A Note on Graduation Makeup


Graduation Day seems like years ago. Probably because it was years ago. Three years to be exact. Madness. With hindsight on my side I thought with the big day in the diary over the next few months for some of you, that I would share some pointers on things I look back at the photos and think ‘gurl, good decision‘ and others that make me shake my head. The first few are applicable to prom too, so future alumni and prom attendees listen up…

Go Natural or Go Home. And by natural I mean ‘not differing dramatically from your usual look’. If you normally wear a red lippie then slap it on, but if you’re more au naturel then just stick to the basics that you usually use. My only other tip makeup-wise would be to apply a little more powder than you usually do. It’s a long day and it will hold everything in place and stop things looking a tad too greasy in the official photos.

To-do List Ticked. If you’ve been wanting a hair cut for yonks. Do it. If you’ve been meaning to get a spray tan for yonks. Do it. If you’d love to give your eyebrows some professional attention (speaking from personal experience here) – then do it. I’m not saying that all the aforementioned need to be ticked off before you get up on stage, but just if there’s a beauty related task that’s been niggling you then make sure it’s seen to. My brows would be looking a lot less angry and angular had I fully got my to-do list ticked off.

‘Dem Nails. The picture of you holding a fake scroll will ultimately be the one that ends up on the mantlepieces of every single family member and is really the ‘mile-stone’ picture; so make it a good’un. Being a new beauty blogger at the time, my beauty choices for the day were long pondered before and one good decision I made was in regards to my nail colour, that if you think about it, plays a pretty big role in that scroll photo. I went for something simple and not too ‘in yer face’ – Essie Topless and Barefoot. I still love it and look back on it with fond graduation memories. It’s probably not the day to whip out your leopard print nail wraps.

Clothing conundrums. For gown fixing-on purposes we were instructed to wear a shirt with skirt or trousers so we had a button hole to loop the gown onto, however most of us ended up in dresses with a safety pin get-up underneath. I seem to remember my Dad saying that is was less of a Graduation ceremony and more of a fashion show. But with a course that was 97% girls, that was inevitable. Pencil skirts are having way more of a moment now than they were three years ago, so a safe bet is to go for that. But if you want to be a rebel just make sure you have a handful of safety pins tucked away somewhere. Also be wary of up-dos or plaits as they will ultimately get squished under your jaunty hat.

But really Graduation is about getting through the ceremony without tripping up on stage or pulling a strained smile as your parents snap their 634th photo of you of that day. Good luck! 


  • Michelle Glassow Schroll

    I really love your long hair!

  • Hi Anna you looked so pretty! I just wrote a post on my blog about the things you influenced me to buy. I wish you could check it out. Have a nice day!

  • Bella

    You look absolutely stunning in the pic on the right. I’d forgotten your hair used to be that long and thick :).

  • Natalie B

    You look beautiful Anna and that hair!!! Stunning! xx

  • You were and are a babe! look at those locks and lashes! O_O

  • Megan Roisin

    Graduation is a year off for me but this is still very useful for major forward planning!
    Megan x

  • Great tips! I will definitely have to remember these for my graduation next year.

  • You had such lovely long hair! So gorgeous.

    Anonymous Beauty Blogger

  • carla

    hey, its a really nice article, i loved the tips but i just wanted to say something that is just so annoying…its spelled AU NATUREL (with e!!!!) because its french! im a frenchie, i gotta know…sorry, love your blog otherwise but just had to finally say that….

    • Corrected! Thanks for the tip-off 😉

  • Beki Blank

    You and Lily are my favourite bloggers, and have inspired me to blog more frequently, so I am blogging every day in July- todays post is about Lip Liners!

  • kia

    This post is making me sad I never got to graduate, oh well! I’d forgotten how long your hair was Anna, I love it shorter now 🙂 x

  • Thanks for the advice, I’m graduating on the 14th July so will remember these tips!

    Ella xx

  • Carina Stewart

    I love your longer hair Anna! Great tips too 🙂

    Carina |

  • So true that the main achievement of the day is not falling on stage! Still proud I managed to get up the steps, across the stage and down the other side in a normal manner 🙂

  • you still look the same (in a good way – forever young and all that !) and you have great tips for graduates. I’m happy for my leaver’s I wore something simple as it looks so much better than my Yr 11 leaver’s outfit – the shame
    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Fashion Lifestyle + Photography –

  • Aw you looked lovely! Will definitely be taking these into account for my graduation this time next year!

    The Velvet Black // UK Style, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • I have been so worried about how to do my make-up etc for my graduation on friday, so this is really helpful!! x

  • Such a great post, I’m on the hunt for the perfect graduation hair and make-up right now and these tips really helped!

    Tilly Enn // A Beauty and Fashion Blog

  • Antonella_7694

    Amazing post for person like me.I’ve been looking for something like this for so long!
    Thank you! <3

  • Emily Knott

    I can’t wait to graduate! Although I still don’t have a dress sorted yet! Eeeeek!

  • I’ve got three years to go… I love your make-up look, it’s simple and you look so natural x

  • I graduate in a couple of weeks so this is such a good post, thank you! Never even thought about what nail colour I’m going to wear! I’m far too petrified that I’m going to be the one that trips up! xx

  • PeonyandPeach

    I definitely wish I’d powdered a bit more for my graduation pictures!! What looks glowey and dewey in real life can definitely look a bit greasy in photos! Lesson learnt!!

  • You look so pretty! I can’t wait to wear a grad hat!

    Kate xo //

  • Dang your hair was long girl! x

  • Joycelyn Steib

    You were just as beautiful then as you are today!!! 🙂

  • thanks for sharing the tips! ^^


  • That looks so much better than my graduation photo! Wish I’d read this all those years ago..

  • Definitely going to use these tips when I graduate high school, which is in a year!

  • I agree about going natural. Grad pics last forever, why wouldn’t you want to look yourself?

    xo Julianne

  • Hannah

    Such a well-timed post, as my graduation is in a couple of weeks. Great tips, as ever. Thank you so much! xx

  • Becky Alyssa

    You look great in your photo! I decided not to go to my graduation last week, because I didn’t really enjoy my uni experience at all, and the less time spent there the better! 😉 I agree about the clothes, wear what you like – a friend turned up in a plain white shirt and trousers as specified by the university, but she felt really uncomfortable and frustrated when everyone else turned up in short summer dresses!

  • I definitely agree with going natural, you don’t want to look back and curse yourself for making a super bold look!

    Kendal //

  • emiller1233

    The natural is a must, also, if you have never worn heels before, DON”T DO IT AT GRADUATION! So many girls at my school did this and looked ridiculous because it took them an extra 5 minutes walking across the stage!

  • Rebecca Goddard

    My graduation is next year, and Im sorta dreading it, I will be that person who falls over their gown on stage and end up landing on the pro vice chancelor. Even if I do wear flats! Part of me really doesnt want to go but Im not sure ill get a choice in the matter!

  • Great tips! I actually prefer your then brows to your now brows as they suit your face more- it’s probably just me though!

    Soup || UK Beauty Blog

  • My graduation is next year, but I have to remember the nails and the brows, and of course not trying strange makeup looks 🙂

  • yanksgurl613

    love this makeup look, it’d be great for work as well. thanks for sharing it! xx. gigi.

  • My nails were bright purple, but hey. That’s me! 😉

  • lisa robb

    Your pics are lovely. Great post
    L x

  • Ana Ribeiro

    You looked lovely and so nice ! Just wanted to say that i love your blog ! Maybe one day i will try to write my one.

  • Manouk

    You made great choiced tbh! I don’t even want to look at my prom pictures.. Lol

    WOMANOUK (beauty and portrait

  • Love your makeup look, special but still natural! x

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD

  • Christine Cutt

    I agree! Natural is the way to go. I went with a white button up blouse for my graduation and ended up using safety pins anyway as the weight of the gown pulled on my blouse!

  • Daniella

    ahh adorable! natural is perfect for graduation.



  • “‘Dem nails” haha I love how I can totally here your voice even when you’re writing! And wow you look like Kate Middleton in your graduation photo! (the first one)

  • Sirens and Bells

    I’m graduating in two weeks time, this is handy!

  • Nicole Brooks

    Im graduating next year so I will have to keep this in mind!

  • Katie Males

    I have one more year left at uni, so definitely taking notice of these tips 🙂 xx

  • Mary

    Thanks a lot!!! Graduating in 2 weeks and would def keep in mind these tips!!!

  • Hopefully if I graduate in a couple of years I’ll remember these tips!

  • Its crazy that I’ve been reading graduation posts for years but this year its actually my turn! You’ve just given my the kick up the bum I need, time to start getting myself prepared for the day!

    Roshni’s Journey

  • This is by far one of the best graduation posts I’ve seen and luckily I didn’t make any mistakes for my last one but this has given me things to think about with graduation no.2 coming up next January (weird time to graduate, I know!) Xx

    Kitty |

  • Nathalie Fraser

    Ah this is such a help, my graduation is next Friday! I’m finally getting round to getting my hair and eyebrows done this weekend and generally trying to undo the months of exam-induced grooming neglect within a week haha! Topless and Barefoot looks a good nail colour choice, I’ll keep that in mind when I’m doing some graduation shopping 🙂 xx

  • Nice tips! Definitely makeup must be kept natural, considering grad day tends to happen during the realtively warmer period, I don’t want to be worried about layers of makeup sliding off my face!

  • Jade Rebecca

    Amazing advice, I’m graduating next week so it’s given me some good ideas :).

    Jade Rebecca x

  • jellomellow

    I’m graduating on tuesday! so psyched, I’ll be wearing a thanks for the safety pins advice!! xxx

  • This is so true. I have a friend that went and got her make up done at a Laura Mercier stand before our graduation. While she looked beautiful face to face, when you saw the pictures the brown eyeshadow looks like she has two black eyes.

  • I just graduated from Notts Uni a few weeks ago now and this is making me feel nostalgic already! aha. I wore a dress, but luckily I remembered to take safety pins!