The Dos and Don’ts of Headshot Makeup for Women and Men | St Louis Professional Headshots

Wanna make a big impression with your professional headshot? Makeup’s the key!

Learn the do’s and don’ts for guys and gals. Look your best!

Don’t over-powder. Too much causes flash back and disrupts light.


Headshots are essential for your professional persona, so you should look your best! Taking a few extra minutes to apply the right make-up is important. Men and women have different needs to consider. Here’s what you must and must not do for headshots.

Remember: Subtlety is key for both males and females. You want to look natural, yet polished. Heavy make-up will distract from the image you wish to project. Products that minimize shine are important too – especially if you have oily or combination skin.

Bring your make-up to the shoot session. This will help match it with other elements, like wardrobe or backdrop. Doing this will help everyone to know what look you want to achieve.

What is a Headshot?

A headshot is a portrait that focuses on the face. It’s used to promote actors, models, and business people. It’s the first impression potential employers have of you. So, it’s important that your headshots show your personality and style. Here are some tips on how to apply makeup for headshots. For men and women alike:

Do: Choose makeup that complements your natural skin tone.

Don’t: Cake on the foundation.

Do: Use a matte finish.

Don’t: Over-do the contour or blush.

Do: Enhance your eyes with mascara and eyeliner.

Don’t: Go for a heavy smoky eye.

Do: Finish off with a natural lip color.

Don’t: Wear dark or glossy lipstick.

Do’s of Headshot Makeup for Women

Women should aim for a polished yet natural makeup look in their headshot. Enhance your natural beauty, not transform it! Here are some tips:

-Choose a foundation that matches your skin tone and is one shade lighter – this will make you glow in the photos.

-Eyeliner is best used on the upper lid – define the lash line and add a smoky effect. Don’t go too heavy!

-Neutral colors like taupe, grey, and brown are great for the eyes – avoid bright colors.

-Use mascara on both top and bottom lashes to create fullness.

-Choose blush or bronzer tones that are slightly lighter than normal, but not too light.

-Finally, opt for a neutral lip color with pink/berry undertones to enhance your facial features without overpowering them.

Don’ts of Headshot Makeup for Women

Headshot makeup should enhance natural features, not look overly done. A bit of mascara and lip gloss can make a difference. Here are some don’ts:

  • Don’t use too much foundation or powder. Use sheer or light coverage to reduce pores and blemishes.
  • Don’t add too much blush or bronzer. Neutral tones will bring out the complexion.
  • Don’t overdo eyeshadow and eyeliner. Use darker shades along the lash line, or an eyeliner pencil for drama. Go for softer eyeshadow tones.
  • Don’t forget the lips! Use light lip gloss for sheen and color. Avoid dark colors – they wash out on film or digital photography.

Do’s of Headshot Makeup for Men

For men applying makeup for headshots, create a natural and professional look. Here are some tips to help!

Choose lightweight, matte products. Pick colors similar to your skin tone. Avoid shimmery products. Keep it simple. And groom your brows. Subtlety is key!

Don’ts of Headshot Makeup for Men

When it comes to professional headshots, makeup for men can be tricky. Too much could reduce their credibility, so subtle techniques and product choices are best. Here’s what not to do:

-Don’t pile on foundation. If you need to use it, choose one made for men with strong coverage.

-Skin care is important. Use a moisturizer and sunscreen tailored to male skin type.

-Be careful with brows. Ensure they’re not overly long or arched. Avoid pomade or waxes.

-Don’t cake on concealer. Opt for lighter coverage products.

-Don’t forget lip color. Use a balm first and then a natural, neutral shade like light browns or pinks. No sparkles or gloss!

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to headshots, keep makeup simple and natural. Too much can make you look worse than with none at all! Here are mistakes to avoid:

Blending: Blend eyeshadow, blush, and contour so there are no edges or lines.

Color palette: Use shades together that look natural. Avoid greens and blues as they can wash out your face. Pick neutral browns or warm golden tones instead.

Foundation: Use a light hand and go for sheer coverage.

False lashes: They may enhance print media but they don’t photgraph well. Stick with lighter mascaras.

Powder: Don’t over-powder. Too much causes flash back and disrupts light.


You want to appear professional in your headshot, but not too done up. Natural makeup for the occasion will help you look confident and show off your personality.

Get the most out of your photo session by following these tips on how to use makeup for headshots. Consult with a pro or practice in front of the mirror, and don’t be afraid to try different looks!

Mike Haller
4501 Mattis Road
St Louis, Missouri

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Professional Portrait Photographer and Videographer