Passport photography notoriously unforgiving. But the secret to taking a good photo—which will stand the test of time for a decade—may be the “passport makeup” trend. The hashtag has garnered an astounding 385.3M views currently on TikTok and sees no signs of stopping.
The secret to mastering the perfect passport photograph is all down to a soft glam “symmetry” look according to beauty content creator, Georgia Barratt, who went viral for her videos which detail how to achieve the look (one of which is currently on 25.3 millions views). In order to successfully bypass the one-dimensional lighting of the booth and radiate through the dullness—a little extra time, effort and product is required on picture day. The result? A lifted, elevated makeup look which is in full glam territory, while still conveying an air of effortlessness. Once you’ve followed these steps, you’ll be left with a passport photograph to be proud of for the next 10 or so years, but that still leaves you recognizable on your makeup-free travels.
Here, Vogue explores the key elements of the trend and how to best achieve this look with help from renowned makeup artist, Mata Mariélle.
Start with a light, flawless foundation
“My favorite products for creating the perfect passport photo glam are products that are light, but elevate the skin immediately,” shares Mariélle. When it comes to creating the perfect base, Mariélle prefers a lighter formula that allows for the skin’s natural radiance to shine through. “A tinted foundation like the Rose Inc tinted serum foundation is key,” she shares. “If you want flawless-looking skin, that still has glow and dewyness, this foundation is perfect for you.”
Next, add dimension
Mimicking light and shadows helps to keep the dimension that passport booth lighting tends to strip away. Contouring is essential when defining the jawline, temples, above the cheek, nose and chin, as are brightening powders when it comes to “lifting” the face. “Prisme Libre Setting Powder by Givenchy is gold—it suits every complexion and you don’t get flash back,” shares Mariélle. “The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Highlight is also super light and natural looking, making it a beautiful finishing touch to add to the cheeks and brow bone.”
Natural, yet groomed, brows
Groomed brows are the key to achieving this polished makeup look. “The best eyebrow product for this would be the Too Faced Super Fine Brow Pencil, which is perfect for creating feather type natural brows,” Mariélle recommends.
Then, elongate the eyes
Giving the illusion of elongated eyes, eyeliner placement paired with corner lashes is another unmissable step when it comes to achieving this trend. The feathery Ardell Naked Lashes and the fluttery Eyelure ¾ Length Lashes will help you to achieve this effect.
Add lip liner and then apply lots of gloss
When it comes to lips, the key is a defined liner and to keep the shade as close to your natural coloring as possible. Nourishing lip balms, shiny glosses, and tinted lip oils are great to start with. Mariélle’s favorite product to use on her clients? The Clarins Lip Oil. “It is available in so many shades,” she shares. “It is amazing for lips, as well as being used as a highlighter for all of the high points on your face. You can even add some of this to your eyelids. I just love the natural finish it gives.”
The final touch
You want this makeup look to stay firmly in place for the picture, and so the key is to apply a setting spray, which you should apply spritz before and after your base to ensure it really won’t move.