Upgrade Your Look for the Perfect Instagram Selfie

Michael Brown

Beauty Expert

Instagram is a world of beautifully edited pictures

Aspirational, yes! Narcissistic, maybe?

But we should all know by now that filters play a big part of an Instagram pic, but when it comes to beauty, do we really need them? The more realistic your pic seems, the more relatable (and likeable) it will be.

adrianaImage via pinterest 

There are so many little tricks to add to your beauty routine to get that selfie rocking the likes, without looking overdone or trying too hard.

Like any photoshoot I work on as a makeup artist, we always add that little bit extra depth than we would in general daywear makeup looks.

A photograph can’t always capture as much detail, so by upgrading your look just one notch, plus adding light, your picture will be more detailed, making it more visible as your followers scroll through their feed.


This is the most important area to get right.

If you follow a lot of beauty bloggers, they sometimes look mask like and unnatural, especially because their foundation shade is normally way off!

But, they are creating an artistic picture, not necessarily how they would look in real life.

As for any makeup look, we want to correct any flaws with foundation and in some cases (like under the eyes) a little concealer. I’m all about ‘A little goes a long way’, but for a photograph, any area that you know may be a concern, like dark circles, apply a lightly heavier amount, as in a picture, it will just add extra coverage which = freshness!

I would also add lots of light to the skin, not so much metallic light, as this is not always good with all skin types, but just general light.

Try a brightening/highlighting product, 1-2 shades lighter than your skin tone, rather than anything to shimmery, as this can age you if placed in the wrong area.

Depending on your look, adding a little shading is always great for photography, just don’t overdo it, as you want it to still look like you.

Sculpting Tips

– For shading, we should be applying a little sweep of bronzer under the cheekbone to create the illusion of a hollow, this sculpts and lifts the cheekbone. Start from hairline and work in direction to side of nostril, not to mouth, as this will pull your face down.

– Add a touch of blush to freshen your face, adding lift to the apple of the cheek, front section of cheek and slightly higher than our contour shade.

– Then lastly, add some highlight to the bone, above your contour. Not too close to the eye and not to low where it could be mistaken for shine.

Once the above has been applied, a very light dust of a translucent powder in the centre of the t-zone will keep the face balanced, to keep glow only on the outer areas of the face where it is needed.


This all comes down to eye shape and age, but the important thing is to know your eye shape.

Do you have a strong socket area?

Are your eyes downturned on the outer area?

Do you have any puffiness?

What colour shadow will make my eyes pop? Contrast shades of course!

Whenever I apply makeup tones, they are usually of either a deep or light tone.

Dark tones that add depth, usually matte, recede an area and therefore can actually open up eyes, hence why the smokey eye technique is so popular.

Apply a deeper shade or shadow to the top and lower lash lines – more so in the outer part of the eye – and also in the eye socket (crease) of the upper eyelid. Especially if you have a puffy and/or heavy lid, this will push back the area, giving the eye lift.

For photography, highlight or metallic shades should be kept to a minimum – especially if using a flash – as they can add to much reflect and eyes can get lost in the shot.

Light shades can bring an area forward, making it appear larger, hence why with eyes, you only need a minimum use of highlight:

– Inner tear duct
– Peak of brow
– And a medium light shade on mobile lid – if the eyes are deep set only

Make sure to frame your brows with a little shading, or if anything, brush your brows upwards so it gives lift to your face – It really works!


There really is only one rule when it comes to applying lipstick. What is the focus? Eyes or Lips?

If your eye makeup is made up of nude tones, quite natural in terms of depth, then you can go a bold lip!

But, if you have used colour, or applied heavy smokey eyes with big lashes, probably don’t go applying your favoruite red lippy. It will be overkill.

Like anything in makeup, there needs to be balance to make things work, especially in a photo.

Dark eyes = nude lip

Bold lip = Nude toned eye

For skin, its matte T-Zone + glow outer cheek = success

And lastly, in terms of shades, think of highlight and shade.

If you have small lips, deep shades will shrink them, so go brighter and maybe a dash of sheen in the centre for some light pop!


I love using a little highlighter and trace the top edge of the lip, this promotes pout, as it reflects light, making your lip line more pronounced.



Feature image via pinterest  

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