What Makeup Should I Wear for Graduation?

A simple yet elegant makeup look is best for graduation, but it needs to match your personal style. The goal should be to look fresh with nudes and naturals, adding a burst of colour on your cheeks and lips to stand out.

What Makeup Color is Best for Graduation?

Makeup colours should be chosen based on your skin tone and the rest of your outfit. Avoid matching only to your cap and gown, as these will only be worn for part of the day.

How can I look Cute for my Graduation?

Many fun ways to dress up a graduation look include painted nails, earrings, colourful lip, and stylish shoes. But to create a cute makeup look, you can always add faux freckles, add extra blush to the end of your nose, or add a hint of sparkle to the inner corners of your eyes! These small but significant style features will come through even in a cap and gown.

Is Red Lipstick Appropriate for a Graduation?

Yes, red lipstick can look great for graduation, but make sure it’s a shade that suits your skin tone. A trial run with the lipstick can also ensure no bleeding or staining on the big day.