Job interview makeup and hair: 12 Beauty Panel tips for looking pretty and professional
You’ve printed off your resume, know your strengths and weaknesses and have the perfect job interview outfit planned. But have you considered how to do your hair and makeup? Just like a low cut top is a job interview no-no, glittery makeup or a messy ponytail is best saved for more social situations. While some of us may seek work in offices that are more creative or casual than others, when it comes to making a first impression, showing up at that job interview looking perfectly polished is key.
When you want to put your best face—and hair!—forward, a neutral look that highlights your natural beauty is best. Don’t distract from your talents with hair and makeup that’s better suited for a night out with friends. To make sure the HR department focuses on your credentials rather than a makeup blunder, we asked the Beauty Panel to share some job interview-worthy beauty looks. Read on, take their advice and all you’ll have to worry about is showing up at the right place at the right time.
Challenge 18: How do you do your hair and makeup for a job interview? See the answers now! »
When it comes to hair and makeup for a job interview, many of the Beauty Panel members recommended keeping it natural. While Lipstick Rules’ Michelle Mullins used neutral shades like champagne, brown and beige on her eyes, she suggests balancing it with a statement lip colour like bright-red or pink. A colourful lipstick can still look professional as long as you tone down the rest of your makeup. Sparkly Playground’s Joyce Wong—who used to work in HR—advises to always start with understanding the work environment so you can cater your look accordingly. And Stylish and Literate’s Aleeza Agno offers a key piece of advice: job interviews are not the time to try new products. By sticking to your favourite cosmetics you’ll feel confident in your own skin when meeting your potential boss for the first time.
Have a beauty question you want to see the panel answer? Send it our way at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read on for the answers to this week’s challenge and for more goodness, get to know all contributors on our Beauty Panel hub page.
Toronto | Stylish & Literate
Most of my interviews have been for a corporate professional environment, so when it comes to getting ready, I like to keep it simple. A tinted moisturizer on the face and a concealer under the eyes for that fresh faced look. I rarely wear eye makeup, but I do add a little definition to my eyes so that they aren’t overshadowed by my glasses. Black eyeliner can be a little dramatic, so I use a brown shade to soften the look. Then I add a little bit of colour to the cheeks and the lips with a light pink hue. I never experiment with products on the day of the interview. Stay with your tried and true favourites so you can put your best face forward!
Products used: Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer in “Wheat,” Covergirl + Olay 2-in1 Eye Rehab in “310 Pale,” M.A.C Blush in “Pinch O Peach,” Burberry Lip Mist in “Feather Pink,” Annabelle Smoothliner in “Brown,” Lancôme Hypnôse Doll Lashes Mascara
Toronto | Sparkly Playground
As a former human resource professional and most recently a flight attendant, this challenge is right up my alley! Before you begin, understand and recognize your role and working environment. First impression is everything; cater your entire look to be the position you’re interviewing for. This will let your employer imagine that you are exactly the person they are looking to hire.
1) Hair: Wash and dry your hair in advance. It’s less stressful and saves time. Keep it out of your face without using fancy hair accessories. Simple and clean is highly professional. I use ripped nylons (cleaned, of course!) to make it into a sock bun—fast and easy.
2) Eyes: Applying brown and nude eyeliners to the top and bottom waterlines, respectively. This adds subtle energy. Individual false lashes helps to add length and volume as if I’m born with it! Light eyeshadows appear to be more friendly and approachable than dark smoky eyes.
3) Cheeks and Lips: A soft flush of colour is very fitting. A pop of colour is appropriate for creative, upbeat environments but not so much for a traditional, conservative office. Avoid testing out your newest beauty purchase. It’s distracting when you are self-conscious about how you look (or worse, allergies!) while selling yourself intellectually. Look and feel confident in your own skin! Most importantly, get good beauty sleep the night before! Good luck!
Products used: Pixi Beauty Flawless & Poreless Primer, Lancôme Renergie Lift Make Up Foundation in “20(C),” Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in “Cool Sand,” Benefit Cosmetics Creaseless Cream Shadow in “Bikini-Tini,” Elizabeth Arden Eye Shadow Trip in “Violet Bloom,” Elizabeth Arden Bold Eye Pencil in “Platinum Glow,” Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner in “Espresso,” Clarins Palette Eclat Face and Blush Powder, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in “Bellisima,” Maybelline Color Whisper Lipstick in “Lust For Blush (25),” Red Cherry Lashes in “Knot Free Flare Medium Black,” Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real, Tweezerman Tweezers, Redken Control Addict 28 Hairspray, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Perfume, Essie Nail Polish in “Ballet Slippers”
Montreal | Stealing Beauty
Products used: Marcelle BB Cream in “Medium to Dark,” Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer in “Medium,” L’Oréal True Match Super Blendable in “Warm 4-5,” Elizabeth Arden Mineral Powder SPF 20 in “04,” Elizabeth Arden Bronze Powder in “03 Deep Radiance,” Nyx Blush in “Terra Cotta,” Maybelline Define-A-Brow in “Medium Brown,” Urban Decay Primer Potion, TheBalm Nude ‘tude Eyeshadow Palette, Nars Larger Than Life Eyeliner in “Rue Bonaparte,” Maybelline Volum’ Express The Mega Plush, Annabelle Lip Liner in “Demure,” Revlon Superlustrous Lipstick in “Demure”
Toronto | Toronto Beauty Reviews
I am going to assume that you work in a non-creative industry like I do. Makeup and hair should be polished and make an impression but not too big of an impression. After all you want your skills and personality to stand out in this case—not your lipstick colour!
Face: Keep everything very neutral. Define the eyes with a little bit of eye makeup—enough to make you feel put together. In my case I went with light liner than my usual black and used a pencil, which I smudged out. Normally I lean towards gel liner and a cleaner line but in a job interview you don’t want anything to be distracting and makeup that is too “perfect” or crisp can take away from what you are saying. I also used an eye pencil shadow to add a bit more depth to the eyes. For the cheeks go with something light and that works for everyday. Skip the contouring and definitely no shimmer. For the lips again go natural and don’t wear a lipstick or gloss that is too shiny. In this case I blotted my lips to remove excess shine. Also don’t forget to check your teeth! There is nothing more distracting than speaking with someone with lipstick on their teeth! When you are anxious you tend to be shinier even if you have drier skin therefore make sure to use a powder to finish off your look. Again the point is to look put together so the focus is on your skills.
Hair: Normally I feel more polished when my hair is blown out. But I also notice that when it’s blown out I tend to play with it more or move it around a lot. During an interview you don’t want to be doing this so I actually suggest wearing your hair the way you would everyday (assuming a messy pony tail isn’t your everyday do!). Again keep it simple. Wearing it up is great if you are comfortable but it shouldn’t be too severe or stuffy and I wouldn’t recommend any braids, pins or accessories. In a more conservative type of interview this can be a distraction.
Other tips: Beware of what scent you wear. You obviously want to smell good (and possibly mask nervousness!) but pick something soft and “clean” smelling to be safe. This goes for your hair products too! Also, be sure your nails are groomed. Pick a soft neutral colour that almost blends in with your skin for a clean, professional look.
Products used: Pixi Beauty Line and Define Crayon Combo; Revlon Lash Potions Mascara; Lippy Girl Organic Mineral Blush in “Tongue In Cheek,” Jurlique Citrus Silk Finishing Powder, Maybelline Color Whisper in “Lust for Blush”
Winnipeg | A Pop of Colour
Job interviews are super stressful, but luckily you don’t have to look stressed—you want to look your best, but still look like you. Therefore, leave the dark eyeshadow, crazy false lashes, and hot pink lipstick at home (unless of course, you are applying for a job where that makeup would be the norm). I recommend going the natural route and letting your beauty shine through, with the help of some products, of course! I have naturally straight hair but love the look of a polished curl. For the best curl possible I recommend a clip-less curling iron, which will leave your locks looking perfect and polished (without the dreaded clip line and frizz). For makeup, I used a BB Cream with concealer and the Urban Decay Naked Palette for the most natural look possible. Do a hint of a winged liner, some mascara, and then finish it up with a pretty pink lipstick for a perfectly polished look.
Products used: Sultra The Bombshell 1″ Rod Curling Iron, Dior Diorskin Nude BB Cream in “02,” Benefit Cosmetics Fake Up Concealer in “Medium,” Urban Decay Naked Palette in “Virgin, Sin and Buck,” Lancôme Art Liner in “Noir,” Almay One Coat Nourishing Mascara Triple Effect in “Black,” Nars Blush in “Orgasm,” It Cosmetics Hello Light Illuminating Powder, Smashbox Bronzer in “Suntan Matte,” YSL Rouge Volupte in “19”
Montreal | My Beauty Box
As much as I love makeup and wearing all sorts of bold colours, I decided to put it all aside in favor of looking professional for a job interview. I decided to keep it neutral and natural looking, playing up my skin in an effort to achieve a healthy glowing complexion and keeping the eyes and lips neutral. I started off by covering up any imperfections and blemishes with a full coverage foundation and following with a lighter one all over the face. I want my skin to show through and look as natural as possible. I then contoured and dusted off a hint of bronzer, applied a light was of blush and highlighted the high points of my face. For the eye I thightlined my lashes and finished off with a flick to add a bit of definition and followed with one coat of mascara. I did define my brows, as I find it helps to help the face, add structure and give a sort of assertive look; after all you want to look composed and smart for that first impression. For the lips I just opted for a pink lipbutter to add some colour and dimension. As for the hair, I went for the headband: classic yet youthful, combing my hair back.
Products used: M.A.C Face and Body Foundation, Marcelle Eyeshadow Quad, Psysicians Formula Eye Booster Eyeliner, Annabelle Bronzer, Nars Orgasm Blush, Revlon Lip Butter in “Strawberry Shortcake”
Toronto | Bold N’ Beautiful Makeup
For job interview makeup, depending on the job you are applying for it’s always good to avoid wearing heavy makeup. If it is a more corporate job then less is more during the interview process because it may become distracting to the interviewer and may portray an image that could be incorrect. For this look I went with a more neutral, smouldering eyeshadow to show strength, assertiveness and confidence.
Products used: Pari Beauty Cream To Powder Foundation in “Dark Tan,” M.A.C Mineralize Skinfish in “Gold Deposit,” Nars Blush in “Deep Throat,” M.A.C Shade Stick in “Taupographic,” M.A.C Eyeshadow in “Scene (lid) and Satin Taupe (lower lash line),” Make Up For Ever in “#164 (transition),” Josie Maran Magic Marker Argan Liquid Liner in “Ink,” Urban Decay Lip Liner in “Wallflower,” Givenchy Lipstick in “Coffee Shine”
Toronto | Secrets From Your Girlfriends
I’m pretty lucky that I work in a creative environment where I can pick and choose my makeup and clothing to clearly express myself daily but it wasn’t always this way. Not so long ago, I graduated into the world of corporate life and although it was a short lived experience I was faced with the challenging task of building a beauty wardrobe that fit with my workplace culture. I found myself thinking a lot about my appearance and was often frustrated because it’s not as easy as it seems. Also, I refused to fall into the same hair and makeup routine that often happens with a busy work schedule so, I definitely had my work cut out for me.
I generally like to go a bit lighter for the work place, which is pretty normal I think for a corporate environment. It’s better to blend in with the scenery so I would generally favor subtle makeup and equally subtle hair. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative. My favorite office beauty look is the simplicity of freshly brushed hair that is pulled away from the face so it doesn’t get in the way but remains feminine. Also, I generally will only wear a base makeup and a slight tint to my lips so that I don’t look too done up for office hours. This look is also easily transferred to an evening by adding check blush and a brighter lip pencil.
Products used: Maybelline Lip Gloss in “Light Berry,” Bobby Pins
Ottawa | Twenty York Street
When Coco Chanel said “less is more” I’m sure she also meant for this to apply to makeup during a job interview. We all know how crucial first impressions are during job interviews; this is the perfect time to put together a look that says, well, completely put together. Your goal, on top of showing you’ve got the right chops for the job, is to convey your competence, confidence and attention to detail. In general, stick to clean and neat appearance—exfoliate and moisturize days before and use the perfect foundation suited to your skin tone. Keep things simple and elegant and use neutral colour for eye shadow—light-brown, ivory-cream, taupe. This is no time for smoky smouldering eyes and vampy red lips, unless of course, that’s what the job calls for. A light blush, a subtle hint of colour on the lips and a minimal swipe of mascara will keep your look flawless and professional. Make sure this polished look extends to your hair, accessories, outfit and nails. After all, you do want to shake your new employer’s hand with impeccably manicured tips when you finally accept that job offer!
Products used: The Balm Shady Lady, Revlon Nearly Naked in “Medium 030,” Thann Anti-Aging Moisturizer, Bourjois Volume Clubbing Mascara, Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid in “865 and 860,” Koku Nail Bar in “Bluer Than Blue”
Toronto | LipstickRules
I’ve been on both sides of the fence when it comes to job interviews having played the role of interviewer and interviewee throughout the years. And what they say is true, first impressions do count, from what you say to how you present yourself—all of it can count. Whether you are applying for a corporate job or not, it’s probably best to keep your makeup simple and polished. Maybe best to save the glittery shadows for a night out. For the eyes, choose neutral natural shades like champagne, brown, and beige. Line your lashes with black or brown liner or shadow, and apply mascara. Add some colour to your cheeks with bronzer and blush. I prefer a light dusting of golden bronzer and peachy pink blush to create a natural flush. On the lips, I think almost anything goes. While I wouldn’t suggest anything dark or too vampy, I do think a red or bright pink lipstick can still look professional. The key is to keep everything else simple. I also like lipstick shades like M.A.C “Crosswires,” which is a brighter coral pink that makes my skin look more alive. While makeup won’t land you the job, I certainly believe it can boost your confidence—and that is key in any job interview situation.
Products used: M.A.C Lipstick in “Crosswires,” M.A.C blush in “Royal Sunset (Limited Edition),” Diorskin Nude Foundation; Nars Laguna bronzer, Maybelline The Falsies Mascara, Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette
Toronto | BEAUTY AND A BITE
I’m a firm believer in keeping it simple in the office and if you’re going to a job interview, your look should be similar to how you want to look every day at work. But there are some areas that you should pay close attention to.
Tips: Use concealer under your eyes. You do not want to look tired when you arrive at your interview, so make sure you conceal accordingly. Avoid shimmer and glitter (I have one exception. You’ll see.) Try to use matte products (M.A.C’s Prism is my favourite matte blush.) Use a really good setting powder (especially if you have oily skin like me). Also keep oil-blotting sheets handy. Apply a very small amount of a white, shimmery eyeshadow in the inner corner of your eyes. It will brighten up your whole face! Apply your makeup with natural lighting, facing a window. Most importantly, be confident! Wear makeup you’re comfortable with because if you don’t, it will show in your mannerisms and may have a negative impact on your interview. Good luck!
Products used: Urban Decay Naked Skin Shade in “5.0”, Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concelaer in “120 Light,” M.A.C Blush in “Prism,” Nars Bronzer (for contouring) in “Laguna,” Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder, Coastal Scents Various Shadows in “Warm Palette,” Avon Black Eyeliner, Lashes from an unlabeled 10-pack at Pacific Mall, M.A.C Lipstick in “Vegas Volt”
Toronto | THISWASFOREVER
In order to create a lasting impression on that job interview, I would advice to memorize this phrase: Less is more! Leaving a lasting impression doesn’t mean that you have to go all out on the makeup. You want to look polished without looking over the top, that is unless you have an interview as for a makeup artist position. But for any office or white collar jobs, I suggest saving your smoky eyes and hot pink lips for cocktails after you get the job.
For your face, unless you have blemishes or uneven skin tone, I would encourage to only use a concealer or loose powder to avoid heavy foundation that can be overly distracting. However, if you’re like me and need a bit more coverage, I would suggest a lighter foundation. For the eyes, use eyeshadows in neutral shades such as browns, creams or tans. I would avoid a lot of shine to the eyelids because once again, it can be distracting. Mascara and a pencil eyeliner is all you’ll really need. I would stay away from false lashes and the harsh liquid liner. A pair of well-groomed brows demonstrate that you pay close attention to details. So the night before, don’t do it the morning of because it’ll create redness, tweeze away any stray hairs. You can also use a brow gel to set your brows in place. Finally wear a lipstick and not a lipgloss. Gloss can be too shiny for a formal setting.
Products used: Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup Foundation in “150 Nude,” Maybelline EyeStudio Color Tattoo Metal 24hr Eyeshadow in “70 Barely Branded,” L’Oreal Telescopic Shocking Extensions Mascara, Essie Long Lasting Eye Pencil in “02 Hot Chocolate, Tweezerman x Cynthia Rowley tweezer, Tweezerman Brow Mousse, Yves Rocher Grand Rouge Lipstick in “Incandescent Coral”