• Valerie Simpson

Boudoir Session Hair and Makeup | Pro or No?

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

Here's the lowdown with boudoir - you want to look effing amazing; but you also want to look like you. We're not supermodels here - we're people. Real people with real wrinkles, and scars, and cellulite, and stretch marks. I highly encourage you to embrace those things about yourself, to love them. I know it's hard, trust me - I dislike these things about myself too sometimes. But Boudoir, at it's core, is about loving the skin your in, and here's the real thing; your partner loves you not in spite of those things, but for them. Each scar and mark and laugh lines tell a story. YOUR STORY.

That being said, many women do feel more comfortable and/or attractive with makeup on. Some of us do it because it's an art form. If your wanting to do your own hair and makeup for your boudoir session, here's some helpful tips to ensure you have the best experience, and come out looking classy AF.


The hair is the absolute easiest part, and it will take you half an hour to forty-five minutes tops - at home.

Loose waves.

All you need is a big barrel (Think 2" or more) curling iron or wand. Literally, that's it. If you hair is frizzy you can run some smoothing oil through it, and you might want a light bit of hairspray if your hair doesn't like to hold a curl well, but that's about the extent of it.

Wrap your hair around your iron/wand (curling away from your face - towards the back of your head) in 1/2" to 1" sections (I like to switch it up, this makes more texture.) When your done curling, run your fingers lightly through your hair just to separate the curls.

That's literally it. If you don't like it in your face, pull the front section back in a low half-up do. If you're a boho babe, throw in a small braid or two. But classy and touchable is key here - you're going to have your hands in it, and you want it to make him put his hands in it too. Don't overthink it.


Now, I'm not makeup artist. As in, I've had my makeup professionally done literally twice in my life, and I own less than $200 worth of makeup...all of which is probably expired. But I do know what does and doesn't work for a boudoir session...aren't you lucky? This is going to be more of a "styles of makeup suited best for Boudoir sessions" rather than "how to apply your makeup," but with some tips thrown in.

You have three basic styles for Boudoir makeup - Glam, Natural, and Retro. All basically hinge on one premise - highlight just one thing.

Glam - Highlight your eyes.

Glam will highlight those peepers with a metallic tone or a smokey eye, but they eyes are undoubtedly the focus. Use a lighter blush and a neutral lip, but you can go a little heavier on the highlights. This style tends to have a lit of shimmer and shine. A matte grey/black smokey eye is super seductive as well. Dark, well defined brows are the norm here.

Traditional glam with golds

Smokey eye with gold inner corners

Tip: Get your brows shaped.

Even if you're not wearing makeup, you're going to want your bows shaped. If you do wear makeup, this gives you a nice clean and razor-edged platform to work with. Luckily, bigger more natural brows are in, so make sure not to over-wax. You can literally just tweeze out strays and clean up the shape without actually getting your wax out.

Natural - Highlight your natural beauty (just enhance it.)

This is like, baby glam. You're still enhancing the eyes as your focus but much, much softer. Muted, earthy, or pink shades bring out a natural flush without all the hype. Line your waterlines top and bottom or add falsies for a little more pop.

Natural with a touch of rode gold and falsies

Light pinks and highlights add a natural looking flush

Retro - Highlight the lips.

A big, bold red lip is the hallmark of any retro look. Want to be extra-fierce? Add some winged liner. I know this technically goes against the "highlight only one" rule, but wings are classic retro. You can, of course, have just one or the other - but if you do, go with the bold lip. Skip the shimmery shades and go with a matte palette, even with your highlighter.

Classic retro for the 21st Century

Tip: Use a color pop. In the image above she chose red - red nails match the red lips. Go unexpected with neutral nails and bright red toes. A color pop can be anywhere - eye shadow, nails, even a bright shoe or article of clothing (like a panty.) But use it sparingly! One little pop of something is all you need.

Do I need a professional Makeup artist?

This is such a slippery slope, and the answer is - yes and no.

A professional (especially someone who knows boudoir photography) is going to make you look and feel amazing. They know what colors will work with your skin tone, hair color, even outfit choices. They intimately know where to contour to nip and tuck and highlight. They will have your exact match in foundations. They probably airbrush.

On the flip-side they may not give you exactly what you want. You may end up being disappointed with your end result. It may be too much, or too dark, or just not look like you. After an hour in the chair, you may just not have it in you do have them do it all over again.

Doing it yourself also has it's ups and downs. If you do your own makeup often you probably already have exactly what you need. You know what colors and products work well on your skin, what stays and what doesn't, and what you might need to bring along for changes or touch-ups.

You may also be nervous about your session and not do as great a job as you want to. Maybe you are trying a new style and you just didn't leave yourself enough time.

I don't have the definitive answer here, other than you need to do what you feel is best for you. I do not at this time offer hair and makeup services with my sessions, because I encourage you to be yourself (with or without makeup.) But I can certainly recommend an artist who can help you with your looks, either as a consultant or for full application.

If your going for your normal look and you apply your own makeup every day, I'd say you're pretty well good to do your own. If you (like me) are not a makeup aficionado and your wanting something like a retro look, go with the pro.

No matter what you choose, the goal is to feel comfortable and beautiful in your skin, and totally rock that session, girl!

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