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Feature Your Features

by Tamara Gunash 13 days ago in tutorial

Selective Enhancement - what is it?

Feature Your Features
Photo by JJ Jordan on Unsplash

You would hear a lot from makeup artists: “You don’t even need makeup, we only enhance what is already beautiful”, “You are so stunning, we only ENHANCE WHAT IS ALREADY BEAUTIFUL”.

And for a long time, I also believed that makeup only enhances what is already beautiful. I’d been telling my clients the same: “… we only enhance what’s already beautiful”.

And after some time I started to question this statement: why I enhance what IS ALREADY BEAUTIFUL?!

How about I only enhance WHAT IS NOT BEAUTIFUL YET?!

This thought took me to a question: then how can I tell if a feature is beautiful or not?!!!

I decided to take all covers of the magazines, to google all celebrities, examine their pictures and determine, how can I tell, if this or that feature is beautiful?! What are the criterias?!!!

And after days of research I came to a mind-blowingly weird discovery:


“The Beautiful” is Your Features Being Visible on a Photo.

It is a quite simple rule:

If brows are full enough that you can detect them on a picture, if lips are bright enough that you can see them on the picture, if the lash line is dark enough to make the eye shape visible on the picture, then IT IS BEAUTIFUL.

This discovery sounded a little too bizarre, and it took me to a different exercise: I’d sit in the subway car, just looking at faces of people who’d seat not too close to me: and there was always at very least one feature that I could not read, could not detect: sometimes eyes, sometimes lips, sometimes brows… And as soon as I’d put some makeup in my mind on a “missing” feature, the face would light up!

As perfect timing, we, Sephora-certified makeup artists, got fun training: we were brought the pictures of celebrities with their brows erased. The pictures were laminated and we had to draw different types of brows on them to see how much brows can change the appearance.

I got an Angelina Jolie picture. I could not even recognize her at a first glance, this is how the absence of brows changed her. You’d say, Angelina’s signature feature is her lips, her cheekbone, her eyes… but without her brows, she looked like a completely different person and every other feature literally lost its importance.

That was an eye-opener: I was like, okay, so some features are more important than the others.

So how many features did I need to enhance in order to achieve perfect, natural, most flattering makeup for a face?!

How Kids Draw princesses

If you ask a kid to draw a princess's face, they’d draw:

1) A circle that is the face shape. In makeup, you work with your face shape using a blush or a bronzer. In my belief, you only need one or another.

2) Then kids will start with eyes which in makeup translates as a visible lash line and shows the shape of eyes. The lash line we support with eyeliner and mascara. In my belief, most of the time you only might need one of them.

3) Most of the kids would draw huge lashes. When you can detect lashes on a photograph, it means these are false. False lashes do require some skills, but if you decide to master them, worth the effort. Falsies do the job!

4) Kids would draw the lips– sometimes it’s just a line, sometimes the line is smiling, meaning the outer corners go up. Lips are game-changers. The quickest makeup for some people with full brows and visible lashes can be only a bright lipstick – we only need to be sure that picked the right color.

5) Some kids will draw the brows, some will skip it because brows can make you look angry or upset, so kids unconsciously try to avoid that emotion. Brows have lots of power in expressing personality.

Most kids would draw a nose, but a lot of them would skip it, because they don’t see aesthetics or importance of it (and so should we, people stress out too much about noses, not worth it). Kids skip noses because we don’t bother to make them visible. even the opposite: we try to diminish them and make them look tiny, shorter, skinnier. Noses can disappear from our face with no regrets and kids draw what they detect by their eye. Nobody ever puts makeup to make noses appear bigger and more prominent.

Shapes of noses are rarely detectable from the distance and most of the time are overpowered by sharp brows, smoky eyes, red lips, blushing cheeks, and chiseled cheekbones.

What’s detectable from distance, will be detectable on the pictures – this is the secret of Hollywood stars. They stand on red carpets, and you see them in full body and yet you see their eyes, and lashes, and brows, and lips, and cheeks – what the magic is this?! It is a rule of visibility from distance. IF I SEE IT, THEREFORE IT IS BEAUTIFUL.


Tamara Gunash

The third generation of Eastern European witches. A child of the Soviet Union, lived through actual Communism. A journalist. A makeup artist. A realtor. Speak 4 languages. Made NYC my hometown in 2009.

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