Diary / Beauty / Apr 29, 2024

7 Makeup Looks for Graduation & Grad Photos

Written by: Jones Road Beauty

Photography by: Ben Ritter

Model holding Jones Road Beauty product.

Graduation is a major moment in anyone’s life that signifies the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and personal growth. As such, it's a day that you'll want to remember in detail for years to come. 

Capturing this moment through grad photos isn't only about your cap and gown—it's about letting your personality shine, and feeling your absolute best. That’s where the magic of makeup comes into play. 

We’ll go over seven striking, distinct makeup looks to ensure this day is one to remember.

What Should You Consider for Graduation Makeup?

Whether you’re taking your grad photos indoors or out, it’s vital to ensure your makeup looks flawless in all settings. Consider the lighting—natural sunlight can be incredibly forgiving, but it can also amplify makeup mishaps, especially if the photos are taken in the harsh midday sun. 

Meanwhile, indoor lighting may require makeup that's slightly more defined to prevent your face from looking washed out. 

Whether you have oily, dry, combination, or sensitive skin, your makeup should enhance your features without causing discomfort or flare-ups. 

Base Makeup for a Flawless Canvas

A masterpiece begins with a clean canvas, and in the world of makeup, this translates to a perfectly prepped face:

  • -If you consistently employ a skincare routine that supports and nourishes your skin (this goes for all skin types) then you most likely don't need primer. But if the ceremony is outside or you're taking a lot of pictures in the midday sun, you may need to make some modifications. In that case, you know your skin well enough to know how it will handle the literal heat—and to know if this is a moment for primer.
  • -Speaking of the sun: don’t forget sunscreen. Apply it after your moisturizer and before any makeup.
  • -Foundation can help provide an even skin tone, working to mask any blemishes or discoloration. Opt for a formula and application method that suits your skin type and desired finish—be it matte, dewy, or somewhere in between. 
  • -Stamp out under-eye circles with a specialty concealer meant for correcting darkness, and erase other imperfections or redness with concealer that is more the color of your natural skin tone.
  • -To make your flawless base last, set your makeup with a light dusting of powder.

Remember, the goal is to achieve a natural, breathable complexion that remains fresh throughout the ceremony and any photo sessions. 

1. Nothing But Natural

This look is all about enhancing your innate beauty without overshadowing it. It can stay ultra-subdued—think no-makeup makeup—or you can gently dial it up by adding more color if you like. 

Start with a light base, using a scant amount of foundation or you could even use Gel Bronzer (and cut it with moisturizer) to even out the look of your skin tone. Then, using a light hand, fill in your brows with The Brow Pencil to define their natural shape. 

From there, all you need is a soft swipe of mascara and some color. The Lip and Cheek Stick is a two-in-one, perfect for lending a warmth to your face and dimension to your mouth. The overall aim is a "you, but better" vibe. 

2. Soft Glam

For those desiring a bit more drama without going overboard, this look is your best bet. 

After applying your coverage, opt for a neutral eyeshadow over the entire lid, with a slightly darker shade in the crease and a shimmer on the lids. Finish with a nude or muted pink on your lips, such as The Lippie Stick. It’s a comfortable, moisturizing lip balm with color but it’s not glossy so the sheen won’t be competing with the shine on your eyes.

Jones Road's What the Foundation will give you that impeccable base, and for your eyes, swiping on Sparkle Wash over your eyeshadow can provide a gentle but impactful glimmer.

Jones Road Beauty model holding product.

3. Monochromatic Moment

There’s something undeniably chic about having your eyes, cheeks, and lips all in the same color family. 

For an effortlessly harmonious look, warm up a bit of Miracle Balm on your fingertips and apply on your cheeks, lips, and other high points of the face. The result is a cohesive and stunning appearance. 

Want a little something on the eyes as well? Use Just A Sec for instant luminosity.

4. Sunny Radiance

Imagine that golden hour glow where the sun touches your skin, leaving you looking lit-from-within. Dust on The Bronzer to warm up your complexion, focusing on the perimeter of your face and the areas where the sun naturally hits. 

For additional vitality, apply a few drops of Shimmer Face Oil with your fingertips to the high points of your face. It enhances the sunlit effect with a just-right amount of dewiness that works for everyday or special occasions.

5. Classically Chic

Characterized by an understated, winged eyeliner and bold lips, this look is the picture of timelessness. 

Prep your lids with a neutral, matte shade and draw on eyeliner with an upturned flick at the end. The goal is a subtle cat-eye. And it’s up to you if you use eyeshadow/brush or an eyeliner pencil. Either way, this is all about precision. 

Pair this with bold red, deep berry, or poppy pink lips—our Lip Tint is perfect for that—and keep the rest of your face understated.

6. Smokey Sophistication

A smokey eye is a classic choice for adding drama and intensity. Start with a light base on the eyelids, then layer darker shades, blending them outward. Typically, the darkest color is concentrated on the outer corner, seamlessly transitioning to lighter shades as you move inward.
While black and gray are traditional choices, consider branching out to deep plums, browns, or greens. The trick is to choose shades that enhance your natural eye color.

Keep your lips natural with a light gloss; the contrast on the shine on your mouth and the smudgy darkness on your lids is powerful but not overpowering.

Jones Road Beauty model applying lip liner.

7. Modern Matte

For those who prefer a shine-free finish, the modern matte look is sophisticated and sleek. Skip a traditional foundation and instead only touch up imperfections or unevenness with The Face Pencil, further balancing and setting with our Tinted Face Powder

A nudeeye and lip are never out of style but that doesn’t mean bare.  The goal is to build dimension so that your features don’t flatten out. With that in mind, the rule is simple: Skip any hues with shine or glimmer. 

A matte eyeshadow in whichever color you like will pair nicely with The Lip Pencil, either in a tone that matches that of your lips or in a shade darker for a hint of drama. 


Over the course of this article, we've journeyed through seven distinct makeup looks perfect for graduation and grad photos. While each style has its own flair, the most important element is always your personal style. 

At Jones Road Beauty, we celebrate individuality and unique beauty. At the end of the day, makeup isn't just about aesthetics—it's about self-expression and confidence. 

Shop the article:

Shimmer Face Oil


The Face Pencil

The Best Eyeshadow

New Shades

The Lippie Stick

Diary / Beauty / Apr 29, 2024

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