Did you know that the word ‘selfie’ was added to The Oxford English Dictionary in August 2013, with the definition: ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website’? That same year, the dictionary named selfie as its ‘word of the year’ – and since then, its use in conversation is estimated to have increased by 17,000 per cent. That’s a lot of chat about selfies.
When it comes to actually taking the photo, the perfect selfie has become an art form in itself. It has a lot to do with the angle of your phone and the lighting, of course – but seasoned selfie-takers will tell you it’s also about getting your make-up right. Sales reflect that too, with the selfie trend reported to be directly responsible for increasing sales in the luxury make-up market worldwide to Dh1.7 billion last year. That’s a 15 per cent increase on the previous year.
‘Celebrities have inspired a generation of women to post selfies on social media channels. Face, eye and lip make-up is vital to achieving a photo-ready finish – and brands have responded with foundation and primers that reference the look people want to achieve, using terms like photo-ready, camera-ready and HD,’ explains June Jensen of The NPD Group, who reports shopping trends globally.
A desire to emulate celebrities is definitely fuelling the trend, with stars like Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner sharing streams of selfies on their social media accounts (until they delete them, of course, which in the case of Jenner – who nixed her Instagram account in November – sparked a global news story). It has become the norm socially to take and share selfies – not just on our own, but with others too. Ellen DeGeneres’ 2014 Oscar selfie (with the likes of Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, and Julia Roberts) is still the most retweeted image of all time.
So if you want to take the perfect selfie, there is make-up that can help you achieve it – and that is going to come in handy this festive season. All you have to do is turn to the camera and smile.
WHAT THE UAE’s BLOGGERS SAY (HINT: GOOD LIGHT MATTERS)
Kat Lebrasse lebrasse.com
‘I like to take selfies from a slightly high angle. I find this to be the most flattering. Light is so important as well. There is no point taking a selfie in dimly-lit locations as it never shows up all the hard work you’ve put into perfecting your make-up.’
Heidi Raeside tuesdayschild.me
‘Take the selfie with someone else, so it has a bit more meaning and memory attached – and take half a dozen, so you have choice.’
Simone Gannon simonelovesmakeup.com
‘It’s all about the lighting. Outdoors in natural light, or indoors facing a window, usually gives a good selfie.’
Laura Carlson thelauracarlson.blogspot.ae
‘A good selfie for me is about the lighting. You can have a great make-up or hair day but without plenty of light it never works. I always search for natural light and take my selfies near a window or outdoors. To make a selfie look more holiday themed I would probably add a red lip as well.’
Anne Chardome instagram/a_belgian_girl_abroad
‘Knowing my “good side” has helped me a lot. I also find that the camera has a tendency to wash me out make-up wise so I tend to go a bit heavier on the blush or wear a brighter lip colour to make me look alive.’
WHAT MAKE-UP ARTISTS SAY
From smoothing lips to highlighting cheek bones to curling eyelashes, here are the make-up tips for the perfect selfie.
Hannah Lisa hannahlisamake-up.com
‘To get picture-perfect, focus on your skin. Skin can look flat without make-up so you almost need to overcompensate by adding some contouring, highlighting and blush. Apply a contour powder under your cheekbones, jawline and temples, then balance it with a highlighter along the tops of your cheekbones, Cupid’s bow, brow bone and along the centre of the nose. Finally your blusher starts at the apples of your cheeks and is swept upwards along the cheekbone itself - but not too high.’
Nina Ubhi (ninaubhi.com)
‘If you want to avoid using filters and retouching your selfie, then you should opt for an opaque concealer and use your fingers to pat it into the skin, especially under the eye area.’
Nadia Ivanova Briggs (thecure.ae)
‘Pay special attention to your eyelashes. If you don’t use a curler, try curling them with your mascara brush. A double layer on your upper lashes will visually lift the lid and create a look of an eyeliner. Your eyes will look larger and brighter.’
Sarah-Jane Thompson sj-make-up.com
‘Use an exfoliant on your lips to help with dry skin, as everyone has dry lips in this climate. Use a highlighter contour product around the lip area then apply a lip wax on the outer corners of the lip area to stop any lipstick bleeding. Then go ahead and line the lips just over your natural line and apply lipstick with a touch of highlighter in the centre of the lip to create a fuller lip.’
WHAT THE PHOTOGRAPHER SAYS
1. Shoot with the sun on your face, but drop the phone down a little so you aren’t staring at the sun and squinting, says professional photographer Chloe Lodge. ‘If it’s really bright, look away into the distance instead of the phone. Try to avoid doing this at midday otherwise you’ll get panda eyes.
2. Shooting with the sun behind you is lovely too. Back light is always pretty, but remember to tap on your face so the camera exposes for you and not the background, or lighten it afterwards using an editing app.
3. Drop your arm out of the shot, so it almost looks like someone else took it.
4. Avoid buildings or objects coming out the top of your head - there is nothing worse than a skyscraper hat. If there is something you want to include, try moving to one side so it has its own visual space within the frame.
5. Get creative and find something reflective that’s really interesting – a giant Christmas bauble, a shiny car, funky mirror, interesting window. Drop your phone down in front of you, though, so it’s not blocking your face.
6. And if all else fails, use a selfie stick. Gulp, did I really suggest that?
10 OF THE BEST… CAMERA-READY MAKE-UP BUYS
1. Concealer, Shiseido Perfecting Stick Concealer (Dh147)
2. Brow pencil, Gucci Precise Eyebrow Pencil (Dh140)
3. Highlighter, Benefit Watt’s Up (Dh150)
4. Lipstick, Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Matte Sculpting Lipstick (Dh180)
5. Lip scrub, Lush Popcorn Lip Scrub (Dh63, Lush.com)
6. Mascara, Clarins Intense Eye Definition Mascara (Dh143, Wojooh.com)
7. Lip gloss, Tom Ford Ultra Shine Lip Gloss (Dh220, Paris Gallery)
8. Eyeliner, Yves Saint Laurent Babydoll Eyeliner, Dh176 (Paris Gallery)
9. Lash curlers, Lottie Lash Curlers (Dh50, Glamazle.com)
10. Foundation, Make Up Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation (Dh210, Sephora)