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11 Graduation Makeup Ideas You Can Do Yourself

Celebrate your biggest accomplishment with a fresh makeup look.
May 03, 2023

Classes are done, finals are in and you are more than ready to accept your degree, which means dress shopping, graduation hair and graduation makeup are likely filling your thoughts right now. Since your graduation photos are meant to last a lifetime, nailing the right makeup look is of utmost importance. Whether you want the focus to be on your glowy skin, a gorgeous statement eye, or a bold lip, you want to choose the makeup look that’s going to make you feel your best. We know what you’re thinking, with so many choices, it can be really difficult to choose the one that feels just right. To help make your decision a little easier, we’re sharing 11 timeless graduation makeup ideas, along with the best beauty products to get the look.
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11 Graduation Makeup Ideas

From red lipstick to shimmery eyeshadow, there are so many different ways you can go with your grad makeup. Here are 11 graduation makeup looks to consider for your ceremony and celebrations.

1. Glowing Skin and Coral Lips

Glowy skin is a flawless choice for graduation and achieving that first begins with your skin care routine. A couple of times a week, use a face scrub like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Scrub Cleanser to help remove dirt, oil and build-up to reveal a smooth, radiant complexion. Then, follow up with a facial serum day and night, like the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Midnight Serum, which will help keep your skin hydrated and radiant thanks to its dose of hyaluronic acid and patented antioxidants. 

Before you reach for foundation, use a glow primer, like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer to give your base a lit-from-within glow. As for foundation, choose a formula with a skin-like or radiant finish like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation. We love this pick because it has an ultra-lightweight formula that has a natural skin-like finish and comes in 47 diverse shades, categorized by undertone.

Finally, complement your fresh, luminous skin with a coral lippie. If you’re fair, lean for a coral-pink shade, like the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Makeup Satin Lipstick with Precious Oils in Pink Petal and if you have a deeper complexion, try for an orange-coral shade, like the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Le Coral Irreverent. 

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2. Colorful, Graphic Winged Eyeliner and Voluminous Lashes

A great way to up the ante on classic winged eyeliner is to make it graphic and vibrant. Reach for a bold, colorful shade from the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Waterproof, Up to 24HR Pencil Eyeliner collection and create a graphic wing. From layered hues to negative space designs, there are plenty of graphic eyeliner looks to choose from. 

Once you’ve created your graphic liner, the next step is to define your lashes so your eye makeup is the focus of your makeup look. Start by priming your lashes with the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara Primer/Base, then apply two coats of the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Washable Mascara for volume and definition.

3. Bold Brows and Matte Skin

Your brows can make or break your makeup look, which is why it’s essential to use the right tools to shape and fill them in. Create bold brows that won’t budge throughout your ceremony by swapping your traditional brow pencil for the L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Definer Waterproof Eyebrow Mechanical Pencil. It has an ultra-fine tip that makes sculpting your desired brow shape simple and a waterproof formula that lasts all day long. 

If your ceremony is outside, matte makeup is a great option because it won’t melt or smudge in the hot, humid climate. Use the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder and stipple it into the skin with a blush brush to create a seamless layer of even coverage. The waterproof finish on this powder foundation lasts for up to 24 hours, ensuring that your makeup will stay perfectly in place throughout the ceremony (and the celebration).

4. Tan Skin and Shimmery Lids

Bronzed skin and shimmery lids make for the most gorgeous summer makeup look that won’t appear like you’re wearing a heavy layer of makeup. A few days before graduation, add a few drops of the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Facial Drops, Fragrance-Free into your moisturizer. 

On the day of the ceremony, reach for a lightweight foundation, like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Hyaluronic Tinted Serum and apply it with a makeup sponge to achieve light, dewy coverage. Add some tan color to your skin with a bronzer, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer. Gently sweep it on your cheekbones, forehead and jawline. 

On the lids, use the L’Oréal Paris Shimmer Liquid Eye Shadow Makeup to create the start of a glowing eye makeup look. Dab some shimmer on your lids with your index finger, then use a fluffy brush to blend everything in for a seamless result. Finish with a few coats of your favorite mascara to define your lashes.

5. Rose Gold Eyeshadow and Glossy Lips

Rose gold tends to look great on just about everyone because the metallic hue has both warm and cool tones. To create a rose gold eyeshadow look on yourself, grab the L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 H Eye Shadow in Amber Rush and apply it all over your lids. Then, use the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Gel Eyeliner in Brown Denim to line your upper and lower lash line, and finish the eyes with a coat of mascara.

On the lips, go for a shimmery lip gloss, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible 8 Hour Pro Lip Gloss, Hydrating Finish in Sangria. For some extra definition, line your lips with the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lip Liner before applying the gloss.

6. Matte Complexion and Colorful Waterline

Matte makeup is praised for its shine-free finish, which means you won’t have to worry about looking like an oil spill midway through your graduation ceremony. For an all-over matte look, start with a primer like the L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Matte Setter, to extend your makeup wear and minimize shine. Then, reach for a matte foundation, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Matte Foundation and a matte bronzer.

Complete your makeup look by adding a pop of color to the lower lash line with the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Gel Eyeliner in Emerald Green or Turquoise. The gel, waterproof formula glides across the lid and is sure to last your entire grad ceremony and then some.

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7. Neutral Cut Crease Eyeshadow and Pink Lipstick

If you want to add a professional makeup artist touch to your graduation makeup, look no further than the cut crease. Try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Pocket Palette Eye Shadow in Boudoir Charme to create your cut crease and focus the darker shades on the crease and the lightest shade on the lid.

Finish the eyes with some winged eyeliner, using the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Precision Felt Waterproof Eyeliner, and a couple of coats of the L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Instant Lift Washable Mascara to lift and define your lashes. Finally, paint your lips with the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Le Wood Nonchalant

8. Soft Contour and Red Lips

Soft contouring and sculpting is a surefire way to make sure your makeup photographs beautifully, and the best way to achieve this is with underpainting. When you underpaint, you apply your contour and concealer first, then layer a light coverage foundation on top. This creates a natural-looking blend of contour and highlighter without harsh lines or shadows. 

Start by using a concealer that's two shades darker than your skin tone to contour. We suggest a full coverage formula, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage. Then, use your normal concealer to highlight your face. Use a damp makeup sponge to lightly blur the harsh edges, but don’t fully blend in the contour and highlighter.

Take a foundation with light (or buildable) coverage and apply it with the same damp makeup sponge. Using a light coverage foundation is very important because if you use a full-coverage formula, the highlighter and contour won’t peak through the foundation.

Finish by lining your lips with the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lip Liner in In-Matte-dated With You and filling them in with the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Intense Volume Matte Lipstick in Le Rouge Avant-Garde.

9. Glossy Eyeshadow and Dewy Blush

Shine bright on stage by rocking a glossy eyeshadow look. This wet eyeshadow look is easy to achieve at home with an eye gloss or a little eyeshadow and clear lip gloss. Start by reaching for a few metallic eyeshadow hues from the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Metallics Eye Shadows or the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow and layer on your eye gloss.

To play up your wet looking lids, apply a dewy liquid blush, like the L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Lip and Cheek Tint to the apples of your cheeks.


10. Shimmery Blush and Matching Lipstick

A shimmery take on monochrome makeup is just right for graduation because it’s fresh and glowy, but not over the top. For flushed cheeks with golden shimmer, reach for the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Makeup Radiant Satin Blush with Camellia Oil. Too much shimmer can emphasize texture but this formula has just enough, giving your cheeks a luminous, healthy glow. 

For the lipstick, choose a shade from the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Les Nus by Colour Riche Intense Nude Lipstick line that matches your blush. 

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11. Bold Lips and Flawless Skin

Kiss your school days goodbye while wearing a bold shade of lipstick. When it comes to bold lip colors, we love using matte formulas because they stay in place all day. Grab the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick, it has a long-lasting matte formula that goes on creamy and feels light on the lips. Plus, it comes in a variety of bold and bright colors.

For the skin, reach for a full-coverage foundation, like the L’Oréal Paris 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation. The radiant coverage provides a fresh skin look (no cakey makeup in sight) and the transfer-resistant, waterproof formula doesn’t budge so you can celebrate your degree without worrying about your makeup.

Next: How to Do Natural Eye Makeup for Every Skin Tone

Photo Credit: Courtney Barben, IG/@makeupbycccourtney, Photo Design: Sarah Duvivier

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