Job Interview Makeup Dos And Don’ts (With Examples)

By Sky Ariella
Aug. 23, 2022

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While most people worry about what to wear, the smaller details of a look, like makeup and hair, can bring down an otherwise impressive interview performance.

While makeup can enhance someone’s appearance with grace, it can also become inappropriate quickly. Understanding what makeup compliments an interview and what is distracts from it assists job-seekers in looking professional.

We will go over the dos and don’ts of interview makeup and provide some tips to help you with your interview makeup.

Key Takeaways:

  • When wearing makeup for interviews it’s important to stick to neutral colors.

  • Avoid applying your makeup heavy in anyway to avoid it from looking thick and cakey.

  • Bring any touch up supplies to your interview to fix any smudges or reapply if needed.

  • It takes seven seconds for your interviewer to make a first impression so make sure your makeup is neat and professional.

Job Interview Makeup Dos and Don'ts (With Examples)

The Dos of Job Interview Makeup

Creating a makeup look that gives the impression of professionalism in an interview is an art form that requires vision. You don’t need to be a makeup artist to devise a simple professional look, though.

Finding a balance between the makeup you use for work versus your personal life is a little tricky at first, but it’s worth the effort.

Consider the following examples of things to do when crafting a job interview makeup look:

  1. Practice proper skincare. Building a makeup look that wows an interviewer starts with a healthy base of skincare. A proper skincare routine keeps your skin radiant and ready to project the makeup products you apply. For a basic skincare routine use:

    • A cleansing face wash

    • A nourishing moisturizer

    • A protective sunscreen

    Each of these products works in its own way to keep your skin looking perfect on the day of your interview and for years to come.

    Examples of skincare products:

  2. A natural foundation and concealer. The purpose of wearing a foundation is for it to disappear into the background. When an interviewer looks at your face, you don’t want them to be thinking about how much foundation you’re wearing.

    Choose a shade that fits your skin tone effortlessly and provides a natural feel to construct the remaining look.

    Using a concealer underneath the eyes also helps to brighten up your face if you’re exhausted from the job searching. Apply in a shade lighter than your foundation.

  3. Use a touch of subtle blush. Use a hint of subtle blush on the apples of your cheekbones to bring life to your look.

    Choosing a blush is murky territory because if you pick a color that’s too bright, it brings too much attention to one single makeup feature. Choose a color that compliments the other aspects of your ensemble.

  4. Light and neutral eyeshadow. Eyeshadow is another cosmetic product that can quickly become overwhelming if the wrong colors are chosen. The goal is to produce a look that acts as a natural enhancement of the features you already have. For eye shadow, this means neutral brown colors.

    Contour the dimensions of your eyes by adding the darkest colors softly to the outer corners of the eyelid. Blend this with more medium shades that stretch into the lightest colors in the inner corner of the eye.

    Examples of neutral eyeshadow palettes:

  5. Tidy with eyebrow gel in the proper color. While your eyebrows might seem like an insignificant feature to worry about when doing makeup for an interview, it can actually tie together an entire look.

    Use a brow gel that matches your eyebrow color and tidy them into a cohesive style.

  6. A soft lipstick shade. The final product to wrap up a simple interview makeup look is lipstick. This cosmetic should be chosen carefully in color, like blush or eye shadow.

    A lip that’s too bold or bright is problematic for several reasons. It distracts the interviewer, but it also has a higher chance of getting stuck on your teeth if you wear a daring shade.

    Red or dark lipstick is almost always too much for an interview makeup look. Pick a lip color that’s neutral and doesn’t draw attention away from your answers to interview questions.

The Don’ts of Job Interview Makeup

While there are many ways to impress a hiring manager during an interview with makeup savvy, there are also a few things you shouldn’t do.

  1. Don’t put a gloss over your lipstick. Lip gloss tends to look sticky and unprofessional in a job interview. It adds an extra layer of glossy liquid and encourages smudges to happen. Instead, opt for a matte or satin finish lipstick.

  2. Don’t wear bold makeup colors. The beauty of makeup is that it gives people the ability to express themselves creatively through their appearance. However, the makeup that’s worn to a job interview has a different purpose – to demonstrate professionalism.

    While bold makeup colors in eyeshadow, lipstick, and blush are fun to use off the clock, they don’t make the best impression in a job interview. Avoid an overly dark, smokey eye as well.

  3. Don’t wear eccentric eyeliner. Eyeliner is an iffy choice to wear during an interview. An eyeliner look easily becomes too eccentric for the typical professional environment and is off-putting to a hiring manager.

    If you want to wear eyeliner for an interview despite the risks, opt for an eye pencil liner. It defines the eyes without creating the sharp or noticeable cat-eye look of liquid eyeliner.

  4. Don’t put on false eyelashes. While lashes definitely amp up a makeup look to make it more dramatic, they’re not appropriate to wear during an interview.

    In addition to making your attire too flamboyant for a job interview, the chances are just too high that a lash might come flying off while you’re passionately speaking about your professional background.

  5. Skip the highlighter. Every makeup lover has a few highlighters in their arsenal to create a glowing look, but wearing this to an interview isn’t a good idea.

    Using any type of shimmery makeup in an interview makeup can get messy and look amateur-ish in a professional domain.

  6. Don’t wear too much of any cosmetics. Whether it’s a foundation or eye shadow, globbing on too much of any cosmetic produces an unsettling look. Makeup is an accent to intensify a candidate’s professionalism, and as such, you shouldn’t wear too much.

  7. Don’t test out a new makeup look the day of the interview. If you bought new makeup for this interview, don’t wait until you interview day to do your make up look. Do it a couple days before incase you have any allergic reactions to any makeup products.

    Doing a practice look can also be beneficial incase the makeup look doesn’t look the way you want and you don’t end up panicking before the interview. You should also put your outfit on to make sure the makeup doesn’t clash with your outfit, but be careful not to smudge any makeup on the outfit.

  8. Don’t do your makeup with your interview outfit on. You should avoid doing your makeup with your interview outfit on incase of any makeup spilling on your outfit. If you don’t have time to change before doing your makeup, make sure to put something to cover your outfit such as a bathrobe or a towel to keep your outfit looking perfect.

Tips for Wearing Makeup to an Interview

  1. Utilize a face primer. Putting on a cream face primer before working with any makeup sets up your skin to maintain the look for hours of wear. It helps the foundation look more natural and eliminates a streaky appearance.

  2. Consider BB cream or tinted moisturizer instead of foundation. Some people choose to go with a BB cream or tinted moisturizer instead of a traditional foundation because it’s lighter and creates a more subtle appearance.

    Foundation often looks cakey, especially if a little too much is used. Replacing it with a tinted moisturizer keeps your skin even while also protecting you against wrinkles and dry skin.

  3. Get waterproof mascara. Even though it’s not recommended to wear false eyelashes to a job interview, mascara is acceptable. Just be sure that it’s waterproof to avoid black smudges collecting beneath your eyes.

  4. Avoid clumpy mascara. You will want your mascara to look professional and polished. If you usually use false lashes and you are trying to achieve that long lash look without the false lashes, skip it for this interview. The more mascara you apply for the long lash look will result in lots of clumps and having clumpy mascara can look unprofessional and can smudge easier even if you are using waterproof mascara.

  5. Don’t forget to style your hair professionally too. A well-done makeup look is overshadowed by having messy or out of place hair. Once you’ve decided how you’ll wear your makeup for an interview, put some thought into how you’ll style your hair.

    The goal is to keep it neat, clean, and simple. The best way to wear your hair for an interview is to keep it out of your face to avoid you having to touch it and distract the interviewer. Clip your hair back with clips or a headband, our wear a half-up do to keep most of the hair out of your face.

  6. Use loose powder to eliminate shine. A job interview is a nerve-wracking experience, and this causes many applicants to sweat through makeup.

    To eliminate the possibility of a makeup smudge or looking oily, use a loose powder on top of your foundation. It helps create a matte finish after putting on the foundation and keeps your makeup flawless for hours.

    Examples of loose powder:

  7. Finish with a setting spray. The final step to any makeup routine is locking it in with a setting spray. Setting spray is a combination of water, alcohol, and other ingredients meant to elongate your makeup’s lifespan.

    This comes in handy during an interview because you never know how long the meeting will go for or the conditions of the environment you’ll be speaking in. The setting spray keeps your makeup intact regardless of heat or time.

    Examples of setting sprays:

  8. Bring touch up supplies. Bring a few things with you incase of needing to touch up your makeup. This is especially important if you have other things before your interview. Along with makeup you should bring tissues or cotton rounds to clean up any smudges. Also pack a small mirror and check your makeup before going into the interview.

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Sky Ariella

Sky Ariella is a professional freelance writer, originally from New York. She has been featured on websites and online magazines covering topics in career, travel, and lifestyle. She received her BA in psychology from Hunter College.

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