application picture, beige, black, Blanc Type, brown, coral, Feeling Younger, grey, Groundwork, Lush, MAC, NARS, Orgasm, Paint Pot, Painterly, Paul Suha, peach, pink, Primed & Poreless, Razor Sharp, Too Faced, Urban Decay
Yesterday, I went to get a picture taken. An application picture. I’m in the process of hunting for a job and I’m sending out resumés and CVs left and right these days. So far, I’ve done so without attaching a picture of myself. Ideologically, I very much subscribe to the anglo-saxon way of thinking, where how you look in no way reflects upon your ability to do a job. You know, unless you’re a model. In anglo-saxon countries, the norm is not to attach a picture to CVs because it encourages discrimination.
Of course, we live in the real world and a quick Google search of anyone will usually turn up a picture of the applicant, if a company is really hell-bent on knowing what your mug looks like before the interview. But, ideologically, this is definitely the right way to approach this situation.
However, I too live in the real world. And my world includes Germany and the European Union, where attaching a winning picture is part of the application. The lady at the jobcentre encouraged me (A LOT) to finally add a picture to my portfolio in order to increase my chances.
So, I did. And here’s what happened.
I picked a photographer whom I knew would be able to get a decent shot of me. Not an easy task. In my selfies, I’ve somehow developed a strategy to make myself look okay but when someone else takes my pictures, I usually end up looking like those Aileen Wuornos’ mug shot. Except I look like Aileen Wuornos ate herself half to death, had to be cut out of her house and then got a mug shot taken. Yeah, it’s not a pretty sight. All my ID pics looks like I’ve killed at least five people.
After picking a photographer I thought I might be able to trust, it was makeup time! Because the camera adds 10 pounds (or in my case: 110), I geared the entire look towards slimming my face down. It was very contour-heavy!
I decided to contour in grey, not in brown or dark beige. It makes for a heavier contour and with my skintone, I can actually pull it off fairly well if I make sure to add some blush.
For the eyes, I decided to define and enhance. I stuck to neutral colours. No need to scare a future employer with turquoise and pink!
The lips were painted with a matte peachy pink lip liner and topped with a peachy pink lipstick and some peachy gloss, dabbed just in the middle. I wanted them to be visible, appear as luscious as possible but not be an agressive red. I would really only recommend red in your application picture if it’s something you’re never seen without and it belongs with you.
I used the grey to contour below my cheekbones, all along the jawline (I turned my triple chin into a double, yay!), along the sides of my nose, up on the temples and a teensy-weensy bit below the tip of my nose. I then added a coral pink blush (like NARS’ Orgasm) on the cheeks and let it mix with the grey for a seamless transition. Then some pearlescent highlighter on the top of my cheekbones for more defition (I used my favourite: Lush’s Feeling Younger), some of which I also dabbed over my lips’ Cupid’s bow. I went for a matte highlighter on the bridge of my nose because I didn’t want to risk having it look oily in the picture. I dabbed the same matte highlighter on the highest point of my chin and in the middle of my forehead.
If you do this, you want to make sure you blend everything to perfection! The only thing that should be applied with precision after the initial blending process is the pearlescent cheek highlighter. It shouldn’t travel down or you’ll have it bulging out areas that need to receed.
After everything was applied, I topped it all with translucent powder (I used a favourite again: Urban Decay’s Razor Sharp, a dream!). This helps to take the edge off any remaining harsh lines and gives a soft focus effect I love. If you tend to have dry skin (like me), top that off with a setting spray to re-introduce some moisture, make the skin look dewy and not powdery and make the look last longer. Just spray on your face, pat in slightly, done!
I also want to say the following: I did not use foundation over my entire face to get this look. I patted some on a few areas that had redness and that was it! What I did do was start the entire look by putting down my favourite face primer, Too Faced’s Prime & Poreless and I wasn’t skimpy with it either. Adding a lot of primer is crucial when you contour with grey, because it will smooth over fine lines and pores and keep the grey from settling into said pores (especially on the nose!) and looking like a million blackheads.
Now for zee eyes!
I went ultra matte and minimalistic. I applied MAC’s Painterly Paint Pot all over the lid, up to the brow bones and below the lower lashline. Then I applied Groundwork Paint Pot (a matte, light cappucino colour) on the outer V and blended it well with my fingers. With some MAC Blanc Type eyeshadow (but you can use any super light, matte beige), I went over the entire lid, except the part where I had Groundwork. I also patted it under the lower lashline.
With an angle brush, I picked up super dark brown (I have a no-name one that’s almost black and intensely pigmented) and applied it very carefully – VERY CAREFULLY – along the upper lashline. The idea here is not to create a visible liner line, but to thicken and define the lash line. Only at the very edge did I thicken the line once, so as to give a more cat-eye appearance without actually doing a wing or extended line. Under the lower lashline, on the outer corner, I put down what was left on the brush in a little triangle shape that I blended so it wouldn’t have sharp edges. This is a trick Marilyn Monroe used. It gives the illusion of the upper lashes casting a shadow on the lower ones, thus making them look longer and fuller. Yep, those bedroom eyes weren’t a thing she was born with, she painted those iconic suckers on!
Then, a thick coat of mascara on the upper lashes and a coat on the lower ones with a lengthening mascara and you’re done. Phooey!
This is what the final picture looked like, courtesy of Paul Suha in Munich (click here to find his site if you want to hire him).
Trust me, this is better than any other picture someone besides me has taken in recent years. I want to add that this is photoshopped mildly (he smoothed out a bit of skin, adjusted the lighting and took away the 10 pounds the camera had originally added – I totally understand Madonna’s obsession with the Holy PS now). However, I do feel like it looks like me. Which considering I was coming from Aileen Wuornos territory is a vast improvement.
By the way, all my pics were not ‘shopped or altered in any other way. I maintain that I take the best selfies in the world. But unfortunately, they don’t let you use those in applications.
I hope this will help some of you with your application pics or just inspire you to try a new contour colour (grey) or give you another neutral eye look option!
Stay beautiful, inside and out,