5 Selfie Problems—Solved!

Photo: Trunk Archive

There are 167,065,076 images hashtagged “selfie” on Instagram and Kim Kardashian is “writing” a book called Selfie, so it’s not surprising that a few beauty brands have started developing makeup made specifically for selfies—no filter required. Timely marketing is of course part of their strategy, but many of the new formulas actually work with how a camera “sees” us, working to address some of the most common selfie-related issues: disappearing features, lackluster lips, and hair that just doesn’t dazzle the way it does IRL. Ready to take your own shots to a new level? Read on for five common woes and the ways to fix ‘em—no filter required. 

The problem: Your skin looks a little blah in pics.
The solution: Choose a light-reflecting foundation.

Even flawless skin can look more even with a bit of coverage. “I always prefer natural makeup,” says editorial and portrait photographer Roger Kisby, who’s shot stars like Skye Ferreira and Janelle Monae. “It’s a more even base to work with.” For a lightweight foundation that still looks like skin, consider Dior’s new Diorskin Star foundation ($50); its light-reflecting spheres are designed to mimic the effect of in-studio lighting. Another good option: L’Oréal True Match Lumi ($13).

The problem: You need to fuss with filters to make your lips stand out.
The solution: Wear a highly pigmented lipstick.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: the bolder the makeup, the less you should mess with the photo. “People have a tendency to overdo the post-processing with apps,” Kisby says. “If you have strong makeup already, you can overdo the colors, and that can look clownish.” Instead of changing the contrast in Instagram, try a high-pigment lipstick like Avon’s Ultra Color Bold Lipstick ($6) (which was developed specifically to pop in selfies). If the color shows up well in real life, your final shot won’t look so ‘shopped.  

The problem: Your cheekbones disappear in pictures.
The solution: Take a one-two contouring punch.

Lousy lighting can make facial features fall flat. “Overhead light in general is tricky,” Kisby says. “If you can’t get to a window for that diffused light, and you’re under one overhead light bulb, try angling your face.” A little contouring, too, can define your angles so they look more prominent. Tom Ford’s Contouring Cheek Color Duo ($77), for example, includes a pearly shade to highlight and a deeper matte shade to define. Or pair your blush with Sonia Kashuk’s Chic Defining Contour Stick ($11). Just remember to blend—that visible, over-sculpted look should stay in the ’80s.

The problem: If you wear a ponytail, you look…bald.
The solution: Switch up your position.

Place your ponytail high and just slightly off center; unlike a low, centered pony, this version will show up in straight-on selfies. To better show off your crowning glory, follow Kisby’s easy advice on creating a halo effect. “If you take a picture with the light behind you, you get a glow around the hair,” he explains. (Expose with shadows in mind, and your face will be evenly lit, too.) Looking for more shine? A lightweight oil spray, such as Rich Pure Luxury Argan De-Frizz and Shine Mist ($20), will add a glimmer without weighing down the hair. 

The problem: You have raccoon eyes, but you’re not wearing eyeliner.
The solution: Make the light your friend—or just trick it.

"It’s best to face light straight-on," Kisby says. "That way, you’re not getting harsh shadows. Straight-down light—like the noonday sun—creates shadows in your eye sockets." The easiest solution is to find more flattering light (Kisby suggests light that’s filtered through a window). If that’s not an option, highlighting the eye area with a pen, like Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Éclat ($41) or Boots No7 Radiant Glow Concealer ($12), can help trick the camera into thinking there’s more light than there actually is.