Although I’ve long since retired my crown and sash, certain pageant queen beauty hacks never escape you– for one reason or another. For example, I’ll never forget the time I showed up to take my official Miss Florida headshots. My coach just stared at me– horrified. That was all the makeup I had on?! From that terrifying moment forward, I decided to not only invest in the best photo-ready cosmetic products, but I also consulted with several makeup artists and beauty experts to perfect my techniques and get product recommendations for my sensitive, oily Italian, acne-prone skin. Before asking the experts, I thought only quality products could only be purchased at high-end cosmetic retailers at inflated prices. My bank account was so relieved when I found out I was wrong. You can actually find the best range of affordable, quality beauty and wellness products at CVS, which has quickly become the destination for all the absolute best drugstore makeup for photos (holiday or otherwise) — not just a place to pick up your prescriptions or to run into for a snack.
These tips and tricks for looking better in photos include my picks for the best drugstore makeup for pictures with photo-ready technology and rich shades tailored for the season. If you head to CVS, their new one-stop Cosmetic Wall destination makes it easier than ever to find all the beauty tools for your face, brows, or nails needed to achieve your favorite trend or YouTube tutorial, as well as to find any other cosmetic must-haves. That’s just the beauty of CVS (pun intended)!
1. Prime with L’Oreal Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer.
Using a primer before applying foundation will ensure your foundation remains unchanged and undamaged for every photo op. I did a ton of research on the best drugstore makeup for photos, and L’Oreal Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer came up on just about every list I came across. Magic Lumi is a unique liquid light formula with byron that blends seamlessly into skin to boost its liveliness and luminosity, basically making your skin glow effortlessly. Magic Lumi comes in one universal shade that’s suitable for all skin types and tones.
2. Make contouring fool-proof with Physician’s Formula Contour Bronze Trio BB Stick.
I don’t know about you, but I just can’t seem to get the whole contouring thing down. I’ve purchased way too many shades of foundation for not great results. The Physician’s Formula Contour Trio BB Stick features three essential contouring shades to perfectly highlight, bronze, and create definition with just one swipe. The stick is ultra-blendable and super easy to use. Plus, there’s a diagram on the back of the package, showing exactly where and how to contour like a pro.
Also, you should know that my skin is super sensitive. I’ve found that Physician’s Formula produces both the best drugstore makeup for photos and the best drugstore makeup for sensitive skin, always at affordable prices. You’ll see a bunch of their products used in these holiday photo tips.
3. Give your skin a perfect finish with Physicians Formula Super BB Trio BB Powder.
Physicians Formula Super BB Trio BB Powder is an all-in-one collection of three skin-perfecting filter powders (nude filter, healthy glow, and sunset) that instantly enhance complexion in any light and deliver a soft-focused glow. Oh, and it has SPF30 in it, as well.
4. Add blush to your bronzer with Physicians Formula Super BB Contour Blush Trio BB Stick.
Choosing just blush or bronzer can make your face look flat in photos, so frame your face by using bronzer around its perimeter and on your cheekbones, followed by blush from the apple of your cheeks to your temple. Blush contouring can also be fool proof with Physicians Formula Super BB Contour Blush Trio BB Stick. Both Trio BB Sticks feature InstaFilter Technology, a proprietary blend of mattifying and pore balancing spherical beads, color filter pigments, and high-tech polymers that work together to instantly optimize light reflection, blur imperfections, and visibly re-texturize skin– all while protecting against UVA/UVB damage with SPF 30.
5. Use copper and bronze shadows for added shimmer.
One of the hottest holiday makeup trends is sparkly metallic eye shadow, so accordingly, my new favorite drugstore eye palette is Maybelline’s The Rock Nudes. This edgy 12-shade eye shadow palette is perfect for delivering the ultimate smoky or peachy metallic look. From Maddening Matte Black to Metallic Lilac, there are a bunch of shadow quads, trios, and duos (all listed on the back of the compact) to utilize for best matching your outfit and/or desired look.
6. Define your eyes with an intense black liner.
Give your eyes extra definition so they’ll pop more in photos! For the price, there’s nothing better than Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Pencil in Sleek Onyx. My eyes are dark brown and relatively small, so I like to make them look bigger by defining a winged look from beginning to end along the upper lash line.
7. Curl your lashes and apply mascara simultaneously.
If you can’t seem to make your lashes look dramatic enough, try clamping your eyelash curler at the base of your lashes as you apply your first coat of mascara. Cosmo also recommends heating your eyelash curler with a blow-dryer prior to curling, so your lashes curl more easily and hold the shape longer.
8. Give yourself your fullest lashes with L’Oreal Voluminous Feline Waterproof Mascara.
Not only does L’Oreal Voluminous Feline Waterproof Mascara have the coolest packaging, it’s their first mascara for instant volume, dramatic full lash density, and intense black pigments. I usually have to apply three or four coats of mascara to feel satisfied with my lashes, but L’Oreal Voluminous Feline Waterproof Mascara only needs one, maybe two to thicken as much or as little as I want given the occasion. Plus, it stays intense and black all day long, which is always a huge plus, although it can be a bit difficult to remove at times. Invest in a good eye makeup remover, and you’ll be good to go!
9. Line your lips using a slightly darker lip liner.
Although the order of liner and lipstick is debatable, most makeup artists say that you should start with liner for more intensity, which is ideal for holiday photos. Create the desired shape by drawing along and in the edges of the lip. The more pressure you apply, the more dramatic the effect will be. You should also use a slightly darker lip liner to make your lips appear fuller while still looking natural. For this holiday look, I paired Revlon Colorstay Lip Liner in Wine with a bright red Milani lipstick.
10. Make your white smile pop with bold red lips.
If you want your smile to shine, apply a contrasting lipstick shade, like red or burgundy, to make your teeth appear whiter. Milani makes some of the absolute best drugstore makeup for photos, and their Color Statement lipsticks are no exception. The shade used here is Empress, and I still haven’t found a more gorgeous holiday red for anywhere near its $6.30 price tag.
See? Use my sensitive, oily Italian, acne-prone skin are proof that anyone’s complexion can look flawless when using the right products.
Oh, and one more thing– I know the holidays are heavy on our bank accounts, so shop at CVS to get $5 ExtraBucks® Rewards for every $50 cumulatively spent on qualifying beauty products. You can also get $3 ExtraBucks® Rewards on your birthday! Pretty sweet deal. What do you consider to be the best drugstore makeup for photos? I’m always on the hunt for great new products to try!
Thank you, CVS, for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.