Passport Photo Makeup: All Tips in One Place

January 7, 2024

2 min. read


passport photo makeup rules

You must have looked through dozen articles on the best passport photo makeup. Still wondering what makeup to apply? Let’s keep the pressure down and go through insightful tips on makeup for passport photos.

In Focus

Passport photo makeup

For starters, there are no strict rules on makeup for passport photos specified by the U.S. Department of State. As passport photo experts, we’ve come up with a complete list of vetted first-hand-experience recommendations. For both valid and real-you makeup in passport photos, follow these simple rules:

  • Use your day-to-day look.
  • Show natural skin color.
  • No gloss and glitter.
  • No excessive makeup for passport photos.

Allowed passport photo makeup

Now, save and share these insightful tips for everything that is allowed. We’re sure you have your favorite makeup products at hand and just need a precise list of what’s important.

Best makeup for passport photo

You can always wear a bare face for your official document, but you might not want that. So use some tips or all of them. Here is a pro tip #1.

Preparation for makeup in passport photos

General tips

  • Exercise and drink enough water as per usual.
  • Do not drink a lot of water late the night before the passport photo shoot to avoid puffy eyes or a tired face.
  • Try not to drink alcohol the night before for the same reasons.
  • Try not to jam your day with lots of chores to be fresh and vibrant in your 10-year-lasting photo. It might be a hard thing to do with the contemporary style of life, but we believe in you.
  • Sleep well the night before the passport photo taking.


  • Try not to use too much self-tanning products. You are to have your real skin color recognizable.
  • If you pluck eyebrows or wax your facial hair, do it 5-7 days in advance, depending on your skin sensitivity.
  • Apply intensive facial treatments a week or two before the makeup in a passport photo.
  • Do home exfoliation and cleansing 1-2 days in advance to have no redness in a passport picture.
  • Moisturize for a nice glow, but not gloss.

passport photo makeup for men

Skin makeup for passport photo

Pro tip # 2: Go for medium light tones for your under-eye concealer. Apply foundation, matte or demi-matte for non-oily and not too much glossy skin. Before the actual photo-take, dab your face gently in front of a mirror using a tissue. That will additionally help you to remove perspiration or oil.

Do not go for highlighters, glossy textures, and low or high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) makeup for a passport photo to avoid reflection from the camera flash or a plaster-white face in a pic. You can go for light brown contouring powder or stick to emphasize your facial features, but do not go over the top. A line along the sides of your hairline and down under your cheekbone is more than welcomed and, probably, will be enough.

Note: You should not alter any of your facial features or face shape unrecognizable with makeup. The facial recognition software in the airport and customs officers must be able to recognize your identity quickly and easily.

Makeup for passport picture

Pro tip # 3: Passport photo makeup tips for eyebrows.

  • To have a perfect lifted look, brush your eyebrows up.
  • For a more natural look, slightly emphasize your natural eyebrow color with a matte eyeshadow, not a liner. Blend it gently.
  • Avoid applying shimmering or glitter eye shadow. It may cause unpleasant outcomes like reflection or blurry spots in pictures.

Pro tip # 4: Eye makeup for a passport picture is important since eyes do look smaller sometimes in such photographs. Here, we need a happy medium. We don’t want to have a bare look. On the other hand, false lashes, smoky eyes, or night-out look is not our strategy.

To give you a stunning open-eyed look, black mascara would do a way better job than gray or brown. Try to keep off from green and blue variants, even if it’s your casual look. Naturalness is our focus here. For your upper lash line, you might want to go for brown-beige colors for eye shadows. Semi-dark brown, not very dark shade, or close to nude color tones. Gently blend it.

Be careful with the dramatic winged-out look. It’s fantastic but a considerable alteration to your eye line. Perhaps, you prefer to subtly touch upon your eye line with a small wing to emphasize your look with eyeliner or darker shadows. Keep it nice and sweet with your natural beauty in the front.

More passport photo makeup rules

Pro tip # 5: Blush. We know for a fact, that faces can look flat in passport pictures. Here, we can follow the strategy of adding some dimension to our faces while applying makeup for a passport photo. We can use some natural blush colors. Like rose, rose-peach, pink, or perhaps, a wee bit of bronzer.

Pro tip # 6: Lips. Again, try to skip glossy options, like glosses or shimmery lipsticks, or too daring bright colors. Go for a neutral color palette, like fruit pigments or visually organic nudes in reds and berry shades. With creamy or matte textures.

If you choose plump lips with a lip color liner, do it with care for a lifelike look. Add a bit of balm for your lips not to be dry. Gorgeous!

Pro tip # 7: Trends. Be less trendy and more classy for your makeup in a passport picture. Current trendy looks can be off-topic a couple of years from now. Remember you’ll have to stick to your passport photo for the next decade.

Now, get a break and come back for the last amazing life hack!

Passport photo tool for best makeup look

We can’t help but equip you with the last side note of advice. You should always be able to see how you look in a passport photo, adjust your makeup and retake the picture until you are fully satisfied with it. How? Use our passport photo online tool and get your best-looking makeup passport photo according to the latest passport photo requirements for the US. Anywhere and anytime you like. You can also learn how to get a FedEx passport photo for less than a dollar or get our advice on how to print it without paying a large sum of money,

Makeup for passport photo sum-up

TLDR: Your best approach is to leverage your day-to-day makeup look, preserve natural skin tone, and avoid glistening or excessive makeup for your passport photo. For the best result, use more our pro tips on clothes, accessories, ears visible and earrings in a passport photo and ace the task.

So can you wear makeup in your passport photo?

The answer is right, you can! And it’s great. However, you need a package approach for a valid and REAL-YOU photo. Follow the best 7 ingredients mentioned above. Keep in mind, it’s about your genuine and habitual look, emphasizing your natural beauty.

You can always use our passport photo service for as many makeup looks as you like and choose the best.

Happy compliant passport-photographing!


Am I allowed to wear makeup in passport photos?

Absolutely, go for your casual natural makeup look.

Can you wear makeup in a passport photo?

Yes, you can. Try to go easy on makeup products, especially contour sticks, so that your identity can be easily recognized.

Can makeup be worn in passport photos?

Yes, It can be worn in a photo for a passport. Follow the tips above for the best valid makeup for a passport picture.

What makeup can you wear for a passport photo?

You can wear all the cosmetic products you use in your everyday routine. Avoid heavy layers, much gloss, and a night-out look.

How much makeup can you wear in a passport photo?

Do not go for heavy makeup in a passport photo, and do not go over the top with contouring. You need to be recognized in your passport photo by passport officials, airport recognition software, and customs officers.

How to do makeup for passport photo?

Use your daily makeup products, accentuate your eyes, and work with your skin tone, blush, and lips. Try not to use glossy textures to avoid camera flash reflection, and do not alter your facial features.

Are you allowed to wear makeup for passport photos?

Yes, you are allowed to wear makeup for passport photos. Keep it natural, with no glitter.