As I know the big day is approaching for many of you, I am happy to share that I, myself was a graduating college student this past weekend. Woop woop! Cheers to that. It was especially important because not only am I the first woman in my immediate family to obtain a university degree, I graduated with honors as Summa Cum Laude, and even received my commencement speech from Octavia Spencer! Let’s also not underestimate the fact that I wore a $475 pair of Badgley Mischka heels for $50… as you can see, very eventful.
Graduation is a day where you want to look your best: you want your makeup to stay put through all the sweat, and your hairstyle to stay during all the hugging, so this is where I can help you. Also keep in mind, you do not want to look too drastic or unrecognizable, for example, maybe leave the super shimmery highlighter on your desk and keep it simple on the eyeliner. Here is some of my advice and products I used to ensure I was graduating looking my best.
The day of my graduation, I was conflicted because I thought maybe I was not allowed to bring a purse, but I did not want to deal with the hassle of carrying a clutch. But the answer is yes, you can bring a small cross-body and keep it under your chair during your ceremony. I tend to find many cute, small cross-bodied bags at Express, and they are usually on sale.
Do not underestimate the power of Crest whitestrips:
Okay, so this is something I did NOT do for my graduation ceremony, but wished I had. You will be smiling ALL DAY, so I recommend using a box prior to the week of your ceremony. Trust me, it really makes a difference.
I would recommend a matte look for the day because oil and sweat will be sitting on your face all day, so a dewy look may only amplify shine and cause your photos to make you look, well, greasy. I personally have dry skin, but if you know your skin type is on the oily side, I highly recommend bringing some blotting sheets or even mattifying powder in your bag. Some of the products I used and was thankful I did was my handy dandy Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation because it lasted all day, even through the sweat, Soap and Glory Kick-Ass Instant Re-touch powder to make sure NO shine was going to peek through, and Marc Jacobs Coconut Setting Spray, just in case my makeup wanted to play games.
I would recommend a matte shadow, but if you want a little shimmer, in the tear duct or eyelid would be okay. I would avoid a smokey eye or overly-dramatic liner because you do want to remain somewhat professional: leave the smokey eye for when you go out after. Contouring and highlighting is fine, but I would avoid over-doing it and stray from overly-shimmery products. Trust me, I am all about the strobing, but shimmery highlighter can be a little bit overkill for a grad ceremony. Lips: if you are going to be bold anywhere, I would say go with the lips. I kept mine a nice brown hue using Maybelline Natural Mattes in “Raw Chocolate”, as some of you know, this is my “signature color”, so I wore it to make sure my lips look their best. However, I did see some girls sporting hues or reds and pinks, and the contrast was very elegant, but it all depends on what color your cap and gown is and how comfortable you feel. See the pictures of products I used below.
Less is more, keep it simple. I curled my hair all big and teased and guess what: it all did not fit under my grad cap! If you are most comfortable with your hair straight, keep it straight. If you opt for curls, maybe avoid adding too much volume at the top like I did: just emphasize the bottom. If you are choosing curls or waves, I would recommend priming with Living Proof Style Extender Priming Spray because (not to be gross) but the back of your neck gets hot with the cords, and can cause your hair to become tangled or your curls to fall. Finish off with a good freezing spray.
Careful on the self-tanner!
Remember that you have to take professional pictures before and after you walk: what this means is the photographer gets a headshot of you holding a diploma, cute right? Yes, except for if you have self-tanner stained hands like I saw on a few people. Just please, please be sure to wash your hands WELL immediately after or use a mitt to be extra protective.
I say decorate it because it is the last opportunity for your peers to get a little taste of what makes you, you. I pasted a map of the world onto the back and used Puff Paint to “pinpoint” each of the countries and cities I went to. If any of you guys copy this idea, it is totally OK with me haha. Just make sure you use a strong glue like E-6000 or tacky glue and not double sided tape because I witnessed some caps falling apart during my ceremony which was stressful for everyone.
Lastly, pop the champagne! You earned it. College, although some feel it is easy to “get in”, it is tough to stay in, and obtaining education is one thing people can never take from you. Don’t underestimate yourself or what you can accomplish, and don’t fret if you are graduating this weekend and are still unemployed, the time will come. Hats off to the class of 2017.